|Wednesday, March 22, 2000,
appeal for restraint
CPI, DYFI protest against Clintons visit
to the rescue of Jhumar dance
MC seeks more funds
held for drug smuggling
get MBBS degrees
appeal for restraint
AMRITSAR, March 21 The SGPC has demanded a high-level probe into the killing of 35 Sikhs in Jammu and Kashmir, last night and sought immediate action against the culprits.
The SGPC President, Bibi Jagir Kaur, Vice-President, Mr Balbir Singh, Junior Vice-President, Mr Kewal Singh Badal, General Secretary, Mr Hardalbir Singh Shah and Secretary, Dr Gurbachan Singh Bachan, have made an appeal to the Sikhs to maintain cool and not to get provoked by the carnage.
The SGPC has sent telegrams to the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, External Affairs Minister, Mr Jaswant Singh, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah and the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, seeking strong and immediate action against the culprits.
The former Jathedar of Akal Takht, Bhai Ranjit Singh, also condemned the killing of Sikhs.
Bhai Ranjit Singh asked both the Central and the Kashmir governments to make its position clear as to why this heinous crime against the Sikhs had happened in Kashmir at a time when the US President, Mr Bill Clinton, was in India. It is a matter of concern that such a large number of Sikhs had been targeted in the decade-old militancy in Kashmir.
Both Indian and Pakistan agencies could enact such an incident to attract the attention of the US President, he said.
The former Jathedar made an appeal to the Sikh organisations particularly the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee to extend all help to the families of the victims.
The Akali Dal (Amritsar) sensed the incident as a conspiracy by the elements who had been working to defame Sikhs all over the world and to create a wedge in Sikhs and Muslims. Partys General Secretary Mr Ram Singh in a statement said that a team of the party leaders headed by the President, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, would visit the village where the massacre took place on March 23.
The party appealed to the Sikhs in Jammu and Kashmir not allow the incident to vitiate the atmosphere of goodwill between the communities.
The veteran CPI leader, Mr Satyapal Dang, has asked the Sikhs of Jammu and Kashmir to maintain peace.
The district unit of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee has urged the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, to do his utmost for declaring Pakistan a terrorist state.
Ludhiana: The Indian Ex-services League has demanded an inquiry into the incident by dignitaries from nations other than India and Pakistan.
chief leads procession
ANANDPUR SAHIB, March 21 The three-day annual Hola Mohalla ended here this evening peacefully as Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar, Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib, did not participate in the celebrations in the larger interest of the Panth.
This is for the first time that the Jathedar of this Takht did not participate in any ceremony though he remained present in the town during the festival days.
The traditional Hola Mohalla procession started this afternoon with ardas performed by Giani Puran Singh, Jathedar, Akal Takht, at Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib. With this, he established his supremacy as Jathedar amid the ongoing Panthic crisis. All arrangement for this religious procession are made by the SGPC. However, the SGPC chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur, stayed away from the celebrations.
Interestingly, Baba Santa Singh, Nihang chief of the Budha Dal, who was also excommunicated from the Sikh Panth, participated in another procession taken out by various segments of the Nihangs. However, Baba Balbir Singh, chief of the parallel faction of the Budha Dal, participated in the procession taken out by the SGPC.
Earlier, there was a lot of tension in the town over the probability of Prof Manjit Singhs participation. The district administration had to make elaborate security arrangements to meet any eventuality. Mr Paramjit Singh Sandhu, DIG, Ludhiana range, Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, district police chief and Mr Gurinder Singh Grewal, Deputy Commissioner, had camped here during the three-day celebrations to monitor the security arrangements in view of tension.
Talking to TNS, Prof Manjit Singh said he did not participate in Hola Mohalla procession to avoid any confrontation. This is a land of sacrifices and hence it was my duty to maintain the spirit and tradition shown by our revered Gurus, he remarked.
Though Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, did not pay his obeisance at Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib yesterday, but Mrs Surinder Kaur Badal, wife of Mr Badal, visited the Takht along with other members of her family to pay obeisance.
