|Friday, February 25, 2000,
playing into RSS hands
Singh to defy Akal Takht directive
leaves commuters in a huff
farm growth difficult
over Sarao's reappointment
Bhattal in Poll panel
cleared for Ajooba project
Yorkshire Police officers visit PPA
to have one-way phones
baseless, says minister
decries PSEB move
centres for three dists
leaves road awkwardly divided
posing as cop nabbed
trafficking gang busted
over leaking information
killed in road mishap
sex workers arrested
varsity suspends student
camp at school board
march by bank staff
workers hold rally
Giani playing into RSS hands
CHANDIGARH, Feb 24 (PTI) Justice Kuldip Singh, who was yesterday nominated as member of the interim committee by Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Puran Singh after disbanding both factions of the World Sikh Council (WSC), today refused to serve on the committee due to several reasons.
In a fax message to Giani Puran Singh, he conveyed his inability to serve the committee due to several reasons, including personal. He requested the Jathedar to delete his name from the membership of the interim committee.
Justice Kuldip Singh is said to be a close associate of deposted Akal Takht Jathedar Ranjit Singh who has refused to accept Puran Singh as the Jathedar of Akal Takht.
Bhai Ranjit Singh had openly come out in favour of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD) led by Mr G.S. Tohra during the last Lok Sabha poll.
JALANDHAR: The World Sikh Council on Thursday reacted strongly to the Akal Takht Jathedar, directive, disbanding the council and said the cleric had no powers to do so and was playing into the hands of the RSS.
The Akali Dal (Amritsar) and the powerful Sant Samaj faction led by Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi slammed the cleric for disbanding the five- year-old council and nominating a 12-member interim panel to run its affairs.
The WSC is working as per its approved constitution. Giani Puran Singh has no right or power to disband the council. He is clearly playing into the hands of the RSS and other anti-Sikh forces, WSC Regional Chairman Kulbir Singh said in a statement here.
Giani Puran Singh, who had on Wednesday nominated the interim panel under his own patronage to run the affairs of the council, also came under sharp attack from the Akali Dal (Amritsar) President, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann.
Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi said the clerics move to disband the WSC was ill-advised and unfortunate as the body was headed by a legal luminary and a renowned Sikh scholar (Justice Kuldip Singh).
The Sant Samaj chief also denounced the ban imposed by Giani Puran Singh on a seminar on the Nanakshahi calendar scheduled for March 4 here and said the seminar must be held.
The calendar is the bone of contention between the Akal Takht and the SGPC. The row is proving embarrassing for Akali Dal president and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal who had chosen both Giani Puran Singh and SGPC chief Bibi Jagir Kaur last year during his power-tussle with Mr G.S. Tohra.
Giani Puran Singh had last month ex-communicated Bibi Jagir Kaur from the Panth for her alleged violation of his directive on the new calendar which seeks to change dates of important Sikh festivals.
Lok Sabha MP Mann also accused the Giani of playing into the hands of the RSS and said the seminar must be held, the stranglehold of the RSS on important Sikh institutions be broken and its interference in Sikh polity and social and religious life ended.
The Sikh scholars and leadership should realise the grave threat posed by the forces of Hindutva represented by the RSS and its affiliates, Mr Mann said. The WSC went further equating Giani Puran Singh with Arur Singh, the then Akal Takht chief who had bestowed a siropa on General Dyer, the British officer responsible for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
Bhai Ranjit Singh, also
slammed the latest move of his successor and said the
March 4 seminar must be held come what may.
I continue to be the patron of the WSC. Giani Puran
Singh has no right to disband the WSC, he said.
Ranjit Singh to defy Akal Takht
AMRITSAR, Feb 24 Sikh crisis further deepened as the former jathedar of Akal Takht, Bhai Ranjit Singh announced today to defy the directive of the jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Puran Singh by holding the seminar of the World Sikh Council at Jalandhar as scheduled on March 4. The jathedar has dissolved the two parallel panels of the WSC and formed a 12-member committee to look after its affairs.
The seminar is being organised by the regional council of the WSC faction headed by Justice Kuldip Singh.
Bhai Ranjit Singh talking to this correspondent added that he was not supposed to obey the directive of Giani Puran Singh since he represented a group headed by ruling Akali Dal chief, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.
Jathedar Puran Singh is neither competent to issue such directive neither it has any meaning to us, he remarked.
He stated that most of the invitations for the seminar had already been sent whereas the remaining invitations would be despatched in a day or two. Mr Kuldip Singh Kaura, Chairman of the Amritsar region of the council has been assigned this job.
