|Sunday, March 12, 2000,
failed at organisational level
sending farmers abroad
in urea price under consideration
body seeks higher scales
seeks probe into false entries
remembers war hero
|Give up kerosene quota, get gas
KHARAR, March 11 Work on the Chandigarh-Morinda rail link is expected to start very soon.
Meeting to discuss rising
opens at Bathinda
impersonating as DTO held
held for burning woman
Guard rapes Dalit woman
case solved, four arrested
arrested on cheating charge
alleges torture by sons
on March 14
Congress failed at
Sultanpur (Patiala), March 11 Senior Congress leader and Lok Sabha member Jagmeet Brar said today that the Punjab Pradesh Congress had failed at the organisational level during the recent Nawanshahr byelection and called for a full-scale introspection so that the party may be ready for the 2002 Assembly elections.
Talking to newspersons here after participating in a sant samagam organised by Congress leader Harinderpal Singh Mann, Mr Brar said inner weaknesses at the organisational level had let down the party at Nawanshahr with the party failing to ensure presence of polling agents at many booths. He said he had made various suggestions to improve organisational work, including the presence of the pradesh Congress president at the party office in Chandigarh for two days in a week on a permanent basis.
He said something was wrong in the party and it should admit it. He said all senior Congress leaders must join on prominent issues, adding that the party could not lag behind in highlighting the problems of the people. He said the party had recently failed to capitalise on certain opportunities on which it could have taken the people with it and this must be rectified now.
The Congress leader said the party must accept the defeat but added that it was a manipulated verdict. He alleged that Akali workers had descended on the constituency in thousands and the ruling party had unashamedly purchased votes. He, however, said the Congress must rejuvenate itself and target the Dalits, who appeared to have voted for the Akalis, even if coerced into doing so.
When asked about the organisational elections and whether he would be a candidate for the presidentship of the pradesh Congress, Mr Brar said he would contest only if the party high command asked him to do so.
Mr Brar disclosed that a committee of Congress parliamentarians would inspect the Thein dam, Lehra Mohabbat project, the site of the proposed international airport in Amritsar and other major development works so as to see their state of completion and take up the matter for urgent completion with the central government.
Punjab sending farmers abroad
PATIALA, March 11 Punjab Agriculture Minister, Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, today said the Punjab Government was sending a team of farmers abroad so that they could sign gain first-hand knowledge of marketing of vegetables, fruits and flowers as well as sign memorandums with interested parties directly.
Talking to newsmen after participating in a flower show organised by the department at Baradari gardens here, Mr Badal said Agriculture Department officers would accompany the team and the Government would facilitate export of their goods.
He said the Government was committed to speeding up the process of diversification in the state. He said the Government had provided a subsidy of Rs 15 crore for construction of cold stores in the state. He added that the need of procuring a licence for setting up a cold store had also been done away with. The Punjab Agro Export Corporation would also render other help like providing linkages with proposed international airport at Amritsar to exporters, he stated.
The Agriculture Minister said 560 hectares were under flower cultivation in the state, while seeds were being developed in another 360 hectares. He said around 4,000 quintals of fresh flowers were being produced, besides 350 quintals of seed. To encourage flower cultivation, farmers were being given subsidy on their cultivation as well as construction of green houses, he added.The department was also taking initiatives to establish agro-units and one such unit making potato chips was running in Rasulpur village in Jalandhar, he further said.
Mr Badal said other measures being undertaken included vaccinating potato and such crops, whereby their roots would take nitrogen directly from the atmosphere, saving much-needed fertiliser, as well as making weekly forecasts for farmers through sophisticated machinery set up in Ludhiana.
Hike in urea price
FEROZEPORE, March 10 The BJP led NDA government is reconsidering its decision to hike urea prices. Disclosing this at a press conference here this evening, the president of the All India Kisan Morcha - a BJP affiliate, Thakur Rajbir Singh said that the party was examining the matter afresh after persistent demand for a rollback. The morcha too has asked the government to consider a rollback. He called for a national debate on phasing out of subsidies on urea and asserted that this be done slowly as the Indian soil is widely addicted to urea.
Referring to the controversial decision to allow a free run to foreign farm imports which is likely to affect local farmers, he blamed the Congress and World Trade Organisation for this. The BJP government is not in a position to go back on decisions taken by the previous government, he said.
