|Monday, February 7, 2000,
firing: Congress for judicial probe
Shahpur back in Tohra camp?
Cancel appointments: PSEB
on Dasmesh canal from April 1
Warrant officer raids CIA premises
Too many hostel seekers at
Panels to oversee supply of PDS
Jethuke firing: Congress for
BATHINDA, Feb 6 Mr Bir Devinder Singh, General Secretary, PPCC, today demanded a probe by a sitting high court judge into the Jethuke village firing incident. He blamed the district administration for the incident.
Addressing a press conference here today, he said the armed clash between the BKU (Ekta) activists and policemen could have been averted. He said all it needed was the timely intervention of district administration and the Punjab minister from the area.
He said it was never expected from the men in uniform to resort to firing on the agitators despite the gravest provocation from them. He pointed out that police action was in excess to the need of the hour.
Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, should have visited the bereaved families immediately after the incident. He added that Mr Badal was more interested in the Nawanshahr byelection than in the death of two Dalit youth.
The Congress leader pointed out that it was very shameful that the alleged overcharging of fare by mini-bus operators could not be handled by the district administration and the minister from the area.
When asked about the recent controversy in the Sikh Panth, Mr Singh said the Congress had been continuously advocating the principal of separating politics from religion. However, the ruling Akalis had lowered the dignity of Akal Takht for their personal gains.
He pointed out that after the excommunication by Giani Puran Singh, Jathedar, Akal Takht, Bibi Jagir Kaur ceased to be a Sikh. She had no right to be the president of SGPC.
He alleged Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who had pushed the prosperous State of Punjab into severe financial crises was also doing double speak on the issue of excommunication of Bibi Jagir Kaur. He was one of those politicians who was using the institution of Akal Takht for his personal gains.
He pointed out that ruling Akalis gave all respect to Akal Takht whenever it suited their interests and made allegations against Akal Takht whenever it did not serve their purpose.
Meanwhile, the all party meeting which was to be convened by the BKU(Ekta) leaders at Rampuraphul to chalk out the plan for launching an agitation in protest against the killing of two Dalit youth failed to take place today.
Sources said district heads of political parties could not be informed by the BKU activists regarding the meeting only few activists of the BKU turned up for the meeting.
A BKU activist told TNS that the meeting could not take place at the venue as the police had sealed the area and prevented the activists from going towards Rampura village, the venue of meeting.
On the other hand, Mr Ram Karan Singh, President, BKU (Lakhowal), Bathinda, in a press note issued here, has alleged that political parties were trying to cash in on the situation which had developed at Jethuke village following the January 31 incident. He pointed out that some BKU (Ekta) leaders had been expelled from the parent BKU organisation for six years as they were acting according to their whims and fancies.
He said BKU (Lakhowal) had demanded justice from the Punjab Government in the whole episode and had also warned those politicians who were trying to make it an election issue.
The Northern Railway authorities while declaring the stoppage of trains by the BKU (Ekta) activists on January 30 and January 31 at Jethuke village for hours together as unauthorised said the district police was called and involved in clearing the blockade.
Mr Aneet Dulat, Senior Divisional Manager, Operations, Northern Railway, in a press note issued here, pointed out that the agitation had caused a lot of inconvenience to passengers. In addition to it, many trains were cancelled. He added that even the goods train carrying essential commodities had also to be detained.
Mr Jatinder Kumar Jain, SSP, said the police had acted according to the law. He denied that no resident of Jethuke village had gone missing. He alleged that certain trouble-makers were trying to show the police in poor light.
Mr M.S. Chinna, SP (O), who tried to persuade the agitators to lift the blockade on January 31 said policemen used utmost restraint. He asked, how the policemen present on the spot could allow the berserk mob to set the passenger train on fire.
Meanwhile, tension, which gripped Jethuke village after the January 31 incident has started diffusing.
Mr Diwan Chand, President, Local BJP unit, told TNS that the situation in the village was normal. He added that strength of policemen in the village had been reduced as per the demand of the villagers. He appealed the State BJP leadership to depute a senior party leader for attending the bhog ceremony of the deceased to be held on February 10.