Bhai Ranjit Singh blamed
Giani Puran Singh of partisan attitude on different
issues and pointed out that he took no action against
Akali leaders like two Central minister, Mr Sukhdev Singh
Dhindsa and others, who violated the Akal Takht directive
which banned holding of marriage ceremonies outside
Frisking leaves commuters in a
ATTARI, Feb 24 This is all due to your country which is pumping fake currency, narcotics and weapons into India, fumed an exasperated Zahur, a resident of Jammu and Kashmir, while his wife, a Pakistani national, protested at her luggage, including toys and a water cooler, being broken by officials at the customs clearance.
We cant leave anything to chances, explained the official concerned, his tone polite but firm, to the angry woman. Zahur said the passengers of Samjhauta Express were never harassed at the Attari railway station until the seizure of fake currency notes, narcotic and weapons from same commuters. Zahur, an Indian, married a Pakistani a few years back. He travels by the Samjhauta Express frequently.
With the security beefed up at the Attari railway station after the arrest of two ISI agents along with secret documents, the videography of passengers and goods is done at the platform itself. Special attention is given to frisking women.
Women customs officials headed by an inspector are deputed at the exit point towards the Lahore end. Screens have been put up so that women, especially those in burqa are thoroughly frisked. Customs clearance that normally took less than an hour, now takes more than two hours. It invariably delays the train.
The officials also frisk the crew members of the Samjhauta Express. Mr V.K. Mahajan, Superintendent (Preventive), says the staff at tea stalls and other employees are also searched. There is hundred per cent checking. We cannot compromise on national security, he emphasises.
Mr Mahajan said due to the publicity campaign launched by the Customs Department on the fake currency, now passengers were wary of wandering money changers at the Lahore railway station. Earlier, innocent passengers from Lahore would get lured by the attractive rates being offered by the money changers.
Kulbir Singh, a resident of Kabul, who arrived here on the train, confirmed the statement of Mr Mahajan. He said many unauthorised money changers could be seen at the Lahore station.
Mr Rajesh Jindal, Deputy Commissioner, Customs, talking to TNS, said extra vigil was being kept on all entry and exit points. However, he said it was being ensured that innocent passengers were not harassed unnecessarily.
Afghani Sikhs Shinder Singh and Kulbir Singh said Hindus and Sikhs were selling their properties in Kabul, Ghazni, and Jalalabad, at throwaway prices and were migrating to India.
Sustaining farm growth
LUDHIANA, Feb 24 For the State which had earlier earned the title of being the Granary of India sustaining the growth rate in the field of agriculture in Punjab has now become an arduous task with the overall development in the state having slowed down.
These observations have been made by Dr Joginder Singh, Professor and Head, Department of Economics, Punjab Agricultural University, and Dr Jaspinder Singh, Kolar, Director, Extension Education, PAU, in a study titled Agricultural Economy of Punjab at the Crossroads. Significantly, the study points out that in spite of the much publicised gains of Green Revolution, the economic status of farmers, in the real sense, has not improved.
The study says that the farm economy has reached a stage rendering the fate of large agricultural population, cultivating 84 per cent of the total geographical area of the State, in doldrums. During 1993-94, the per capita real income was Rs 4022 which increased to Rs 4371 per annum in 1996-97, showing a growth of 8.7 per cent, against a comparative figure of an impressive 17.51 per cent of the country as a whole.
It is learnt that the average annual growth rate in the State agriculture, including livestock, has declined from 5.44 per cent during the Sixth Plan to a mere 3 per cent in the Eighth Plan and is projected to fall further to 2.38 per cent in the Ninth Plan.
In spite of the increase in prices of agricultural products and the increase in the input prices, the crop productivity has stabilised, resulting in slower increase in monetary returns, says Dr Joginder Singh. He explains that the gross return from wheat over the past three decades has gone up by almost 10 times while the return over variable cost has escalated by about 14 times and the net return by 20 times, but this when deflated by the wholesale price index (WPI), it increased by just 62 per cent over that of 1970-71.
Interestingly, he also adds that the real profitability of the rice crop has not been able to keep pace even with the wheat crop and the net return deflated by the WPI has been almost flattened ever since rice was introduced in Punjab, showing an increase of only 25 per cent during the past 15 years. In case of cotton, the third major crop in the state, the crop has been highly volatile in terms of inter-temporal profitability because of unstable production and absence of effective and renumerative price support and procurement policies.
By cultivating wheat, paddy in rotation, which is the most dominant crop pattern in the state, an annual net return of Rs 9000 per hectare over a variable cost at Rs 23,800 per hectare is estimated, with the per capita income in the State during 1996-97 working out to be Rs 18213. For an average family of six persons, the average family income works out to be Rs 1,09,300 per annum and for an agricultural family to enjoy an economic status on a par with an average Punjabi family, the farmers should have 4.55 hectares of land. But in the existing set up, with about 14 per cent leased land and 10 per cent of income from subsidiary farm occupations, an average farmer would have an operational holding of 4.5 hectares.
