|Tuesday, April 11, 2000,
PCMSA conveys resentment to CM
SSP summoned in contempt case
Produce secret files on
Khanna alleges torture, moves High
SHSAD refuses to recognise Vedanti
MLAs clash over demolition
Cross-voting: 3 Cong MPs
RSS to spread Sikh philosophy
Kashmir is SAD unit
New turn to row over conference
Khushwant Mubarak Singh dead
Addict's wife alleges rape by drug
Ex-DSPs remand extended
Rally marks end of education drive
CMs anti-graft drive
CHANDIGARH, April 10 The food procurement system in Punjab reeks with corruption, was long stated but rarely believed by the powers that be for obvious reasons. But now, thanks to an initiative taken by the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, a group of committed officers has unearthed a scandal worth Rs 30 crore. And it is just the tip of the iceberg, literally, officials here concede.
Some recent facts are: In Sangrur district alone certain unscrupulous officers of the Food Department and other agencies have caused a loss of Rs 10 crore. Paddy worth this amount is simply missing. Two middle-level officers have been suspended, but the District Food and Civil Supplies controller is yet to be proceeded against. We shall spare no one."
We are holding right now an omnibus probe. The instructions from the Chief Minister are very clear." the Food Secretary, Mr P. Ram, here said. He was asked as to why Mr Karnesh Sharma, District Food and Civil Supplies Controller, had been spared, rather, promoted. "Since he has not been served with any charge sheet, he could not be ignored in the Departmental Promotion Committee. Others had been served with charge sheets. But I assure that no one will be spared," he said.
In an earlier case in Muktsar district, the government was more unsparing. The Deputy Director, Mr Inderdeep Singh, and the District Food Controller, Mr K.C. Kajal, were suspended. In this case, the Chief Minister had directly looked into the charges, but in case of Sangrur, some officials alleged that the Food and Civil Supplies Minister, Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, was overseeing the inquiry. While Mr P. Ram asserted that Mr Sharma was not shielded by Mr Mittal, political sources asserted that initially the minister did back him up. Mr Mittal was away on a foreign tour and could not be contacted for comments. But he had earlier promised not to spare anyone.
Officials of the Food and Supply Department who know how messy is the food procurement business say, it is all black here. Everyone gets tainted at one time or the other. But in this case, the whole bungling was so obvious. The modus operandi was that these officials allotted paddy to the defaulting mills against specific instructions. Now this paddy in Sangrur worth Rs 10 crore has just disappeared. It is a kind of magic trick. Paddy was purchased, money paid to the commission agents and was lifted by defaulter mills. Now it is nowhere there. it has been sold out and money pocketed. You can look at the living style of some of these officials. these are modern day princes, a senior officer who investigated into some cases here commented.
In fact, according to Mr P Ram, the allotment of paddy to the defaulting mills or the mills for consideration is presently the biggest scandal. We are holding a detailed probe which is not confined to any one district. You would have the results soon, he said.
For each bag of paddy allotted during the last kharif procurement season, brought Rs 2 to the officials. The total paddy allotted was 85 lakh tonnes. If only 30 per cent, was allotted to the favoured mills or to the defaulter mills, estimate that money. It comes to a whopping Rs 30 crore. But it is considered peanuts by the corrupt officials who consider pilferage as the real achievement. According to independent observers of the food grains procurement, during the two seasons of rabi and kharif, at least Rs 200 crore pass hands. The Bharti Kisan Union leader, Mr Balbir Singh Rajewala, at Khanna asserted that this could be more not less.
unearthing of the present scandal would certainly help us cleanse some of the mess, says Mr P Ram who concedes bungling, but differs very much about the magnitude.
Some officials from
Markfed, Punsup, FCI and Punjab Warehousing Corporation
are also in the same net. In fact, Markfed Union has
asked for a detailed probe into the food procurement
business. Lakhs of bags of paddy have just
disappeared as is the case with wheat," the union
leaders here alleged.
