|Tuesday, February 1, 2000,
Notice to Badal in Ravi Inder case
BJP rebels submit replies
SGPC chief ready to appear at Akal
Steps to rationalise postings of
BKU activist killed in lathi
Mann to oppose Centre on review
Peermohamed joins Mann faction
Several SC men join Congress
Madan Mohan Mittal
Bhisham Sahni interacts with
Rajindra Hospital turns to alumni
National convention of women
Flourishing flesh trade
Villagers intensify stir
A sea change to dispensary
Farm labourer murdered
2 held for abduction, girl
Kin held on rape charge
Plan to introduce computer course
Papers of unaccounted sales seized
Badal in Ravi Inder case
CHANDIGARH, Jan 31 The Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notice for February 27 to the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who heads the Shiromani Akali Dal, on a revision petition preferred by Mr Ravi Inder Singh, an Akali MLA from Morinda, assailing the order of the District Judge of Chandigarh declining to stay the move to expel him from the party.
Mr Justice V.M. Jain, who handed down this order, directed that the notice on the respondent would be served through counsel of the opposite side who had appeared for him in the lower court.
In his revision petition Mr Ravi Inder Singh stated that the District Judge was patently wrong in declining his request for the stay because the tenure of Akal Dal office-bearers expired.
Mr G.S. Grewal, former Advocate-General of Punjab, who represented Mr Ravi Inder Singh, contended that the party's tenure had been extended by the Election Commission of India till February-end. However, neither the country's Constitution nor did the party constitution give any right to the Election Commission to extend the term of any political party. Political parties were governed by their constitutions.
Mr Grewal told the court that according to the party constitution, fresh elections must be held before the expiry of the two-year term. In support of his viewpoint, Mr Grewal argued that even if it was presumed that the Election Commission had the power to extend the tenure of any political, it ought to be done before it expired. This was the Supreme Court ruling. The term of the Akali Dal had already expired. The Election Commission had merely entitled to the SAD to hold its fresh elections by February-end so that they could remain a registered political party under Section 29-A of the Representation of the People Act.
To begin with, Mr Ravi Inder Singh had filed a suit in the court of the Sub Judge for staying his expulsion from the SAD. He had also filed a declaration to the effect that the tenure of the SAD general house had expired. Until fresh elections were held, Mr Badal could not expel any member from the party. The Sub Judge had, however, declined his request.
Mr Ravi Inder Singh had questioned the Sub Judge's, order in the court of the District Judge. He, too, had declined his appeal holding that the Election Commission had extended the term of the SAD till February-end.
Mining Officer's case put off
The High Court adjourned to February 15 the case concerning the disappearance of Mr S.P. Singh, Mining Officer of the Punjab Industries Department.
Mr Justice T.H.B. Chalapathi, before whom the case came up for hearing, issued oral directions to the police to make efforts to trace Mr Singh.
Earlier, the S.S.P. of
Patiala and Mr Ranjit Singh Dhillon, DSP (Vigilance),
Patiala, filed affidavit before the court spelling out
the efforts they made to trace Mr Singh.
According to the petition preferred by a relative of Mr S.P. Singh, the Mining Officer was allegedly summoned by the DSP (Vigilance) to Patiala on January 24. Since then he has not returned.
The petition alleged that the Mining Officer was receiving threats from Mr Surinder Singh Kairon, a relative of the Chief Minister, and the DSP (Vigilance), Mr Kairon allegedly wanted Mr S.P. Singh to cancel mining contracts of certain persons in favour of his men.
Before leaving for Patiala, the Mining Officer had shot off letters to the Punjab Chief Secretary and Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Copies of these letters were seized from the Mining Officer's car parked at his residence.
case hearing on April 3
On a criminal petition filed by Mr Ajit Inder Singh, Congress MLA from Sardulgarh, seeking a probe either by the CBI or an independent agency into the cases of corruption and criminal conspiracy in the widening of Kot Bhai Distributory, Mr Justice T.H.B. Chalapathi issued notice to Public Prosecutor, Punjab, for April 3.
In the petition apart from the state, Mr Parkash Singh Badal Chief Minister, and Mr Sikandar Singh Maluka, Minister of State for Irrigation, had been made respondents.
The petitioner stated that four FIRs had been registered at Gidderbaha, Bathinda, Sangat and Lambi police stations in Bathinda district against Executive Engineers, Junior Engineers and other staff after November 23, 1999.
Mr Tirath Singh Brar, A.E. of Mithri Teona Sub-Division, had filed a complaint to Bathinda's Deputy Commissioner and the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr Alok Shekhar, had conducted an inquiry and submitted a report to the Deputy Commissioner.
It was alleged by the petitioner that on Doomwali minor the people cleared the silt but entries of payment were shown involving an embezzlement of Rs 4.41 lakh. Bogus entries were made in work-charged rolls.
It was further submitted by the petitioner that since the matter is scandalous and involved Rs 2.5 crores, efforts are being made to hush up the matter by changing the inquiry report.
AMRITSAR, Jan 31 Even as damage control exercise has been launched to resolve the present crisis in the state BJP, the two rebel party MLAs, Mr Jagdish Sahni and Mr Satpal Gosain, have submitted their reply to the state party chief, Mr Daya Singh Sodhi, in response to the show-cause notice served on them for levelling serious charges of corruption against Mr Sodhi and Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, Minister Local Bodies.