However, on the national scene, the per capita income was Rs 10,771 per annum in 1996-97 and worked out to be around Rs 65,000 per family against a farm size of 2.5 hectares of owned land or 6.5 hectares of tenant cultivated operational land holding. On the basis of this, the study concludes that nearly 50 per cent of the farming population in Punjab is not enjoying the economic status even equivalent to an average family in India.
Apart from this, there has now been a trend of decline in farm size overtime due to increasing pressure of population on farming. Nearly 45 per cent of farms in the State presently are less than 2 square hectare as against 38.6 per cent of farms below 2 hectares in 1981.
The study also lays emphasis on greater exploitation of livestock enterprises, which contributes around one-third of the farm income. The weather and price uncertainties, which has increased tremendously over the past few years has also further aggravated the problem. With institutional credit not coming up to the expectations or requirements of the farmers, they are depending upon commission agents to meet credit needs by paying very high rates of interest. Around 60 per cent of total advances given to farmers are still advanced from private moneylenders. Over-investments in machinery, too, have caused a major setback to the economic condition of farmers. The total value of farm machinery in the State is estimated at Rs 7000 crore, with concentration of machinery like tractors in certain areas being so high that the machine does not find a liver off-farm work.
The study also blames the poor literacy rate in Punjab (52.8 per cent in rural sector) as the root cause of most social and economic problems.
Apart from highlighting the causes of the slowing down of agricultural growth, the study gives valuable suggestions. Like increasing farm size through liberalising the land lease market, providing non-farm employment by encouraging rural industry, better intimacy between farmers and credit institutions and over-investment in machinery be corrected through improved credit system.
scientists have also suggested that subsidies be give
only on those inputs which percolate down to the target
group of farmers, to provide reasonable renumerative
output prices to farmers and to urgently take corrective
measures for a more export oriented agriculture.
Row over Sarao's
PATIALA, Feb 24 A high-level drama is being enacted in the Punjabi University, with a tug of war taking place to ensure that the outgoing Registrar, Dr Ranbir Singh Sarao who relinquished office today, is not appointed in any other capacity.
Even though the Syndicate has appreciated the services of Dr Sarao and recommended that his academic and administrative experience be utilised in some manner, a section of the teachers under the banner of the United Teachers Front (UTF) has demanded that he not be accommodated in any manner.
These teachers today held a protest rally and a dharna.
Dr Sarao said while six persons stood in dharna in front of his office, two teachers Dr Hari Singh Boparai and Mr Surinder Singh Khaira entered his office and behaved in an unmanly manner. He claimed that only a handful of teachers were against him whereas around 400 faculty members felicitated him today.
The UTF, in a press note, said it was protesting against the apprehension that the outgoing Registrar would be given re-employment. It also targeted the Secretary, Higher Education, Mr G. P. S. Sahi, by accusing him of playing a key role in the process. The note said patronising such people by a senior bureaucrat was bound to bring a bad name to the Punjab Government and vitiate the peaceful academic atmosphere on the campus.
The Syndicate has constituted a committee consisting of the Vice-Chancellor and the Secretary, Higher Education, to decide how Dr Sarao's services are to be used in the university. The Vice-Chancellor, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, said the committee would consider various proposals and precedents and the University Act and Statutes would be strictly followed while deciding the issue. He said he would discuss the issue with the Secretary, Higher Education, on his visit to the university tomorrow .
At the Syndicate meeting
yesterday, Dr Sarao had withdrawn his item seeking
reappointment as Registrar even before it was discussed.
Following this, the Syndicate put his good services on
record, with the Syndic, Mr Manpreet Singh Badal, and
Secretary, Higher Education, appreciating his conduct. It
was also decided to utilise his services for the interest
of the university. However, this fact did not find
mention in the university note following the meeting.
Mrs Bhattal in Poll panel
CHANDIGARH, Feb 24 The President of the All-India Congress Committee, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, has inducted a former Chief Minister, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, in the Central Election Authority (CEA) of the Congress.
The authority is headed by Mr Ram Niwas Mirdha, a veteran congress leader. Besides Mrs Bhattal, three other leaders have been included in the authority, which has been assigned the task of conducting the party's organisational poll.
Informed Congress Party sources said the party president had inducted her close confidants in such panels.
JALANDHAR, Feb 24 Employees, farmers and labour organisations affiliated with the CPM will take out a march to Parliament in New Delhi on March 8.
This was stated at a state-level convention of such organisations at Desh Bhagat Yaadgar Hall here yesterday.
The march has been planned by the CPM in support of its demands, including declaration of education as a fundamental right, implementation of 33 per cent reservation for women and distribution of surplus land among people.
Decks cleared for
CHANDIGARH, Feb 24 The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal reviewed the progress of construction of Khalsa Heritage complex at Anandpur Sahib at a meeting of the trustees of the Anandpur Sahib Foundation have today.
