|Monday, April 17, 2000,
for transfer of Chandigarh
panel opposes pvt project
gears up to oust SAD-BJP govt
5 cr bank money misutilised
class prefers Lahore-Delhi bus
for referendum on US Nagar
|Bhattal to leave for Delhi today
CHANDIGARH, April 16 A senior Congress leader and former Punjab Chief Minister, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, who has developed a serious political differences with the President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress President, Capt Amarinder Singh , will go to Delhi tomorrow to brief the party high command about her side of the story.
asks Sant Samaj to send jatha
for 500 MW thermal plant on Beas
seeks central govt scales
bridges to be ready before monsoon
procurement: BKUs stir threat
in colony threatens disease
promise on water supply: Rinwa
retinopathy detection needed
to shift hospital flayed
kin evade arrest
flays police inaction
ordered into death in temple pond
politically motivated, says industrialist
run over by train
carrying 8 cows seized
Badal for transfer of
MEHATPUR (Jalandhar) April 16 Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal seems in a mood to resurrect the tricky issue of transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab.
Addressing a gathering after inaugurating new sheds at the marketing yard here today he said step-motherly treatment had been meted out to the state by successive central governments among which non-transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab and the unsettled river water issue were two glaring examples. Chandigarh was set up to serve as a capital of Punjab, but no decision has been taken in this regard by any government in the past even after lapse of over 35 years. The same is the case with river waters, on which Punjab had the right according to riparian laws. So much so that the dams in the state were under central control he said.
He however, did not mention the central government led by the Bhartiya Janata Party, a coalition partner of the Shiromani Akali Dal.
Criticising previous state government, Mr Badal alleged that they did not show any interest in uplifting rural poor.
He said upgradation of the Rajasansi Airport, which has been cleared by the Union Cabinet, would be done at an estimated cost of Rs 130 crore. Upgradation was a must for all around development of the state, he added.
Unveiling a number of scheme and projects to be initiated in different parts of the state, Mr Badal said Nakodar would be directly linked with Jagraon with the help of a bridge to be constructed on Sutlej near Sangowal village. The bridge, would be completed within a year.
After listening to
grievances of people, Mr Badal said to eradicate the
problem of shortage of drinking water in the area, each
village around Mehatpur will get five public water posts.
The project would cost Rs 30 lakh, he said.
PSEB panel opposes pvt
CHANDIGARH, April 16 Not withstanding the opposition by the Punjab State Electricity Board Association, the Punjab Council of Ministers, in its meeting held here last evening, approved a power purchase agreement (PPA) between the PSEB and a private company GVK Power Limited relating to the development a thermal power station at Goindwal. The agreement has been approved on build-own-operate (BOT) basis.
The PSEB Association,which had held a detailed meeting with the Power Minister and had submitted a detailed representation to him against signing the agreement a few days ago, had urged a public debate on this issue. The association had urged for involving all technical experts and retired senior engineers in the debate to decide whether the signing of such an agreement would be gainful for the state or not. The association had stated that as such an agreement would have a long term impact on the state, the issue was worth discussing before inking the agreement.
The association had given the example of Maharashtra where the government had entered in a similar agreement. It had also urged the state government to make the draft of the agreement public before its approval by the Cabinet.
A Punjab Government spokesman said here today that the thermal project having two units of 250 MW each would cost Rs 2000 crore and it would help in accelerating the pace of development of industry in the state. The project is expected to be commissioned in 2003. The government said that the salient features of this unique project were its short gestation period, assured 75 per cent load factor round the year and huge investment by a private company.
However, the government, in a statement issued in this connection, was silent about the significant terms of the power purchase agreement. At what cost,the power would be purchased by the PSEB and at what rate it would be supplied to consumer? Nor any detail regarding low power demand period had been given. For a number of months, the PSEB had to shut its thermal plants because of low demand for power. Power during these months remained enough from other sources like the Bhakra Dam Project. What were terms of the agreement signed with GVK Power Limited in this connection. This had not been revealed in the statement. Whether deemed operation clause has been included or not? The statement was silent about this.
Giving details of other important decisions taken by the Council of Ministers, Mr R.S.Mann, Punjab Chief Secretary, said that the council had also approved the formulation of a policy for the allotment of land on a reserved price to set up super speciality hospitals in private sector. The proposed policy shall envisage that the private entrepreneurs may be free to operate commercially but they would have to earmark 25 per cent of their beds exclusively for the benefit of poor people living below the poverty line. The modalities of the policy would be worked out in due course by the Department of Local Government, Mr Mann said.
