|Sunday, March 26, 2000,
and punish killers: Tohra
building of Ranjit Sagar Dam
enrols 2 lakh members
station to be completed soon
mela disappoints farmers
on crop quality
injured in clash
leader gets bail
degree racket unearthed
killed, 13 hurt in road mishap
agent found innocent
board plays with students career
Hamdard quits RS
JALANDHAR, March 25 Mr Barjinder Singh Hamdard, Editor of Punjabi daily Ajit, today resigned from the membership of the Rajya Sabha.
Mr Hamdard was elected unopposed to the Elders House on March 20 last year as an Independent with the support of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP combine. His term was scheduled to expire on March 19, 2004.
Talking to TNS, Mr Hamdard said, I have tendered my resignation owing to nothing, but my preoccupation as an Editor. I believe I have been unable to devote my time to matters related with my position as an MP. He said he had already sent his resignation letter to the Rajya Sabha Chairman and a copy of it to the Punjab Chief Minister and the SAD president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.
According to a TNS report from New Delhi, the resignation of Mr Barjinder Singh Hamdard has triggered off speculation in political circles here as to the reason behind his exit four years ahead of the completion of tenure as the member of the Rajya Sabha.
Political circles in Delhi anticipates that Mr Parkash Singh Badal would press for the inclusion of his son Sukhbir Singh Badal in the Union Council of Ministers due to be expanded later next week.
Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal eventually could be accommodated in the Rajya Sabha against the vacancy being caused by the resignation of Mr Hamdard, sources said here tonight.
Identify and punish killers:
CHANDIGARH, March 25 Former SGPC President and leader of the Sarab Hind Akali Dal, Gurcharan Singh Tohra has demanded that the government should identify the killers of the innocent Sikhs in the Kashmir valley and punish them. This was necessary to end the confusion and also to instil confidence in the Sikh community. In a statement here today, Mr Tohra appealed to the Sikhs in Kashmir and Jammu areas not to leave their homes.
Mr Tohra urged the Central and Jammu and Kashmir governments to ensure the protection of the minuscule Sikh minority in the Kashmir valley.
Mr Tohra, accompanied by the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) office-bearers, visited the valley and met the bereaved families of the Chhatti Singhpora Sikh massacre on Friday. He said that if appropriate steps were not taken expeditiously the Sikh community would not be left with any other alternative but to leave the valley.
Mr Tohra who along with a former Akal Takht Jathedar, Bhai Ranjit Singh, and DSGMC president P.S.Sarna had long deliberations with Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah and senior officials, expressed his dismay that no Central Government Minister, particularly Union Home Minister L.K.Advani, had visited the valley and consoled the aggrieved families.
Call for bandh on March 31
LUDHIANA, March 25 The Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal has given a call to all Punjabis, irrespective of their religious and political affiliations, to observe a bandh on March 31 in protest against the carnage of 36 Sikhs in Chatti Singhpora.
This was announced by the President of the SHSAD, Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra, while addressing a press conference here today. He said the people of Punjab should voluntary observe a bandh against this inhuman and gory act.
Jathedar Tohra said path and bhog would be held in all gurdwaras in Punjab on that day to pray for the departed souls.
The former SGPC chief said now it had become clear that this was the handiwork of foreign mercenaries. He said during his visit to Chatti Singhpora, an old woman of the village had told him that she one of the assailants was an ex-serviceman.
However, the government has claimed that a youth of the village has been recognised by the villagers as one of the killers. Nothing definite can be said, he explained.
AMRITSAR (FOC): The All-India Sikh Sutdents Federation (Gill) has given a call for a bandh in Punjab on March 31 in protest against the massacre of 35 Sikhs by militants in Jammu and Kashmir.
The federation President, Mr Harminder Singh Gill, said in a press statement on Saturday that a decision to this effect was taken at an emergency meeting of the federation here on Friday on the return of the federation leaders from Chatti Singhpora village for an on-the-spot study.