Earlier, Giani Puran Singh led the procession from Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib which visited several historical gurdwaras, including Qila Anandgarh Sahib, before returning to the Takht.
Hundreds of Nihangs also took out the procession and chanted slogans Bole so nihal, Sat Sri Akal. They also applied and sprinkled colours on each other and bystanders. They also demonstrated martial skills.
Lakhs of pilgrims visited the Takht and other local gurdwaras during the festival and took a dip in sarovars.
During the celebrations,
religious diwans, dhadhi darbars and kirtan darbars were
also held. All gurdwaras were decorated tastefully. About
100 langars were organised in the mela area by various
reforms in agriculture suggested
LUDHIANA, March 21 With agriculture continuing to be the dominating sector of the Punjab economy, farm economists have now suggested major policy reforms in agriculture to improve production growth rate, rural incomes, natural resource balance, ecological environment and fulfil the states role in national food security.
A rate of farm economists and scientists led by the Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University, Dr G.S. Kalkat, have suggested a policy dialogue in agriculture to the Government of India. These experts recently submitted a paper to the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry to be forwarded to the Union Government.
The paper outlines that in Punjab, contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from agriculture has shown a minimal decrease and was around 45 per cent and above-which has resulted in disparity in per capita income between the urban and rural population.
It is pointed out that though the states agriculture has achieved significant landmarks in the production of foodgrains and made significant contribution to food security of the country, the policy dialogue on Punjab agriculture should now revolve around not only sustaining the growth rate, improving it and also contributing significantly to the food security of the country.
Experts have suggested that emphasis needs to be laid on the aspects of relaxation in ceiling on operational land holdings, water scarcity and diversification options, special programmes for small farmers, Who and challenges for Punjab agriculture, agroprocessing and reforms in agricultural marketing system. Dr Karam Singh, Professor of Agricultural Economics, Punjab Agriculture University, one of the experts, who prepared the suggestions says to sustain longterm growth rate of four per cent of NSDP from agriculture up to the year 2020 requires doubling of milk production, poultry, fruits and vegetable production, improving the productivity of wheat and rice to 5.5 tonnes per hectare and 4.5 tonnes per hectare respectively.
He says that this would also help in contributing towards the national food security and that containing area under rice-wheat system to sustainable level by shifting at least 15 lakh acres to maize, soyabean and ground nut for improving eco-environment and exploiting export potentials.
The experts point out that the number of small and marginal farmers has been increasing at the rate of more than 10,000 every year with farm size continuing to decline. They say that since under the present system neither can be made viable nor they are secure in leasing out lands. They have suggested that the ceiling on operational holdings be relaxed to ensure that operational farm size becomes economical and the Land Tenancy Act be amended so that small and marginal farmers can lease out their land, seek off-farm employment and if need be, get their land back without resorting to court.
Agricultural experts point out that heavy public and private investment in marketing infrastructure and institutional support is required to help in diversification from wheat-paddy rotation, besides strengthening the research system to improve the genetic potentials of crops and animals.
They have recommended the launch of special programmes for imparting requisite skills, providing information to small farmers to take up other subsidiary occupation like dairy, poultry, fisheries etc for increasing their income. More research, extension, credit and market friendly institutions could serve the purpose in this regard.
For value addition, the paper points out increase in agro-processing of fruits and vegetables and milk products would require establishing cool chains, increasing the cold stores facility from the present 8 lakh tonnes to 12 lakh tonnes and the public investment policy for investment in agro-processing be changed to invest-operate-demonstrate, profits-disinvest, while still in profits-invest elsewhere. Experts feel that in the context of the WTO agreement to come into force from April 2001, Punjab needs expedited completion of the international airport at Amritsar along with sufficient infrastructure of cool rooms and cold stores. They suggest that Markfed should play strong nodal agency for export. The paper also suggests that following amendments in the Marketing Regulations and Farm Produce Markets Act.
I) Restrictions be removed on the movements of foodgrains, cotton etc.