With the designs of Moshe Safdie, a US-Based Israeli architect having been accepted, the work on this project will be launched on Hola Mohalla, 2000. The lowest tenders of a company had been approved by the foundation for a total construction of cost Ajooba, which amounts to Rs 92.79 crore.
The foundation also approved an additional estimated amount of Rs 45.56 crore of the content and exhibits of the Khalsa Heritage complex, for which a separate experts group has been working to depict the heritage.
Giving details of the deliberations of a panel of scholars and historians, the Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, said the panel had further divided itself into six sub-committees to take up detailed discussions and planning of different sections of the complex.
It was decided to engage Indias premier design organisation the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad for designing the exhibits and the other contents of the Ajooba.
It was decided that the concluding ceremony of the Tercentenary celebrations at Anandpur Sahib from April 11 to 13, 2000, would be arranged in a befitting manner.
Ramgarhias feel let down by SAD
MOGA Feb 24 A sense of alienation prevails among a section of Ramgarhia Sikhs here with the ruling Akali Dal for its failure to give them adequate political representation.
Accusing the Akali Dal of Promoting Jaatwaad in Punjab, the Ramgarhias are disillusioned with the fact that the only MLA from the community has not been given a berth in the Cabinet. Besides, the community has very little representation in the SGPC.
The unceremonious sacking of Bhai Ranjit Singh, a Ramgarhia, as the Akal Takht chief has also irked the community. The Ramgarhias feel that pre-poll promises, including subsidies to the small sector, have not been kept by the Akalis.
Traditionally a Congress vote bank, the community turned towards the Akali Dal after suffering losses in the anti-Sikh carnage following Indira Gandhis assassination in 1984. The community accounts for more than 30,000 votes in the district. It is likely its anger with the Akali Dal led to a considerable fall in the vote margin in this assembly segment that forms part of the Faridkot Lok Sabha seat.
According to the chief organiser of city-based Ramgarhia Welfare Society, Mr Kuldeep Singh Green, the Chief Minister,Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has not honoured any of his poll premises.
Mr Badal has yet to fulfil the promise to institute Vishwakarma Award to honour progressive industrialists, he laments. The much-publicised proposal to institute the Jassa Singh Ramgarhia Chair is also hanging fire, he adds.
He alleges more than 3,000 applications by Ramgarhias seeking Backward Class certificates are not being cleared by the local Tehsildar. This is despite the assurance by the Akali Dal to recognise us as a Backward Class, he says.
The press secretary of the society, Mr Gurmeet Singh Khokhar, alleges that the only Ramgarhia MLA, Mr Heera Singh Gabria, has not been given a berth in the Cabinet. Most Akali Dal office-bearers in Moga are Jats though our stakes are high in the district, he reasons out.
Mr Gurpritam Singh Cheema, an executive member of the society, criticises the Akali Dal for the unceremonious sacking of the former Akal Takht Jathedar, Bhai Ranjit Singh. Had he been a Jat, this kind of treatment would not have been meted out to him, he charges. He is equally annoyed at being denied ticket for the last SGPC elections. A lobby wanted me to withdraw my claim, he says.
A Senior Congress
leader, Mr S.K. Gupta, who was a confidant of Giani Zail
Singh (a Ramgarhia), says the Akali Dal is primarily a
casteist party representing the feudal class.
The Akalis are solely guarding the interests of
Halt Samjhauta, says Bitta
GARHSHANKAR, Feb 24 Mr Maninderjit Singh Bitta, Chairman of All-India Anti-Terrorist Front today urged the Union Government to take hard steps, including discontinuation of the Samjhauta Express against the economic terrorism in the shape of fake Indian currency pushed in by Pakistan into India.
Mr Bitta was addressing a press conference at the residence of Congress leader Pankaj Kirpal here. He also honoured Mr Gurdev Ram, an elder brother of a martyr Sub Shavi Inder Singh of Bharatpur Jattan who laid down his life a few months ago in Doda district in Jammu and Kashmir.
Mr Bitta said it was a new type of war against India by Pakistan which was being waged with a view to destabilising the economy of the country. He described the Samjhauta Express a carrier of economic terrorism in India. He also said he would meet the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister to demand the discontinuation of the Samjhauta Express.
He said he had sought an appointment from Mr Bill Clinton, President of the USA, during his visit to India to invite him to a function to be held in Delhi by the Front and to brief Mr Clinton about the nefarious designs of the Pakistan against India so that pressure could be built upon Mr Clinton to declare Pakistan a terrorist state.
Mr Bitta announced that the Front would also organise a programme next month in which representatives of political parties, who fought against terrorism, from the SARRC countries barring Pakistan, would be invited. He said families of terrorist victims of Punjab and J & K would be introduced to the representatives of political parties so that they could know the miseries of terrorists victims.