Meanwhile, Mr Balwant Singh Dhillon, Senior Vice-President, Lawyers For Human Rights International, said that they had demanded a CBI probe into the incident and suitable punishment for the guilty police officials and Rs 10 lakh compensation to the next of the kin of those killed allegedly in the police firing.
The Mini Bus Operators
Union, Rampuraphul, in a statement has clarified that
there was no truth in the allegations that the police
resorted to firing by entering into the houses of
villagers and desecrated their religious places.
Government playing foul, EC told
PHAGWARA, Feb 6 (UNI) The Punjab Congress has complained to the Election Commission that the Badal government is misusing official machinery to help the SAD candidate in the Nawanshahr byelection.
In a letter faxed to Chief Election Commissioner M.S. Gill, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief Amarinder Singh alleged that the ruling Akali Dal was threatening Congress workers and voters in the constituency which goes to the polls on February 17.
NAWANSHAHR (FOC): Mr Santram Singla, a former Congress MP and Vice-President of the Punjab Congress, in a complaint to the Chief Election Commission here on Sunday accused Mr Parkash Singh Badal of intimidating and alluring voters of the Nawanshahr Assembly segment.
He alleged the chief minister had been intimidating the voters by saying that the electronic voting machines (EVMs) would make it clear how many persons of a particular village voted in favour of the SAD candidate and future development of that area would depend on the voting pattern.
Moreover, he had been doling out funds to woo the voters.
Mr Darshan Lal Jethumajara, BSP nominee, talking to mediapersons here, also accused Mr Badal of threatening and alluring voters.
He said complaints regarding violation of the code of conduct had been lodged with the Election Commission.
He said Mr Badal had been Chief Minister for the past three years and had done little for the development of Nawanshahr. Now he had virtually shifted the entire secretariat to Nawanshahr.
Mr Jethumajara criticised the Congress for furthering nepotism. The Congress had always neglected the Dalits, he said. He mentioned the resignation of Ms Meira Kumar to prove his point.
Telegrams sent via ordinary post
FEROZEPORE, Feb 6 (PTI) The local Central Telegraph Office (CTO) is sending telegrams destined for distant villages through ordinary post in some parts of the district in Punjab.
It is reliably learnt that 1,700 telegrams have been sent to different destinations through ordinary daak since 1998.
Sources at the CTO attributed it to defective morse and telephone lines for the past five years. This has prompted the CTO authorities to send across the telegrams through ordinary mail, causing a delay in the delivery of urgent messages.
Even express telegrams meet the same fate, sources said.
In January last alone, at least 25 telegrams were sent through a special messenger at the Mamdot combined office to meet the crisis.
Mobile services hit in border
FEROZEPORE, Feb 6 Government regulations restricting mobile phone services in the border district has disillusioned subscribers.
The customers and agencies alike complain about the restrictions imposed for security reasons. The government regulation require the signal relay towers of the service provider to be located at least 5 km from the international border.
This has restricted cellular operations in and around the city that is just 10 km from the Indo-Pakistan border.
While the mobile phone does not function in the restricted cantonment area, it goes off in several peripheral pockets of the city.
On being contacted, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Kulbir Singh Sidhu, said he was aware of the matter and had asked the company concerned to visit the city to take stock of the situation. However, the head of the customers services cell of the company, Mr J.S. Randhawa, said, Being a responsible citizen, we ensure a regular vigil and check on the coverage strength near the border.
To a question, Mr Randhawa said adhering to the rules laid down by the government, the company had taken necessary precautions relating to cellular operations in the sensitive border districts.
He said all telecom towers were well beyond the prescribed limit of at least 5 km from the border and the signal strength had been adjusted to the specifications laid down by the government.
A section of agents and customers, however, argue that since the restrictions cannot be imposed on satellite phone users, these should not be allowed to affect cellular operations. A senior administrator pointed out that when a call could be made to Pakistan on the phone, the imposition of such restrictions served little purpose.