PCMSA conveys resentment to CM
CHANDIGARH, April 10 The PCMS Association today conveyed to the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, that there is a strong resentment among doctors against the state government for a "prolonged delay" in the implementation of their demands which have been conceded by the government authorities concerned.
Dr M.S. Randhawa, Dr M.S. Gill and Dr Manjit Singh, Patron, President and General Secretary of the Association, respectively, in a joint statement said that while meeting a deputation of the PCMSA at Punjab Bhavan today, Mr Badal assured that demands would be implemented. He has directed the officers concerned to fix a meeting of Finance and Health Department officers on April 17 to discuss the issue. Mr Badal urged deputationists to motivate doctors to uphold ethical values and serve the patients in rural areas.
Demands of the
Association include three time bound promotions after 4,
9 and 14 years of service, conveyance allowance - 75
litres for car and 40 litres for scooter, academic
allowance, higher qualification allowance, designation of
administrative SMOs as Deputy Civil Surgeons with one
advance increment, non-practising allowance to be treated
as a part of pay for all intents and purposes and should
be given from January 1, 1996.
SSP summoned in contempt
CHANDIGARH, April 10 Withdrawing the order exempting the personal appearance of Jalandhars Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Gorav Yadav, Mr Justice V.S. Aggarwal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court here has directed him to appear in person on May 1 in a contempt petition.
Pronouncing the orders in the open court, Mr Justice Aggarwal observed: "The SSP, Jalandhar, is absent despite service. When notice of motion was issued, his personal presence had been exempted. Keeping in view that there is no person who is present even on his behalf, the said order is withdrawn. It is directed that he should appear in person on May 1".
The SSP had on August 2, 1999 been directed by Mr Justice T.H.B. Chalapathi of the High Court to verify the investigations in a theft case "and if the investigation was not complete, then to issue suitable instructions for early completion of the investigation, preferably within three months from the date of receipt of order and take such steps in accordance with the law depending on the result of investigations".
Alleging disobedience of
the order, Ms Kartar Kaur of Jalandhar, in a petition
against the SSP and DSP (Headquarters) Mr Raj Pal Singh
Sandhu, had stated that the inquiry conducted by the
police went in their favour, but the culprits were not
punished. Going into the background of the case, the
petitioner had alleged that a first information report
was registered under Sections 379 and 452, IPC, on orders
by the High Court after household goods were stolen.
Produce secret files on
ROPAR, April 10 The Justice Mukherjee Commission of Inquiry, set up by the Union Government to inquire into the alleged disappearance of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, has ordered/directed the Government of India to produce before the commission all files relating to Netaji and the INA lying in the Prime Ministers Secretariat, including a large number of secret files.
The commission has ordered in this regard to the Central Government after going through the statement filed by the parties, which approached it and after hearing them or their representatives regarding the modalities of the proceedings to be undertaken by the commission.
The orders and directions were made by the commission on March 23 last at a meeting at Calcutta in its office. The commission has also directed the government to produce all files within six weeks from the date of communication of these orders/directions.
Disclosing this to The Tribune here today, Mr V.P. Saini, Chairman of Netaji Research Foundation, and a spokesman of the All-India Netaji Probe Steering Committee, said all demands regarding the declassification of the classified documents pertaining to Netaji and the INA had been met and the government had no choice but to disclose all files and facts in view of the orders and directions of the commission.
Mr Saini added that disclosure of all these facts and files would help establish the fate of Netaji. He also expressed satisfaction that the issues for which the followers and admirers of Netaji had been fighting for the past more than two decades would now, with this order of the commission, reach to the conclusive end.