To a question on whether
his party favoured taxing agricultural income, he said,
We only want farmhouse owners to be taxed, not
farmers. Our party wants to bring commercial farm houses
into the tax net.
PCMS body seeks higher scales
PATIALA, March 11 The PCMS Association yesterday demanded that the Punjab Government should review the setting up of the Punjab Health Systems Corporation keeping in view the fact that there had been no appreciable improvement proportionate to the huge expenses on the PHSC, in the secondary health care in the state.
In a press release issued here yesterday Punjab PCMS Association General Secretary said a deputation of the PCMSA would soon meet Health Minister Baldev Raj Chawla and would demand an inquiry into affairs of the PHSC ever since its inception three years ago, especially the civil works undertaken by the PHSC, the genuineness of purchase and the need of spending huge sums on so-called studies and surveys.
While welcoming the decision of the state government to finally implement the revised pay scales in case of medical teachers and payment of arrears to them, the PCMSA demanded that the government should immediately lift the ban on the implementation of the three assured career progressions (ACPs) granted to PCMS doctors by the state government earlier on the recommendations of the Punjab Pay Commission, after completion of 4, 9 and 14 years of service.
The PCMSA further demanded a pay scale of Rs 16,300 for the senior medical officers to maintain parity with the assistant professors of the state medical colleges. Till the current revision the pay scales of the SMOs have been similar and at stages even higher than the assistant professors whereas now, the SMOs have been granted the same pay scales as those of medical officers which are much below those of assistant professors. Even the government has not so far implemented the benefit of promotional increment recommended for SMOs by the Punjab Pay Commission.
Though a section of PCMS
doctors had claimed in May last year that all demands of
PCMS doctors have been accepted and notifications for
implementation would be issued within 15 days, the PCMS
Association asserted that nothing so far even after
almost one year. The PCMSA will now bring all this into
the notice of the new Health Minister. The PCMSA has
asserted that even the recommendations of the Punjab Pay
Commission have not been implemented so far, especially
the revision of conveyance allowance, academic allowance,
ESI allowance, higher qualification allowance and
redesignation of the regular posts of SMOs as deputy
Union seeks probe into false
LUDHIANA, March 11 The Punjab Land Development and Reclamation Corporation Employees Union has sought an inquiry into the alleged scandal of entries being made in the corporation registers regarding gypsum that was never received.
The union has alleged that a fraud in entries being made about 1,008 metric tonnes of gypsum in the Jalandhar division of the corporation came to light in November, 1999, but no inquiry has been ordered into this so far.
Mr Dalip Singh, general secretary of the union, said the corporation was the nodular agency involved in buying gypsum from the Rajasthan Mineral Development Corporation and selling it to local dealers here.
Gypsum is used by farmers to reduce the alkaline nature of soil, and before this years Budget was available at a 50 per cent subsidy.
Mr Dalip Singh stated that the corporation had given contract to certain transporters for bringing gypsum from Rajasthan to the divisional offices of the corporation in Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Sangrur, Ferozepore and Bathinda.
He alleged that the transporters in connivance with certain high officials of the department were selling the gypsum instead of bringing it here and making false entries in ledgers.
He further said though
the union had detected the fraud at the Jalandhar
division, similar frauds, but on a much larger scale at
the Ferozepore and Sangrur divisions were also detected
as the amount of gypsum sent to these divisions was much
Planetarium equipment unused
PATIALA, March 11 As another smear on the face of tourism development of this erstwhile princely state, an equipment of a planetarium lies dumped in dark rooms of the dilapidated Quila Mubarak here.
The machinery was bought for a few lakhs in 1991 from Calcutta. Since then, it is lying abandoned and unused. Taking a cue from the success of Birla Planetarium of Calcutta, the Department of Cultural Affairs, Conservation, brought the equipment to enhance the tourism potential of the city. The main idea was to attract children. The over 300-year-old Quila Mubarak with its museums of ancient weaponry and the rich collection of artefacts in the Sheesh Mahal had substantial attraction for the grown-ups but less for children.
Inquiries reveal that years of neglect have damaged the equipment. Sources say there is no person in the department trained to handle the machinery. Ironically, when the equipment was bought, an employee who had only a few months left for retirement, was given special training to run the machinery. Since that employees retirement, no one has been given training nor any specialised person appointed to operate the machinery.