II) Trade restriction on
stock limits of private traders be removed, and III) The
levies on sugar and rice be abolished and the government
purchase these commodities from the open market for its
public distribution system (PGDS).
will reflect correctives
CHANDIGARH, March 21 The Punjab Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, will present the Budget, 2000-01, in the Vidhan Sabha here tomorrow. This will be his fourth Budget. The Governor, Lieut-Gen. J.F.R. Jacob (retd) in his address to the Assembly on March 6 had said that the government was facing a very difficult financial position, which is neither unique to Punjab nor could be attributed to the present government. The stress persists since 1984-85 when Punjab became a revenue deficit state.
When the last government (Congress) demitted office it left a whopping deficit of Rs 1,357.06 crore, he disclosed. The deficit has further increased in the past three years. It was Rs 1,800 crore in 1997-98 and Rs 2,628 crore in 1998-99. The current year, 1999-2000 is expected to have a still larger deficit. This could be close to, say Rs 3,000 crore. A revenue deficit is an indicator of the financial health of a state. Certainly, the financial health of Punjab is bad. Much of the blame for an increase in deficit is apportioned to implementation of the Fourth Pay Commission recommendations. Even the Governor mentioned this fact in his Address and said it resulted in an increase of 55 per cent in the salaries and pensions.
Accepted this is so. But then in the past two Budgets, how come the resulting increase was not assessed correctly and the Budget tailored accordingly? Was it out of sheer ignorance or genuine belief that the outgo of money as a consequences of the commissions recommendations would not be what it turned out to be eventually? From Rs 400 crore this salary and pension bill alone is likely to touch Rs 2,000 crore by March 31 next. Therefore the budget which Capt Kanwaljit Singh presents on March 22 will have to apply correctives on this account and also assure the House that the Government would stabilise if not reduce this bill.
The point being made is simple: the financial implications of the pay commission were not correctly worked out. For want of this accuracy and the implementation itself spread over a period of time caused much of the avoidable financial consternation.
The Governor also listed certain steps which his government is expected to take for bringing about fiscal discipline and management. These are in the nature of cutting down on wasteful expenses, redeployment of manpower, eliminate losses in transport sector, streamlining tax administration to improve realisation of taxes, a review of explicit and implicit subsidies, inviting private investments and a hard look at public sector undertakings and disinvestment in them. On paper these and several other measures which are said to have been initiated quietly to avoid public outcry sound very well.
The real test of the Budget, however, will rest in the mechanism the finance minister will unfold to implement his tax proposals, which usually revolve round sales tax, revenue, transport, etc. The general feedback one gets from the government is that imposing or increasing taxes is not in the intended purpose. The philosophy being pursued is to broad-base the tax structure and widen and deepen its scope with an inbuilt system of better administration and realisation of the same. Even loopholes in the system have to be plugged. There is, after all, a limit to taxation. Moreover, taxation alone is no way to cover the deficit. No state, in fact, can cover its financial deficit at present nor can enable a state to extricate itself from the financial mess in which most of the states find themselves in; Punjab is no exception.
Therefore, the next year Budget is expected to be more in the nature of applying financial correctives. It will, perhaps, have to be analysed for setting a reverse trend to improve upon the fiscal situation over a period of time, both short-term and long-term. As such proposals are expected to be spelt out. which will go beyond 2000-01. Since 95 per cent of the revenue inflow is from taxation, revenue (stamp duty, registration, etc.) and transport sector (motor vehicles), therefore, resource mobilisation will concentrate on these areas.
Nevertheless the finance minister is expected to take-on the public sector undertakings (various boards and corporations) in a big way. It is believed that disinvestment to the tune of Rs 50 crore took place, quietly, in the current year. Therefore further tightening of financial controls and restructuring is on the anvil.
Another key area will be public expenditure, which covers the socio-economic sector besides infrastructure. The government is aware of the money-guzzling departments which also lead to development. This pertains to irrigation, power generation, infrastructure in terms of roads and bridges, etc. In all these radical changes are expected with a view to encouraging private investment.This will mean adopting efficient methods to keep control over public spending.