In line with the policy of the state government to provide succour to the families of war heroes, the council also decided to extend the facility of appointment to government service to the next of the kin of the posthumous awardees of Parmavir Chakra, Mahavir Chakra and Vir Chakra. In order to implement this decision of the state government, definition of war hero has been suitably amended. This benefit shall, however, be restricted only to the first generation, dependent members/next of the kin.
The council also gave its consent to condone the strike period of employees of privately managed aided schools from February 24, 1999 to March 30, 1999.
In order to minimise protracted litigation in arbitration proceedings pertaining to custom milling of paddy of kharif 1994-95, the Council of Ministers gave its approval to the recommendations made by the Inter-Department Agency Committee constituted under the chairmanship of Director, Food and Supplies. Dean of to the families of war heroes, the Council has decided to extend the facility of appointments in Government service to the next of the kind of the posthumous awardees of Paramvir Chakra, Mahavir Chakra and Vir Chakra. For implementing this decision, the Government has amended definition of war hero The benefit of this scheme would be restricted to the first generation,dependent member or next of the kin of the war heroes. The Council also condoned the strike period of employees of private aided schools from February 24 last year to March 20, 1999.
In order to minimise
protracted litigation in arbitration proceedings
pertaining to custom milling of paddy of Kharif 1994-95,
the Council gave its approval to the recommendations made
by the inter department agency committee constituted
under the chairmanship of director food and supplies.
SHSAD gears up to oust SAD-BJP
FEROZEPORE, April 16 The All-India Shiromani Akali Dal is learnt to have geared itself up to dislodge the ruling SAD-BJP government in Punjab. Will the party succeed in its efforts is not yet clear, but the AISAD on its part is trying hard to rope in maximum number of MLAs both from ruling Akali Dal and the BJP.
Sources in the party revealed that besides, sending feelers to the disgruntled Akali Dal MLAs, the AISAD is trying hard to convince the BJP high command for support in the state Assembly. As of now, the AISAD is relying on the support of 14 Akali Dal MLAs and the party hopes to raise the number to reach the magic figure by taking support of the BJP.
It is not without significance that the AISAD is projecting Mr Ravi Inder Singh, one of these MLAs from Morinda as Badal da badal (a substitute to Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal). Although feelers are being sent to the disgruntled MLAs by the AISAD to engineer a change of guard, the chances of success are not yet clear.
The party is also pinning hopes on a section of the BJP that enjoys rapport with Mr Ravi Inder Singh, it is learnt.
A senior AISAD leader, Mr Inderjit Singh, who represents Zira Assembly segment in the district confirmed that move was afoot to effect a change in the Assembly to set Punjab free from the misrule of Badal government, but declined to elaborate.
Although he declined to comment on reports indicating the AISADs meeting with any BJP leader, but claimed that the party wanted to distance itself from the discredited Akali Dal.
He denied that the AISAD was trying to take the support of the Congress MLAs in a bid to dislodge an elected government saying Mr Ravi Inder Singh is in no mood to take the Congress help.
He also claimed that the baffled Badal government was keeping a watch on their activities with the help of the CID. The telephones of the AISAD leaders are also being tapped, he charged. Mr Inderjit Singh, who was instrumental in bringing Mr Tohra close to Mr Ravi Inder Singh said that CID officials trailed him wherever he went.
Mr Inderjit Singh was
among the Akali Dal MLAs who had stepped down as
ministers in support of the former SGPC President, Mr
G.S. Tohra, who was cornered by the loyalists of Mr Badal
for seeking the appointment of a working Akali Dal
President. Later, Mr Tohra floated the AISAD with the
support of these MLAs following crisis in the Akali Dal.
Rs 5 cr bank money
MANSA, April 16 Officials of Mansa, Budhlada, Sardulgarh and Talwardi Sabo branches of the Primary Agriculture Development Bank (PADB) have allegedly embezzled or misutilised Rs 500 lakh by advancing loans to farmers under various categories through bogus firms in two years (from July 1, 1997 to June 30, 1999).
Official sources said that apart from it, the officials of these branches had also advanced Rs 212 lakh as loan to the farmers on bogus invoices or without obtaining the invoices of the goods purchased with the loan amount from business establishments.
One of the managers of these branches advanced Rs 50000 to himself from his own branch for setting up a flour mill. It is contrary to the departmental rules.
According to a copy of special audit report (conducted on the orders of higher PADB authorities) with The Tribune Rs 186 lakh was allegedly embezzled or misutilised by the officials of Mansa branch in connivance with certain unscrupulous elements by advancing loans to the farmers through bogus firms from July 1, 1997 to June 30, 1998. From July 1, 1998 to June 30, 1999, the officials of this branch allegedly again embezzled or misutilised Rs 226 lakh in the same manner.