He also announced that Anti-Terrorist Front would set up a school in Delhi or Haryana where children of the innocent persons and security personnel killed by the terrorists would be taught free of cost. He also said the front would also organise a seminar next month in Bombay to raise voice against the kidnapping and murders of film stars, producers and directors.
Mr Bitta also demanded from the Union Government to hand over the security of Nepal border to the ITBP or the CRPF. He also demanded the introduction of passport system for Nepal.
Mr Bitta also demanded from the Punjab Government to order an inquiry into the alleged objectionable speeches made by leaders at a function organised to celebrate the birth anniversary of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale.
HC notice to PFC on mill
CHANDIGARH, Feb 24 On a petition filed by Mr Gobinder Singh, a resident of Sangrur, a Division Bench of the Punjab & Haryana High Court consisting of Mr Justice S.S. Sudhalkar and Mr Justice J.S. Khehar has issued notice of motion to the state of Punjab, the Managing Director of the Punjab Financial Corporation, Sangrur's Deputy Commissioner and Senior Superintendent of Police, for February 29.
The petitioner, managing partner of Grewal Rice Mills Ltd., Kheri, Sangrur, was sanctioned an amount of Rs 4,55,000 for setting up a rice sheller in 1983. The petitioner started to pay back the loan instalments, but due to terrorist activities it was not possible to run the mill but the respondent-corporation started to claim the entire amount. Subsequently the mill was auctioned on three occasions but the auctions were set aside by the District Judge, Sangrur.
The petitioner alleged that in the absence of any order from a competent court and without serving notice, officials of the respondent corporation along with police officers stormed the residence of the petitioner in his absence and evicted his minor children and sealed the house. Even their personal belongings including clothes, utensils and school bags were not allowed to be taken.
Anandgarh: farmers to get
compensation in advance
CHANDIGARH, Feb 24 The Punjab Government said today that 28 villages falling within the jurisdiction of the proposed Anandgarh, a new city, would be kept intact.
An assurance in this effect was given by Mrs Upinderjit Kaur, Punjab Urban Development Minister, at a press conference here today.
The construction cost of the new city has been estimated at Rs 75,000 crore. In the first phase, 10,000 acres of land will be acquired for human settlement and 20,000 acres for creating a green belt. The government will not provide any funds for the city. It will be a self-financed project. The full amount of compensation to farmers and others whose land will be acquired for the city will be given in advance.
Loans will be provided for starting self-employment ventures.
PUDA plans urban estates at
CHANDIGARH, Feb 24 A comprehensive scheme to utilise vacant government land in Sangrur has been chalked out by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA).
A PUDA spokesman said the plan had been prepared on the directives of the Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development, Mr S. Ranjit Singh Balian. Under an old fort in the heart of Sangrur town would be developed into an ultra modern commercial shopping centre. A new building for the girls senior secondary school was on the anvil.
He spoke about the
possibility of PUDA developing an urban estate at Sangrur
after inviting comments from the public. The zila
parishad of Sangrur and PUDA were entering into a joint
venture to develop seven acres of land belonging to the
former. PUDA was also exploring the possibility of
developing urban estates at Barnala, Malerkotla and
S. Yorkshire Police
officers visit PPA
PHILLAUR, Feb 24 A group of South Yorkshire Police officers headed by Deputy Chief Constable Martin Davill along with 18 school children and teachers visited the Punjab Police Academy here under the India 2000 project. The object of the project is to develop cultural understanding and promote social harmony, particularly among the young.
The touring party were acquainted with various activities relating to the training of police officers.
The team was taken to Maharaja Ranjit Singh Police Public School. The children and staff of the school welcomed the visitors. They held a cultural show in which all women police officers took part.
A cultural programme was also organised by the staff and trainees of the PPA.
Cops to have one-way phones
PATIALA, Feb 24 The district police has found a novel method of being available to the public round-the-clock and at minimum costs.
It has decided to install one-way telephone connections at select police stations. These telephones can only receive incoming calls and outgoing ones can be blocked from the exchange. The new connections will be in addition to the existing two-way telephone lines at police stations.
Mr Harpreet Singh Sidhu, Senior Superintendent of Police, said such a measure had become necessary as the normal telephone connections at police stations remained engaged mostly, causing inconvenience to the public. Further, the police had to pay burgeoning telephone bills as the instances of misuse also could not be controlled.
With these new connections, both problems would be solved, he said. The telephone line would remain free most of the time as only incoming calls would be allowed. Further, the police would only have to pay the rent.
The SSP said the police had submitted Rs 3,000 as the fee for each connection. In the first phase, seven police stations and police posts would be included in the scheme which would later be extended to all stations.
Reports baseless, says minister
SANGRUR, Feb 24 Ranjit Singh Balian, Minister for Urban Development and Housing, has termed as baseless reports published in a section of the Press in which he has been accused of illegally occupying a house belonging to the Forest Department.
