|Wednesday, April 19, 2000,
to continue as PPCC chief: Vora
SAD, BJP on collision course?
clears pay panel recommendation
settles cases with rice millers
on Udham Singh Nagar
|PCMSA says govt not sincere
AMRITSAR, April 18 The PCMS Association Punjab says the assurances given to Punjab doctors by the state government on implementation of the Fourth Punjab Pay Commission Recommendations is a ploy to divert attention.
agreement a sellout, say engineers
to oppose move on PSEB
staff go on strike
decision on retirement age
Director asked to explain position
to adopt two children
told to register FIR against cops
A grade for GND University
Course in Thapar institute
Amarinder to continue as PPCC
CHANDIGARH, April 18 The General Secretary of the All India Congress Committee(AICC), Mr Moti Lal Vora, who is also incharge of party affairs Punjab, today directed all Punjab Congress leaders not to discuss party affairs through print media.
The directive has been given to stop the ongoing tussle between Capt Amarinder Singh and Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal. Informed party sources said Mr Vora told Congress leaders that there was no proposal to remove Capt Amarinder Singh from the presidentship of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee. He told partymen, according to sources, that Capt Amarinder Singhs position would be strengthened by restoring discipline in the party.
Meanwhile, Mrs Lakhwinder Kaur Garcha, General Secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, said a copy of the programme chalked out by Capt Amarinder Singh to hold public meetings and rallies from April 25 to May 1 had been submitted to Mr Vora. The programme had been chalked out on the basis of a direction given by the party high command to all state units of the party to start a campaign against the anti-people, anti-poor and anti-secular policies of the Union Government led by the BJP.
Mr Garcha said Mr Vora had directed all party leaders to participate in the programme chalked out by Capt Amarinder Singh and to follow his directions in party matters.
Several senior leaders, according to sources, met Mr Vora today who was here in connection with various party matters. Capt Amarinder Singhs supporters claimed that at least eight MLAs, including Mr Avtar Henery, Mr Harminder Jassi, Chowdhary Jagjit Singh, Mr Amarjit Singh Samra, Mr Romesh Dogra, Mr Kanwaljit Singh Lali met Mr Vora and appealed to him to discipline various party leaders making statements against the party leadership in the state. Sources said Mr Bhagwan Dass, a Congress party MLA from Sunam, who is unwell had sent a letter to Mr Vora in this connection, a supporter of Capt Amarinder Singh claimed.
Former Ministers, including Mr Gurchet Singh Bhullar, Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, Mr Harnek Singh Gharuan, Mr Ishar Singh and several others also met Mr Vora.
Almost all leaders told
Mr Vora that parallel meetings had sent wrong messages in
party circles in Punjab and such practice should be
stopped by taking all required steps by the party high
command. There should be no compromised as far as
maintaining of discipline in the party is concerned.
Is SAD, BJP on collision
CHANDIGARH, April 18 Is the SAD-BJP coalition in Punjab on a collision course?
If not, how come the BJP General Secretary, Mr Venkaiah Naidu, in New Delhi and the Punjab Minister of Food and Supplies Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, in Chandigarh have come out with identical statements reiterating that ties between the two parties, the SAD-BJP, would remain?
One wonders if the growing activities in the Sarb-Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD) of Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra and its joining by some Akali MLAs otherwise owing allegiance to Mr Parkash Singh Badal and behind-the-scene meetings between some state BJP leaders and the SHSAD has resulted in orchestrated reiteration of the political bonds in Delhi and Chandigarh.
While Mr Naidu yesterday talked of the traditional ties between the BJP and the SAD and ruled out any breakaway, Mr Mittal, nearer home, today came out with a lengthy statement signed on his behalf by BJP Office Secretary, Mr Raj Bhatia, saying, Mr Badal is the real and sincere leader and the BJP fully supports the SAD policies and programmes.
Mr Daya Singh Sodhi is the state BJP chief and Mr Balramji Das Tandon is the leader in the Vidhan Sabha. Both are silent. How come Mr Mittal has reacted, suo motu, on the ties between the ruling combine?