By adopting the same procedure officials of Sardulgarh, Budhlada and Talwandi Sabo allegedly embezzled or misutilised Rs 8.10 lakh, Rs 8.06 lakh and Rs 20 lakh respectively, from July 1, 1997 to June 30, 1998. The amount allegedly embezzled or misutilised by the officials of Sardulgarh, Budhlada and Talwandi Sabo branches in the same way from July 1, 1998 to June 30, 1999 was Rs 50,000, Rs 5.20 lakh and Rs 46 lakh, respectively.
Sources added that bogus firms through which lakh of rupees were advanced to the farmers by the officials of these branches of the PADB could be detected only after physical verification carried out by members of special audit team. More than 20 bogus firms were detected by the team while conducting the special audit of the loans advanced by these branches to the farmers in two years.
Official sources said that after the detection of such irregular deals in the functioning of branches of the PADB more than 10 officials were either suspended or chargesheeted. These officials included some managers of branches also. Apart from it, charge sheets were also being issued to remaining officials who had been found guilty of indulging in shady deals.
Mr Suresh Kumar, Registrar, Cooperative Societies, Punjab, had already written to the DGP (Vigilance), Punjab Police for registering criminal cases in all shady transactions.
Middle class prefers Lahore-Delhi bus
AMRITSAR, April 16 (UNI) Unlike the bi-weekly Samjhauta Express between Lahore and Attari, which has over the years come to be termed as the smuggling express, the year-old Delhi-Lahore bus service has been free from any controversies.
Though the symbolic road link between India and Pakistan was established when Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee undertook his famous bus yatra to Lahore through the Wagah joint check post (JCP), the formal inauguration of the bus service with passengers on board took place on March 16 last year.
Since the formal launch of this service, no single incident of the bus being used for smuggling or other illegal activities had come into light.
Barring a couple of odd cases of passengers being sent back to Pakistan for not possessing the relevant travel documents or confiscation of excess baggage, both the luxury coaches of the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) have yet to be targeted by smugglers and undesirable elements.
Both buses, plying between Lahore and New Delhi four days a week, have not been used for any illegal activities, perhaps due to the strict vigil being kept by Customs and Immigration officials at Wagah.
According to official figures, a total of 7848 passengers travelled on the bus from Lahore to Delhi till March 31. Likewise, a total of 7445 travelled from Delhi to Lahore during the same period.
There was only one particular attempt to misuse the bus when four Pakistan nationals who along with excess baggage and tree lambs entered Wagah on board. They were immediately asked to disembark and handed over the Pakistan Rangers by the Border Security Force (BSF).
Even though the bus service was welcomed by the people on both sides of the border, certain fundamentalists and political parties of the two countries threatened in the past to stop this service following the Kargil conflict.
In March this year, Shiv Sena activists stoned the PTDC bus near Phagwara, but the Punjab Police escort accompanying the coach prevented any damage.
Leaders of both nations had criticised this incident and refused to come under any pressure for halting the service. Following a mild resistance from certain fundamental organisations, the security of the bus along the route in both countries was strengthened.
Though more expensive than travelling by train, the bus service has become immensely popular with middle class families, who could not afford to travel by air and consider the train journey too tiring.
BSP for referendum on US Nagar
PHAGWARA, April 16 In its first ever comment on the contentious Udham Singh Nagar issue, the Bahujan Samaj Party today opposed its merger in Uttaranchal without the consent of the people.
Mr Avtar Singh Karimpuri, general secretary Punjab BSP, said the only democratic way to decide the issue was through determining public opinion.
Alleging that the BJP could not stomach secularism, he accused the BJP of trying to saffronise the country by reviewing the constitution and implementing the RSS agenda. The BSP had launched a drive against this move from March 15.
Bhattal to leave for Delhi today
CHANDIGARH, April 16 A senior Congress leader and former Punjab Chief Minister, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, who has developed a serious political differences with the President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress President, Capt Amarinder Singh , will go to Delhi tomorrow to brief the party high command about her side of the story.
Several senior Congress leaders, including Mr Umrao Singh, Mr Iqbal Singh, Mr Brahm Mohindra, Mr Avtar Singh Brar, Mr Harmohinder Singh, Mr Anil Dutta and Mr Prem Gupta met Mrs Bhattal here at her residence, according to informed sources. They assured their full support to her. Certain leaders sought her permission to issue statements against Capt Amarinder Singh but she did not allow to do so.