Mr Balian told
mediapersons that the land on which the house stood did
not belong to the government. A few years ago, it had
been transferred in the name of the government but was
set aside by a court.
MLA decries PSEB move
LUDHIANA, Feb 24 Mr Maheshinder Singh Grewal, MLA and former Punjab minister, yesterday criticised the move by the PSEB to set up its own police stations to check power theft.
Mr Grewal said the move was illegal, arbitrary and against the ethics of jurisprudence.
He pointed out if the
theft of power was taking place, the law provided for
penal action, including recovery of dues from the
offender. If the PSEB went ahead with the proposal, it
would be punishing the twice for the same offence.
PSEB engineers flay
LUDHIANA, Feb 24 The Punjab State Electricity Board Engineers Association has criticised the decision of the board management to privatise 10 per cent of the total installed capacity, reported to be 50 MW.
In a press note here yesterday, Dr M.S. Bajwa, president of the association, said the association had earlier been assured by the PSEB management and the Chief Minister that there was no move to privatise any function of the board be it generation, transmission or distribution.
Rehabilitation centres for three dists
PATIALA, Feb 24 The Centre has selected three districts in the state for setting up rehabilitation centres.
Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, Deputy Commissioner, said in a press note here yesterday that according to a communication of the Union Government, the three districts were Patiala, Jalandhar and Ferozepore. He said the Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation (ALIMCO) would collaborate with the state and the district authorities to provide rehabilitation services.
In Patiala, the administration had already identified few rooms at Mata Kaushalya Hospital for setting up the centre.
The communication from
the Union Government had proposed that centres should
utilise the existing infrastructure of state medical
colleges, rehabilitation centres, Red Cross societies,
non-government agencies, and services of doctors and
Pensioners plea to Badal
LUDHIANA, Feb 24 The Government Pensioners Association has demanded the removal of pension anomalies in case of government employees who retired between January 1, 1996, and September 30, 1996.
In a memorandum to the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, members of the association said, employees who retired during this time had got a raw deal in comparison to those who retired before January 1, 1996, and after September 30, 1996.
They said the Central Government had modified the formula in accordance with the Fifth Pay Commission recommendations and directed the pension sanctioning authorities to revise the pension of those who retired between January 1, 1996, and September 30, 1996, without calling for fresh applications.
Farmers seek tubewell
PATIALA, Feb 24 The Kissan wing of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) has urged the Punjab State Electricity Board to release tubewell connections lying pending for more than 10 years.
In a memorandum of demands submitted to Mr G.S. Sohal, Chairman, PSEB, Mr Satnam Singh Behru, President of the wing, also demanded the repair and proper maintenance of feeders and transformers, regular power supply, change of faulty transformers and free power supply up to 100 units for Backward Classes.
Widening leaves road awkwardly
PATIALA, Feb 24 While the district administration has, in a welcome move to ease traffic congestion, began widening of one side of the busy Fountain Chowk-Leela Bhawan Road, the step has led to a problem of unequal division of the road.
The Rakhra cinema side of of the road, which has shops and offices, remains narrow, while the Rajbaha drain side, wide already, is being further widened. As a result, the dividers give an ill-planned look to the road.
The widening on only one side is being criticised by the shopkeepers, who demand shifting of dividers to the centre of the road as the path on their side shrinks further during daytime due to parking of rehris, rickshaws and vehicles. With one of the residential bungalows on this side tipped to be used as Tehsil Office, the rush of vehicles is expected to rise steeply in near future.
The road is one of the most used in the city. Apart from two-wheelers and light four-wheelers, heavy vehicles like buses and trucks have to take this route as movement on Mall Road is restricted. All these vehicles take the narrow side of the road. The dividers placed on the road last year helped in regulating traffic and controlling accidents. The unequal division has left one side facing slow movement of vehicles, while the other has a smooth flow.
The problem can be solved by either shifting the dividers to the centre of the road or widening the Rakhra side of the road. According to a shopkeeper, If the road is widened, there will not be space for parking even a cycle and the unequal division will remain. The widening will also involve shifting of power supply poles, which costs much more than shifting the dividers.
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, said the administration was aware of the problem. He said in the first phase, Rajbaha drain side was being widened, while in the second vacant forest land across the drain would be acquired for constructing a path for movement of slow vehicles. He added that the work would begin once the Union Ministry of Environment gives a clearance to the project.
Regarding the awkward
division of the road, the Deputy Commissioner said the
shifting of the dividers had not been ruled out but
first, the Rakhra cinema side of the road would be
widened. He said the road had the capacity to be widened
by five feet. He added that if these measures did not
prove fruitful, dividers could be shifted as the process
did not involve much costs.
Smuggler posing as cop nabbed
MOGA, Feb 24 The district police today claimed major success in a drive against smugglers when the Dharamkot CIA staff nabbed notorious smuggler Swaran Singh of Kahna Dhesian in Jalandhar district and seized 1 kg of contraband opium and 10 kg of poppy husk from him.