The government is conscious of the fact that all its money earmarked for social security sector is not being properly used. The returns on the public spending are far and few. Even the cost is not returned. The value of money has to be realised. Moreover, there has been little or no visible impact of the money thus spent. Will the Budget or otherwise the government undertake merger and clubbing together of agencies involved in social security projects? Multiplicity of work and blocking of working hands with additional drain on the exchequer is well known.
The Budget is likely to see a large number of old schemes being slashed and money unlocked. In fact unlocking certain investments in itself should see the state mop up some money. Therefore what is expected to be presented tomorrow is likely to show that a government (with just two years left before it goes back to the people) has taken a small step in effecting fiscal correctives which will ultimately mean a giant step forward; but only over a period of time. Undoing the damage already done, may it be as a consequence of cumulative effect or present governments doing, will not be easy. Rock-strong political will is a must.
It is also well known that Punjab has not been able to fully implement its annual plans for want of resources. The current years Plan is not any different. It will go the same way as did the past plans. Which means the finance minister will, probably focus on fiscal consolidation in future.?
Left to itself, the finance department would not distinguish between Plan and non-plan budgets or adhere to March 31 syndrome. It would have preferred preparing a budget which will be termed as functional expenditure. Still the attempt will be to go as far as politically permissible to improve financial housekeeping by learning from the past mistakes.
The options are limited, so are the sources for the much-needed resources. There is likely to be much hidden agenda despite all talk of transparency and attempt to put gloss over figures and facts.
Much time is usually lost when after the presentation of the Budget the proposals on additional resource mobilisation have to be again put before the cabinet. Therefore, once the tax proposals are approved by the Cabinet tomorrow morning (a meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m.) there will be no going back. The idea is to implement the proposals right away from April 1 without loss of time. Current year experience has led to new system. Real realisation of mopping up revenue in 1999-2000 began only towards September once government got a kneejerk from finance.
In a development not directly related to Budget presentation or preparation, it is learnt that based on certain reports available with the government several administrative departments restructuring so also on the anvil. The intention is to ensure better coordination and save on expenses, besides, better monitoring and coordination. Moreover, the idea is to have optimum utilisation of the available manpower. Some changes have already taken place but as not to raise hackles these were not publicised.
Therefore, the next Budget will take into account balancing of the revenue inflow and expenditure enabling the government to shed its image of mai-baap. In other words, the government cannot be a provider for everything under the sun. Nor should it engage itself in manufacturing sector. There has to be a fair balance when it comes to services and goods that the government can and should make available.
As a provider certain areas are now to be identified to cater to the people at large. This means there is expected to be focus, besides the agriculture and allied sector, on primary education, primary health, sanitation and environment, physical infrastructure in terms of drinking water, sewerage, information technology, computerisation etc.
Will the Budget ensure that targets in any field will not be politically fixed, irrespective of resources? Luckily, Punjab has had good agricultural growth and economy has looked up. The states growth rate has now almost caught up with the national growth rate of 6.8 per cent; Punjabs being 6.2 against 2.68 only in the previous year. Likewise the ratio of sales tax to state domestic product has improve from 2.86 (1998-99) to 4 for the current year. It is expected to be around 5 by end of the next year.
One can hopefully expect
a different kind of a Budget this time, which should in
ways more than one may show a proper
direction in which the state and its economy
is headed. Notwithstanding the debt servicing
and how the money comes (all sources, Central and
states own) and goes the point is will Budget show
political compulsions (on issues like free
power and water to agriculture which has stalled the
availability of internationally available funds for
various key projects) or keep the wider economic interest
of the state foremost? Rather than giving an impression
that in the past two years of its five-year term the
Akalis (BJP included) too have adopted the previous
governments (Congress) scorched earth policy, it
should prioritise its political economy through hard
decisions. Will it?
CPM, CPI, DYFI protest
against Clintons visit
LUDHIANA, March 21 To protest against the ongoing visit of the US President, Mr Bill Clinton, the district unit of the Communist Party of India (CPI) organised a rally near Clock Tower here today.
A large number of protesters carrying black flags, placards and banners raised anti-USA slogans. Various leaders alleged that Americans had never stood in favour of India and had been aiding and abetting terrorist and separatist forces in the country.