The federation called upon Sikhs to perform akhand path bhogs in gurdwaras on March 31.
The federation said students appearing in examinatiions had been exempted from the call.
The federation appealed to Akali factions, the Youth Akali Dal, political parties, the Sant Samaj, the Singh Sabhas, business organisations, Bar associations and religious and social organisations to make the bandh call a success in order to express solidarity with the families of the victims.
Mr Gill said the federation did not blame any particular religion or community for the carnage.
He said during his visit to the Kashmir valley, he saw persons of all communities, including Muslims, protesting against the killings and weeping for the victims.
Mr Gill said the federation felt the massacre was a part of a conspiracy to force the Sikhs to migrate out from the valley.
Kashmiri Sikhs asked to keep cool
AMRITSAR, March 25 Jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Puran Singh has asked the Kashmiri Sikhs to exercise restraint and not to take any decision on migration in haste.
Giani Puran Singh, who went to Chatti Singpura village in Jammu and Kashmir to console the families of 35 Sikhs killed by militants, last week, returned here today.
He said that he told a large gathering of Kashmiri Sikhs gathered in a gurdwara of the affected village that he would be returning to the village on the occasion of bhog ceremony to be held on March 31 when a large number of Sikh leaders were expected to participate and he would place their case before them for decision.
Giani Puran Singh was referring to the decision of Kashmiri Sikhs to migrate to Punjab after the bhog ceremony.
Giani Rajinder Singh, who is head of the Sikh community there had expressed fear that such heinous incidents could happen every day in Kashmir and as such Sikhs in Kashmir would no more be staying there.
Another prominent resident of the village Master Surjit Singh said that there was no alternative for the Sikhs other than migrating and asked the Jathedar to make arrangements for their rehabilitation in and around Amritsar.
We want to flee from here in order to save our modesty. Although we have been given assurance to provide arms for protection and deployment of security forces but what security persons would do when they cannot protect themselves from the attacks of the militants.
Giani Puran Singh, who was emotionally moved said that they were with them in their hour of sorrow and asked them to find solace in Gurbani.
Protests against killings
AMRITSAR, March 25 Protests against the massacre of 35 Sikhs at Chatti Singhpora village in Jammu and Kashmir on Monday last continued unabated by various organisations, political parties and religious institutions.
Residents staged demonstrations at Tarn Taran, Jhabbal, Patti, Rayya, Attari, Bhikhiwind Khalra and Khemkaran.
AIATF to adopt wards of
AMRITSAR, March 25 The All-India Anti-Terrorist Front (AIATF) has decided to adopt children of Chatti Singhpore in Jammu and Kashmir. This was announced by Mr Maninderjit Singh Bitta, President, AIATF, here yesterday.
Mr Bitta said the massacre at Chatti Singhpora was the handiwork of Pakistan-sponsored agencies. He said the AIATF would force the Indian Government to stop the Delhi-Lahore bus and Samjahuta Express as these were being used by the ISI to send their agents to India.
Mr Bitta alleged that Mr Farooq Abdullah, Chief Minister, Jammu and Kashmir, wanted to convert his state into a mini Pakistan. This could not be allowed. He said Mr Farooq should own responsibility for the killing of 36 innocent Sikhs. He appealed to political parties to unit on a single platform and appeal to the visiting US President, Mr Bill Clinton, to declare Pakistan a terrorist state.
He claimed Mr Clintons life would be in danger during his stay in Pakistan .
Probe building of Ranjit
CHANDIGARH, March 25 The Punjab Services Anti-Corruption Council, a registered body, has urged the Punjab Government to order a high-level probe in the construction of the Ranjit Sagar Dam. Besides other scandals at the project, the snags in the tunnels at the project have caused a loss to the tune of Rs 1200 crore to the state. The commissioning of the project has been delayed for several months thereby causing a loss in the form of generation of power.
