|Thursday, April 6, 2000,
Punjab Govt looked awkward
Siswan, not Anandgarh, says
debate eludes House
evasion racket detected
|IB may replace Attari cops
AMRITSAR, April 5 Union Home Secretary Kamal Pandey today categorically stated that there was no plan to stop the Indo-Pakistan Samjhauta Express but indicated that sleuths of the Intelligence Bureau could replace the Punjab Police at the Attari railway station, the Wagah joint checkpost and the Rajasansi airport to check cross-border smuggling.
1 lakh SC, BC students
parties to meet on April 7
agitation to expose SAD
quality: PCMSA for stern steps
against Goindwal power project
with a noble mission
owners plea dismissed
diabetes clinic at CMC
flags off bus service
is Miss GCG
Vikram Samvat celebrated
orders probe into molestation charge
remand for hijack accused
dies during MTP
booked for cheating
board cancels papers at 25 centres
roll-back in fee hike: Rattan
collected in Registrars name
When Punjab Govt looked
CHANDIGARH, April 5 The Punjab Government indeed looked awkward when its Urban Development Minister, Mrs Upinderjit Kaur, made some bold attempt to answer the sharp and focussed criticism regarding the proposed city of Anandgarh, close to Chandigarh.
While replying to the debate, the Minister, who had done some homework, did answer some hard questions being posed to the government. But she failed to reply to the major criticism as to why the Akali Dal and particularly the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal who had stoutly opposed any such city has now turned its votary.
The debate was not enlivened by the presence of Mr Badal who was busy in Delhi. It was the fag end of the session and if Mr Badal wished or cared, the debate could have been shifted to an earlier time and date so that the Chief Minister could convince the house and thereby the people as to why this change of mind.
Mr Badal on June 29, 1995 had issued a signed press statement opposing the coming up of the city then called new Chandigarh. His arguments: four lakh people would be affected by this city. Punjabs strong claim on Chandigarh as its rightful capital would get adversely hit. People had dug deep tubewells and put up check dams and after hard labour have brought this land under the plough and built descent houses. Poor and low paid employees too have built their houses. This would be a grave injustice. We reject this city. The Akali Dal is with the people and their pind bachao agitation.
This was Mr Badal in 1995. What he says now could be summed up like this. It is my commitment for the tercentenary of the Khalsa and we shall pay adequate compensation to the farmers. No abadi would be disturbed and this would be an ideal and model city. Government money is not involved. Funds would come from HUDCO and other agencies. Some Rs 200 crore is available from the rehabilitation also. Haphazard growth too would end in this area. About criticism, Mr Badal feels silence is better part of the valour.
Other criticism directed against the city not by those who may have a political mileage to take, but by experts is that the city would be too close to Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali and a big drag on the resources and infrastructure of the city and its satellite town. If tercentenary is the issue, then have the city close to the birth of the Khalsa, Anandpur Sahib where Mr Badal had originally planned it.
Architects and town planners say that haphazard urbanisation has to be checked and the way is to have planned colonies. The National capital region has even Patiala as a centre to decongest the national capital. So what is the harm if the city is 50 or 60 km away and is linked with the rest of state with a four-lane road.
Also pay attention to haphazard urbanisation of Ludhiana, Jalandhar , Amritsar, Patiala and most of 130 towns and cities. Let these be a minimum standard of decent living.
The majority of the local people as was well as the local MLA, Mr Ravi Inder Singh are all opposed to the city. There has been daily demonstrations and signed memoranda by panchayats. Also, the Chandigarh Administration has advised Mr Badal not to have the city too close to the present city.
Certain political and administrative circles feel that some ruling party politicians and important officers have pecuniary interest in the new city. Their land, purchased at small prices, would now fetch fabulous compensation. Against Rs one lakh or even Rs 50 thousand in some cases, there would be Rs 13 to 14 lakhs. This vested interest is behind the whole plan, cries Mr Ravi Inder Singh and Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, both MLAs.
This proposed city is interestingly opposed by the Congress party. One could understand the opposition from the Left parties and other experts, but how about the Congress. Did it not plan the new Chandigarh? If Mr Beant Singh had not fallen to the bullets of the terrorists, he would have seen the city coming up?
Siswan, not Anandgarh, says
PATIALA, April 5 A new settlement at Siswan for a population of about 2 lakh by 2021 on wasteland along the Baddi-Kurali state highway with a road link to the Union Territory of Chandigarh, 10 to 15 km to its south-east, by strictly controlling the sizeable agriculture buffer in-between, should come up to take the additional load of population in the Chandigarh capital region.
This is one of the recommendations in the concept plan for the Chandigarh Inter-State Metropolitan Region Plan submitted by Mr E.F.N. Ribeiro, a noted town planner of the country, to the Chandigarh Administration recently.