The head of the
engineering section of the company, Mr Rajinder Singh,
said: It is for the higher authorities in Delhi to
see how to deal with the situation, adding the
problem was bound to prevail.
Congress plans for dummy EVMs
PHAGWARA, Feb 6 (UNI) If the electronic voting machine (EVM) was the latest improvisation of the Election Commission, the state unit of the Congress has gone a step ahead trying with dummy EVMs.
As one of its novel poll strategies, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee has decided to introduce dummy EVMs to educate the voters at the Nawanshahr Assembly elections how to press the buttons without hitches.
The PPCC has placed orders on the local JCT mills to manufacture 32 dummy EVMs and dispatch it at the earliest to all the 32 zones in the constituency where the party has offices, PCC chief Amarinder Singh said today.
The Congress leaders will display these dummy EVMs and educate the voters on the proper use of the machines, he told a press conference here.
Predictably, the partys campaign to vote for the hand symbol would also go together.
A local Congress leader, however, said the training programme is intended to teach the voters how easy it is to cast the ballots.
It should be like dekha, dabaya, ho gaya (saw the machine, pressed it and cast the vote) for them, he told UNI.
Prominent among those in
the fray in the February 17 elections in the Nawanshahr
constituency Parkash Singh (Congress), Jatinder Singh
Kariha (Shiromani Akali Dal) and Darshan Ram (Bahujan
Railways asked to review decision
on Hussainiwala track
FEROZEPORE, Feb 6 In view of public sentiments, the district administration has asked the Railway authorities to reconsider the proposal to remove the railway track connecting the Hussainiwala border and the adjoining samadhi of Bhagat Singh with the city.
Disclosing this to TNS, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Kulbir Singh Sidhu, said a communication seeking the reconsideration of the decision to remove the railway track for scrap disposal has been sent to the authorities concerned.
The proposed move aimed
at meeting the target of scrap disposal had evoked
criticism from several quarters. Mr Sidhu is understood
to have advised the Railways to consider the public
sentiments, before going with any decision. As the
samadhi has attained the status of a national
monument, the move shall not be appreciated by the public
scheduled to visit here next month, he said.
Tributes paid to Gurbax Singh
FATEHGARH SAHIB, Feb 6 The families of the martyrs are the assests of the nation. The nation and the quam are proud of them. Such families should be respected and honoured by all of us.
Raja Narinder Singh, Minister for Public Health, said this gathering on the bhog ceremony of Saheed Gurbax Singh at his native Bhadal Thua village today. The martyr laid his life in the Batalik sector, Kargil, last week. Raja Narinder Singh said Pakistan has waged a proxy war on us. We have to convert this war into a full-fledged war one day. Only then can we enjoy full peace, he said. The Punjab Government has specific information about the nefarious designs of ISI agents about reviving militancy in the state. He announced the government would provide all the facilities to the family of martyr.
Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President, SHSAD, demanded that the compensation given to Kargil martyrs few months ago should also be extended to all those who sacrifice their lives for the nation. He highlighted the sacrifices made by Punjabis for the nation. He announced Rs 2 lakh from the MPs quota for the development of the village.
Mr V.K. Janjua, Deputy Commissioner, assured full co-operation to the family. He said facilities like pension, job to a family member and a plot, will be given. He said the district administration would sort out the familys problems on a priority.
The bhog ceremony turned political. The MLA Balwant Singh Shahpur and Mr Dalip Singh Pandhi clashed over the issue of announcement for the compensation to the family. The MLA also criticised Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Finance Minister who handed over a cheque of Rs 2 lakh on behalf of the Punjab Government yesterday for not taking him into confidence. Ultimately the father of the martyr urged the speakers not to politicise the issue.
Congressmen beat up doctors
LUDHIANA, Feb 6 There was chaos at the local Civil Hospital today with supporters of the deceased Congress leader, Bhanu Mohinder Singh, beating up doctors and pelting stones on the suspicion that they were hiding certain facts and manipulate the post-mortem report.