Mr Lakhwinder Singh Sodhi, Curator, conceded that the equipment was lying abandoned and had been considerably damaged.
Nangal remembers war hero
NANGAL: It was his birthday on February 26. It was time when the entire Kalia family got together to celebrate. But this year he "lives" only in memory of the townsfolk. Calendars bearing the photographs of Captain Amol Kalia, Vir Chakra awardee, who gave his life for the nation at a tender age of 26, now adorn the walls of almost all the houses in the town.
Capt Amol Kalia of the 12 Jammu & Kashmir Light Infantry Battalion laid down his life on June 11 in a gallant operation against the Pakistani intruders, in the Batalik sector of Kargil. Showing exceptional courage, he led a team of soldiers and para-commandos, and evicted the enemy from a key position killing 25 Pakistani intruders in a seven-hour operation.
Col Vikram Singh, the Defence Ministry spokesperson, had lauded his bravery by stating that but for the selfless devotion to duty marked with exemplary courage displayed by these gallant soldiers, the recapture of this post would not have been possible.
Captain Kalia, a resident of this town, did his schooling from the local Model Senior Secondary School (which has now been named after him). He joined the Army through the NDA after completing 10+2 from this school in 1991.
During his short but glorious stint in the Army, he remained at Siachen for 120 days as against the normal stay of 90 days. Before moving to his last battle he had just been posted at Delhi after an arduous stint at Siachen. He, however, opted to go for the battle rather than be at a quiet posting at Delhi.
Give up kerosene quota, get
KHARAR, March 11 Work on the Chandigarh-Morinda rail link is expected to start very soon.
Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, Minister of Food and Civil Supplies Punjab, while addressing a gathering here to honour the three Punjab ministers from Ropar district said he had come to know of the decision only today. He said all pending problems for the project had been cleared.
He said as per a decision of the Union Government all those consumers who surrender their kerosene quota would be given an LPG connection on demand in the three districts of Ropar, Hoshiarpur and Gurdaspur on priority basis.
He appealed to farmers not to go in for early sowing of paddy.
Addressing the gathering Mr Tara Singh Ladal, State Education Minister appealed to the people not to be misled by anti-party propaganda.
Meeting to discuss rising crime
JALANDHAR, March 11 With a view to chalk out a strategy to curb criminal activities by tribes and migrant labourers, the Punjab police will hold a high-level meeting at Phillaur tomorrow.
The meeting will be chaired by Mr Sarabjit Singh, Director-General of Punjab police.
The DGP was talking to mediapersons at a carnival organised by the Maruti Udyog Limited at Guru Gobind Singh Stadium here today.
Mr Sarabjit Singh said proper planning was needed to check the menace of these gangs active in the state. We will thoroughly discuss the problem and will try to solve the problem at the earliest, he added.
Talking about the
implementation of the Punjab police rules, the DGP said
the matter was under consideration of the Rebeiro
committee, which had already submitted some of its
suggestions to the government. He said the circumstances
now in the state were different as compared to those
during terrorism. Moreover, some of the police
rules are obsolete, he added.
Parasailing opens at Bathinda
BATHINDA, March 11 The city was, put on the adventure flying map of the country when Lt-Gen G.K. Duggal, Chetak Corps Commander, inaugurated the Chetak parasailing node at the local military station today.
The opening ceremony was like a dream come true for so many adventure enthusiasts. It was attended by military officers, army personnel and their families and students of local schools.
Lt-General Duggal said adventure sports was very important for inspiring the youths of the country and their development. He urged the youths to imbibe positive values in life and develop among them the spirit of adventure and killer instinct to win against all odds.
A defence spokesman
added that parasailing as an adventure activity had
already been added to many of the existing adventure and
sports activities, including sailing, boating, shooting,
riding and mountaineering.
PATIALA, March 11 Veteran journalist and Praja Mandal activist Bhushan Sirhindi was cremated at the Rajpura road cremation ground here this morning. Mr Sirhindi , who represented The Hindustan Times, The Times of India, the Press Trust of India and the Hind Samachar group, had passed away yesterday following a brief illness.