His statement does admit that differences, if any, at any point of time were sorted out mutually. While referring to the alliance being on a firm footing, Mr Mittal said Mr Badal was the accepted leader and there could be no replacement. Not long ago, however, the state BJP unit had said its ties were with the SAD as a party and not with any SAD individual leader, meaning the BJP-SAD tie-up was as parties and not necessarily BJP-Badal partnership.
Punjab clears pay panel
CHANDIGARH, April 18 The Punjab Government has implemented yet another recommendation of the Fourth Pay Commission in respect of the Assured Career Progression (ACP) scheme for categories where there is direct recruitment in the existing pay scale of Rs 2,200-4,000 as on December 31, 1995.
It is learnt that the Department of Personnel issued a notification yesterday granting four-tier pay scales on the completion of four, nine and 14 years of regular service to nine categories of employees under the ACP scheme. These nine categories are, namely, veterinary officers, assistant architects, medical officers (PCMS-I), sub-divisional engineers (Irrigation/Power), deputy superintendents of police, PCS (Provincial Civil Service-Executive Branch), sub-divisional engineers (PWD, B and R and Public Health) and assistant town planners.
According to the notification, the scheme will be operative with retrospective effect, which means effective from January 1, 1996. In fact, the scheme was first notified on May 19, 1998, but was stayed on September 23, 1998. It was held in abeyance since proper guidelines/clarifications were not available.
Though the pay in higher pay scales was supposed to be fixed only after the instructions, guidelines had been issued regarding adjudging of eligibility and suitability of employees for placement in higher scales. But some departments went ahead without waiting for the same, which was not in order.
Among the other instructions, guidelines etc, it is mentioned that the procedure for assessing the work and conduct for placement in the higher scale shall be the same as applicable in case of promotion.
The placement in higher scales shall be allowed to those employees whose overall service record during the span of satisfactory service is adjudged as good and the employee is otherwise suitable for promotion. A good record shall mean that more than 50 per cent annual confidential reports are good and out of the past three years reports at least two should be good.
All placements in higher scales shall be given effect to from the first day of January of the year next to the year in which an employee completes the span of service required for placement in the higher scale.
An employee placed in the higher scale shall continue to perform the same duties of the original post and shall remain on the strength of the same cadre.
Meanwhile, the PCMS
Association, Punjab has welcomed this. In fact, it was
during its meeting with the Chief Minister here on Monday
that this decision was taken to grant three timescale
promotions after four, nine and 14 years.
Punjab settles cases with rice
CHANDIGARH, April 18 In a major policy decision, the Punjab Government to put an end to protracted litigation with the rice milling industry in the state, has ordered the final settlement of arbitration cases against the rice millers with regard to non-milling and misappropriation of paddy in 1994-95.
Cases in which the millers had sold paddy as per the Union Governments guidelines and no rice or paddy is due from them, the arbitration proceedings for not milling the said paddy would be dropped.
As regards cases in which the rice millers partly delivered rice and deposited balance money on account of unauthorised conversion of paddy, the millers are now allowed to deposit payment in lieu of the remaining quantity of rice at custom milled rice rates along with interest at bank rate.
With respect to cases where excessive shortage has been caused due to loss of moisture, the payment can now be deposited by the millers at the custom milled rice rates alongwith bank interest.
In cases where millers converted paddy into rice but did not deliver the rice to the FCI and some part of the due amount was accepted from millers, the millers have been allowed to deposit the difference between value of custom milled rice and the part amount deposited by them earlier, plus the bank interest.
In cases where IR-8 paddy was sold by procurement agencies before commencement of its sale to the millers by the Central Government, arbitration cases shall be withdrawn since the common paddy fetched higher rates than those fixed for fine paddy.
Only in cases where neither paddy nor rice was available with the miller at the time of physical verification, arbitration/criminal cases against the defaulting millers shall be pursued.
However, in such cases where paddy was short at the time of verification and the millers deposited the money at the prevalent sale rate fixed by the Central Government and FCI, the millers have now been allowed to deposit the difference in amount of custom milled rice and the part amount already deposited by them, plus interest at bank rate.