Bhanu Mohinder Singh had been shot dead late last night in the New Sabzi Mandi area by another Congress leader. The police has registered a case against Harjinder Singh, alias Shanty, Pappu and others.
Shahpur back in Tohra camp?
FATEHGARH SAHIB, Feb 6 Mr Balwant Singh Shahpur, MLA of Amloh, touched the feet of Jathedar G.S. Tohra, President, SHSAD, at the bhog ceremony of Gurbax Singh, in Bhadal Thuha village today, publicly expressing allegiance to Mr Tohra. He did not exchange a word with Raja Narinder Singh, Minister for Public Health, who was also present.
He was seen accompanying Mr Tohra up to his car before the latter left.
Tercentenary gains frittered
CHANDIGARH, Feb 6 The Sikh Core Group, a body represented by eminent persons, has said that the recent developments in the conduct of Sikh affairs are extremely alarming. Instead of consolidating the Panth, the instances had promoted divisive forces, damaged the image of the Sikh community worldwide, and caused enormous harm to the Panthic institutions.
The core group in a statement said that certain issues like community kitchen had created a lasting cleavage among the Sikhs, particularly Sikh diaspora. Frequent issuance of hukamnamas and the consequent excommunications had aggravated the situation.
Small issues had been blown out of proportion so that vital issues which demanded attention of the Panth remained neglected. The great opportunity provided by the Tercentenary of the Khalsa had already been frittered away through petty squabbles and no gains short-term or long-term had materialised. It was a pity that political leadership considered the Panthic institutions only in the game of their power equations rather than encouraging activities to serve the cause of Sikhism.
Religious places being used to
AMRITSAR, Feb 6 Bhai Ram Singh, Head, Akhand Kirtani Jatha International, expressed dismay over the current turn of events. This was expected from the type of people who are in charge of our religious affairs, he said.
Dogs steal the show
PATIALA, Feb 6 Despite the damp weather, the annual dog show organised by the Patiala Kennel Club attracted a lot of interest in the city.
The show, held at Polo Ground here, attracted breeders from Punjab, Delhi and even as far as Bangalore who came with their dalmatians, boxers, Afghan hounds and German Shepherds.
Mr Mario Magsaysay from the Philippines and Mr Rajendra M. Salvi from Mumbai were the judges. Punjab Cabinet Minister Raja Narinder Singh was the chief guest.
A free anti-rabies
vaccination camp was held for the first time in the
country here, by the club. The criteria to win the basic
award certificate, the best of breed included teeth, body
alignment, standing posture and gait. Some labrador and
German Shepherd pups were on sale too and some stalls for
dog food, accessories etc had also been put up.
Reema is Miss Punjab
PATIALA, Feb 6 Reema Bhatia and Devinder Singh won the titles of Miss Punjab and Mr Punjab, respectively, in beauty competitions organised by the Rashtriya Jyoti Kala Manch in Central State Library Auditorium here last night.
Divya Bhatnagar was adjudged the second runners-up while Yusha Batra got the third place in the girls category. Manpreet Singh and Shankar won the second and third spots in the boys category.
appointments: PSEB employees
PATIALA, Feb 6 The Ministerial Services Union and the Technical Service Union, Punjab State Electricity Board, today demanded an inquiry into the appointment of two ad hoc computer operators made allegedly in violation of the set norms.
In a memorandum to the Chairman, PSEB, copies of which was released to the press here today, the Ministerial Services Union said there was widespread resentment in the employees against the two appointments and demanded that these should be cancelled. The memorandum said there was no need for new appointments as the existing staff was sufficient.
There was stagnation among computer data operators as no promotion procedure was evolved during the last 14 years. Under such circumstances new appointments were unwarranted, it said.
The memorandum also alleged that the appointments had been made in violation of rules. It claimed that no advertisement was given nor the new appointees possessed requisite qualifications for the post. It also claimed that not even an interview was held.
The unions threatened to
launch an agitation if the appointments were not
cancelled immediately. It also demanded creation of
suitable promotional channels for the existing computer
staff to end stagnation among them.