Additional Deputy Commissioner R S Randhawa laid a wreath on behalf of the district administration, DPRO Ujjagar Singh on behalf of Public Relations Minister Natha Singh Dalam, Congress Vice-President Lal Singh on behalf of the Pradesh Congress and Mr I. S. Chawla on behalf of the Working Journalists Federation.
Training camp held
ROPAR, March 11 Mr Deep Singh Sahota, Director, Agriculture, Punjab, yesterday called upon the farmers to improve the quality of their produce in order to compete in the international market.
Development sans staff
NAWANSHAHR, March 11 Although the victory in the recently held Assembly byelections here has overwhelmed the CM, leading to the starting of a lot of development works in the area, yet the local divisional office of the PWD (B&R) is yet to have the requisite staff.
The office, which was reshifted from Amritsar to Nawanshahr in June, last year, has a staff of 13 persons. Moreover, the government has delegated the drawing and disbursing power (both of salaries and works' payments) to Xen, PWD (B&R), here.
It is pertinent to mention here that the divisional office, PWD (B&R), was shifted from here in 1988 and at that time it had affected about 350 ministerial and field employees. But in 1999 it was shifted back to Nawanshahr.
Besides, the authorities concerned, through a letter, last year, were instructed to transfer those willing to go to Nawanshahr and the remaining staff be adjusted at other adjoining divisional offices. But interestingly, till now the orders had not been implemented.
As the drawing and disbursing powers of salaries lies with the Xen, PWD (B&R), Nawanshahr, the remaining employees of the shifted divisional office have been facing problems in getting their salaries. In the hope of getting back their divisional office back in Amritsar, the employees are allegedly not depositing the cheque book and receipt book with the district treasury office.
The employees of the local divisional office, PWD (B&R) have urged the state government to resolve the impasse to make the local divisional office fully operational. They have also urged the government to transfer the PWD office at Balachaur, along with the SDO, ministerial and field staff.
Man impersonating as DTO held
BATHINDA, March 11 The district police has arrested yet another man impersonating as a district transport officer (DTO) and involved in making fictitious driving licences, registration certificates and other documents.
The impersonator, who was arrested by the police on March 10 was identified as Avtar Singh, resident of Poojanwala Mohalla of this town, is the third such DTO arrested in the past three months.
Earlier, the local police arrested one such DTO on March 7 and the Gidderbaha arrested one about three months ago.
Police sources said that Avtar Singh, who was member of an inter-state gang involved in making fake registration certificates of vehicles and driving licences had been active for the past one year.
The rubber stamps of different district transport officers and other government papers were recovered from his possession. Some driving licences bearing the stamp of transport authorities of Tohana (Haryana) Zeera (Ferozepore), Fatehabad (Haryana) and registration certificates of five scooter and motor cycles were also seized from the accused.
Police sources said there were three other persons, members of the inter-state gang also involved in these activities. All other members of the gang belong to Haryana.
In-laws held for burning
LUDHIANA, March 11 A twentyfive-year-old woman, who had recently patched-up with her in-laws at the instance of the womens cell, Seelampur, Delhi, was allegedly burnt by her in-laws on March 9.
Mrs Kamini Arora, who has been admitted to the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, had returned from her parents house in Delhi on January 26 after two-and-a-half year separation. She had filed a complaint with the womens cell alleging that she was being harassed by her in-laws for dowry.
However, when summons were issued to Kaminis in-laws by the cell, they approached us for a compromise and we sent her back, informs Mr Jatinder Kaushal, an uncle of Kamini.
He says though trouble had been brewing in the house of Kamini for almost two years, yet they kept on giving more dowry to make things move on smoothly.
While the statement given by Kamini has already been recorded by an SDM, an FIR has been registered against her mother-in-law Asha Rani and father-in-law Ajit Kumar Arora, and both of them have been arrested.
However, Kaminis relatives say though Kamini had also named her husband Pawan Kumar, alias Pummy, as one of the accused, but the SDM mistook the name Pummy as mummy. They say they have again approached the SDM to re-record the statement.
Kamini, in her
statement, has reportedly said that her husband poured
kerosene over her and then tried to set her on fire in
connivance with his parents. She sustained 90 per cent
burns and is stated to be in a serious condition.
Home Guard rapes Dalit woman
ROPAR, March 11 Surinder Singh (35), a jawan of the Punjab Home Guard posted at the local city police station, was today arrested by the police for allegedly raping a Dalit woman of Alowal village on the night of March 9 near the cremation ground if Kotla Nihang village near here.