Dr S.S. Chohan, SSP, said here that Swaran Singh had been carrying out smuggling activities in the garb of a police constable. An identity card issued by the Batala police and a police uniform had been recovered from his possession, Dr Chohan told newsmen here. He used to smuggle in intoxicants from Rajasthan.
During investigation it was found that a police constable, Mr Parminder Singh of Batala, allegedly close to Swaran Singh, had helped him in getting the I-card. Parminder Singh knew him since 1992-93 when
he (Parminder Singh) along with his other jawans were on duty at dera of the village in the peak days of militancy and Swaran Singh was being used by the police as a cat, he said.
Drug trafficking gang busted
LUDHIANA, Feb 24 With the arrest of three members of a drug-trafficking gang headed by a woman, Surinder Kaur, here last night, the police claims to have unearthed a major travel route of drugs into Punjab from Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
Surinder Kaur, her son, Sanjay and an aide, Madan, alias Madda, were arrested by a police party led by CIA in charge, Mr Joginder Singh from the Noorwala road, Vasant Vihar and Chhawni Mohalla, here respectively. The police found 1 kg of opium and 1 kg of heroin from Surinder Kaur and Sanjay and 1 kg of opium and around 750 gms of heroin from Madan, who was selling it to consumers in Chhawni Mohalla. He had purchase the stuff from Surinder Kaur.
The police investigation has revealed that Surinder Kaur was being supplied a consignment of drugs (1 kg each) from Raju, who would bring these from Shimla and Solan and another consignment from Uttar Pradesh. She was being supplied these consignments at least three to four times each month, informed Joginder Singh.
Surinder Kaur was then supplying these drugs to her aide Madan. Though the suspect had been in the business for almost five to six years and had also been apprehended by the police, she was soon set free because of her alleged links with senior police officials.
While talking to this correspondent, Surinder Kaur said her late husband Surinder Singh was also into this business. After his death in 1984, she had preferred to opt out of this business, but financial constraints had forced her to enter this business five years ago. She also revealed that like her, there were five to six other wholesalers of drugs in the city.
She, was, however sorry that her son, Sanjay, a class XII commerce student in a local school had been apprehended.
Interestingly, Madan, while talking to this correspondent revealed that around 60 persons in Ludhiana, including 10 women were involved in the business of drugs and that their customers, generally included young college-going boys and girls. He said that he was catering to around 50 persons each day and was also supplying to four other drug peddlers in the Chhowni Mohalla area.
Row over leaking information
AMRITSAR, Feb 24 (PTI) A row has erupted between intelligence agencies and customs authorities here with both of them accusing each other of leaking to the media the news of arrest of two alleged Pakistani spies at Attari railway station earlier this week.
A senior intelligence official told PTI on condition of anonymity, that when it had been decided by both intelligence and customs officials to keep the arrest of the two spies a low key affair, Customs officials leaked the news to gain cheap publicity.
As a result of the leakage, he said their accomplices have gone underground.
We would have nabbed the entire gang but because of the foolish approach of the custom authorities, we have failed in our mission of apprehending all the culprits, the official said.
Commissioner of Customs Davinder Singh Sra denied that any of his staff was involved in the leakage and instead said my men say that the security agencies are behind the leak.
Wrong man in court lock-up?
AMRITSAR, Feb 24 Baljit Kaur, a mother of three daughters and a son, sees a plot in the arrest of her husband who, she says, is innocent.
Baldev Singh, her husband, is in judicial lock-up for a crime he did not commit. He faced the charge of misappropriation of 138 quintals of wheat and 50 kg of rice from Sri Ganesh Rice and Oil Mills, Jandiala.
Mr Kishan Lal, partner in the said concern, had lodged an FIR on May 17, 1997, in this regards although the theft took place on September 9, 1996, under Sections 420/468/471, IPC.
Mr Lal had named Jasminder Singh of Vadala village as the accused in the crime. After prolonged investigation, Lakhwinder Singh, son of Bachan Singh, was declared a proclaimed offender and a case of fraud registered against him. The police arrested Baldev Singh, the elder brother of Lakhwinder, on August 3, 1999, two years after the registration of the FIR, insisting that the arrested person was Lakhwinder.
Baljit Kaur says no identification parade was held. Neither were stolen goods found in his possession.
My husband is aged 48 and Lakhwinder is 31. Still ASI Balbir Singh of Jandiala insists that the arrested person is Lakhwinder, she says.
Lakhwinders wife, Rajvinder Kaur says the person arrested is not her husband. Baljit Kaur has a bank passbook bearing the photograph of Baldev Singh.
An identity card issued by the Election Commission (PB/03/024/079250) has the photograph of Lakhwinder aged 26. The two documents clearly establish that Lakhwinder and Baldev are two different persons.