The council leaders say while big projects like Bhakra Dam, Pong Dam etc were aptly designed and successfully executed, Ranjit Sagar Dam has brought a bad name to the engineers as well as the bureaucracy. Urging the government to fix the responsibility for the delay in the commissioning of the project after registering a proper criminal case, the council also urged the government to ask the Chief Secretary to make the snags at the project public.
Recalling that the Punjab Chief Minister had announced that the Ranjit Sagar Dam project would be commissioned on November 4, 1998, the council says it has not been commissioned so far. During 1999, the government had fixed July 31 as the date for commissioning power units of 150 MW each after several postponements. Two days before the actual date cracks developed in the emergency gate portion of the project resulting in postponing the commissioning indefinitely. It is worth mentioning that already Rs 3,300 crore has been spent on the project, the council adds.
For the past four years, the work of the construction has been allocated to various contractors for the completion of the project contrary to the policy decision of the government to execute the project by the department. There has been lot of bungling of funds in allocating the works to certain contractors, the council Chairman, Mr A.D.S. Anandpuri, alleges.
The council says the
initial estimated cost of the project, about 20 years
ago, was only Rs 200 crore, but it had now touched above
Rs 3,000 crore. Alleged financial irregularities, bogus
stock purchases, obtaining of substandard machinery,
spare parts and construction material and irregularities
in marking appointments of close relations at the project
should be a part of the inquiry, it adds.
BJP enrols 2 lakh members
PHILLAUR, March 25 The Punjab BJP has enrolled two lakh new members till now, state BJP President, Mr Daya Singh Sodhi, said here on Thursday. About the organisational elections, Mr Sodhi said the elections to Ward Samitis in Punjab would be completed by April 9, those of blocks by April 23, while the district unit elections would be over by May 7, the state President would be elected on May 14.
Punjabs Budget and the increase in the rates of
cooking gas and kerosene, Mr Sodhi urged the government
to withdraw the increase in the rates of gas and kerosene
and suggested simplification of the sale tax system.
Earth station to be completed soon
PATIALA, March 25 Punjab Finance Minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh today said an earth station being constructed at the Information Technology Park at Mohali would be completed soon to cater to the growing list of IT companies which were setting up shop in the park.
Talking to newsmen here, the Finance Minister said six major IT companies, including Wipro and Infosys, had already set up shop in Mohali and more were likely to establish their business in the park due to stress being laid on the IT sector in this years state Budget.
He said this years Budget while concentrating on encouraging middle and small-scale industry was mainly focussing on information technology. He said the Budget also provided for setting up of a institute of information technology at Mohali. He said this was being done not only to provide trained human resources. He said it was this sector alone which could bring Punjab on the international map and attract computer software and hardware operators to Punjab.
Capt Kanwaljit said, besides this to ensure economic growth of 5 per cent annually, revenue of Rs 5,000 crore was needed which was not forthcoming from budgetary support. He said to create the necessary infrastructure an Infrastructure Initiative Fund worth Rs 100 crore annually would also be created by way of institutional financing as well as private participation on build-operate-and-transfer basis. He said for this year alone he had proposed projects worth Rs 1,730 crore in the road sector alone, which were targeted for completion by first quarter of 2002.
The Finance Minister
said a new impetus had also been given to agriculture by
way of encouraging agro economy. A detailed marketing
plan was also being drawn up, besides infusing new
technology into the sector.
Kisan mela disappoints farmers
BATHINDA, March 25 A large number of farmers, who failed to get seeds, returned home disappointed from a one-day kisan mela being organised by Punjab Agricultural University at the regional research centre here yesterday.
Thousands of farmers from all over the Malwa belt visited the mela.
After the failure of crop for a number of years, the farmers wanted to get seeds of desi cotton which the university authorities claimed to be resistant to the American bollworms, the dreaded enemy of cotton growers. New varieties of paddy PR-115 and PR-116 were in great demand but all not fortunate enough to get the seeds.
Several departments of the university had organised exhibitions and demonstrations to create awareness about the latest technology. Various companies had put up nearly 70 stalls at the mela.