Work on Dasmesh canal from
ROPAR, Feb 6 The Punjab Government will begin the construction of Dasmesh canal to be built at a cost of Rs 378 crore from April 1 this year. All necessary arrangements have already been made for the purpose by the government.
This was stated by Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Finance Minister, Punjab, while addressing a religious function at Kakron village, about 15 kms from here today.
He said with the completion of this canal economic conditions of the farmers of Ropar, Fatehgarh Sahib and Patiala districts would be strengthened as water from this canal would be provided for irrigating barren land in these districts.
The Finance Minister also announced that the Kakron-Balamgarh Mandwarra kutcha road would be made pucca at a cost of Rs 15 lakh in the next financial year.
MC to sell prime land
PATIALA, Feb 6 The Municipal Corporation here will shortly put on sale the prime land owned by it in the sub-urban areas as well as in certain pockets of the old walled city.
The move is aimed at generating a revenue of Rs 20 crore as funds are reportedly required to carry out development works in the city.
Sources in the municipal corporation said the MC had submitted a proposal to the government regarding the sale of property under the optimum land use scheme of the state government. The list includes land on Sanaur road and near the Aliwal village-Sirhind road. Of the property offered in the city, the main inclusion is the fire brigade station, located near Bahera road. An immediate fallout would be shifting out the fire brigade station, the sources said.
Sources further said that once the sanction of the government was received, which is likely to give a nod, the auction price would be announced. There was pressure on the corporation for executing development works as well as providing basic amenities in the city. The financial position was not precarious but the corporation was just managing to pull along.
Sources said the development work of laying streets with concrete in outer colonies, especially Bishan Nagar, and laying water pipes was being delayed due to non-receipt of Rs 1.32 crore grant to corporation from the planning board.
Sources said the grant comes through the Union Ministry of Urban Development through the state government but even though two months had passed since the sanction of funds, no money had been received. Mr K.S. Kung, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, said the land would be put for sale once the sanction comes from the state government. He said the corporation was not selling the land in desperation but there was no harm in selling unused property which had little utility. He acknowledged the the grant of Rs 1.32 crore had not been received but added that he had been assured by the government in recent correspondence about the supply of the earmarked funds. He said once the money was received, the corporation would begin the delayed development projects.
On shifting out of the
fire-brigade station, Mr Kung said, the present location
of the fire brigade was not a suitable one. It exists in
a crowded bazar. The exits and entrance routes are
narrow, which cause delay in the arrival of fire brigade
at the place of need.
Warrant officer raids CIA
LUDHIANA, Feb 6 A warrant officer of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today raided the premises of the CIA staff of the orders of Mr Justice R.L. Anand in search of a woman believed to be illegally detained there but in vain.
The warrant officer, Mr D.P. Singh Rana, conducted the raid following a petition filed in the court of Mr Justice Anand against the CIA staff for allegedly illegally detaining Mahila Congress worker Kamal Pushpinder Kaur.
2 cinema house owners held,
LUDHIANA, Feb 6 A police party led by the CIA Inspector, Mr Maninder Bedi, today raided a local cinema house where clippings of pornographic movies were being shown in between the film scenes of Shut Your Eyes.
Raikhey cinema was raided around 1.30 p.m. today. The owners, Ms Romilla Raikhey and her son, Vikas were arrested and released on bail.
The SSP, Mr Kuldip Singh, informed that many minors were also viewing the movie. Statements of several viewers had been recorded under Section 161 of the CrPC.
TARN TARAN, Feb 6 The city police has registered a case under the NDPS Act against Ninder Kumar Nindi, a local municipal councillor and eight others for indulging in the sale of smack, opium and other drugs in the area by bringing them from the neighbouring states.
Police sources told this correspondent here today that the other suspects are Mandeep Singh, Surjeet Singh, Davinder Singh, Gurinder Singh Gorkha, Guriqbal Singh, Gurdial Singh, Channa and Lal.