When contacted by TNS, Mr Sodhi confirmed that he had received the replies from both the MLAs. He, however, refused to divulge the contents of the replies. The replies submitted by them are reportedly of identical nature.
However, when contacted by TNS, Mr Jagdish Sahni said he would stand by the charges levelled by him. I have got all the proofs to substantiate the allegations which would be proved at an appropriate time. He, however, said that he did not want to violate the discipline of the party by giving details of the contents of his reply. I have already expressed regrets for rushing to the press to level the charges. I had admitted my fault at the party meeting held at Jalandhar on January 6. I have admitted my fault before the press too. However, I would prove my allegations if the party high command desires so.
Replying yet another question, Mr Sodhi said he would discuss the reply of both the MLAs at the meeting of office-bearers before initiating any action.
It is pertinent to mention here that while Mr Sahni had alleged that Mr Sodhi had not accounted for the balance of Rs 3 lakh out of Rs 7 lakh he had handed over to him during the recent Lok Sabha elections last year, no specific allegation had been voiced by the MLAs against Mr Tandon.
Earlier he had alleged the BJP leaders had taken bribe for appointing executive officers in the Local Government Department.
It may also be mentioned here that Mr Sahni, MLA from Batala had met Mr Sodhi at his residence about a fortnight ago to explain his position.
According to sources,
the action is likely to be taken against the rebel party
MLAs as the contents of their replies did not show clear
cut regrets for levelling allegations against the senior
ready to appear at Akal Takht
CHANDIGARH, Jan 31 The SGPC President, Bibi Jagir Kaur, is ready to present herself at Akal Takht. In a brief statement issued on her behalf by a Deputy Secretary of the SGPC, Mr Kirpal Singh, here today, Bibi Jagir Kaur said that she would go to Akal Takht when she was called there.
Till date, I have not received any directive from Akal Takht in writing and I make it clear that my entire life is dedicated to Akal Takht, Bibi Jagir Kaur said. In fact, it was the duty of every gursikh to abide by the principles, code of conduct and traditions of Akal Takht, she added.
Bibi Jagir Kaur was excommunicated by the Jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Puran Singh, on January 25. Giani Puran Singh had stated that Bibi Jagir Kaur was violating the directives issued by Akal Takht. There were differences between Giani Puran Singh and Bibi Jagir Kaur on the implementation of the Nanakshahi calendar, which ultimately culminated in the excommunication of the SGPC president, perhaps for the first time in its 75-year-old history.
However, informed sources said that a directive was never sent to the excommunicated persons to appear at Akal Takht. Such persons had to make an appeal in writing to the Jathedar of Akal Takht to seek permission for explaining their position regarding the issue involved.
After examining the contents of the appeal submitted by the excommunicated person, the Jathedar convened a meeting of five singh sahibs (including himself) and directed the person concerned to appear before them to explain the position. After hearing the explanation, it was the discretion of the singh sahibs to accept the appeal and forgive or to announce the punishment for the person concerned.
The latest statement of Bibi Jagir Kaur, expressing willingness to appear before Akal Takht, differs from her earlier statements made in this connection. Earlier, she had taken a tough stand and had branded the excommunication a violation of the tradition of Akal Takht. But she has now softened her stand.
Informed sources said that the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who is also president of the Shiromani Akali Dal, had told Bibi Jagir Kaur not to make hostile statements and to adopt reconciliatory approach. Todays statement by the SGPC chief should be seen in this background.
The sources said that Mr
Badal was in touch with Giani Puran Singh, who was near
Meerut in Uttar Pradesh this morning. He is expected to
reach Amritsar tonight or tomorrow. Mr Badal is expected
to reach Amritsar tomorrow to discuss the issue with
Giani Puran Singh, it is learnt. A number of other Akali
leaders have also talked to Giani Puran Singh in
connection with the issue.
CM disappoints Bibi
LUDHIANA, Jan 31 Quarters close to the SGPC chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur, have expressed disappointment over the non-committal stance adopted by the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, over the current confrontation between Bibi Jagir Kaur and the Jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Puran Singh, over the Nanakshahi calendar.
Bibi Jagir Kaur herself has been maintaining a studied silence over the issue but the quarters say that they expected the Chief Minister to come to the aid of the beleaguered SGPC chief, in a more forthright manner.
Bibi Jagir Kaur was excommunicated from the Sikh Panth by Giani Puran Singh last week for alleged defiance of Akal Takht. Instead of coming out strongly in support Bibi Jagir Kaur, the Chief Minister seems to have adopted a course of soft-pedalling on the issue.
These quarters point out that five high priests had met at Amritsar a day after the hukamnama was issued by Giani Puran Singh and had come to the conclusion that the hukamnama was not in accordance with the Sikh traditions. It had also not been issued from Akal Takht. Therefore, it was not valid.
But the SAD leadership appears to have not lent any support to this view and has backed off from a confrontation with the Jathedar.
In this connection, these quarters emphasise that when the Chief Minister became the target of the wrath of Bhai Ranjit Singh, then Jathedar of Akal Takht, he was unceremoniously removed from his post. The then SGPC chief, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, too had to lose his post.
In the present course, the Akali leadership appears to be following different standards which has bewildered the Sikh masses, claim these quarters.