However, according to sources Mrs Bhattal stopped them from doing so. She told them that there is no use of washing dirty linen in public and all issues and matters pertaining to party should be raised at the available party fora. Sources said that Bhattal today chalked out strategy not to react to any statement of Capt Amarinder Singh in media and to take up all issues with the party high command.
Informed sources said
that Mrs Bhattal would go to Delhi along with clippings
of various newspapers to apprise the high command about
the comments and observations made by Capt Amarinder
Singh against her at a press conference.
PGPC asks Sant Samaj to send jatha
AMRITSAR, April 16 The Pakistan Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (PGPC) is in constant touch with the Gurmat Gurbani Sidhant Parchark Sant Samaj. In two letters the PGPC co-Chairman, Mr Sham Singh, has urged the Sant Samaj to send jathas to Pakistan to pay obeisance at Sikh shrines there.
The letters were received by Baba Mangal Singh, acting President of the Sant Samaj and confidant of Giani Puran Singh, a former Jathedar of Akal Takht.
Talking to TNS, Baba Mangal Singh said that the Sant Samaj would not send any jatha to Pakistan until the Government of Pakistan disbanded the PGPC. The SGPC claimed that SGPC had the sole right to send jathas and maintain Sikh shrines all over the world. The SGPC had also demanded the removal of Mr Zaved Nasir, a former chief of the ISI, as the PGPC chief.
According to information available the PGPC has also sent letters to some other Sikh institutions for sending jathas to Pakistan. Mr Sham Singh, co-Chairman of the PGPC, assured that the Sikh jathas would get visas by the Pakistan Embassy and all arrangements would be made for smooth conducting of the jathas.
However, the SGPC alleged that anti-India propaganda was being made from Sikh shrines. The SGPC had not sent any jatha to Pakistan in protest against the formation of the PGPC. The last jatha sent by the SGPC was in first week of April last year. Members of the jatha were allegedly humiliated at the hands of PGPC functionaries at the time of celebrations of tercentenary of the birth of Khalsa Panth.
The officials of SGPC who accompanied the jatha were not allowed to make any arrangement for langar (community kitchen) etc. The Sikh militants who had taken political asylum in Pakistan had also made inflammatory speeches at the time.
Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister Punjab had also taken up the issue with Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee and urged him to take up the issue with Pakistan.
Earlier, Sham Singh had sent a communication to leaders of rival Akali factions. However, no jatha could be sent to Pakistan by them after the ban imposed by the SGPC.
The Delhi Gurdwara
Management Committee had, however, sent jathas to
Pakistan despite strong protests by the SGPC. Mr Paramjit
Singh Sarna, president Delhi Gurdwara Management
Committee had taken up the case of the PGPC with the
Government of Pakistan during his visit to Pakistan. Mr
Sarna had requested the government of Pakistan that a
Sikh should replace Javed Nasir as chief of the PGPC. Mr
Sarna had also urged the Pakistani government to add the
word Sikh in the PGPC. On his return from Pakistan, Mr
Sarna had claimed that the Government of Pakistan had
accepted most of the demands of the Delhi Gurdwara
Governor honours 27
PATIALA, April 16 Lt Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), Governor Punjab has appealed to the state administration to develop Patiala city as tourist centre.
Speaking at the awards giving ceremony where he honoured 27 persons with the Punjab and Patiala Rattan Awards, General Jacob expressed his displeasure at the dying tourism potential of this erstwhile princely state. He said it was a pity that the world famous medals gallery, having the second such collection in the world, was not open to tourists. He said he had visited the gallery and was impressed at the rich collection. He, however, added that lots of improvement like the proper display of medals was required.
The Governor said hundreds of artefacts and monuments having unique attraction and history were passing into oblivion. He said even places like Sanghol were not developed into tourist sites.
General Jacob lauded the work and achievements of the Punjab Rattan and Patiala Rattan Award recipients. The ceremony was organised by the Punjab Writers Forum at Central State Library here today.
Capt Amarinder Singh, President, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, speaking on the occasion said works of such luminaries helped a lot in nation building. He said very few people were aware of the brave feats of some of the recipients like Brig Sukhdev Singh who single-handedly held the strategically important Zojilla Pass in 1948 for months together.
Mr Ved Prakash Gupta, convener of the forum, informed the gathering that the organisation had decided to make the awards presentation ceremony an annual feature and would organise the ceremony on January 7 every year on the occasion of Patiala Foundation Day.