It was felt that before 1994-95, paddy procurement and related functions did not create any specific problems. However, during the 1994-95 kharif, the procurement agencies were forced to procure 78 per cent of the total arrivals.
While the state procurement agencies were making all out efforts to get the balanced paddy milled, the Central Government unilaterally announced the policy of open sale of paddy stocks, which adversely affected paddy milling.
The state government had neither recommended the sale of paddy nor the rates at which paddy was to be sold. The rates at which was ordered to be sold by the Union Government/FCI ranged between Rs 442 at one time and Rs 220 per quintal towards the end.
The state government has already lodged a claim of Rs 274.97 crore with the Union Government for reimbursement of losses incurred by the state procurement agencies because of sale of paddy at low rates fixed by the Centre. It was felt that had the Centre not announced the open sale policy, the procurement agencies would have got the paddy milled and delivered to the central pool and not suffered losses. In stead of sanctioning the above mentioned claim, the Union Government had asked the state government about the details of action taken against the rice millers who failed to mill paddy within the stipulated period. It was felt by the Punjab Government that such action was unwarranted. However, on the insistence of Union Government all the state procurement agencies got FIRs registered against the millers concerned and institute action against employees.
This had led to
large-scale resentment and rice millers
associations preferred representation of the matter in a
fair and judicious manner. In the light of the above
circumstance it was felt necessary to take a policy
decision on the basis of fair and judicious examination
of the matter in the best public interest.
Memorandum on Udham Singh Nagar
CHANDIGARH, April 18 At a meeting of dissident Akalis and like-minded organisations, held today at the residence of Mr Ravi Inder Singh, a memorandum was prepared on Udham Singh Nagar.
According to Sarb-Hind Shiromani Akali Dal leader, Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, the meeting discussed all aspects and decided to present a memorandum to the President and the Prime Minister on April 24 and 25.
It was also decided to approach like-minded political parties, the moot point being that the UP Government had gone ahead with the transfer of Udham Singh Nagar into Uttranachal without waiting for the report of the committee headed by Mr George Fernandes. Even Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, is a member of that committee. Incidentally, the committee has not met in the past two years, he added.
Disease strikes region
LUDHIANA, April 18 Foot-and-mouth disease, (FMD) which has been sporadically affecting dairy animals and causing huge loses to farmers, has again struck the region.
According to informed sources, cases of the disease have been reported from Dabwali near Muktsar, Punjab Agricultural University Dairy Farm at Ludhiana and from some pickets of Fatehgarh Sahib district. Several unconfirmed reports from other districts of Punjab have also poured in.
Veterinary experts in Punjab Agricultural University, on condition of anonymity, however, told TNS that though the clinical symptoms in all affected animals pointed at the foot-and-mouth disease, it was yet to be confirmed in the laboratory.
Informed an expert from the Department of Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Extension, This is a viral disease which is very contagious, and causes huge economic losses as it leads to drastic fall in milk yield of animals and abortions.
He informed that though the disease also occurred in sheep goats and pigs, it was more severe in dairy animals, especially pure-bred and cross-bred cattle and buffaloes. The disease is so contagious that even the air can carry the virus to animals. It also spreads through milk or body fluid of animals, feed and even other animals can act as carriers of the disease, he explained.
The disease had adversely affected dairy animals in the entire northern region in 1998 and had devastating effects. Several head of cattle and buffaloes had perished, and milk yield in a substantial number of dairy animals had reduced to a minimal level.
The total livestock population in Punjab is around 96,78,000 and the population of dairy animals is concentrated mainly in Amritsar, Ludhiana, Moga and Patiala. Besides these, dairy farming is also carried out on a large scale in Ferozepore and Muktsar.
Experts pointed out that though the cases of the disease had so far been reported from a few pockets in the state, it could take serious dimensions if preventive measures to control secondary infections in morbid animals were not taken.
When contacted, a veterinary expert in the Department of Epidemology and Veterinary Preventive Medicine on condition of anonymity told TNS that one plausible reason for the spread of the disease in the region could be the shortage in the foot-and-mouth disease vaccine.