Political observers here
have not failed to notice that Bibi Jagir Kaur herself
adopted an aggressive stance on the issue of hukamnama
issued against here by Giani Puran Singh. In a press
interview, she was quoted as having challenged the
hukamnama. But subsequently she changed her statement and
favoured resolution of the present religio-political
crisis in an amicable manner.
Ranjit to launch campaign against CM
AMRITSAR, Jan 31 The former Jathedar of Akal Takht, Bhai Ranjit Singh today indicated to launch a campaign to liberate Akal Takht from the clutches of the lobby of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.
The present management of the SGPC and those who controlled Akal Takht, including Jathedar Giani Puran Singh and Bibi Jagir Kaur, are puppets of Mr Badal and are instrumental to introduce sarkari maryada at the Takht, Bhai Ranjit Singh, who still considered himself as the real Jathedar, added and stated that he had already started to awaken the Akali MLAs and SGPC members for launching this campaign.
Bhai Ranjit Singh was sure that he would be able to uproot Mr Badal from the Sikh scene in Punjab. He advised Mr Badal to pack his bag and baggage and retire to his home as he will not be allowed to ruin Panthic traditions.
Stressing on this point further he said that Mr Badal should be made to quit his post, and said that he had already made up his mind to gherao Mr Badals house at Chandigarh for restoration of panthic maryada at Akal Takht.
Bhai Ranjit Singh, referring to the ongoing crisis arising out of Nanakshahi calendar issue and subsequent excommunication of the SGPC President, Bibi Jagir Kaur, said that nothing was going to happen on February 2 when Bibi Jagir Kaur and executive members had to appear before Akal Takht for explanation as it will be announced in next two to three days that sab theek thak hai (it is all okay).
Bhai Ranjit Singh was highly critical of the hukamnama issued by Giani Puran Singh while on his way to Hazoor Sahib and said that this hukamnama would be known as a black spot in the Sikh history as it is against the Sikh traditions.
Asked about his views on the four Sikh head priests taking stand against Giani Puran Singh describing this hukamnama as against Sikh traditions, Bhai Ranjit Singh said that he was not sure whether except the head granthi of Golden Temple, Giani Mohan Singh, any other head priest would take a firm stand on their statement as they are weak persons.
Bhai Mohan Singh is the only head priest who would stand firm on his views but I am sure that future happenings at the Takht will be in accordance with the sarkari maryada.
Wondering as to why Giani Puran Singh had not returned so far, the former Jathedar said that he might not be allowed to reach Amritsar unless he was thoroughly briefed by emissaries of Mr Badal on his future course of action. Giani Puran Singh cannot sit on Takht without due permission of Mr Badal, he remarked.
interfering in gurdwara affairs: YC
CHANDIGARH, Jan 31 The Punjab unit of the Youth Congress (YC) has alleged that the state government is interfering in the affairs of the historic Shaheed Baba Deep Singh Gurdwara, managed by the Shaheed Baba Deep Singh Foundation in Pahuwind village in Patti subdivision of Amritsar district.
Capt Bikramajit Singh Pahuwindia (retd), Vice-President of the Punjab Youth Congress, in a statement issued here today said that the foundation was a registered a political body and managed the gurdwara. The foundation also organised medical camps and other social activities.
He alleged that on the direction of a senior Akali politician of the area, senior state officials imposed a ban on January 25 when the annual festival was in progress at the gurdwara. An attempt was also made to capture the gurdwara by a "baba" with the support of official machinery, he further alleged.
When foundation leaders
approached the police to restrain the 'baba', the
officials concerned allegedly put pressure on the
foundation members to reach an understanding with the
'baba' and "sealed the gurdwara golak". The
leaders were also urged to dissolve the foundation at a
police station, where senior police and civil officials
were present, Capt Bikramajit Singh alleged.
rationalise postings of officers
CHANDIGARH, Jan 31 The Punjab Council of Ministers today resolved to rationalise the all-India service cadre management in the state by effecting the following measures: repatriation of officers from other state cadres presently on deputation in Punjab on expiry of their present term of deputation; no fresh induction of any officer on deputation from outside the state into Punjab; and offering the services of all suitable officers of the Punjab cadre for deputation postings in the Government of India and, in case of their selection, to immediately relieve them, without making any exception, for joining the Government of India.
The council took note of the fact that the extension of the age of retirement from 58 years to 60 years deferred the routine process of superannuating practically for two years, which rendered the top levels extraordinarily heavy. This would be automatically rectified with large-scale retirements due in the near future.
It was further decided that the scale of annual requisition for the all-India service officers by the state would be substantially reduced in the future, as per a press statement.
The annual administration reports of the Local Audit and Dairy Development Departments for the year 1997-98 were also approved.
It was also decided to bring in an ordinance to amend Section 6 of the Punjab School Education Board Act, 1996, prescribing qualifications and experience for the appointment of the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Board.
At present it is provided that a person having an experience of teaching for not less than 20 years in any school, college and university is eligible for appointment to the posts and that he should have served for a period of five years as Principal of a college or Registrar or Head of a department in a university out of his total experience.
It will now be provided that he should, instead, have served as Principal of a college or university or Head of a department of a university for a period of not less than one year, other things remaining the same. It has been decided to submit the proposed ordinance for substituting five years clause in Section 6 -(b) by the proposed one year clause by way of an amendment.