In a representation to the Prime Minister, the Chief Minister, the Human Rights Commission, police and judicial heads, Baljit Kaur has said her husband is in illegal judicial custody since the past eight months and the police is trying to implicate him by showing him as Lakhwinder to cover up its own incompetence.
Two killed in road mishap
BATHINDA, Feb 24 Two persons were killed and two others seriously injured when a truck collided with a Canter near Gill Kalan village about 40 kilometres from here yesterday.
According to police sources, the driver of the Canter lost his control and collided with a truck and later on it dashed against the three.
The deceased has been identified as Bikkar Singh and Sunil Kumar alias Sonu. The injured includes Kaka Singh and Sukhpal Singh.
JALANDHAR, Feb 24 Harjit Singh, a militant wanted in armed robbery and a double murder case, surrendered before the police today.
Mr Gaurav Yadav, SSP,
said Harjit Singh, alias Ghona, of Talwandi Bharon had
been arrested in a robbery case in 1988. However, he
jumped bail and fled to Germany. But with a view to
starting afresh, he surrendered before the police.In
another case, he joined hands with Onkar Singh, a
notorious terrorist, and shot Iqbal Singh Bala, for which
he was arrested.
5 sex workers arrested
FATEHGARH SAHIB, Feb 24 The district police claims to have arrested five sex workers along with their clients. The brothel was being run by Ms Karamjit Kaur, alias Kammo and Ms Shashi Sharma in Sirhind city.
Those arrested have been identified as Kammoo, Shashi Sharma residents of Sirhind City and owners of brothel house, Harminder Kaur of Baran village and Surinder Kaur of Sirhind city.
Pbi varsity suspends student
PATIALA, Feb 24 Punjabi University today suspended a student and banned his entry, along with six other outsiders, in connection with an attack on an MBA student on the campus on Monday.
According to orders of Dr Balbir Singh Dhillon, Dean Students, issued here today, Barjinder Singh, an LLB (II) student, has been suspended from attending classes till the next orders. His entry in the campus has also been banned.
The university also banned the entry of six outsiders, Gurpreet Singh Raju, Harkanwal Singh, Hardev Singh, Amritpal Rathi, Kulwinder Singh Gill and Mussa Khan.
The Akhil Bharatiya
Vidhyarthi Parishad has welcome the action of the
university. In a press note, it said action against the
attackers of Jashandeep Singh, President, Punjabi
University Students Association, would bring discipline.
Students demand attackers
PATIALA, Feb 24 Students and teaching departments yesterday boycotted the classes and held a demonstration outside the office of the Vice-Chancellor to protest against the clash on the Punjabi University campus on February 21.
Kuldeep Kaur, Senior Vice-President of the Punjabi University Students Association (PUSA), said that the demonstration was organised with the support of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad.
Special camp at school board
CHANDIGARH, Feb 24 A special camp will be held on March 6 at Punjab School Education Board, SAS Nagar, to take a decision on the remaining cases for jobs to the dependants of those who died while on official duty in various government departments in Punjab.
This was stated here today by Mr Tota Singh, Education Minister.
Protest march by bank staff
BATHINDA, Feb 24 Mr N.K. Gaur, Chairman of the State Sector Bank Employees Association, yesterday said that members of the association would hold a protest march from the Ramlila grounds to Parliament in New Delhi on March 8 to ask the Central government to make the list of loan defaulters public.
Addressing a Press conference here, he said about 50,000 bank employees would submit a memorandum signed by about 3 crore persons to the President to urge him to treat wilful defaulters as criminals and to recover the loans from them.
He alleged that managements of various banks, in connivance with politicians, business tycoons and industrialists, had eaten up Rs 58,000 crore in the form of non-performing assets (NPA).
He said the association would also urge the President to make a special legislation for the speedy recovery of bank loans.
Bank workers hold rally
AMRITSAR, Feb 24 Bank employees of this city today held a rally before Punjab National Bank at the call of the All-India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA).
The bank employees assembled at Hall Bazaar and raised slogans against anti-employee policies of the government and Indian Bank Association (IBA). The rally was addressed by Mr Ravi Razdan, Mr R.L. Mehra, Mr R.K. Garg, Mr Harish, Mr Kalia and Mr M.S. Uppal.
They criticised the government-IBA combine for not implementing the wage settlement. The officers wage revision had been finalised two months back and with the governments concurrence the arrears of wages had already been paid by most of the banks.
They said the IBA had thought it proper to conclude the wage negotiations with officers while keeping the workmens staff wage revision unsettled, thereby indulging in rank discrimination.
By not finalising the settlement the government was creating a situation when the employees were left with no option but to come out in the streets, they said.
The leaders of the federation urged the government-IBA combine to finalise the wage settlement immediately.
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