He said a good number of dairy animals this year could not be vaccinated and thus the disease has spread. He however, said the morbidity in the animals in dairy farm had been successfully controlled.
Interestingly veterinary expert from the Department of Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Extension said there was a need for the state government to set up an independent body to test the quality of the foot-and-mouth disease vaccine and to look into the need for maintaining a cold store chain where the vaccine could be suitably kept. This is needed to ascertain the causes why the vaccine has not been able to control the occurrence of the disease in animals which have already been vaccinated.
Meanwhile, experts also pointed out that generally more concentration was made on the foot-and-mouth disease which only caused morbidity, while haemorrhaegic syptocaemia, a secondary infection of the disease which was fatal, was often ignored. They recommended that all dairy animals should be properly vaccinated against this.
They also recommended
the segregation of the morbid animals affected by the
disease, their mobility stalled, and ban on the purchase
of new animals when the disease struck and secondary
infections to be checked.
PCMSA says govt not sincere
AMRITSAR, April 18 The PCMS Association Punjab says the assurances given to Punjab doctors by the state government on implementation of the Fourth Punjab Pay Commission Recommendations is a ploy to divert attention.
According to press release issued by Dr RS Sethi, senior vice-president of the association, the recommendations relating to grant of time-bound scales to PCMS doctors on the pattern of the central government were approved and implemented by the state in 1998 but a ban on their implementation was imposed. Ever since then the government has been sitting over the matter while meting out false assurances.
This has led to
resentment amongst the 4,000 strong PCMS cadre. Dr Sethi
further said the PCMSA was sick of such assurances and
wanted the government to immediately implement all the
recommendations of the pay commission in toto.
Power agreement a sellout, say
PATIALA, April 18 The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) today condemned the power purchase agreement signed between the PSEB and GVK Company as a document secretly and shadily negotiated, lacking openness and transparency, and mortgaging the financial health of the board so as to ensure windfall profits for a group of foreigners and the GVK Company.
In a statement here, association General Secretary Anil Miglani said the agreement would put an extra financial burden in hard cash on the public of Punjab to the tune of Rs 300 crore per year as compared with a thermal plant constructed departmentally.
He said the power tariff of a private station would involve a massive cash outflow since the PSEB would have to pay in cash for interest of the loan, 16 per cent return on equity and depreciation at 7.5 per cent interest on working capital while these components do not have to be paid for in cash case of the Ropar, Lehra Mohabbat and Bathinda Thermal plants.
The statement said while globalisation, liberalisation and privatisation are the new magic mantras to justify the exploitation of developing countries by the industrially developed and strong countries, it is forgotten that even in industrially developed countries such contracts are to be first made public, discussed and debated and only then finalised.
It said the PSEB Engineers Association was of the opinion that the PPA of Goindwal would put a long-term additional financial burden of Rs 10,000 crore over 20 years on the PSEB which would go to line the pockets of Indian and foreign parties at the cost of the people of Punjab.
The association asked as
to what was the guaranteed off take of the
agreement and how had GVK succeeded in protecting its
profits through deemed generation clauses
that would make the PSEB pay, directly or indirectly for
energy not generated? It said the PSEB is presently
facing a cash loss of the order of Rs 1000 crore per year
and expressed surprised how the PSEB would pay for costly
power from Goindwal when it was not able to pay its
present suppliers of material.
Stir to oppose move on PSEB
JALANDHAR, April 18 To protest against the Punjab Governments move to privatise the Punjab State Electricity Board, the Employees Struggle Committee has decide to observe a one-day strike on May 11.
Mr H.S. Minhas, convener of the committee, said zonal-level conferences and dharnas would be held on May 2 at Amritsar, on May 3 at Jalandhar, on May 4 at Ludhiana, on May 5 at Bathinda and on May 8 at Patiala.
Amloh CDPO suspended
FATEHGARH SAHIB, April 18 Mr Gobind Singh Kanjala, Minister for Social Security and Child Development, has suspended Mr Pritpal Singh, CDPO, Amloh in the district for misusing official vehicle. His lien has been shifted to Ferozepore.
Mr Kanjala said a campaign had been launched to check the misuse of government funds, vehicles and absenteeism among employees. He said on Sunday he came across a government vehicle of his department, he chased the jeep and asked the driver about his identity, he tried to mislead but later revealed his real identity as CDPO, Amolh, having charge of Nabha also.
NFL decision on retirement
NANGAL, April 18 National Fertilizers Limited (NFL) board has decided to revert the retirement age of its employees to 58 years.
This decision was taken at a board meeting which ended here yesterday. The decision would be sent to the Ministry for Chemicals and Fertilizers for approval.
According to sources in the NFL, this follows the Cabinet committees decision to offer voluntary retirement scheme, in all public sector units, to reduce excessive man power. The NFL management had presented its case to implement the voluntary retirement scheme to the ministry.
The ministry had, however, asked the management to revert the retirement age to 58 years before the implementation of the scheme. This would deny the benefits of the voluntary retirement scheme to those employees who had got extension due to the enhancement in the retirement age.
Transport staff go on strike
AMRITSAR, April 18 Several unions of employees under the Punjab Roadways went on a strike today at the local bus stand. Protest started at 11.30 am and continued till 2 p.m. as employees raised slogans against the transfer of 180 conductors to the Pepsu Road Transport Corporation. The employees also agitated against the policy of privatisation.
They demanded the cancellation of the recent transfer orders by the government and failing which they threatened another agitation on May 11.
INTACH survey likely
AMRITSAR, April 18 On World Heritage Day, Dr Sukhdev Singh, Convener, Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, Punjab, said INTACH will launch a detailed linguistic survey of Punjab.
Dr Sukhdev Singh
suggested the Punjab government should earmark funds for
special regionwise detailed study of Punjabi on the
pattern of INTACH initiatives, according to which the
inventories of historical buildings and heritage maps for
major cities of Punjab were being prepared.
LUDHIANA, April 18 The Indian Ex-services League (P and C) has criticised certain parties for trying to create confusion among ex-servicemen by creating ex-servicemen cells and installing veterans as their heads.
Lt-Col C.S. Dhillon, President of the league in a press note said this was aimed at dividing the veterans and some ambitious persons, were playing into the hands of political parties and misleading their brethren.
Dy Director asked to
CHANDIGARH, April 18
Mr Karnesh Sharma, DFSC, Sangrur, and now Deputy
Director, Food and Supply (Headquarters), has been called
upon to explain his position in case of alleged
irregularities in the milling of paddy, according to an
official press note released here today.
Trust to adopt two children
PATIALA, April 18 The Prof Harbans Singh Memorial Trust has decided to adopt two needy and deserving students of B.N. Khalsa Senior Secondary School, Patiala, to cover their education expenses. A committee would screen such students and make its recommendations.
Mr Tirath Singh, General
Secretary of the trust, said in a press note here
yesterday that the trust would observe the second death
anniversary of Prof Harbans Singh in gurdwara sahib on
the Punjabi University campus on May 28. It has also
decided to serve refreshments to the inmates of Yadvindra
Orphanage, Patiala, on this occasion.
SSP told to register FIR against
CHANDIGARH, April 18 Directing Kapurthalas Senior Superintendent of Police to register a case following allegations of illegal detention, Mr Justice T.H.B. Chalapathi of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, while taking up a petition against a Deputy Superintendent of Police, three Assistant Sub-Inspectors and an office-bearer of the ruling Akali Dal, also asked him to take such action as was required under law.
Seeking the registration of an FIR against DSP Joginder Singh Kahlon, ASIs Makhan Singh, Gurmukh Singh and Ganga Singh, besides Phalath Market Committee (Kapurthala) chairman-cum-Akali Dal office-bearer Mohinder Singh and two other respondents, petitioner Baba Gurnam Singh alleged that he was tortured and forced to execute a deed for the sale of a dera set up by him after being kept in illegal custody.
The Baba added that he had not received any consideration out of the alleged deal. The petitioner had added that he was forcibly taken away on September 10, 1999, and detained till September 13.
Going into the background, the petitioner had stated that Mohinder Singh, related to a senior member of the SGPC, had been asking him to transfer the dera in his name after leaving it. The dera, had gained popularity causing a decline in the offerings at the local gurdwara.
A detailed complaint was made to the SHO, SSP and the DGP but no action was taken against the accused because of political influence.
Seeking directions for handing over the case to an independent agency, the petitioner had stated, this was a fit case for referring to the CBI because of the direct involvement of the DSP....
Taking up the petition,
Mr Justice Chalapathi observed: The SSP,
Kapurthala, is hereby directed to register a case under
Section 154 Cr PC on the basis of complaint made by the
petitioner to him on September 15, 1999 and also the SHO
Phalath police station (Kapurthala) and investigate the
same and take such action as is required under the law
depending upon the result of investigation.
Conspirators remand extended
PATIALA, April 18 (PTI) The judicial remand of two conspirators in the hijacking of the Indian Airlines flight IC-814 was extended here today by a special CBI court.The two, Abdul Latif and Yusuf Nepali, were produced amidst tight security in the court of Special Judge Amarjit Singh Virk.
Though the CBI declined to divulge anything, official sources said the two were taken to Mumbai during the intervening period since their last remand on April 4.Both were taken to Mumbai in connection with the case relating to the forging of documents, including some passports.
NAAC A grade for GND
AMRITSAR, April 18 Guru Nanak Dev University has earned the A grade (five stars) accreditation for five years following the assessment made by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC). This has been informed by Prof A. Gnanam, Chairman of NAAC, in a communiqué addressed to Prof H.S. Soch, Vice-Chancellor. The assessment by the NAAC which means performance evaluation covers all aspects of the working of a university, college or a research institute.
Dr R.S. Bawa, Registrar, while releasing the report received from the NAAC to newsmen said Dr H.S. Soch, Vice-Chancellor, who is presently on a visit to the USA, has expressed his joy over the recognition of the university.
Dr Soch said the university not only should maintain this achievement but also try its best to scale new heights in future. He said this excellent achievement would motivate all those involved with the university to further improve the image of the university.
Dr Bawa gave the credit of this great achievement to all sections of the university teachers, officers, employees, students and affiliated colleges. It was possible to achieve this due to an excellent, thoughtful leadership and combined effort.
The NAAC was established by the University Grants Commission in 1994 for the purpose of external quality assurance in institutions of higher education and research. He said Guru Nanak Dev University is the first university in northern India to have asked the NAAC in August 1998 for its assessment and accreditation.
The process involves three stages: preparation of self study report by the institution and its submission to NAAC, validation of the report (a) by in house analysis and (b) NAAC peer team visit for verification and analysis. The final decision is made by the NAAC on the basis of the above reports.
The university had submitted two-volume self assessment report and inputs from the departments to NAAC in December 1999. The report was prepared by 21-member steering committee with Prof H.K. Puri as the coordinator. The five member NAAC team of peers visited the university campus for five days during February 2000.
Then Prof A. Gnanam, Chairman, NAAC attended several meetings of the peer team.
The registrar told media persons that the peer team in its report had acknowledged the tremendous efforts made by the university towards quality education. The team also made specific suggestions for better utilisation of its potential and for quality improving strategies.
New Course in Thapar
PATIALA, April 18 The Thapar institute of Engineering and Technology (TIET) Patiala and the All-India Management Association (AIMA) today signed a memorandum of understanding for starting a masters of information technology-e-commerce (mit-ecom. course) by distance learning mode. The programme will begin from July, 2000.
An official release said
the programme comprises 4 modules of 6 courses each and
can be completed in a minimum period of two years. Any
graduate with 50 per cent marks will be eligible for the
programme. The course will comprise imparting
instructions through books, study guides, audio and video
cassettes personal contact programme and interactive
seminars through satellite with guidance service being
made available through nodal centres of the AIMA spread
all over the country. The admission will be made through
management aptitude test conducted by AIMA.
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