According to one more
information, the Sarhali police has booked Joginder
Singh, Makhan Singh and seven others residents of Kot
Mohammad Khan village under Sections 447 and 427, IPC,
who are allegedly responsible for axing the trees planted
in the garden in about 12 kanals which belongs to a Dalit
community member, Mr Subeg Singh whose father Mr Pritam
Singh had taken this piece of land from Mr Brij Lal, the
brother of Mr Krishan Kant Vice-President of India about
50 years back.
Police Cats in
LUDHIANA, Feb 6 Three suspects in an attempted robbery here on the night of February 3 are alleged to be police Cats.
According to reports, the three persons had attempted to rob a businessman, Mr Harcharan Singh, in the Model Town area. Two of the youths had been calling each other by the name of Avtar Singh Taari while the third one was referred to as Jagdish Singh, alias Disha. They had also fired at and injured Mr Harcharan Singh.
According to the police, the three fled, but residents maintain they were arrested.
Police sources say of
the three culprits, Avtar Singh Taari a resident of
Khandewal village in Patiala, is allegedly a
Cat of a DIG. The second Avtar Singh Taari,
hailing from Ludhiana, is alleged to be a Cat
of an SP.
Too many hostel seekers at
PATIALA, Feb 6 Facing problem of too many girl hostelers, the Punjabi University authorities have begun using residential flats on the campus as alternative accommodation places.
The arrangement has not gone off well with residents, who complain of noisy music and dance till late at night. They also pass comments, says a house wife.
The problem of a high number of girl students was being experienced for the past few years. This year the number has been very high from the beginning of the academic session. The hostels were full in the first few weeks of the current session, according to a university official. He claims that due to overcrowding, many girls, mostly from far-off rural areas, cannot pursue higher education at the university.
With a few late admissions and a long list of students awaiting hostel rooms, the university had to use the working womens hostel as accommodation. When that too failed to adjust all students, research scholars flats were included within the boundary wall of girls hostel number 3.
With the start of personal contact programme classes of correspondence courses, the need arose again. Initially, TV halls were converted into a large dormitory to accommodate the rush. The university also had to made an arrangement with the Northern Region Regional Language Centre near the university for accommodating more girls. With PCP classes of M.Ed and B.Ed in full swing, the university had to look around for more space, which was provided by residential flats.
Dr D.S. Dhillon, Dean Students, said there were more admissions this year as entrance tests had been done away with. He said girls hostels had a combined capacity of about 450, which could not accommodate all. Residential flats which were lying vacant had to be used as they provided assurance of security to parents or guardians of girl students, he added.
Dr Dhillon said the university planned to construct a new hostel in the next financial year and it would take a vacant portion of the Northern Language Regional Language Centre on rent. On the harassment caused to residents, he said he had not received any complaint so far.
While the university
authorities and residents have their own problems,
students have been affected by the overcrowding. A
student from a village in Bathinda said she had to travel
for six hours daily as the university could not provide
hostel accommodation to her. Another girl said PCP
classes were for 10 days but the first two days were lost
in running from hostel to hostel to get accommodation.
RSD College to reopen today
FEROZEPORE, Feb 6 With the intervention of the civil and police authorities, a dispute between the Principal and students of RSD College was settled here yesterday.
Students of the college
have been on strike since January 1.Mr D.P.S. Kharbanda,
SDM, said here yesterday that he along with Mr Rachhpal
Singh, DSP, held a meeting with the Principal, Mr Amrik
Arora, and the students. A five-member committee had been
formed to probe charges against the Principal by the
students. The college would reopen on Monday, Mr
Panels to oversee supply of PDS
CHANDIGARH, Feb 6 To watch over the proper supply of the public distribution system (PDS) items in the villages, nigran committees are to be constituted.
Members from all walks of life will be included in the committees to make it more effective, said Punjab Food and Supplies Minister, Mr Madan Mohan Mittal while addressing the field officers of the Food and Supplies department here today.
The minister said during a special checking of ration depots/retail outlets, the licences of 35 depot holders had been cancelled and supplies of 477 depots suspended while 2,151 show-cause notices had been issued due to alleged irregularities, according to a press note.
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