In its orders and directions the commission has asked the Union Government to produce a large number of files and documents which include 23 (11-56-57 PM (INA Treasure); 249 INA-GHQ case Bose and Russia; report bearing secret no 1400/23/SE. CSDIC. Red Fort, Delhi dated March 25 1946; a de-classified CIA document dated 27-2-64 relating to a story concerning the possible return of one Subhas (Subas) Chandra Bose; Pt Nehrus letter to Mr Atlee, then Prime Minister of the UK during 1945 to 1947 relating to Subhas Chandra Bose; and the full texts of the Transfer of Power, volumes VI and VII.
The commission has also directed the government of West Bengal to produce all files relating to Netaji now lying in the custody of the Special Branch, including file no. 269/45 "Prisoner/Release-Revised policy of government, for the release of security prisoners".
The commission has also urged Dr Purobi Roy, a research scholar of the Asiatic Society, to file an affidavit giving the particulars of documents which she might have come across in Russia during her research relating to Netaji. The commission has done it on the basis of references to her in the affidavit filed by the All India Forward Bloc.
Giving importance to the
evidence of Major Bhaskaran, who claims that he worked as
Confidential Secretary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, the
commission has decided to take immediate steps to record
his statement at his residence (Chennai) in view of his
serious illness at the age of 82.
Khanna alleges torture, moves High Court
LUDHIANA, April 10 (UNI) City-based industrialist Harish Khanna, who has been crusading against the Punjab government for its attempt to protect the son of a Cabinet Minister allegedly involved in a rape case, has filed a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court demanding CBI inquiry into his alleged torture in police custody.
In his petition filed under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution on April 6, Mr Khanna, who is president of the Industrial Trade Forum of Punjab and president of the Ludhiana Small Scale Industries Association, has sought court protection against further harassment of police allegedly at the behest of the Cabinet Minister.
Mr Khanna was arrested on March 14 in a case of scuffle between industrialists and engineers of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) here on March 11. After spending two days in police custody, during which he alleged he was tortured, Mr Khanna spent 10 days in judicial custody before he was released on bail on March 25.
Mr Khanna today criticised the raids at the residences of his colleagues in industry and alleged that industrialist Ajit Singh Chabras house was raided by the police yesterday as part of their intimidatory tactics which he had brought to the notice of SSP Kuldip Singh here today.
Mr Khanna, who is also the state convenor of the Janata Dal (Secular), said former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda will address a party rally here on April 25 against police excesses.
The police had issued non-bailable offences under Sections 383 (extortion) and 365 (kidnapping) the basis of statements of two engineers. But intriguingly the police has not yet arrested any of three other persons named as accused in the FIR number 57 in Khanna police station on March 11.
Mr Khanna alleged in his petition that since he had been pursuing the rape case against the son of a Punjab Cabinet Minister since September,last year, he was falsely implicated in the case. He alleged that the vindictive attitude of the police was because of the political pressure mounted by the minister.
Besides the Punjab
government through its Chief Secretary, Home Secretary,
Director-General of Punjab Police, SSP Kuldip Singh, SHO
Navjot Singh of police station division six and Punjab
Agriculture Minister Gurdev Singh Badal have been made
respondents in the case by Mr Khanna.
SHSAD refuses to recognise
AMRITSAR, April 10 The Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD) today refused to accept Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti as the Jathedar of Akal Takht.
In a resolution passed at the political conference of the SHSAD held at Bhikhiwind town, about 40 km from here, the party said that Bhai Ranjit Singh was still the real Jathedar of Akal Takht.
Criticising the ruling SAD and the SGPC, the SHSAD said hukamnamas once issued could not be withdrawn. "The SGPC was setting a dangerous trend by sacking and appointing jathedars on flimsy grounds". The resolution further said that the ruling party was hatching a conspiracy to withdraw the hukamnama issued against Nirankaris.
Another resolution said if any anti-maryada step was taken by the jathedar, the SHSAD would give a befitting reply.
Addressing the conference, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President of the SHSAD, announced that his party would continue its struggle till the Badal government was ousted.
Bhai Ranjit Singh, senior vice-president of the SHSAD, said that his party would form an alternative government with Mr Ravi Inder Singh as the next Chief Minister.