Following are the awardees: Punjab Rattan Mr Vijay Kumar Chopra, Editor-in-Chief Hind Samachar Group of Newspapers, Mr Shekhar Gupta, Editor-in-Chief, President Indian Express, Capt Amarinder Singh, PPCC, President, Mr Om Prakash Munjal, Managing Director, Hero Cycles, Jigar Jalandhari, a renowned poet, Mrs Kamaljit Sandhu Kooner, ace athlete, Mr Jagjit Singh Dardi, Editor, Chardikala Group of Newspapers.
AWARDS: Brig Sukhdev Singh (retd) Late Dasondhi
Ram Birji, Late Deewan K.S. Puri, Justice Jitender Vir
Gupta, Cricket player Navjot Singh Sidhu, Mr Jagan Nath
Kaushal, Dr N.D. Aggarwal, Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Mr Arun
Goel, Mr M.P. Pandove, Mr Yog Raj Gupta, Mr Girja
Shanker, Mr Harpal Tiwana, Pandit Mohan Lal Ballo, Mr
Gill Surjit, Mr Vinod Sharma and Mr Palwinder Cheema.
Plan for 500 MW thermal plant
NATHANA (Bathinda), April 16 Punjab Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal today said that two thermal power units of 250MW each would be set up at Goindwal Sahib in the state.
Addressing a press conference here today, he said that a private company, GVK would construct the two units at the cost of Rs 2200 crore and the Punjab Government would purchase power from it. He said with the commissioning of these two units, Punjab would become surplus in power and sell its surplus to neighbouring states.
He said Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee would lay the foundation stone of the project shortly.
The Chief Minister said the government had decided to remove encroachments from Wakf land, deputy commissioners and SSPs of each district had been directed to act on this. Hundreds of acres of Wakf land has been encroached by influential person without any lease deeds.
Mr Badal said the Centre
had approved four major projects for the state including
the oil refinery, inernational airport and science city
at Jalandhar. He said Lok Bhalai Party chief, Mr Balwant
Singh Ramoowalia was generating false propaganda on these
PCMSA seeks central govt
PATIALA, April 16 The Punjab PCMS Association today said it would not climb down from its demands for in-toto acceptance of central government pay scales for PCMS doctors.
In a statement here the association said besides implementation of the recommendations of the Punjab Pay Commissions report, the major demands of the PCMS include higher pay scales for senior medical officers (SMOs) and civil surgeons, a post of Director General of Health Services and revision of the rates of no practising allowance (NPA) with effect from 1.1.96.
The PCMS Association general secretary said implementation of the report of Fourth Punjab Pay Commission in respect of the doctors was a mere formality and the only achievement of the government so far was that it had not implemented the report fully even after three years. Thus the government granted three time scales at 4, 9 and 14 years of service but later withheld them, whereas the other recommendations of the commission such as redesignation of regular posts of SMOs and deputy civil surgeons, upward revision of various allowances such as conveyance allowance, academic allowance, ESI allowance and higher qualification allowance had not been implemented so far.
Demanding restoration of parity in the pay scales of PCMS cadre with medical teachers, Dr Sharma said earlier the pay scales of SMOs and civil surgeons in PCMS cadre were at par with assistant professors and professors of medical colleges.
But now assistant
professors and professors of medical colleges had rightly
been given the pay scales of Rs 16,300/ and 18,400/-,
respectively, whereas these had been denied to SMOs
and civil surgeons who were getting the same scales as
Pontoon bridges to be ready
GURDASPUR, April 16 The Punjab Government has earmarked Rs 1.38 crore for the construction of pontoon bridges on the River Ravi opposite Khojki Chak and opposite Kathlaur in this district. Mr S.K. Sandhu, Deputy Commissioner, said while talking to reporters here today. The orders for the bridges have already been placed.
Mr Sandhu said that the bridges would be completed before the on- set rainy season. Nearly 12 villages of the Narot Jaimal Singh block and villages falling in the Bharial bulge remain cut off from the rest of the district during rains and at times when the flow of water is fast due to the melting of snow on mountains in the catchment area.
Mr Sandhu said that these bridges would remain operational for 10 months in a year. The bridges when completed will give boost to the economy of the area including increase in land prices which comparatively are much lower than in the rest of the district.
Mr Sandhu said that
since the river Ravi will not be flood-prone after start
of power generation at Ranjit Sagar dam which is expected
to start after the end of the coming rainy season, the
area will not have to face floods. The area has rich soil
and all crops including wheat, paddy, sugarcane and oil
seeds are grown in the area.
Wheat procurement: BKUs
MOGA, April 16 Members of the Punjab Unit of the Bharatiya Kisan Union has decided to launch statewide agitation in the next few days if government agencies did not enter markets for the procurement of the wheat which already had started arriving in markets in the State.