The council further reiterated that no further reference shall be made to the competent authorities for making fresh recruitments without totally absorbing the surplus staff pooled at the disposal of Re-deployment Cell working in the Department of Personnel under the Chief Secretary.
However, in such cases where selections have been duly made by the P.P.S.C., Punjab Subordinate Service Board and other competent authorities after meticulously adhering to the prescribed procedure, appointment letters shall be issued forthwith. Where the recruitment process is in its final stage, it will be allowed to reach its logical conclusion without any impediment.
A review of the system of merit-cum-seniority and seniority-cum-merit for the promotion to the scheduled posts in all government departments by the appointment of a Cabinet sub-committee under the chairmanship of the Finance Minister was also approved.
The council was informed by the Education Minister, Mr Tota Singh, that his department had constituted village education development committees to bring in participative management of school infrastructure. In the first phase, 1,300 un-safe schools have been rendered safe by spending on an average Rs 1.67 lakh each on 600 schools and Rs 97000 each on another 700 schools.
In the second phase, Rs 1 lakh each has been given for the upkeep of 635 schools.
The Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, said the Chief Architect had prepared standardised drawings for primary schools, which would cost approximately Rs 10 lakh per school and provide a congenial atmosphere to students. Adequate funds had been provided which would be released through the district planning boards according the local needs.
The council was informed by the Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, that all ministerial discretionary grants were ordered to be released on January 28, and necessary instructions to that effect had been issued to the field officers.
The Chief Minister took cognisance of an issue raised by the Cooperation Minister, Mr Ranjit Singh Brahampura, that a certain number of district managers had allegedly been recruited in violation of the government policy in Markfed, about which the Chief Secretary, Mr R.S. Mann, was directed to hold an inquiry and take suitable action.
Another inquiry was
ordered by the Industry Secretary, Mr R.I. Singh on an
issue raised by Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, Food and Supplies
Minister, regarding alleged irregularities in the
transport and contract systems adopted by the officers of
the Punjab Alkalis and Chemicals Ltd (PACL), Nangal.
activist killed in lathi charge
JETHUKE (Bathinda), Jan 31 One activist of the BKU (Ekta) was killed and seven were injured in a clash between the police and activists near Jethuke village today evening.
Sources said the BKU activists staged a dharna on the Bathinda-Ambala rail section in protest against the overcharging of fare by mini-bus operators in the Rampura area.
The sources said the situation became tense as the BKU activists were trying to take law into their own hand. In order to disperse the agitators the police resorted to lathi charge which resulted in the death of an activist. As many as 20 policemen were also injured. The injured have been admitted to the Civil Hospital, Rampura Phul.
Earlier the sources said the activists staged a dharna on the rail line this evening after their talks with the district administration to sort out the matter of overcharging of fare.
The district administration today tried to bring about a compromise between the BKU activists and mini-bus operators at a meeting held here.
Mr Harbans Lal, Station Master, said due to jamming of rail traffic, one train was stranded at Rampura station while the other train was stopped at Jethuke village. The passengers were facing a lot of inconvenience.
The sources said BKU (Ekta) activists were coming from surrounding areas in large numbers on the tractor-trailer to join their associates in the dharna.
The senior civil and police officials have also rushed to spot and some of the BKU activists have also been rounded up, according to unofficial sources.
The BKU activists also jammed rail traffic for more than three hours at the same site yesterday and it was lifted only when they were assured by a senior police official that their genuine grievances against the mini-bus operators would be solved. However, Mr Jatinder Jain, SSP, said the situation was under control.
Sources said BKU activists who came here to attend the meeting convened by the district administration walked out of it without citing any reason and asked their associates at Jethuke village to stage dharna.
In protest against the overcharging of fare the BKU activists have boycotted the mini-buses plying on the link roads. They have been transporting people on their tractor-trailers.
Mann to oppose Centre on review
PHAGWARA, Jan 31 Member of Parliament and President Shiromani Akali Dal (A) Simranjit Singh Mann yesterday said his party would oppose any move by the BJP government to tamper with the Constitution under the cover of reviewing it.
The BJP government wanted to saffronise the statue by striking at its secular soul and fundamental philosophy in order to give backdoor entry to Hindutava, he alleged. The proposed review would go against national minorities, particularly Sikhs and Muslims, continued Mr Mann.
The Akali stalwart declared that he endorsed Presidents stand that the basic fabric of the Constitution was sacrosanct and should not be played with. He opposed the Prime Ministers untenable arguments for the review. He also flayed SAD President and Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for ditching the Anandpur Sahib resolution by supporting Mr Vajpayees stand for review. Advocating complete autonomy for states, Mr Mann demanded that expect defence, external affairs, currency, all other departments should be given to states.
Maintaining that Mr Badal had no say at the Centre now, he alleged that Mr Badal was deserting all demands of the state one by one.
ZIRA, Jan 31 (PTI) The AISSF president, Mr Karnail Singh Peermohamed, has decided to join the SAD(A), party president and MP Simranjit Singh Mann said here yesterday.
Mr Mann disclosed this at a press conference here in the presence of Peermohamed, who said he would announce his formal joining into the SAD(A) at a conference of the AISSF.
SC men join Congress
JALANDHAR, Jan 31 A number of former Scheduled Caste officers have joined the Congress and have announced their wholehearted support to it during the Nawanshahr byelection.