Mr Manohar Lal, SHO of the city police station, said here this evening the police had registered a case against Surinder Singh under Section 376 of the IPC on the statement of the Dalit woman. He said the victim got herself medically examined this afternoon.
The SHO said as per the
statement of the victim woman, the suspect, Surinder
Singh, took her to the cremation ground on the pretext of
taking her to Gurdwara Bhatha Sahib where she had planned
to spend the night. After committing the crime, Surinder
Murder case solved, four
LUDHIANA, March 11 The police has solved the murder case of Sunil Kumar, whose body was found floating in a pond opposite EWS Colony on February 29. The police had earlier termed the case as being that of suicide and a case under Section 174 CrPC, was registered in this connection.
The district police chief said Raju, Sonu Santer Pal and Rajesh had a tiff with Sunil and they forcibly drowned Sunil in the pond.
Case registered against ASI
LUDHIANA, March 11 The SSP, Mr Kuldip Singh, has ordered that an FIR be registered against ASI Raj Kumar and suspended the SHO of police station Division No. 3, SI Jaswinder Singh.
The SSP, in on official release, said a case under Sections 342 and 323 of the IPC had been registered against ASI Raj Kumar for his alleged involvement in the illegal detention of Vinod Kumar.
He said that SI Jaswinder Singh was being placed under suspension and a departmental inquiry being initiated for irresponsible conduct and failure to exercise effective control over his subordinates.
In another case, the SSP
placed three gunmen of SI Jaswinder Singh under
suspension. Another gunman Rajan Masih was discharged
from service. The four it is alleged tried to forcibly
extort money from Daljit Singh by threatening to
implicate him in a police case.
Two arrested on cheating
BATHINDA, March 11 The local police has arrested Balwant Singh and Jatti of Kotfatha village on a charge of cheating Mr Sukhpal Singh of Sardargarh village.
Mr Jatinder Kumar Jain, SSP, in a press note issued here yesterday, said that they took Rs 97,147 from Mr Sukhpal Singh for recruiting him as constable in the Punjab Police.
The accused after taking money issued two fake appointment letters, one issued by the SSP, Bathinda, and other issued by the SSP, Barnala, to him.
Woman alleges torture by sons
FATEHGARH SAHIB, March 11 Everybody was stunned when a widow Labh Kaur of Salana village in Amloh subdivisional narrated her tale of woes during sangat darshan organised by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr VK Janjua, in the village yesterday.
The woman alleged that her four sons beat her and demanded money for keeping her in her own house.
Reacting immediately, the DC directed the SDM, Amloh, to summon all four sons and register a case against them under Sections 125 and 126 of the IPC and to ensure maintenance and security of her. He also promised to provide her some help from the government.
Later, he asked
villagers to remove encroachments from the government
land otherwise, a case would be registered against the
violators. He said the district administration had
decided to file review petitions to get back the shamlat
land. He said Rs 1.5 crore had been released for pension
cases in the district.
Conference on March 14
PATIALA, March 11 The Department of Geography, Punjabi University, and the Association of Punjab Geographers will organise a two-day conference on the subject of Punjab since Independence: a geographical perspective at the university campus from March 14.
Dr H.S. Maangat, Head, Department of Geography, said Punjab had made significant strides in foodgrain production after Independence. It had emerged as the biggest contributor of foodgrains to the central pool of India.
The basic objective of
the conference would be to provide a platform to
geographers, sociologists, economists, administrators and
planners to take stock of the progress made by the state
in different fields after Independence and prepare a
strategy to enter the next millennium.
Traders stage dharna
LUDHIANA, March 11 A large number of traders of the Dasmesh Nagar area today took to the streets and staged a dharna against the alleged harassment by four PSEB employees today.
It is alleged that the four three junior engineers and a lineman were extorting money from businessmen after a checking. However, the irate residents gheraoed the officials and the police was summoned.
Mr Harish Khanna,
president of the Industry and Trade Forum, said that
though the police took away the PSEB officials, they were
later released and no action was taken against them. They
then staged a dharna at Campa Cola Chowk and blocked
traffic. As many as 17 businessmen have also given a
written complaint alleging that the officials had
extorted money from them.
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