Speaking to reporters here yesterday a spokesman of the union said that due to inclement weather stocks which had arrived in the markets valued at crores of rupees would go waste and the government would be responsible for it. He added that under such circumstances the farmers were on the mercy of traders who, he said were fleecing the innocent farmers. He alleged that due to the absence of government procurement agencies, traders were not giving remunerative price of produce saying that the wheat had more moisture. It was not correct, he added.
Sewage in colony threatens
BATHINDA: Insufficient funds, departmental bottlenecks and political considerations have been depriving a major section of the city population of basic amenities.
Though the city has been expanding in all directions and new colonies are coming up fast, the Municipal Council has been finding it difficult to make arrangements for the necessary funds required for providing sewerage and drinking water facilities in those areas.
In certain old localities, civic amenities such as drinking water, sewerage and street light are yet to be given. In certain areas, the lanes and bylanes are yet to be metalled.
The residents of Janta Nagar, a trans-railway colony, have been living in constant fear of outbreak of water-borne disease as their dwellings have been encircled by the stagnant sewage water.
Though the residents along with their elected representatives have been making efforts to get this stagnant water disposed of by installing a temporary pump, they have failed to meet any success so far.
As the sewerage has accumulated here about two and half years ago, some of the houses have developed cracks and if the same situation persists, the houses would start to collapse.
Residents alleged that as they were poor, nobody bothered about their problems. They alleged that even the administrative set-up was indifferent.
They pointed out that the Municipal Council had even failed to sprinkle kerosene and insecticides over the sewage to check the breeding of mosquitoes and other carriers of water-borne diseases. The stink that emanated from the sewage had made their lives hellish and it had been creating the air pollution also.
Mr Jagroop Singh Gill, former head of the Municipal Council, who represented this area in the last municipal council, alleged that development of this area was being neglected on political considerations. He added that he had led a delegation to the district administration to drain out the sewage but without success.
He said owing to unclean surroundings, the lives of about 4000 residents of Janta Nagar had been jeopardised. He added that on one side of Janta Nagar was located the Bathinda-Sriganganagar railway line and on the other side Bathinda-Ferozepore railway line. While in another direction was the Bathinda branch of the Sirhind Canal. The water could be drained out through the Bathinda-Goniana road.
He alleged that nothing
concrete had been done in this regard so far even though
he and other municipal councillors who staged a dharna
about six months ago, were assured that stagnant sewage
would be drained out within a month.
Fulfil promise on water supply:
FAZILKA, April 16 Dr Mohinder Kumar Rinwa, Secretary, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee and former MLA, Fazilka, in statement here today demanded that in view of the requirements of the farmers of Fazilka and Abohar subdivisions irrigation water should be released in half-yearly eastern canal feeding these areas.
In routine, water flows in this canal from April 15 every year, but this year it has been delayed. He said due to the extensive use of tubewells the quality of sub soil water had become poor hence canal water had become vital source of irrigation for farmers. PPCC secretary disclosed that during the visit of Janmeja Singh Sekhon, Irrigation Minister last week to Abohar farmers of the tail-end area had complained that big and influential farmers had fitted wider outlet pipes than prescribed sizes, as a consequence of which they remained deprived of irrigation facility. The minister had assured that sizes of outlets of all farmers would be fixed. Mr Sekhon had also declared that police cases would be registered against those involved in the theft of water.
Dr Rinwa urged the minister to implement his public announcement. He also demanded that the government should make arrangements for the lifting of wheat procured.
He flayed the imposition of undeclared power cuts on the very onset of summer season. He demanded that the government should ensure uninterrupted power supply for 18 hours in the rural areas.
Early retinopathy detection
PATIALA, April 16 Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in the 20 to 74 age group and early diagnosis and treatment of the disease is necessary to reduce the risk of visual loss in diabetic patients , said Dr Amod Gupta , Professor and Head, Department of Ophthalmology, PGIMER, Chandigarh.
Addressing a Continual Medical Education programme organised by the Patiala Academy of Ophthalmology, Dr Gupta said after around 15 years insulin dependent diabetes, 95 per cent of patients suffered from diabetic retinopathy. In non-insulin diabetes 30 per cent of cases had diabetic retinopathy during the first five years of diagnosis. Dr Gupta said the treatment is in the form of lasers and vitreoretinal surgery, but this was available only at advanced eye care centres.
Dr M R Dogra, Associate Professor from PGI, Chandigarh while talking about post-operative endophthalmitis said early diagnosis and prompt management was required to save the eye of the patient from irreversible damage . This devastating complication occurred in one to four cases involving 1,000 cases of ocular surgery.