MLAs clash over demolition
AMRITSAR, April 10 An unsavoury situation was created when a minister and MLAs exchanged heated words at the district grievances redressal committee meeting presided over by Agriculture Minister Gurdev Singh Badal.
The cause of noisy scenes was the demolition of some houses of mahants by the Subdivisional Magistrate near Ram Tirath Temple a few months ago. The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the BJP adopted opposite stand on the issue.
The trouble started when Mrs Laxmi Kanta Chawla, BJP MLA, alleged that she was openly threatened by somebody in the presence of Mr Gurdev Singh Badal at the Circuit House. Siding with her, Mr Veer Singh Lopoke, MLA from Rajasansi, asked Mr Badal to clarify whether Mrs Chawla was intimidated in his presence? He said if it was true then it should be conceived as a big threat to the representatives of people and to the government also. He said he was not informed before the demolition in his constituency.
Mr Gulzar Singh Ranike, State Minister of Agriculture, while justifying the demolition, alleged that the district administration had cleared the "encroachment" on the premises of the temple complex. On this, Mr Lopoke said now it had become clear that who was behind the demolition of the houses of the mahants.
However, Mrs Chawla and Mr Lopoke denied that there was any attempt to encroach the land of the temple by the mahants.
It may be mentioned here Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had placed Mr S.P. Singh, SDM, Ajnala, under suspension for demolishing the houses. Mr Badal had also promised that the mahants would be compensated adequately. However, the suspension of the SDM led to wide ranging protests by Balmikis who had justified the demolition. The Balmikis had also resorted to traffic jam.
After the unsavoury situation, Mr Gurdev Singh Badal asked Mrs Chawla that steps must be taken to keep her "mum". Mr Chautala said the Press could be allowed to cover the district level meetings of the administration.
Cross-voting: 3 Cong MPs
LUDHIANA, April 10 Mr Virbhadra Singh, a former Chief Minister of Himachal and leader of the Legislature Congress Party in the Himachal Vidhan Sabha, has said that disciplinary action will be initiated against those three Congress MPs who had indulged in cross-voting during the recent Rajya Sabha elections.
He was talking to mediapersons during his visit to the city here yesterday to participate in the annual function being organised by Himachalis settled in Punjab. He, however, said the three Congress MPs had not so far been recognised by the party leadership.
Mr Virbhadra Singh admitted that the Congress had suffered a major setback because of cross-voting in various states. Such "black sheep" present in almost all political parties.
He denied that the Congress organisational elections were being delayed because of the infighting.
About the media reports
that Dr Manmohan Singh and Mr Pranab Mukherjee may leave
the Congress because they had fallen out with Mrs Sonia
Gandhi, he said the possibility of such senior leaders
leaving the Congress did not exist.
RSS to spread Sikh
FEROZEPORE, April 10 Blaming the Sikh institutions for insufficient propaganda of their religious philosophy, the Sikh wing of the RSS has taken upon itself the mission to spread the message of the Gurus.
Stating this to TNS, Mr Chiranjeev Singh, the all-India president of the Rashtriya Sikh Sangat, a wing of the RSS, lamented that the Sikh institutions have failed to spread the rich philosophy of the Gurus in the right perspective.
In a telephonic interview, he emphasised on propagating the Sikh philosophy by taking along the Hindus. Criticising a section of the Sikh leadership for perceiving the RSS as its enemy, he added that the ground reality had changed. "The RSS is no more perceived as an enemy number one by the Sikhs", he added.
He claimed, that both the Rashtriya Sikh Sangat and the RSS had succeeded in their mission in over 4,000 villages of Punjab.
Mr Chiranjeev Singh, who was in Muktsar to attend a function in connection with the Khalsa tercentenary festivities, distanced himself from the controversy arising out of the RSS assertion that the Sikhs were "Keshdhari Hindus". "We have no hidden agenda on the Sikhs. We perceive Khalsa as a sword arm of the nation", he remarked.