Stress on crop quality
RAKHRA (PATIALA), March 25 A kisan mela organised here today by the Young Farmers Association stressed the need of improving quality of crops along with increased production.
Addressing the farmers a number of experts advised them to use manures in right proportions to preserve fertility of the soil. They also urged the government to evolve methods of aggressive marketing of the crop and allow more exports so that local farmers could compete in international market.
Mr Ramesh Inder Singh, Principal Secretary to Punjab Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal said the new horizons of information opened through the internet could go a long way in providing the latest information on development in agriculture. He said the farmers of the state were facing more competition because apart from competing with other states in the country they would also have to make their product competitive in the international market.
Deputy Commissioner Jasbir Singh Bir called upon the farmers to use more organic manure to keep quality of the crops. He invited fertiliser companies to set up a plant in Patiala for manufacturing manure from garbage and waste material. He said the district administration would support them in acquiring land for the purpose.
Mr Anil Kakkar, dwelled on the need of preserving quality of soil for getting good crop. Talking on basis of his survey in the state he said 30 years ago the soil contained all necessary nutrients but with years of use if has lost many. He said over the years farmers have concentrated on feeding manures like nitrogen and phosphate without realising that there were several small elements which help in the growth of health plants.
Mr Kakkar said the soil was also hardening day by day due to the decreased elements in it. He said earlier a few horse powers tractors were sufficient but now more powerful tractors were required.
Dr Dharam Singh of the
Indian Agriculture Research Institute New Delhi, advised
the farmers now to allow water to stand in the fields as
it encouraged germination. He described several methods
of ensuring a quality crop.
10 injured in clash
ROPAR, March 25 Nearly 10 persons were injured in a clash which took place in the local Malhotra colony this afternoon over demolition of an building under construction. Two of the injured have been admitted to the local civil hospital. The two belong to the group that was reportedly constructing a building for a gurdwara there.
Mr Mani Singh Namdhari, a leader of the local Namdhari community, talking to newsmen said that two of their workers Hardial Singh and Des Raj Mistri were seriously injured and were in hospital. The trouble started when the executive officer, EO of the local municipal council along with a large number of municipal employees came on the site and asked workers to stop the construction of the gurdwara building on the plea that its map had not been got approved from the municipal council. He said they told the EO that the president of the council had given them the go ahead. But the EO ordered his staff to demolish the building and attacked workers. In the attack, five of his workers were injured, Mr Namdhari said.
Mr Mani Singh said they were constructing a gurdwara on donated land and alleged that during the altercation he had lost his chenni (necklace). He said he had informed the police.
On the other hand, talking to mediapersons, Mr Birbal Dass, EO of the Council, said building was being built on municipal land.
JD leader gets bail
LUDHIANA, March 25 The convenor of the state unit of the Janata Dal and president of the Ludhiana Small Scale Manufacturers Association was granted today bail by the Additional District and Sessions Judge Mr C.D. Gupta.
Mr Khanna had been booked on charges of beating up employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board, destroying official records and trying to create hindrance in the performance of official duties, a case under Section 353, 186, 342, 506, 435, 14B, and 149 of the IPC had been registered against him on March 11 and he was arrested on March 14.
The traders and industrialists organisations had alleged that Mr Khanna had been falsely implicated in these cases, when in fact he had allegedly stalled PSEB employees from taking bribes from traders in Dasmesh Nagar.
Following his arrest,
the traders and industrialists had formed a Sangharsh
Samiti with Mr Balwant Rai as convenor. The samiti had
observed a black day on March 18 and a
Ludhiana bandh on March 20. The samiti had also started
relay fast from March 23 onwards in support of Mr Khanna
at Vishwakarma chowk.
Fake degree racket unearthed
BATHINDA, March 25 The district police today succeeded in unearthing a racket of fake degrees here with the arrest of Manoj Kumar.
Police sources said Manoj Kumar, along with his associates, had been selling fake degrees to students for the past two years.