The leaders alleged that while India was being pressurised into signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), the USA was not ready to destroy its own weapons of mass destruction. They also objected to President Clintons scheduled visit to Pakistan, when earlier he himself had declined to visit the nation due to the military coup.
After the rally, a procession marched through Chaura Bazaar and ended near the Railway Station. The protesters also burnt an effigy of American President.
Among those who addressed the rally were Mr Bharat Parkash, Member National Council, CPI, Comrade Kartar Singh Bowani, secretary CPI, Ludhiana, Dr Arun Mitra and Mr O.P. Mehta, the leaders compared Clintons visit with the East India Company which came to India for trade but enslaved us finally.
AMRITSAR: The Communist Party of India-Marxists and allied parties held a demonstration in the city today against the visit of the US President, Mr Bill Clinton.
It held a rally outside the Hall Gate and burnt an effigy of the USA President near the local bus stand. Later they marched in different parts of the city shouting slogans against Mr Bill Clinton.
The demonstration was organised on a joint call by the CPI-Marxist, the Punjab Kisan Sabha, the Khet Mazdoor Union and the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI).
Speakers addressing the rally alleged that the USA President would force the Indian leaders to sign the CTBT and to open Indian markets for the US trade.
Criticising the economic policies of the BJP government, the speakers said that to flood the Indian markets with US products Mr Clinton would make the Indian government to give concessions to American traders.
While on one hand the Vajpayee government is trying to enforce RSS policies in India on the other it is giving permission to imperialistic power to overpower Indias trade and commerce, they added.
Those who addressed the rally included the district committee member of the CPM, Mr Kanwal Preet Singh Pannu, and district secretary of the DYFI Mr Pargat Singh Jamarai.
TARN TARAN: Activists of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) under the presidentship of Mr Pargat Singh Jamarai district Amritsar, president, DYFI here today burn an effigy of American President Bill Clinton on his arrival at New Delhi. The activists raised slogans Clinton go back and down with Vajpayee. CPM leader Jaspal Singh Dhillon and others too were present on the occasion who condemned Union Governments economic policies inviting MNCs in the country to exploit people.
JALANDHAR: CPM activists today burnt an effigy of US President Bill Clinton here today opposing his visit to India.
Led by party city
secretary Baldev Singh Noorpuri, the agitators, shouting
slogans against the visit of Mr Clinton and entry of
multinational corporations in India, burnt his effigy on
the main road outside Desh Bhagat Yadgar Hall in the city
in full public view this afternoon.
83-year-old to the rescue
of Jhumar dance
PATIALA March 21 Eightythree-year-old Baba Pokhar Singh has travelled a long way. Literally. From playing the age-old all-men folk dance Jhumar at his native village Tootanwala in Montgomery district of Pakistan before Partition, he is now coaching jean-clad lads in Punjabi University here.
Baba Pokhar Singh has been given the task of standardising the Jhumar dance through a workshop being conducted by the Theatre and Television Department in collaboration with the North Zone Cultural Centre (NZCC) in the University campus here.
So, in a change of scene, the veteran artist, who started Jhumar first at the age of 12 at his village on the banks of the Ravi river and has taken part in folk competitions all over the undivided Punjab, now dons his colourful best every morning and trudges to the workshop from Waris Bhawan, where he has been put up, to pass on the skill to the university students. He is accompanied by his son, who constantly demonstrates Jhumar steps to the students, and his grandson who plays the drum.
Talking to TNS while holding the workshop, Baba Pokhar said it was the purity of the art about which he was concerned. Unfortunately this all male slow dance has been relegated to the background by the faster Bhangra. Due to this there are few professionals engaged in the dance and the purity of its steps is not being maintained, he said. Baba Pokhar said he was giving training to the the boys on the classical Jhumar so that the age-old Jhumar of different regions could be preserved properly.
Explaining the art, he said the dance form had been evolved in steps with different regions having their typical steps. He said he had presently summarised all the major steps into one tableau. This, he said, included the Jhumar of Ravi as he played it, the Jhumar of Lama, Chanar, Jhelum and the Sutlej. He said while he himself was the pioneer in characterising the Jhumar of the Ravi with depictions of agricultural scenes, the dance form of the Sutlej region was more feisty and played with the toes only. The dance form of the Jhelum was famous for its chutki, he said.