Regarding the allegation by certain Sikh scholars that the RSS was pushing its "hegemonic agenda" in Punjab, he said, "Its a political slogan and part of a motivated campaign against the RSS".
Replying to a question,
he denied that the RSS was meddling in Sikh affairs by
opposing the implementation of the Nanakshahi calendar.
When pointed out that certain Rashtriya Sikh Sangat
leaders had a meeting with the suspended Akal Takht
Jathedar, Giani Puran Singh, on the calendar issue, he
said, "Who is he ? We never met him".
Kashmir is SAD unit chief
PATIALA, April 10 Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, Senior Vice-President of the Shiromani Akali Dal and Agriculture Minister of Punjab, today, sought to end the controversy over the post of the President of the District Akali Dal (Rural) by announcing that Mr Kashmir Singh Mavi had been unanimously elected the President of the unit.
In a press note issued here today, he said being the poll observer for the Akali Dal organisational elections for this district, he would say that all rules and regulations had been followed in electing Mr Mavi to the post.He said Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister of Punjab and President of the Shiromani Akali Dal, had also endorsed the appointment.
warning to workers and the Akali Dal leaders,
he said they should accept Mr Mavi as the President of
the unit and disciplinary action would be taken against
those who would disagree.Mr Mavi was elected past week.
However, a section of the party workers of Samana town
had issued press notes questioning the election.
New turn to row over
PATIALA, April 10 The row over postponement of the first Punjab Geographers Conference, originally scheduled to be held last month, took a new turn today with the Association of Punjab Geographers, the co-organiser of the event, expelling Dr Yadvinder Singh from its membership for speaking against the conference.
Dr Yadvinder Singh, a
lecturer in the Geography Department, Punjabi University,
had in a written complaint to the Dean of Academic
Affairs in March objected to the manner in which the
association, only a co-organiser, was deriving
self-publicity from the conference while the
department, which was the main organiser, and a few of
its senior faculty members were being sidelined.
Khushwant Mubarak Singh dead
AMRITSAR, April 10 Mr Khushwant Mubarak Singh, Editor of a magazine and poet, died here today. He was 45. He leaves behind his wife and son. Khushwant seriously injured in a road accident recently in which he had received head injuries.
He started "Modern Practical Psychology" a magazine two decades ago. Writers from India and abroad contributed articles to this magazine. Before this he published another English magazine "Art Of Living" which became very popular. Mr Khushwant started dabbling in Punjabi poetry at a very young age and wrote his first book "Jama, Jarab, Taqseem"
He won hearts of all by dint of his pleasant personality and intellect.
Former Prime Minister IK Gujral had appointed him a member of a national level committee called the "Railway Passengers Amenity Committee," for two years. The Rotary Club had sent him on a study tour in recognition of his services.
Khushwant Singh eminent journalist highlighted his namesake Mr Khushwant Mubaraks multi faceted personality in his famous syndicate column.
Guru Nanak Dev University Vice-Chancellor, Dr HS Soch, the Registrar, Dr RS Bawa, and staff of the university Public Relations Department mourned the untimely death of Khushwant Singh. In a condolence message they said the death of Khushwant Singh at a young age had come as a blow to the journalistic fraternity, which have lost a dedicated and hard-working colleague.
Addict's wife alleges rape by
MOGA, April 10 A 40-year-old woman of Khosa Randhir village here has alleged rape by the drug dealers, who earlier had sold post to her addicted husband on the evening of April 3 in Kot Ise Khan.
In a complaint addressed to the Kot Isi Khan police station SHO, the woman has charged three persons with having raped her when her husband failed to pay them the balance money for post he had bought earlier from them on credit.
However, the police has not registered a case as yet. While the victim alleges "political pressure" for the delay in the registration of case against the three persons, the SSP Moga, Mr Sharad Chauhan claimed that thorough investigation was being done. He said that there were certain grey areas in the entire story and added that until the matter was thoroughly investigated it was difficult to reach any conclusion. Denying political pressure, he said, "we cannot guarantee the nature of action to be taken at this stage".