Those who have joined
the party included Mr N.S. Sahota, a Bahujan Samaj Party
leader and a former director of the ASIAD 1982, Mr Ram
Chand, a retired Chief Engineer, and Mr Uttam Singh, a
retired Joint Director, Planning, and Mr Dharam Chand, a
CHANDIGARH, Jan 31 The Parliamentary Affairs portfolio has been allocated to Mr Madan Mohan Mittal by the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal. A notification in this connection is expected to be issued soon.
Mr Badal said the portfolio was not allocated to any minister when the Cabinet was expended on December 31. Its charge was with Mr Badal.
Bhisham Sahni interacts with
PATIALA, Jan 31 While sharing his experiences in the fields of literature, theatre, films and television, renowned personality Bhisham Sahni today recalled the glorious days of freedom struggle when the whole nation rose to fight the British empire.
While delivering a lecture organised by the Theatre and Television Department of Punjabi University, here he reminisced about the old days when the country had an ideal, a programme, leadership, emotional appeal and a dream.
Highlighting the efforts of the Indian Peoples Theatre Association (IPTA) to propagate the progressive values and ideals in theatre, literature and social live, he said IPTA played a significant role in giving a healthy direction in order to rid society of evil elements.
He cirticised those indulging in cheap presentations on television and said television was a powerful medium of communication and our artists must understand the power of this medium and project the healthy and encouraging values of life. He admitted that television had posed a threat to the very survival of the theatre.
Mr Sahni said if he got an opportunity to run a television channel he would select programmes, plays and serials highlighting constructive values and aesthetic aspect of our culture.
Dr Himmat Singh, Dr Nivedita Singh, Dr Chaman Lal, Dr Joga Singh, Mr Pran Sabharwal and Dr Sawraj Singh also participated in the discussion.
The chief guest, Mr B.S. Rattan, Income Tax Commissioner, said after Independence the country had survived a number of calamities and challenges and the country was still passing through a period of crisis. He urged upon the artists and writers to give right direction to society. In his presidential remarks Dr R.M. Goel, pro-Vice-Chancellor said satellite television had posed a threat to our culture.
Writing is a crown of thorns:
PATIALA, Jan 31 Bhisham Sahni, the 85-year-old writer of Tamas fame, is still full of life. He says he writes because it is the effort that counts and not the result. He still enjoys an occasional drink, which he justifies by saying, "Je koi pelaye te pi laine han."
Talking to TNS during his visit to Punjabi university to deliver a lecture, he says alcohol does not go with his writing. Speaking about his writing, he says it has become a habit. He describes his latest novel "Neelu, Neelam, Nilofor" as a contemporary love story. Talking about a lifetime of writing, he says it is a crown of thorns. Pursuit of writing leaves the family dissatisfied, he says.
He has taught at Delhi University and his wife has worked with All India radio. Asked about his future ambitions, he says, "At my age you cannot have high ambitions. I cannot have the enthusiasm I had earlier."
Sahni is aware of recent developments and talks strongly of need for tolerance when asked about his reaction to the ransacking of the set of the film Water at Varanasi. He says the work done by Deepa Mehta should be welcomed as it is reformatory. He adds that Hindu society is being reformed since the time of Swami Dayanand.
The veteran writer also feels strongly about the kind of programmes being dished out by foreign channels. He says as the culture and traditions of the country are totally different from the West, foreign channels should restrain themselves and show programmes which do not flout the country's traditional values. He advocates effective use of television to spread art and culture.
Speaking about art films, he says these are not dead and are only facing a difficult time. He says difficulties being faced in making films which express reality and are aesthetically satisfying can be circumvented to revive this medium.
Sahni laments that theatre is facing a rough time. He says this is because theatre has become a very costly proposition and is very difficult to stage but has limited appeal. He says nukkad plays are also facing problems due to this.
Asked if he feels any
other work has measured up to Tamas, he says a novel
Basanti was serialised in nine episodes during early days
of television. It was not noticed much and still has mass
appeal, he claims.
Hospital turns to alumni for help
PATIALA, Jan 31 Bereft of funds, the Government Medical College and Rajindra Hospital here has turned to its alumni to give both institutions a facelift as well as provide a multicrore State of the Art Emergency Care Department.
The Government Medical College Alumni Association has already proved itself to be an organisation which works during the short two-year period since its inception. In its first action after it was formed , the Alumni Association contributed to the development and running of an intercom facility for the Medical College and Hospital by spending nearly Rs 4 lakh. The facility is functioning till date.
The initial success has led to the association fixing high targets for itself and meeting them. The association has raised Rs 8 lakh to upgrade the auditorium of the college which was constructed in 1954 and is literally falling apart. Association Chairman Ravinder Singh said the position of the auditorium was such that even its stage curtains were not washed since 1954 for fear that they would fall apart.
Dr Ravinder Singh said the association would upgrade the auditorium by redoing all seats, providing sound proofing and insulation, besides a modern sound system. He said the Medical College on its part would request the government to allow it to rent out the auditorium after its upgradation so that it could generate funds for its maintenance itself. The auditorium was a showcase model for the International Alumni Association meeting being held in the college in December this year .