It is Baba Pokhars dream to propagate the dance form to its fullest in Punjab. Although my entire family plays Jhumar with even my great grandsons learning it at a tiny age, the art form has not reached the zenith it deserves as it eludes the boys of today, the veteran artist said. I am concentrating on only teaching the steps I learnt from my uncle so that the dance form can retain its classical touch, he adds. He said he had been lucky after Partition as even his favourite dholis were allotted land close to him in Fazilka due to which he could continue the tradition further. Now it is upto these youngsters to carry the Jhumar torch further, he adds.
The youngsters taking part in the workshop are eager to continue with the Jhumar and term it as a classical dance in which they can display their manly nakhras to telling effect . Most boys have picked up the art form well but those who knew bhangra earlier take some time to adjust to the slow rhythm of the dance. You have to reorient yourself a little, said Tejinder Singh, one of the participants after a performance.
connections for martyrs kin
BATHINDA, March 21 The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) authorities have decided to provide one tubewell connection free to the families of the Kargil martyrs belonging to the state in recognition of the supreme sacrifice made by the martyrs while defending the country.
In a letter sent to all officials, the authorities have asked them to obtain the list of the martyrs hailing from the areas falling within their respective circles from the District Magistrates that tubewell connection could be provided on priority.
According to the letter, in case of unmarried martyrs the connection may be released in the name of parents and if the parents are not alive, the same may by released in the name of brothers and sisters after obtaining no-objection certificate from the remaining brothers and sisters.
In case of married martyrs, the connection may be released in the name of wife or one of the children after obtaining no-objection from other children, if any. All other conditions regarding release of the tubewells connections to the martyrs shall remain unchanged.
The PSEB authorities have also decided that the native villages of the martyr shall be covered under 24-hour power supply in the current financial year on priority.
The PSEB authorities have asked the field staff to obtain the list of native villages of the martyrs from the deputy ministers concerned. The PSEB authorities have decided that usual charges for covering such villages under 24-hour power supply shall be deposited by the panchayats.
celebrations in jail
PATIALA March 21 Holi festival of colours provided some tinges of colour to the dull and monotonous life of scores of inmates of the Central Jail here yesterday.
The inmates not only drenched each other in a range of colours but also enjoyed splashing the jail staff as well.
Capt. S.P. Sigh, Deputy Superintendent, jail, said such festivals bring cheers to the inmates and help in their reformation. He said everyone enjoyed the festival. But there were some moist eyes as well. A number of prisoners remembered their near and dear ones.
A special cultural and variety programme with active participation of the jail staff was also organised. The bhangra dance sent the inmates into a frenzy. Their joy knew no bounds when the jail staff also joined them.
Capt. S.P. Singh said the jail staff in collaboration with the North Zone Cultural Centre will organise a cultural festival on Baisakhi festival in the Jail premises for the sake of the inmates. He said the organisation of such festivals helped the jail staff in establishing better relationship with the prisoners.
PATIALA March 21 In all, 71 men and 12 women took part in the annual sport meet of the Senior Citizens Welfare Association held at Bir Dasondhi Ram Community Centre in Model Town here yesterday.
For these veterans, the meet was more of a test of endurance, resilience and determination in the face of challenges of time and distance.
Among the oldest of all participants were 89-year-old Arjan Dass Ahuja and 86-year-old B.K. Kapur, both of whom competed in all events.
The events held were 400 m, 200 m, 100 m, 50 m and shot put.
Patiala MC seeks more
PATIALA March 21 A 75 per cent hike in the allocation of funds for roads, special policies on slum development, augmentation of water supply and funds for new machinery, especially for cleaning the city, are the major features of the proposed budget of Patiala Municipal Corporation for the year 2000-2001. It has been sent to the state government for approval and is likely to get a nod with minor changes, if required, as has been the practice in past.