Dr M S Bhatia, Chairman
of the academy, welcomed the delegates . Dr R N Bhatnagar
, President of the Academy while thanking the delegates
and the guests, said one such CME would be organised
every month by the academy.
Move to shift hospital flayed
AMRITSAR, April 16 The former Minister for External Affairs and local Congress MP, Mr R.L. Bhatia reacted strongly to the reported move of the Punjab Government to shift the present mental hospital to an alternative site. Talking to TNS here today Mr Bhatia felt that the hospital had been suffering because of neglect and ridiculed the idea of selling its vacant land to raise funds for the hospital.
Local residents and various social organisations have also criticised the proposal.
Link road opened
NAWANSHAHR, April 16
Punjab Welfare Minister Sarwan Singh Phillaur
yesterday addressed public meetings at nearby villages
Sodhian Garcha and Mehrampur after inaugurating the link
road Bohara to Sodhiana Garcha to Bahadurpur and
Mehrampur to Ghataron laid at a cost of Rs 33 lakh.
Sants kin evade arrest
KASBA BHARAL (SANGRUR) April 16 Almost four weeks after certain relatives and followers of Sant Daler Singh unleashed terror on a neighbours family in this remote village residents are still under shock.
The plight, especially of the victims, is compounded by the fact that the police has not been able to arrest the sants father and uncle, the alleged instigators in the March 22 attack on Kashmira Singh and members of his family who share a common boundary wall with the sants house in this village.
Unwilling to be quoted certain followers of the sant said the attack was justified as anyone abusing their guru deserved punishment. The non-believers questioned the kind of preaching done with arms or sticks.
It all began on March 19 when Sant Daler Singh who was born in this village came here to participate in a deewan (a religious conference). As his cavalcade of cars was entering the village it hit Gurpreet Singh, a grandson of Kashmira Singh. While the grandfather alleged that a car driven by the sant hit his grandson, the sant and his followers denied this saying the bicycles of a few children who had come to see the sant got entangled and they fell. A number of children were injured.
The followers of the sant took the boy to a hospital in Sandhaur village. Kashmira Singh also reached there and abused the sant for the accident. The followers of the sant got annoyed and abused him. The matter ended there but the next day certain followers of the sant again allegedly went to the house of Kashmira Singh and abused him.
Meanwhile sensing trouble the villagers led by sarpanch Sukhwinder Singh got together to pacify the warring faction. They managed to convince Kashmira Singh to apologise to the sant and call a truck. But when the sarpanch went to meet the sant, shrieks were heard from Kashmira Singhs house.
Narrating his tale of woe Kashmira Singh told TNS that a group of seven to eight persons carrying sticks and rifles and led by the father, an uncle and brother of the sant ransacked his house, beat him and women members of the family up with sticks and rifle butts and shot his son Charanjit Singh, now recovering in the PGI at Chandigarh.
SHO Balwinder of Sadar Police Station Malerkotla Singh reached at the site but some of the attackers instead of running away came out to meet him. They were immediately arrested. They included Baljit Singh, a brother of the sant, Nachattar Singh, Sagar Singh, Shinder Singh and Avtar Singh. However, Sucha Singh and Balkar Singh, the father and uncle, respectively, of the sant had absconded.
I became emotional seeing the condition of my grandson receiving nine stitches on his knee in the hospital and uttered some abuses. Since then they are after us said Kashmira Singh. Recounting the incident he alleged that the relatives and the followers of the sant would have killed them had not the villagers and the sarpanch intervened. Demanding police protection he said armed men in cars and Gypsies could be seen near his house.
Sukhwinder Singh, sarpanch, said he pleaded with the attackers to stop beating up Kashmira Singh and members of his family but to no avail. Only when, he along with other villagers warned them of retaliation they fled away. He said the issue was trivial but certain villagers, were instigating the two parties.
SHO Balwinder Singh said the police had raided several places to arrest the absconding persons. He denied any political pressure.
Sant Daler Singh, when
contacted at his dera in Kheri village said his relatives
were not involved and were being framed to erode his fan
following. He said his followers had gone to the house of
Kashmira Singh only to solve the issue but his son
Charanjit Singh began throwing bricks at them at which
one of them retaliated with a gunshot. He alleged that
the police inquiry into the incident was partial. He
demanded a fresh probe into the incident. Showing a
letter written to SSP Sangrur in this regard he said his
relatives were not involved and should be excluded from
the list of the accused attackers.
Daleke flays police inaction
TARN TARAN, April 16 Mr Dilbag Singh Daleke, a senior Congress leader and former Panjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker, has condemned the police for its failure to set his farmhouse vacated from the armedmen who had taken it under their control since past three days.
Mr Daleke while talking
to mediapersons here today alleged that he was given
assurance by the senior police officials on Saturday that
they would get the farmhouse vacated but the officials
denied of heaving taken any steps today against the
Probe ordered into death in
JALANDHAR, April 16 To probe the mysterious death of two boys by drowning in the holy pond of the Devi Talab Temple on the Baisakhi day, the district police has decided to institute a high-level enquiry.
Raman Kumar (15) and Naveen Kumar (17), residents of Kishanpura and Gazi Gulla localities, respectively, had died due to drowning in the pond of April 13. The issue had snowballed into a controversy with a number of people alleging that the unfortunate deaths occurred due to negligence on the part of the temple management committee and its failure to depute divers, particularly on the occasion of Baisakhi when thousands of people visit the place to offer prayers and to have a holy dip in the pond.
Mr Gaurav Yadav, SSP, said the inquiry to be conducted by Mr Pawan Uppal, SP, would be time bound but did not mention any time frame for it.
Mr Yadav said Mr Uppal would also inquire into the alleged lapses in taking safety measures by the management of the temple which had come under fire following the twin deaths within the temple precincts.
Mr Som Parkash, Deputy Commissioner, had also ordered the police to take necessary action following the tragedy.
Mr Yadav said if the inquiry found involvement of a cognisable offence, an FIR shall be registered. He said one of the families of the deceased had already gone on record saying that it did not wish to initiate action against any person.
Mr Uppal when contacted said that the bodies of both Raman and Naveen were cremated without the post-mortem examination. The SSP said intimation regarding the death of Naveen was given to the SDM concerned who also recorded the statements of his legal heirs and gave exemption from the post-mortem examination of the body.
But the SSP said inquiry under Section 175 of the Cr.PC had been initiated by the police and if there was any doubt regarding the cause of death or suspicious circumstances surrounding it, legal opinion of the District Attorney (legal) would also be taken.
Mr Om Dutt Joshi, a
senior BJP leader, has demanded compensation of Rs 10
lakh each to the bereaved families of Raman and Naveen by
the office-bearers of the temple management committee,
failing which he threatened to file a public interest
litigation ( PIL) in the High Court. He and a city lawyer
Brijesh Chopra, also a BJP leader, have demanded
registration of a case under Section 304-A.
Case politically motivated,
CHANDIGARH, April 16 Mr Satnam Singh, an industrialist of Goindwal Sahib, has described a case registered against a Deputy Superintendent of Police on the basis of a complaint filed by his sister as politically motivated.
In a sworn affidavit submitted to the senior police officials of the State, Mr Satnam Singh said that he was present at the disputed factory premises on the Republic day when the Deputy Superintendent of Police visited the factory to conduct an inquiry.
Mr Satnam Singh said that the DSP, accompanied by his gunmen, came in his official vehicle. He wanted to inspect the machines which had been hypothecated to the Punjab Financial Corporation and made it clear that no machine could be moved out or sold to anyone without prior approval of the PFC and without his information.
It was during his visit that the DSP told him and his sister that he had come to conduct an inquiry on a complaint addressed to the Deputy Commissioner. The complaint had been referred to him by the district police chief.
After he stayed at the factory premises for 10 to 15 minutes, Mr Satnam Singh said he saw him off and as such no incident of assaulting his sister or anyone else took place. The complaint, he said, was politically motivated to harass him.
Man run over by train
JALANDHAR, April 16 (UNI) An unidentified man, in his mid-forties, was run over and killed by Amritsar-bound deluxe train at Sodhal manned level-crossing in the city last night, the police said today.
The body, which by its appearance seemed to be of a beggar, had been handed over to the Municipal Corporation for cremation after the post-mortem examination today, the police said.
Meanwhile, Army Havildar Bahadur Singh of Punjab Regiment, who suffered stroke while having bath at his quarter in Jalandhar Cantonment yesterday, died in Military Hospital later. His body was removed to the Civil Hospital today for the post-mortem examination to determine the cause of death.
Truck carrying 8 cows seized
AMRITSAR, April 16 The local unit of Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) saved eight cows from being slaughtered in the early hours today following a tip off by Bajrang Dal activists.
A truck carrying eight cows and four calves was intercepted at the Shivalaya Bhaiya railway crossing. According to the driver, cows were being sent to Jammu and Kashmir for slaughter.
No papers for purchase of the cows were available with the driver. Four other persons were also arrested and remanded to police custody for a day.
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