The sources said Manoj Kumar had opened up number of coaching centres at Bathinda, Pathankot, Jalandhar and Jammu for selling the fake degrees to the students who were enrolled at the coaching centres.
Manoj Kumar had sold degrees of matric, graduation and Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) to a number of boys and girls. Manoj Kumar was running a college under the name of Dashmesh Educational College near the bus stand for the past two years.
The sources informed that the accused got prepared false degrees from Bihar and other states. He used to charge Rs 12,000 to Rs 15,000 per degree from his customers.
Mr Jatinder Kumar Jain, district police chief, said when the accused was arrested one fake degree was recovered from his possession.
He said the accused was running the coaching centre in a rented building. He said the accused was being questioned about the number of degrees he had sold and whereabouts of his associates.
A case under Sections 420, 468 and 471 of the IPC had been registered in this regard.
2 killed, 13 hurt in road
ROPAR, March 25 Two persons were killed and thirteen injured when a mini bus overturned on a slope near Garhbaga village the Ropar-Nurpur Bedi road, about 4 km from here, this afternoon.
Mr Lehmber Singh, SHO, Nurpur Bedi, said Naresh Kumar (18) of Madhopur village and a woman, Amarjit Kaur of Gursemajra village near Nurpur Bedi were killed in the mishap.
The thirteen injured
persons, who have been admitted to the local Civil
Hospital, are Binder, Rakesh, Kashmir Singh, Saroj
Kumari, Manjit Kaur, Bachni, Soma Devi, Mahinder Kaur,
Balbir Chand, Om Parkash, Rajinder Kumar, Ranjit Singh
and Fateh Singh. A doctor on duty said out of these
injured persons, four had suffered fractures.
Travel agent found innocent
PATIALA, March 25 A police inquiry has absolved Mr Ajay Thapar of Thapar Travels here of charges levelled by a consumer that his unused ticket to Sri Lanka was not refunded by the travel agent, causing him undue harassment.
The inquiry done by Mr Kulchinder Singh, DSP, Detective, says that allegations levelled by consumer Jatinder Thakur were found to be false causing damage to Mr Thapars business as well as his political career. Mr Thapar is a general secretary of the District Congress Committee, Patiala.
The inquiry was conducted after Mr Jatinder Thakur complained to the DGP Punjab that he had taken a ticket for travelling to Sri Lanka from Thapar Travels. However he could not get any seat on the scheduled flight. He said he was then given another ticket which also failed to take him off to Sri Lanka.
Mr Thakur had alleged that besides suffering harassment he lost a lot of money in the whole affair but Mr Thapar did not return the whole amount. He had also alleged that Mr Thapar had not returned his passport as well.
The accusations were,
however, not confirmed in the police inquiry. The report
says that the consumer was compensated adequately. It
also says that Mr Thapar had taken neither any undue
amount nor had he kept the passport of Mr Thakur.
How board plays with
NAWANSHAHR, March 25 As many as 14 students of the commerce group (plus two) of BAV Senior Secondary School, Balachaur,are in a quandary as they have to change their stream from commerce to humanities one day before the commencement of annual examination conducted by the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) allegedly due to the negligence both on part of the school authorities and the PSEB, Mohali.
The school, a government aided institution, had admitted students in the commerce group without applying for affiliation to the PSEB, a pre-requisite to start the commerce group. But even then the board had accepted the registration fee, continuation performa and examination fee sent by the school and issued registration cards to the students.
But, a few days ago from the commencement of the annual board examinations, the board informed the school that the roll numbers of the commerce students could not be issued as the school had not been affiliated with the board for starting the commerce group.
The school principal, Mr Kehar Singh, students and their parents approached the board authorities and pleaded that as the board had issued them the registration cards for the commerce group, the roll numbers should also be issued. But the board authorities refused to do so.
Ten days later the students were issued roll numbers for appearing in the humanities group on March 17, just one day before the start of the annual examinations.
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