The doctor said in the international conference of the association the case for providing a state of the Art Emergency Care Department would be put up before old students. He said talks in this regard had been held with alumni members abroad with many willing to finance the project. He said the Emergency Care Department would be built at a cost of Rs 4 to 5 crore, and would be in addition to the existing emergency facilities. He said equipment being used in the USA for emergency services would be installed in the new department. The alumni in California had agreed to finance a renal dialysis unit for the hospital.
Dr Ravinder Singh said the Alumni Association had decided that it would only commit money for building infrastructure or starting or reviving a service. The association would not get involved in buying medicines for the hospital or other activity which was the responsibility of the government.
He said the association had already hosted two reunions of the 1967 and the 1974 batches and more were on the cards. He said the association had obtained journals and audio cassettes for the college library, subscribed to international journals for the college besides giving scholarships to deserving students. The association was also pursuing for improvement of all the six lecture theatres of the college and hospital. A modern projection facility and sound system was being installed in all the lecture theatres.
convention of women begins
LUDHIANA, Jan 31 The three-day national convention of women being organised by the Punjab Istri Sabha and the district unit of the National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW) began here today.
Hundreds of women activists from all over the country are participating in this convention. The convention began with the delegates organising a rally at the Clock Tower Chowk. Later, the procession moved towards the Kailash Chowk. The delegates were carrying placards and banners carrying messages for end to violence against women, banning of female foeticide and infanticide, equal wages for equal work etc.
Later during the convention, various speakers highlighted the problems being faced by the women for their independence, self-determination and economic and social justice.
Dr L S Chawla, former Vice-Chancellor, Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, while speaking on the occasion, observed that the male-female ratio in Punjab was 735 females per 1000 males which was perhaps the lowest in the country because of rampant female foeticide and negligence of girl child.
Mrs Amarjit Kaur, General Secretary of NFIW, said the main purpose of the convention was to chalk-out an action plan for a campaign for giving suggestions on how women can contribute towards eradication of poverty.
She said women activists in each state would collect the suggestions which would be handed over to UN representatives in India to be forwarded to the Secretary-General of the UN, Mr Kofi Annan, on Anti-Poverty Day on October 17, 2000.
Among others who spoke on the occasion were Mrs Manjit Sodhia, former Principal, GCW, Mrs Vimla Dang, Dr Puspinder Kaur, Mrs Geeta Mukherjee, Member of Parliament Mrs Jasbir Kaur and Mrs Dina Pathak, President of the NFIW.
Earlier, while addressing the rally, Mrs Pathak said that women were considered as a mere commodity a fact proved by the vulgar display of women in the print and electronic media.
LUDHIANA, Jan 31 Simlapuri, Basti Jodhewal, Haibowal Kalan, Abdullahpur Basti, Dhakka colony and Jamalpur here have a large number of sex workers.
Though Ludhiana does not have a specifically earmarked red light area, there are rows and rows of houses and hutments in a few of these areas, where more than one persons from each house are involved in the trade.
In the Simlapuri area, this correspondent was accosted by a pimp. He said that all these women were below 20. They either worked as dancers with orchestras or as flower girls in weddings.
The pimp said generally a person brings his own friends and friends of friends as customers. The girls are paid Rs 200 per customer for an hours job, Rs 500 per customer if she has to meet outside her house and Rs 2000 for a night out. My commission is also fixed according to the money paid to the girls, he said.
Interestingly, the pimp revealed that he often sought the help of the police, when a customer beat up his girls or did not pay up the agreed amount. Often in case of trouble with certain customer, we inform the police if that customer comes again. When he has taken one of the girls, we reveal their destination to the police, who conduct the raid and arrest the person. But this course is resorted to when the police promises to let our girls off the hook, he disclosed.
However, the police denies any such arrangement with such persons and says that it has instead been making all out efforts to curb the menace of prostitution, says the SSP, Mr Kuldeep Singh. We have been engaged in bringing to book all such anti-social elements and at least four flesh trade rackets have been busted in the past two months and several persons have been booked under the law.
The police has claimed to have busted a flesh trade racket on January 29 and arrested seven persons, including two women from the Partap Singhwala locality.
Meanwhile, a synthesiser player of an orchestra, with its offices at Haibowal said when people came for making bookings for marriages, they some times asked them to arrange for a few sex workers for their guests and they were forced to oblige.
A visit to Dhakka Colony near Dugri revealed that most women residing in the slum areas here were working as sex workers. One woman said that her husband had encouraged her to adopt this profession so that she could provide money to buy his daily quota of liquor.
She also informed that
most of the sex workers from the locality took their
customers to a few hotels near the General Bus Stand. The
customer books the room before we walk in and after the
job is done we come out alone. The customer, leaves
us as and when it suits him, she says.
Interestingly, she also alleged that a hotel near the bus
stand owned by a senior leader of the ruling party, was
chosen more often, as the risk of police raid there was
FEROZEPORE, Jan 31 Intensifying their stir, thousands of villagers, including women, blocked traffic for three hours outside the Deputy Commissioners office on the Jhoke Road in the cantonment area here today in protest against a proposal to auction the Irrigation Department land in about 20 villages along the Indo-Pak border near here.
A heavy police force was deployed to control the situation. The agitated villagers raised slogans against the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal and his Cabinet. They also raised anti-Sekhon Slogans. Mr Janmeja Singh Sekhon is the Minister for Irrigation Punjab.
Addressing the agitated villagers, the secretary of the state unit of the CPI, Dr Joginder Dayal, alleged that the Badal government was following anti-farmer policies. As a result of these wrong policies farmers in the state were committing suicide, he alleged. He further said that one acre of land was under debt of over Rs 10,000, in Punjab.
Giving a challenge to the government, Dr Dayal said the affected villagers would not hesitate to go to any extent if the land, which they had been cultivating since Independence, was auctioned.
The CPI leader alleged that a land mafia was operating in the state at the instance of certain Akali ministers and bureaucrats. That land mafia wishes to possess the agricultural land near the Indo-Pak border here, he further alleged. He urged upon the government to allocate the land to the respective cultivators on the pattern of the land allocation in the Mand area to cultivators a few years ago.
The PPCC Secretary and a former minister, Punjab, Mr Hans Raj Josson, said the government was the guardian of the people. But, the Badal-led government wanted to dislodge the villagers instead of protecting their rights. If the ongoing process was not stopped, the government could even auction land owned by panchayats and municipal councils, he apprehended.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Mohan Singh Phallisnwala Convener, BSP, Punjab, and a former MP, announced his partys full support to the agitating villagers, who had been staging dharna here since January 28. He said that the land near the border here belonged to the provincial government and the Irrigation Department had no right to auction it.
Mr Balbir Singh Kamboj, president, Boli Roko Sangharsh Committee, disclosed that under the first phase, 299 acres of land in five border villages was to be auctioned by the Irrigation Department on February 1, 9 a.m. He appealed to the villagers to reach at the site of auction in a protest march to get it cancelled.
Among others who spoke on the occasion were: Comrade Sewa Singh Purba, district secretary, AITUC and Mr Lal Singh Sulhani, a former state vice-president of the BSP.
change to dispensary
HOSHIARPUR: Honest, sincere and joint efforts by politicians, government employees and public can do miracles and make an impossible task possible. This has proved true in Naru Nangal village, where a neglected dispensary has become a model for others with the joint efforts of the doctor in charge, village residents and the local MLA.
Dr Ajay Bagga, who is in charge of the dispensary and joined it in January 1998, did commendable work with the cooperation of the residents and Mr Tikshan Sud, the MLA, who is Minister of State for Excise & Taxation not only renovated the dilapidated dispensary building but also got a 2-km long approach road built and provided it with almost all required medicines etc and specialised health services.
Naru Nangal, 19 km from Hoshiarpur city, located in the foothills is known as the kandi area of this district. The dispensary was set up before Independence to provide health facilities not only to residents of this village but also to people of the surrounding villages. The land and the building was donated. This building remained neglected and became dilapidated with the passage of time without any repair by the department concerned.
There is no basic civic amenity including electricity, water supply etc there. It is worth mentioning here that a majority of the population of village and its surrounding villages belong to the weaker sections of society. The people were ignorant even about the existence of the dispensary.
Mr Babu Ram, an old freedom fighter, told this correspondent that before the posting of Dr Bagga no one from the Health Department had visited this dispensary. After taking over charge, Dr Bagga managed to bring Hoshiarpurs Civil Surgeon to the dispensary to provide the basic needs to patients. But the authorities failed to do any remarkable thing in this regard.
Later Dr Bagga succeeded in getting the people involved in the renovation of the dispensary. The building was renovated and electricity provided. Dr Bagga also persuaded Mr Sud, local MLA, to make the approach road to the dispensary pucca. Mr Sud after becoming minister laid the foundation stone of the road and got construction work started. Mr Sud also assured his full cooperation for the noble cause in future also.
Dr Bagga also got an ophthalmic assistant to visit the dispensary once a week. Refraction of eye is being done at the dispensary.
This dispensary is the only rural one in the district, where most essential medicines are being provided to patients regularly. Dr Bagga collects samples from private medical practitioners of Hoshiarpur and distributes them among poor and needy patients coming to the dispensary.
Mr Lal Singh, Nambardar of the village, stated that Dr Bagga also helped in providing special health facilities, not available in the nearby government health institutions to needy patients from private medical practitioners at reduced rates. Residents of the area said that either a multipurpose health worker (female) or a trained dai should be posted in the dispensary to look after female patients of the area.
Dr Bagga told The Tribune that there was a dire need to hold mass camps to detect tuberculosis patients. He said a majority of patients visiting the dispensary complain of cough, cold etc. He said a case of AIDS had also been reported in the dispensary recently.
Mrs Ram Asri, Sarpanch of the village, said it would not be out of place to mention that poor and needy patients who are unable to get specialised medical treatment from government health institutions were being helped.
Mr Dev Raj, Panch, and
inhabitants of the village appreciated Dr Baggas
services. They said if all the doctors follow Dr
Baggas example then every poor and needy patient of
rural areas could get better health services without
Farm labourer murdered
JALANDHAR, Jan 31 In a ghastly act, Raju, a migrant farm labourer of Bihar, was done to death with sharp-edged weapons by some assailants who attacked a farmhouse near Jandu Singha village on the Jalandhar-Hoshiarpur road early this morning.
According to the police, the assailants struck the farmhouse around 5 a.m. and injured Raju with sharp-edged weapons on his head.
for abduction, girl recovered
SANGRUR, Jan 31 The Barnala police claims to have recovered a minor girl (14), daughter of Girdhari Lal of Uttar Pradesh, Mr Ishwar Singh SSP, Barnala, said here in a statement.
The father of the girl was working as a labourer in Sonal Patti Shadaur road in Barnala subdivision of the district.
On June 24, 1999, Veer Singh in connivance with his accomplice Sham Singh abducted the girl and took her to Galocnia village in Ganganagar district.
A complaint was registered with the Barnala police and following some clues, the police conducted raids and recovered the girl.
Both the accused have been arrested.
The girl, in a statement
before a judicial magistrate, said that both Veer Singh
and Sham Singh raped her after abduction and she was
seven months pregnant now. The girl, after medical
examination, was handed over to her parents.
on rape charge
BARNALA, Jan 31 Meeras (not real name) two near relatives, including one maternal uncle, have been arrested for raping her for seven months.
Meera, 14 was abducted by her maternal uncle Sham Singh and his brother-in-law Veer Singh on June 24, 1999, from this city.
The local police, after raiding various sites in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan found Meera on January 23, 2000, from Balochia village of Sriganganagar district of Rajasthan.
Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, told TNS that the Sham Singh was working with Girdhari Lal, of father Meera at poultry farm. He also stayed with him. After some time, Veer Singh, brother-in-law, of Sham Singh worked for them as a domestic help and stayed with them.
Veer Singh developed a relationship with Meera.
On June 24, 1999, Veer Singh and Sham Singh abducted the girl and took her to UP. An FIR was registered in this regard in the police station, Kotwali, on the complaint of Mr Girdhari Lal.
Meera was produced before the Judicial Magistrate in her statement she has alleged that she was raped by Veer Singh and Sham Singh.
The accused Sham is married and father of two children while Veer Singh, 44, was father of five children. The medical examination of the girl was also done.
Plan to introduce computer course
CHANDIGARH, Jan 31 Final touches are being given by authorities concerned to introduce computer education as optional subject from the next academic session in government middle and high schools in Punjab.
Syllabus of the subject from Class-VI to Class-X has been finalised by the Punjab School Education Department authorities in collaboration with the Punjab School Education Board.
As private companies will be hired to impart training in computer education, tenders have been floated for this purpose. Reputed computer companies have been shortlisted for this purpose. Schools concerned will provide only space for running the computer classes and the rest of the job will be done by private companies.
Mr R.S. Sandhu, Secretary, School Education, told TNS today that he was hopeful that computer education as subject would be introduced from the next academic session at least in a "substantial" number of schools. There are about 2,500 middle schools and 1,000 high schools having lakhs of students.
A team from the Central visited here today and held discussion with the school education authorities. The officials wanted to provide central assistance for various schemes pertaining to elementary education under one umbrella. About 85 per cent financial assistance is provided for various schemes as operation black board, mid-day meal, toilets for girl students by the Centre and 15 per cent contribution is made by the state government.
said he had directed the District Education Officers to
involve school students in the "grow tree
mission" launched by the Punjab Government. The
Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had
directed the Punjab Forest Department authorities for
launching such a drive and to involve the students. Mr
Sandhu said some sort of incentive was being worked out
which would be given to students involved in the
"grow tree mission". Students may be given
marks for their involvement in the mission.
Papers of unaccounted sales seized
CHANDIGARH, Jan 31 In two different raids conducted by the Punjab Excise and Taxation Department, documents relating to suppressed sales amounting to Rs 3.8 crore and Rs 1 crore, respectively, have been seized.
Disclosing this today, a spokesman of the government said both cases were detected on the basis of specific information provided by informers.
Thereafter, a party, headed by Mr Saravjit Singh, Additional Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Mr S.S. Bangar, ETO, and Mr Parmod Kumar, Inspector raided the premises of an iron strips manufacturer in Gobindgarh. The ledger and other papers containing information about the unaccounted sales to various dealers were seized. Preliminary investigation had indicated that sales worth more than Rs 3.8 crore were not shown in the account books.
The spokesman pointed out that in another case a ledger showing unaccounted sales was found from a hidden place in the premises of another dealer. It contained a record of unaccounted sales worth more than Rs 1 crore.
increase in farm sector plan
CHANDIGARH, Jan 31 The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today ordered an all-time "high" to the agricultural sector by ordering 91.19 per cent increase in the proposed annual plan outlay for agriculture in 2000-2001.
A special plan for "re-generation" of the Punjab agricultural economy was proposed at a cost of Rs 33.44 crore. It will include strengthening of agricultural extension, integrated cereal development programme, accelerated maize development programmes under technology mission on maize; setting up/strengthening of seed testing labs; sustainable development of sugarcane; setting up of biocontrol labs; intensive cotton development programmes; project for pulses and oil-seeds development; development of horticulture and sericulture and improvement of the quality of grapes of Perlette variety with the introduction of improved management techniques, according to a press statement.
Stress was laid on the multi-end package scheme for the production of quality raw-silk. It was decided to provide for the establishment of a remote sensing application centre in Punjab, besides introducing new farm machinery like paddy trans planters and wheat-straw reapers.
The Punjab Agro-Industries Corporation will receive the support and financial assistance from the government for setting up agriculture/horticulture processing units. A proposal to vigorously pursue the schemes for cool chain infrastructure-with 50 per cent assistance from NABARD was also mooted. A marketing infrastructure for bee-keeping in the state will also form part of the re-generation scheme.
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