This recommendation is probably the answer the Chandigarh Administration has to the issue raised by the Punjab Government in deciding to build new city of Anandgarh to commemorate tercentenary celebrations of the birth of Khalsa.
Mr E.F.N. Ribeiro, who was here to participate in a two-day workshop at College of Architecture, told Chandigarh Tribune that decision of the Punjab Government to build Anandgarh came just 15 days before he submitted his report.
In his opinion a new city with a projected population of 2 lakh could be built on the wasteland about 18 km from Chandigarh without disturbing the periphery of the Chandigarh Metropolitan Complex.
The entire Chandigarh Inter-State Metropolitan Region (CISMeR) should have an Inland Container Depot at Dera Bassi to cater to the entire region spread over an area of 4158.17 sq km as he felt that there was no idea of having a dry pot or inland container depot at Baddi or Barotiwala as may have been proposed by Himachal Pradesh.
The recommendations submitted by him for the CISMeR cover the entire Union Territory of Chandigarh and eight tehsils in its immediate periphery four in Punjab and two each in Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.
Talking about new special project zones, Mr Ribeiro said that the Dera Bassi settlement would have by 2021 a population of 0.4 lakh.In addition, The Free Enterprise Zone (FEZ) could have 0.75 lakh in this period on about 50 sq km of wateland in Punjab through which National Highway 21 and the Ambala-Chandigarh broad gauge rail route passes. An inland container depot could best be located in this zone due to air, rail and road connections away from Chandigarh.
He has recommended a new township at Siswan, instead of Anandgarh, on the wasteland.The Barotiwala notified planning area on 66 sq km of wasteland and single cropped land in Himachal is planned for about 1.5 lakh people by 2021 along the Pinjore-Nalagarh state highway.
The recommendations also talk about development of Baddi, Parwanoo notified planning area, new industrial township at Barwala, HMT township at Pinjore, Kalka, Nalagarh, Kurali, Morinda, Banur, Ropar, Bassi, Sirhind, Rajpura and Kasauli.
The upgradation of Chandigarh airport as an international facility for both goods and people and the Ambala-Chandigarh-Morinda-Sirhind broad gauge track being doubled and electrified besides a new single track broad gauge link provided to connect Pinjore to Ropar via Baddi-Barotiwala and Nalagarh have been visualised in the recommendations.
While referring to the transport needs of the region, the Ribeiro committee suggests that the Chandigarh-Morinda broad gauge rail link should be doubled and electrified so as to bring Chandigarh on the first level of intercity rail network. In addition to an expanded Chandigarh city station, station nodes within the Chandigarh Metropolitan Complex (CMC) would be east of Sector 66 in SAS Nagar, south of Sector 92 in SAS Nagar and at Kharar. On the single broad gauge track to Kalka, there is already a cantonment station. Once the proposed link from Pinjore to Ropar is completed, a metropolitan or regional rail shuttle system would emerge so as to restructure new activities and mobilities away from the earlier developed sectors of the city.
On the road front, the recommendation is that a new bypass on National highway 21 through a new alignment from a little point north of Dera Bassi up to Kharar and then NH21 at Kurali would provide an upgraded trunk network around the UT.
The Ribeiro committee has also recommended development of 10 pockets within the CMC to cater to a population of five lakh. These pockets would also incorporate a Botanical Garden and an Indian Institute of Technology in the agriculture zone.
The Committee recommends farm houses,cattle sheds, dairy farms, poultry sheds, tubewells, brick kilns and surface extractive industries and institutional uses outside settlements for the low economic activity in the third and fourth layers of the CMC.
Lively debate eludes House
CHANDIGARH, April 5 The Punjab Vidhan Sabha adjourned sine die at the end of the Budget session on Tuesday. The session had begun with the customary address by the new Governor Lt-Gen. J F R Jacob (Retd) on March 6. He called for an approach of reconciliation in solving the problems.
One expected a lively debate on the Governors Address as well as on the Budget .That was not to be. Instead of a discussion on a futuristic Punjab all one had to content with was the kind of elementary information the Opposition benches sought and the government hesitantly gave.
No one talked of infrastructural needs, of introducing information technology, of diversification (despite circulation of a document Mission for a second push in the agriculture and allied sectors), of global connectivity, of stepping up educational, health and civic amenities and facilities etc.
If the Treasury benches were evasive and at times couldnt care less about answering the questions, the Opposition on its part, remained inconsistent in seeking information as it was only involved in making its presence felt. Apparently its members had not done their homework. It was rare that anyone could counter the facts and figures put forward by the ministers. Some bright spots, of course, were discernible. Thanks to the involvement of members like Mr Hardev Arshi (CPI).
The ministers written answers invariably evoked strong barrage of supplementaries from a cross-section of the House. When the ministers replied extempore to the supplementaries one could clearly sense their little or no homework. This was further confirmed when the Leader of the House, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, repeatedly rescued his colleagues who fumbled and faulted on simple and straight questions.
Opposition members openly displayed their dissatisfaction over the manner in which the replies were given. On several occasions Opposition members politely conveyed their displeasure to the Speaker, Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal. They told him that he was defending the Treasury benches rather too often and was soft towards them. At times he did pull up ministers for not giving proper replies.
Nevertheless the Opposition contented, contented itself with open-ended assurances.
The Treasury benches lacked floor coordination; same was the case with the Opposition; the former was only a shade better. But the replies of the ministers in charge of development or social welfare departments clearly brought out the fact that each minister was totally unsure of when a particular project or scheme would be either started or completed. They all pointed a finger at the Finance Minister and invariably added funds uplabdh hon te hai (it all depends when the funds will become available). Indicating financial crisis persisted wide and deep, notwithstanding all that the Finance Minister may have said in his budget speech.
One most noticeable facet of the House this session was emergence of a strong group of Akali MLAs, who owe allegiance to the former SGPC President, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra. This group, though technically part of the ruling SAD of Mr Parkash Singh inside the House, had kept a low profile in the previous sessions ever since they parted company with the SAD in 1998.
But in this session these members, particularly, Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, made his presence felt . Not only was he cogent, correct on facts and baring information on a variety of issues his delivery of idiom and political punches made the Treasury benches squirm. He was often joined by other members of the group. It was Mr Ravi Inder Singh, a former Speaker, whom the Speaker could not ignore. Often waving the Rule Book he would tell Mr Atwal that it would be much better and convenient if the book was tossed out of the House rather than repeatedly violated by not allowing the members to have their say inside the House. If they were not allowed to speak inside the House they would take the issues to the streets where the police prevented them from expressing themselves, he would often ask.
It was quite a routine to see walkouts and slogan shouting in side the House by the Opposition; often on frivolous issues. The manner in which various government employees organisations had managed to brief the members about their problems made many of them questions about the employees.
It was regrettable that members throughout the session (March 6 to April 4) kept their focus on issues like reservations, Akal Takht, Anandgarh, irrigation and roads.
There was no meaningful discussion on many issues like education (medical as well as technical). The performance of some ministers, like Mr Sucha Singh Langah, Mr Sarwan Singh, Mr Raghbir Singh , Mr Ajaib Singh Mukhmailpur, Mr Gurdev Singh Badal , Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha to name only some of them was anything but of desired level of dignity.
Therefore realignment within the ruling Akali Dal and also the fissures within the BJP surfaced clearly. The two BJP MLAs, Mr Jagdish Sawhney and Mr Sat Pal Gosain also embarrassed the BJP ministers, particularly, Mr Balramji Das Tandon whenever they could. One voice in wilderness which was often ignored was that of Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla. Speaking in Hindi with a quivering emotional tone, her voice invariably faded into silence when her mike was switched off. Once she even walked out of the House protesting vociferously since the Speaker would not allow her to speak.
The issue of Udham Singh Nagar was the one which made the Speaker adjourn the House for 10 minutes to restore order. That was the only one-time incident in the present session.But it was quite amusing to see members speaking despite the Speaker repeatedly asking them to resume their seats.
Anandgarh was the second major issue which repeatedly echoed in the House. Eventually the Speaker gave in, albiet grudgingly, to allow a discussion. This happened in the afternoon session on Tuesday. Though only 90 minutes were fixed, the discussion during which emotions ran high lasted for nearly three hours .The House eventually was adjourned sine die at 9.30 pm. By then the Opposition had moved into the Well of the House.
What ran through the session was interruptions, cross-talk and provocative comments by members.
Besides the Budget for the year, 2000-01, the House did pass several Bills as well. The maximum flak from the ruling as well as Opposition parties was reserved for the Panchayati Raj Amendment Bill. The Akalis did exactly what the Congress had done before 70 per cent election was indirect and 30 per cent direct.This was criticised and vehemently opposed. But then numbers matter.
Though called the Budget Session, the members are totally at sea when it comes to studying the budget documents or deciphering the contents. During the past years, since February 1997, when this House was constituted, never has there been any attempt to educate the members on the Budget or even working of the Government.
That is the drawback as to why the members, particularly belonging to the Congress (who are more experienced in the ways governments function), failed to contribute to any meaningful discussion on either the Budget or Governors Address.
Though Budget, after it is passed, becomes the collective responsibility of the House as to how the money is used still it is the Government which gets the brickbats.
This session will also
be remembered for yet another happening, though, not
inside the House. The Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh
Badal, paid his first ever visit to the Press Lounge to
have a tete-a-tete with newsmen.
Tax evasion racket detected
CHANDIGARH, April 5 A nexus between big tax evaders and private transporters has been exposed in Punjab.
Following a series of raids by senior officers of the Punjab Excise and Taxation Department unaccounted goods worth Rs 2.2 crore have been seized. These include hosiery items and other goods of daily use.
Not only nexus has been exposed but officers have been able to understand that how big traders in connivance with private transporters operate in the state to evade tax. Mr Sudhir Mittal, the Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Punjab, said that the penalty of sales tax on seized goods would be over Rs 65 lakh.
The biggest catch was at Ludhiana where hosiery worth Rs 60 lakh was seized following a raid on a godown of the Patiala Transport Company. In an official statement released by the department Mr Mittal said that the manager at the booking office of this transport company could not produce any bills or receipts of goods during the inspection which clearly indicated that material had not been accounted for with a view to evade taxes due on it.
Like wise during two other raids two fleets of trucks one of 10 vehicles and other of seven vehicles belonging to a Patiala carrier and Jalandhar-Delhi transport companies were trapped in a secretly executed operation led by Mr Sarvjit Singh, Additional Excise and Taxation Commissioner. Mr Sarvjit Singh used hand-picked staff to execute the operation after collecting all information about the escape routes used by private transporters for taking unaccounted goods in and outside Punjab .
Mr Mittal said that both fleets of trucks were carrying goods worth Rs 1.6 crore. These were brought from Delhi into Punjab. The department has started processing these cases.
What do transporters gain out of this clandestine activity ? A senior officer of the Excise and Taxation Department said that normally transport companies charge Rs 150 per packet. But for transporting unaccounted goods without bills, transport companies charge up to Rs 800 per packet. Official said that transporters some times earn Rs 40,000 a trip from Ludhiana to Delhi while as per normal charges, they earn only Rs 10,000 or so.
How they operate ? After loading trucks private carriers park these at a nearest point from the Punjab and Haryana border. Obviously these transporters use link roads for this purpose and avoid main roads where barriers are located. These companies have a network of agents which have been code named as passers. These passers are sent as advance party to spot checking parties en route.
These trucks mostly operate after midnight, parties of passers keep drivers informed on mobile phones whether it is safe to continue the journey.
In fact, the issue of
involvement of certain private transport companies, some
of these are politically and financially very powerful,
has been brought in the notice of the Punjab Government a
number of times by all concerned including senior
1 lakh SC, BC students
MANSA, April 5 Even as the ruling politicians of Punjab have spent crores of rupees on their foreign jaunts during the past three years, students of government high and senior secondary schools of the state belonging to Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes were not paid their monthly scholarship and stipend for 1999-2000 in most districts.
Official sources said government treasuries all over the state did not release the amount towards the stipend and scholarship of SC and BC students allegedly on the pretext that the state was in the grip of a severe financial crisis.
The sources added that more than one lakh SC and BC students of the state suffered hardship when the government treasuries did not release money to different schools for payment of stipend and scholarship on March 31, 2000, the last day of the current financial year.
According to information received about Rs 3 crore meant for the payment of stipend and scholarship to the SC and BC students under various welfare schemes was not released by the treasuries concerned in the Mansa and Bathinda districts.
In Mansa district alone, more than 15,000 SC and BC students suffered on this account. Even the Punjab Government was yet to release Rs 5 lakh to the government schools of the district which was to be distributed among these students in 1997 and 1998.
In Bathinda district, no government school could get any bill passed submitted to the treasuries towards the scholarships.
Apart from it, the Punjab Government had not made any arrangements for releasing a grant of Rs 85 lakh to the government schools of Bathinda district. The grant has been pending for the three years, meant for the distribution of scholarship and stipend to the SC and BC students.
A senior official of the Education Department speaking on condition of anonymity said they had been sending reminders to the DPI (S), Punjab, for the past many years for getting the amount released, but failed to get any positive response so far.
DPI (S), Punjab, however, released grants to the government schools in Bathinda district under certain welfare schemes only one day before the last day of the current financial year.
Official sources said SC and BC students of government schools from Class VI to Class X and plus one and plus two classes were being deprived of stipend and scholarship on one pretext or the other. In Bathinda district alone, about 20,000 SC and BC students had been waiting for their stipend and scholarship.
A senior official
pointed out that if the Punjab Government did not release
the money needed for the distribution of scholarship and
stipend to the SC and BC students immediately, the
drop-out rate in this section of students might be very
IB may replace Attari cops
AMRITSAR, April 5 Union Home Secretary Kamal Pandey today categorically stated that there was no plan to stop the Indo-Pakistan Samjhauta Express but indicated that sleuths of the Intelligence Bureau could replace the Punjab Police at the Attari railway station, the Wagah joint checkpost and the Rajasansi airport to check cross-border smuggling.
Mr Pandey said though there was no plan to effect a change in the near future, he personally felt that the IB was better trained for the purpose.
We cannot compromise on the question of national security. We will take a decision on tightening security and immigration check soon, he said.
Mr Pandey was accompanied by Mr Shiv Basant, Joint Secretary, Home, Government of India, Mr Ravi Chopra and Mr Ambuj Sharma, both Directors, Home Ministry. Mr Avtar Singh Aulakh, Inspector-General, and Mr H.S. Gill, DIG, BSF and Mr Narinderjit Singh, Deputy Commissioner.
Mr Pandey inspected the Wagah checkpost, the Attari railway station and Rajasansi airport and held informal meetings with officials of the BSF, the immigration, the railways customs, the intelligence and sister agencies working there.
Mr Pandey admitted that certain shortcomings at the Attari railway station had led to the inflow of fake currency notes across the border, narcotics and other contraband.
Mr Pandey said stopping of Samjhauta Express would not do. We have to strengthen security instead, he said.
On the threat by Islamabad to stop the train if India failed to provide rolling stock for six months on an alternative basis, Mr Pandey feigned ignorance. He, said the train united lakhs of people on both sides of the border every year.
The Home Secretary also visited the Kamalpur border outpost where Pakistani smugglers had dug up a tunnel for supplying arms and contraband to India.
Mr Gulzar Singh Ranike,
MLA, submitted a memorandum to Mr Pandey on behalf of
coolies working at Attari. The licences of all coolies
stand cancelled on suspicion of their involvement in
smuggling. Mr Pandey also paid obeisance at the Golden
Temple and the Durgiana Temple.
Left parties to meet on April 7
CHANDIGARH, April 5
A meeting of the CPI and CPM leaders would be held
here on April 7 for chalking out a united action
programme, Dr Joginder Dayal, Secretary of the Punjab
State Council of CPI, said here today.
SHSAD agitation to expose SAD
JALANDHAR, April 5 The Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD) has decided to launch an agitation to expose the anti-Panthic activities of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.
Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, president of the SHSAD, said the mode of agitation and the whole programme would be launched sometime after Baisakhi. An announcement regarding this would be made at the partys conference at Anandpur Sahib on April 13. He said the agitation would revolve around educating people about the failure of the Badal government to solve the long-pending issues and problems and its inability to tackle corruption in the state.
Mr Tohra said the
Nawanshahr poll was not peoples mandate in favour
of Mr Badal, but it was a show of state power. He also
alleged that Mr Badal was responsible for lowering of
prestige of the Sikh institutions and example of it was
the recent controversy involving different forces,
including Mr Badal.
Drug quality: PCMSA for stern
PATIALA, April 5 The PCMS Association has demanded the imposition of stringent measures to check the quality of drugs being purchased by the Health Department of Punjab, asserting that the contaminated and substandard local anaesthetic drug, Lignocaine, supplied by the Punjab Health Systems Corporation (PHSC) to its various hospitals had adversely hit the cause of family welfare programme.
The general secretary of the association, Dr D.C. Sharma, and its vice-president, Dr Rabinder Sethi, in a joint statement issued here yesterday said the withdrawal of the contaminated drug at this stage was a mere cover-up operation for the faulty purchase policy being followed by the PHSC. The PCMSA demanded that all such drugs should be properly tested by random sampling before the supplies were made to the hospitals for use.
Alleging that there had been hardly any significant improvement in the secondary health care, the sole motive for which the PHSC was established, the PCMSA demanded a review and high-level impartial probe into the functioning of the PHSC during the past three years, especially the equipment and drug purchases, civil works, training programmes and useless surveys and studies conducted by it.
It also demanded that the non-technical, bureaucrat Managing Director of the corporation should be replaced by a medical man from the PCMS cadre if the government was still averse to the idea of winding up the PHSC.
The general secretary said a massive rally by PCMS doctors of Patiala district and local medical college was being held at Rajindra Hospital here on April 7. The rally would be held as a mark of protest against the failure of the Punjab Government to implement the recommendations of the Fourth Punjab Pay Commission in respect of the PCMS doctors. The recommendations included time-scale pay at four and 14 years of service and redesignation of the posts of regular Senior Medical Officer as Deputy Civil Surgeon with a promotional increment.
The PCMSA was also
demanding the implementation of the revised rates of
non-practising allowance (NPA) w.e.f. from January 1,
96, instead of September 1, 97, done by the
state government as the Central Government had done so
from January 1, 96, and similar had been the practice in
Punjab too earlier.
Warning against Goindwal power
PATIALA, April 5 The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) Engineers Association today warned that the Punjab Government must learn a lesson from the Enron project of Maharashtra and reject the bid of a multinational consortium headed by GVK of Hyderabad for the 462.5-MW Goindwal Thermal Plant.
In a statement here, association General Secretary Anil Miglani said the Maharashtra Government had ignored the advice of the central electricity authority and other experts to award the Enron project to an American consortium which projected an energy cost of Rs 2.40 per unit but was now actually charging Rs 5 per unit. This had shattered the economy of MSEB, forcing it to buy high-cost power from Enron.
The association alleged that the Goindwal project would become the Enron of Punjab since the power purchase agreement had many clauses whose purpose seemed to maximise. The profits of the company at the cost of power consumers of Punjab. They might result in the energy from the proposed project being at least 50 per cent costlier as compared to the state-run thermal plants. It would imply an additional outflow of Rs 300 crore per year to the PSEB, which is already facing a loss of Rs 1000 crore per year.
The association has
urged the Government that the PSEB could raise resources
for funding power projects through a multi-pronged action
that includes tariff revision, ending free power to
agriculture, crackdown on thefts, and reduction of
Man with a noble mission
LUDHIANA: Place: A city hospital Time: Wee hours of morning. Scene: Helpless and needy patients and their relatives sitting in the corridors of the hospital.
The moving sight proved to be the turning point in the life of Mr Hari Krishan Jain, 25 years ago. Watching the same scene everyday while going for my morning walks, I found the true meaning of life and decided to take up the cause of serving the humanity, he says.
This octogenarian has so far organised 29 free eye check-up and operation camps, providing free milk and eatables to the patients and relatives in hospitals and free medicines to the patients. Besides, he has also started a free consultancy service.
Working with love and respect for the blind, the handicapped, the deaf and the dumb, mentally retarded, terminally ill and heart patients and also with the help of the government, he arranges: 75 per cent concession in railway fare for the handicapped students and one attendant for travelling in any class, 50 per cent concession in bus fare in Punjab Roadways buses, pension and job reservation quota 10 per cent.
Mr Jain is available for arranging all these concessions, without any charges for the handicapped students at the CMO office between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. on every Wednesday.
Mr Jain also gets the certificates made for the blind. The person having blind certificate issued by the Civil Surgeon is allowed to pay only half of his telephone rent. There is 75 per cent rail travel concession to the blind and his one attendant (for all classes). The bus fare is totally free on the strength of a certificate issued by the Civil Surgeon, Ludhiana.
There is 1 per cent job quota (with the help of rehabilitation centre) for the blind. The blind with the certificate can get 50 per cent air travel concession.
But this is not all. He creates awareness amongst uncared elders by distributing pamphlets which contain future plans for them, plans for their kids, for their life etc. He requests and further makes the younger generation aware to be respectful to their parents, grandparents and elders.
He also gives message to a common citizen to protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of the country, to preserve and value the rich heritage of our culture, to promote harmony and brotherhood and to strive towards excellence in all spheres of life.
The grand old man now plans to distribute approximately 500 deaf and dumb armbands amongst inmates of various deaf and dumb schools of the city. The idea for this gesture came to him when one day he saw a man beating a little deaf and dumb boy for not heeding his scooter horn.
Mr Hari Krishan Jain has seven children and does not seem to interfere in their life style. Having enough money he does not demand any monetary help from his sons.
He appreciates the role of the government as well as those of the doctors for being extremely co-operative to make his dream to serve humanity to be fulfilled.
Cinema owners plea
CHANDIGARH, April 5 Dismissing a petition alleging harassment of cinema hall owners by film distributors, Mr Justice T.H.B. Chalapathi of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today observed that it was always open for the petitioner to file a complaint before the magistrate.
In his petition against the State of Haryana and two other respondents, the general secretary of the Haryana Cinema Owners Association, Mr Navdeep Bansal, had earlier alleged that a racket was being by film distributors at Jalandhar and other places for film distribution in Northern India.
Giving details, he had stated that the cinema owners were being duped, looted and made to sign blank agreements as they were compelled to purchase the screening right from a single distributor of a film in an area. The owners, the petitioner had added, had no alternative but to pay high prices as no other source of film supply existed.
Seeking directions for ordering a CBI inquiry into the alleged illegal acts and monopolistic modus operandi, the petitioner had also asked for police protection in view of the threats being received by him.
Pronouncing the orders in the open court, Mr Justice Chalapathi observed: I do not find any ground to issue any direction sought for. However, it is always open to the petitioner to file a complaint before the magistrate. The allegations contained in the petition do not disclose any cognisable offence. The petition is, therefore, dismissed.
Pre-arrest bail for businessman
Mr Justice K.S. Kumaran of the High Court today directed that a Bathinda resident, accused of cheating the government, be released on bail in the event of arrest.
The petitioner, Mr Sushil Kumar Mittal, was apprehending arrest in a cheating and forgery case registered by the Vigilance Bureau at Ferozepure under Sections 420, 467, 468 and 471, IPC.
According to the prosecution, the businessman had evaded sales tax and had not deposited thousands of rupees in the government account, besides claiming sales tax exemption of Rs 7601 by submitting a forged D form. It was also alleged that the petitioner had not got his firm registered with the sales tax department.
Pronouncing the orders, Mr Justice Kumaran observed: The FIR relates to 1997. The contention of the petitioner is that he has joined in the investigation for over two years. He also contends that the petitioner has not been arrested for nearly three years and, therefore, there is no need to arrest him now in the circumstances of the case where all the records are either with the department or the investigating agency. Counsel for the state also concedes that the petitioner has joined in the investigation.
The Judge, also observed: The petition is allowed. In the event of arrest of the petitioner on the allegations found in the FIR mentioned in this petition, the petitioner is ordered to be released on bail on his furnishing sufficient surety to the satisfaction of the arresting officer.
Notice to police on theft of bitch
On a petition for directions to the state of Punjab and two other respondents to register a first information report against the son of a retired Deputy Superintendent of Police and an Executive Engineer of the Irrigation Department at Amritsar for allegedly stealing a bitch, Mr Justice Chalapathi issued notice for May 1.
Alleging police inaction, the Senior Veterinary Officer of the Civil Hospital at Amritsar, Mr Rajinder Singh, had earlier stated that a case was not registered even after the of Dalmatian bitch was recovered from the possession of the retired DSPs son on December 15, 1999.
He had added that the bitch was stolen by the two respondents in a car at about 10.30 a.m. two days before the recovery, as per the statement of the eyewitnesses.
Claiming that the
culprits were being shielded as police officers were
involved, the petitioner had also said a written
complaint was submitted to the Station House Officer of
D Police Station on December 24, 1999.
Subsequently, complaints were addressed to the DIG, DGP
(Crime), and the SSP, but no action was taken.
Childhood diabetes clinic at CMC
LUDHIANA, April 5 Punjabs Minister of State for Health, Mrs Mohinder Kaur Josh, today inaugurated the Special Clinic for Childhood Diabetes in Christian Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana.
Dr T.M. Jaison, Acting Director of the CMC, said the special clinic was being established with the collaboration of Barbara Davis Centre for Childhood Diabetes which is affiliated to Colorado University in the USA. The aim of this centre is to render good medical care to children who are laid up with the growing problem of juvenile diabetes and to educate them to lead a normal life, he said.
Dr Manorama Verma, Professor and Head of the Paediatric Department, CMC, said the main cause of the disease was deficiency of insulin in the body.
Dr Abraham G. Thomas,
Principal of the CMC and a renowned Plastic Surgeon,
said: The role of medical academicians is
challenging, as to treat, to educate people as well as to
save them from the intimidation spread by the fancy of
MLA flags off bus service
NAWANSHAHR, April 5 The local MLA, Mr Jatinder Singh Kariha, today flagged off a bus service from the local bus stand between Jalandhar and Paonta Sahib via Phagwara, Nawanshahr, Ropar, Chandigarh and Nahan.
Speaking on the occasion, he said a bus service between Nawanshahr and Naina Devi had already been started while a bus service to Katra and Hardwar from Nawanshahr would be started soon.
Mr Kariha said a night bus service between Phagwara and Delhi via Nawanshahr would be launched tomorrow.
Jasreena is Miss GCG
PATIALA, April 5 Jasreena Sandhu was declared Miss GCG, Patiala, and Seerat Sandhawalia and Aneeta Tayal bagged the next two positions, respectively on the occasion of Rukhsat 2000, a farewell organised by second-year students for the final year girls here today.
Girls of the final year catwalked their way to receive comments given by their juniors. All teachers too were bestowed with an appropriate comment.
New Vikram Samvat celebrated
ROPAR, April 5 The beginning of the new Vikram Samvat, 2057, was celebrated with great enthusiasm by the Bharatiya Nav Varsh Samaroh Sarvsanjhi Ayojak Samiti here today.
Ms Satwant Kaur Sandhu, Minister for Youth Services, Punjab, and Mr Tara Singh Ladhal, Minister of State for Education, Punjab, besides religious and spiritual leaders attended the function. They urged the people to associate themselves with their age-old cultural heritage and serve the society with selfless service.
Mr Mohinder Jain, chief organiser of the samiti, appealed to the people to celebrate the Vikram Samvat every year to inculcate the spirit of Indianism among the countrymen and enrich the cultural heritage of the country.
PATIALA, April 5
Mr Subhash Jain, an employee of the Thapar Institute of
Engineering and Technology, has donated blood 75 times
and not 55 times, as was inadvertently published in these
columns on April 5. His blood group is O-positive.
DGP orders probe into molestation
AMRITSAR, April 5 Punjabi poetess Balwinder Goindwal (36), in an affidavit has alleged that a Deputy Superintendent of Police of Tarn Taran has tried to molest her.
On the basis of her complaint, the Director-General of Police has reportedly ordered a high-level inquiry. Earlier, a DSP (Internal Vigilance) had been entrusted with the task. The complainant, however, pleaded that a DSP could not conduct an inquiry against another DSP and hence it be entrusted to a senior officer.
Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla, a BJP MLA, had also taken up the case with the DGP.
In her affidavit, Ms Balwinder Goindwal, has alleged that the DSP had tried to intimidate her for ulterior motives.
Ms Balwinder Goindwal, who is also an industrialist, and has a dispute with her family members, has alleged that the DSP used unparliamentary language against her on the telephone which she had taped.
She had sent recorded cassettes of the same to senior police officials for appropriate action against the DSP.
When contacted, Mr Jagdish Kumar Mittal, SSP, Tarn Taran, confirmed that after an inquiry conducted by the DSP (Internal Vigilance), another had been ordered by the DGP in this regard.
The DSP concerned claimed that family members of the complainant had given affidavits in his favour. He claimed that the charges against him were baseless and misleading.
He said Ms Balwinder Goindwal had become a tool in the hands of those who wanted to get him transferred. He said he was a national level hockey player with a clean record.
Judicial remand for hijack accused
PATIALA, April 5 (UNI) Two key conspirators in the Indian Airlines IC-814 hijacking case, Abdul Latif and Yusuf, were today remanded to judicial custody till April 18 by Amarjit Singh Virk, Special Magistrate of the CBI here.
Although the accused were arrested at Mumbai, cases under Sections 365, 341, 342, 506, 307, 302, 147, 148 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code and the Arms Act and Explosives Act were registered against them at Amritsar.
Abdul Latif was reported
to have recorded his confessional statement with the
Special CBI Magistrate yesterday under Section 164 of the
Cr. P.C. and was remanded to judicial custody for a day.
Yesterdays proceedings went on till late in the
evening amid elaborate security arrangements outside the
CBI court here.
Teenager dies during MTP
ABOHAR, April 5 Death of a teenaged girl during the medical termination of pregnancy (MTP) at Malout, 30 km from here, has sparked off a controversy over illegal functioning of nursing homes in the region.
According to sources, Geeta Devi of Odha Basti at Sadul Shahar, 23 km from here, told the police there that her niece Kanta Devi, who was her neighbour as well, brought her sister Shehaz (14) from Sidhasar village, (near Salasar), recently.
Shehnaz was reportedly four-month pregnant. According to an FIR, Shehnaz was taken to Malout where she died during the surgery when termination of her pregnancy was being done. The dead body was brought to Sadul Shahar yesterday. The police, on being informed by Geeta Devi, registered a case under Section 314, IPC.
Man booked for cheating
LUDHIANA, April 5 On a complaint by several jewellers of Sarafa Bazaar here, a case has been registered against Harish Kumar for taking 305 tolas and 220 mg of gold (in bars and jewellery) on credit and fleeing without making a payment.
It is learnt that on March 29, the accused took 305 tolas and 220 mg gold from the jewellers and when they asked for the payment, he promised to make it within two days.
Education board cancels papers at
AMRITSAR, April 5 The Punjab School Education Board has cancelled papers of 10th standard in at least 25 centres in various districts of the state due to mass copying.
Talking to TNS, Dr Kehar Singh, Chairman of the board, said more than, 3000 students would have to reappear in the mathematics, English and science subjects where mass copying in these subjects examination was reported. The dates and centres would be announced later.Dr Kehar Singh said the papers were cancelled in Patiala, Amritsar, Sangrur, Gurdaspur and other centres where mass copying was reported by the special flying squads. The flying squads were being monitored by the Deputy Chairman of the board.
However, some principals
and district education officers had faxed complaints to
the Chairman that the papers were cancelled without any
reason. Mr S.N. Kalia, Principal of B.K. Senior Secondary
School, in a written complaint to the Chairman alleged
that the papers were cancelled on the report of the
flying squad though the squad did not visit both the
centres in his school, according to records.
No roll-back in fee hike: Rattan
JALANDHAR, April 5 (UNI) Punjab Technical Universitys officiating Vice-Chancellor N.S. Rattan today rejected the demand for rolling back the hike in tuition fees, saying that the students knew about the hike before admission.
Students of the local Dr B.R. Ambedkar Regional Engineering College (REC) have been agitating since March 10 demanding withdrawal of the hike.
The annual tuition fee in the REC in 1998 was Rs 3000 which has been increased to Rs 30,000. But the officiating VC claimed that the university still subsidised each student to the tune of Rs 50,000 per year. It cost the university an average of Rs 80,000 per student per year.
He, however, agreed that
each student had to shell out an additional Rs 7880 on
account of various expenses, but maintained that students
still paid less than half of what it cost the REC to
train a student per year.
Funds collected in
AMRITSAR, April 5 Dr R.S. Bawa, Registrar, Guru Nanak Dev University, has taken a strong objection to an association in Jalandhar, by the name of Welfare Education Society, which has been collecting funds in his name.
In a press note issued
here yesterday, he said society members of Shaheed Baba
Mangat Singh Public School, Jalandhar, had procured a
certificate from him for some purpose. But it had been
found that the certificate was being misused to collect
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