No new taxes have been proposed. The absence of an elected body managing the affairs of the corporation has proved beneficial to the residents as only an elected corporation can hike tax rates.
The proposals, however, aim to earn more revenue from octroi by proposing 30 per cent more collection in the next financial year. The corporation has also proposed to levy excise duty on its own to collect a revenue of Rs 2 crore. The tipplers need not worry about the increase in cost of liquor as earlier the Excise Department collected excise duty and paid it to the corporation but from this year the corporation will collect the money directly. The budgetary provisions say that last year only 50 per cent of excise duty payable to the corporation was received, forcing it to adopt this strategy.
The 37.5 crore proposed budget will have Rs 16 crore earmarked for establishment and contingency expenditure. The non-plan expenditure has been cut by 10 per cent. The corporation has decided not to go in for any new recruitment. It has instead proposed rationalisation of staff.
Mr K.S. Kang, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, commented that the corporation had surplus staff in one wing while faces shortage in another. So rationalisation was the need of the hour. He stressed that no retrenchment of staff would be done.
The collection from house tax, water supply and octroi was almost achieved in the financial year 1999-2000. However, the proposed collection of Rs 13 crore from sale of property for shops and rent of shops failed miserably this year as only Rs 2 crore was collected. Mr Kang said funds for the establishment of certain development works were not used, resulting in no-deficit budget even though the proposed collection from property could not be achieved. He said in the next financial year the target in this category had been fixed at Rs 10 crore. He said the target would be achieved this year as several steps for garnering of resources were in the final stages.
The budgetary provision for laying of new roads and maintaining of old ones has been increased to Rs 3.5 crore from Rs 2 crore during the last financial year. About Rs 1 crore has been earmarked for slum development, which includes new roads, street lights and parks.
Special funds have been proposed for development of Rajindra Lake, which has already become a favourite tourist spot. The corporation will spend more on development of parks. A sum of Rs 1 crore has been kept aside for the construction on a new building of the corporation, which will come up near the National Institute of Sports here.
In the proposed budget there is no special scheme for development of outer colonies and certain areas which have just been corporated in the M.C. boundary. Even the water and sewerage facility would not be extended to these colonies. Mr Kang said unless the corporation has more money, giving these facilities to outer colonies is out of question. He said the MC may try to provide facilities in or few areas but unless all the colonies are covered in the masterplan, it would not serve any purpose, he said.
police on alert: Badal
CHANDIGARH, March 21 While directing the Punjab Police authorities to put the force on full alert in the state the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today condemned the brutal massacre of 35 innocent Sikh in Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir.
Before air dashing to Anantnag, Mr Badal said there was no place for violence in our peace-loving democratic society. Describing it as a ghastly act and a heinous crime, Mr Badal appealed to the people of the country in general and Sikhs in particular to stay cool and maintain communal harmony in this moment of crisis. He has urged the J&K government to ensure the protection of minorities.
After visiting the Chatti-Singhpore village where the incident took place, Mr Badal will meet the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister in Jammu before returning to Chandigarh, according to a Punjab Government spokesman. He would also discuss rehabilitation of the members of the affected families.
mourns Vijs death
CHANDIGARH, March 21 Mr Natha Singh Dalam, Information and Public Relations Minister, Punjab, has expressed shock over the demise of a renowned freedom fighter, Mr O.P. Vij, who died here today.
Sarpanch held for drug
JALANDHAR, March 21 A village sarpanch, who had allegedly been indulging in large-scale smuggling of poppy husk to bail himself out of financial mess, was arrested by the police and 40 quintals of the contraband, concealed in a government school building, was seized.
Mangal Singh, Sarpanch of Dhuggar village, near Shahkot, had allegedly brought a truckload of poppy husk from Rajasthan for sale in the area and concealed it in the Government Primary School of his village. The contraband 100 gunny bags of poppy husk, worth Rs 10 lakh were seized by a police party in the presence of village respectables yesterday after receiving a tip-off, the SSP, Mr Gaurav Yadav said.
During investigation, Mangal Singh divulged that he was lured into the narcotics trade due to his lavish lifestyle, heavy borrowings and addiction to the drug. He had developed contacts with some poppy smugglers in Rajasthan after paying an initial amount of Rs 50,000.