Earlier, talking to The Tribune, the woman alleged that the three politically well-connected persons had raped her at the gun point on the evening of April 3, when her husband expressed inability to pay them the balance money for post he had bought from them on credit.
She added that the incident occurred, while they were returning to their home from Kot Ise Khan on a bicycle. "The three persons who were in a car stopped us and asked my husband to pay the balance of Rs 3,000 for post he had earlier bought on credit, she added.
However, my husband expressed inability to pay the balance amount and assured to clear the dues after harvesting the wheat crop. On this, they forced me into the car and took me to nearby fields where I was raped" she alleged.
LUDHIANA, April 10 The Additional District and Sessions Judge, Mr B. Mehandiratta, today extended the judicial remand of former DSP Ashok Puri till April 24.
Rally marks end of education
LUDHIANA, April 10 Children of Maharaja Ranjit Singh Police Public School, Phillaur, today came out in large numbers to support child labourers demand for education.
More than 70 children, including around 35 child labourers from Nawanshahr, Jalandhar and Ludhiana today participated in a rally to mark the last day of the global campaign for education.
The children were joined by a few teachers of the school and volunteers of the Bachpan Bachao Andolan, a non-governmental organisation that organised this rally.
A peaceful procession started from Rakhbagh and reached the mini secretariat, where a delegation of these children submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arun Goel, to be forwarded to the Prime Minister.
While talking to TNS, the students and the child labourers lamented that children still continued to be harassed at the hands of adults. They regretted that the new millennium which every one had been so eagerly awaited, had in fact, not been a harbinger of a better life for the child labourers.
Says Abhinav Handa, a Class IX student of the police public school, "When a proposal was put before us to come forward for the support of child labourers, we agreed readily because we want that all children should be given equal opportunities for their all-round development.
Raghbir Singh, a Class VII student of the same school, adds "Even if they are poor, it does not mean that they should not be provided with opportunities for education. We are taught that the government is responsible for the welfare of the country, but it seems that the government is not concerned about children and their welfare.
He says that when he talked to a few of these child labourers, they told him that they had approached several schools for admission, but were denied this because their parents did not have money to pay the fees nor did they know their date of birth to get a birth certificate made, a must for securing admission in any school.
When asked if they would be willing to have these children study in their own school, these students vowed to take up this matter with their school principal and the director of the PPA, Phillaur.
Meanwhile, a talk with a few child labourers revealed that they continued to work in inhuman conditions and were often subjected to infections in their eyes, hands and feet because of insanitary conditions at their work place.
Nana, son of a Maharashtrian migrant labourer, settled in Nawanshahr, informed that he earned around Rs 10 to Rs 12 a day by picking up iron scraps from garbage. "Many a times have I expressed my wish of going to school to my parents, but because I have six younger siblings, I am forced to work to contribute towards the family earnings," he says with a shrug of his shoulders.
Another rag-picker, four-year-old Taina, from Jalandhar says, "I want to go to school and learn English so that I can become like my favourite actress Karisma Kapoor." Others like Ishnu and Som Nath, who work as helps in shops and Vicky, a construction labourer, too, spoke about the hopelessness of their present situation and their aims for the future.
Ms Prabhjot Kaur, a volunteer of the Bachpan Bachao Andolan, informed that there were around six crore child labourers in India who were being used as an easy and cheap substitute for adult labourers, who had to be paid minimum wages.
She informed that the hosiery, textile, cycle and machine industry in Ludhiana employed a large number of child labourers and that the andolan would now be targeting these to free the children employed here.
The andolan also runs
two schools Mukti Ashram at New Delhi and Bal
Ashram at Jaipur for providing primary education and
vocational training to child labourers saved by the
andolan for resettlement.
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