Mr Yadav said a case under the NDPS Act has been registered and police parties had been detailed to Rajasthan to arrest the truck driver, who had transported the consignment, and the drug peddlers who had supplied the poppy husk to Mangal Singh.
Three persons have been arrested, for allegedly planning a robbery in a city park here on Tuesday. A .315 bore country-made pistol and one .12 bore country-made pistol and some live cartridges were seized from their possession.
The three persons, in their early 20s and belonging to lower middle-class families, had been identified as Amit Rishi, a resident of Saraj Ganj locality, Shiv Saroop, a resident of Shastri Nagar locality, and Naresh Kumar, a resident of Dilbagh Nagar. During a visit to Agra, they along with a girl friend of Amit Rishi, had come into contact with a gunrunner, who gave them arms to supply these in Punjab. Chakardhar Dass, the gunrunner, told them that he had been supplying arms to people in Punjab for committing robberies in the state. He had also exhorted them to bring more youths into his gang. Special parties had been sent to Uttar Pradesh to nab Chakardhar Dass, the SSP said.
Two thieves held
The district police has arrested two thieves and recovered stolen electronics articles from their possession.
Dharamjit Sahu, a resident of Teli district in Bihar, and Ram Sharan Gauf, a resident of Gago village in Bihar, were arrested from near Asmanpur village on Monday. They confessed to having stolen one VCR, one movie camera, one still camera and a video CD player from the house of one Gurmeet Singh, a resident of Alipur village under Lambra police station. They were wanted in many theft cases in Bihar, claimed Mr Yadav.
activist killed in exchange of fire
BARNALA, March 21 Rajinder Pal Singh, an activist of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) youth wing, was killed in an exchange of firing between two factions of the youth wing at Dhilwan village, about 15 km from here, on Saturday night. Balwinder Singh was reported to have sustained injuries.
According to a report, a petty quarrel began between the groups of Jasminder Singh Munti, Sarpanch as well as Sangrur district SAD youth wing chief, and Prof Baldev Singh Dhilwan, a youth wing activist, which led to firing.
Mr Munti is a close associate of Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Poverty Alleviation and Sports Minister, whereas Mr Baldev Singh is considered close to Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, Punjab.
The police has registered a case against five persons at Tapa police station, including Mr Munti, under Sections 307, 302, 148, 149, 25-27, 54, 59 of the IPC.
JALANDHAR March 21 The Phillaur police today found the body of Karnail Singh, a lambardar of Mahlan village, near the Khanpur canal.
Karnail Singh had been missing from his house since March 19. He was called out of his house by someone on that day but never returned thereafter. A case has been registered in this regard.
The body of Mohan Lal, a resident of Chak Miglani was also found from the village nullah this morning. According to the police, he had a wordy duel with his wife Harbans Kaur after consuming liquor last night.
leader alleges assault
LUDHIANA, March 21 The General Secretary of Punjabs women wing of the BJP, Mrs Renu Thapar, has accused her brother-in-law of physically assaulting her.
In a DDR registered with the police, Mrs Thapar has alleged that her husband Arun Thapars elder brother, Ashok Thapar, and his wife, Asha, beat her with an iron rod when she went to her ancestral residence to get a few belongings on Sunday.
It is learnt that both
Arun and Ashok have been involved in a property dispute
over the past couple of months. Arun had vacated the
ancestral house along with his family and was staying in
a rented accommodation.
49 get MBBS degrees
LUDHIANA, March 21 Convocation and prize distribution function of Christian Medical College and hospital held here last evening on the college campus. Dr Professor, A. Rajasekaran, president of the National Board of Examinations, New Delhi, presided over the function.
students were given MBBS degrees and 61 students were
given B.Sc (nursing) degrees. In his inaugural speech, Dr
Rajasekaran laid stress on the basic need for health
care, latest innovations in medical field and mutual
transfer of knowledge, which equipped young doctors with
suitable opportunities for patient care.
|| Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
| Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | In Spotlight |
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
| 119 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |