|Thursday, April 20, 2000,
saddled with cases against Punjab
institute to be set up in Punjab
sues govt for 1.35 lakh recovery
shortest train run
pump users may be booked for theft
not anybodys property, says ex-Speaker
farmers in debt trap: Pavneet
clergy joins AIDS campaign
link roads by June-end
plot owners plea
notice, say engineers
Kewal Singh leaves for J&K
operators resent road tax hike
drove sarpanch to murder
cases on the rise
teachers demand arrears
pc hike in sales tax collection
procurement picks up
put off strike
Courts saddled with cases
CHANDIGARH, April 19 Ever increasing litigation is eating into the vitals of the Punjab government.
The number of cases against the state government is 95,000. This is only in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Supreme Court and tribunals. The figures are not available for cases against the state in lower courts. But it must be very high, knowledgeable sources say. In fact, the number of such cases alone in the Punjab and Haryana High Court is over 80,000. The number of such cases in 1991 was just 20,000. Education, Local Bodies, Excise are among the departments which have a large number of cases in courts.
At one stage, a senior IAS officer had got himself transferred from the Punjab Education Department just for the reasons of court cases. He had told his senior colleagues that he was unable to face such a big number of contempt of court cases and should be transferred to some other department. Now that officer is on deputation with the centre.
How much money,time and energy of government is wasted on litigation one can make out from the number of pending cases. One thing is very clear that the increasing number of cases has a direct link with settled lethargy in state administrative machinery. Aggrieved persons and parties usually knock the doors of courts when they fail to get their grievances redressed at the executive level.
However to seek answers to questions like: why the number is increasing? And can it be brought down? TNS today contacted Mr Hardev Singh Mattewal, Advocate General, Punjab, who holds a ministers rank and deals with entire litigation against the state in the high court, Supreme Court and tribunals.
The number of case can be certainly cut by 20 to 30 per cent, he says. People move to the Punjab and Haryana High Court even for cases of pension, gratuity and representations. They do so when they remained ignored at the appropriate level.
A senior advocate giving examples of bunch cases in this connection says that the, government should automatically decide such cases as per the decision made by the court in similar case earlier. Suppose court has accepted one teachers plea for giving him a higher scale for specific reason. Government gives him the same. When another group of teachers entitled for the higher scale for similar reasons ask for it, government refuses to give, even knowing well that these teachers will get the scale through court citing earlier judgement delivered in similar cases. Teachers immediately rush to court. When court directs, the government has to give. Such type of unnecessary litigation is often forced on employees and others concerned by the government, he says.
Many sections of society, by and large employees, have to move to court as government fails to settle their grievances at the administrative level. Even people have to move to court for getting administrative secretaries directed to decide their representation in a specific time frame presentations remain undecided at government level for months.
Mr Mattewal said that he had given a number of suggestions to the government to cut down the burden of litigation extensively. In cases of settled law, government should immediately extend relief to the person or party concerned and should not give him a chance to go to court against government. Likewise, there should be no problem in deciding cases of pension and gratuity at the government level and employees concerned should have no excuse to move to court in such cases as there were clear written rules and regulations at the government level to decide such cases.
For quickening the disposal of the cases against government in the high court and tribunals, Mr Mattewal says he has urged all administrative secretaries concerned to file the replies and written statements in cases concerning their departments at the earliest possible. There should be no delay in this connection,he said. Entire system suffers because of delay in filing the statements in courts, he was of the opinion. All cases are dealt by law officers of the office of Punjab Advocate General and practice of engaging private advocates has been abandoned. Number of law officers in the Punjab Advocate-General office is 48 which includes one Senior Additional Advocate General, five additional Advocate Generals, three Senior Deputy Advocate Generals, 39 Deputy and assistant Advocate Generals.
Energy institute to be set up
NEW DELHI, April 19 The foundation stone for the National Institute for Renewable Energy Sources will be laid at Jalandhar on May 14. This decision was taken today after a meeting between the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal and the Union Minister for Non-Conventional Energy, Mr M Kannappan.
The institute, estimated to be constructed at a cost of Rs 50 crore, will have modern facilities to carry on research on subjects related to non conventional energy.
The Punjab CM, who was on a days visit to the Capital, also called on the Union Home Minister, Mr L K Advani, in Parliament House and the Minister for Culture and Tourism, Mr Anant Kumar, and the Minister for Environment and Forests, Mr T R Baalu.
Sources in the Punjab Government said that Mr Anant Kumar assured Mr Badal that work on the science city in Punjab would begin soon. He said that Rs 7 crore had been earmarked for the project and efforts are on to identify the authority which would be entrusted construction of the science city.
The Minister for Culture is also said to have assured the release of funds for the martial arts academy at Anandpur Sahib.
Mr Badal met the Minister of Environment and Forests to discuss and expedite the approval of appropriate technology for sewage treatment plants to be set up under the Sutlej Action Plan. Four Punjab towns, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Phillaur and Phagwara are covered under the action plan, a 100 per cent centrally-funded scheme for preventing pollution of the Sutlej.
It was decided that the Central Government would send a team of experts within a week to study the problem of pollution of the Sutlej and identify projects that could be taken up for immediate execution. It was decided that priority would be given to pollution problems in Ludhiana and other major towns in Punjab along the Sutlej. Experts would also study the problem of pollution of ponds in villages.
It was also decided that
an expert team from the ministry would visit Ludhiana to
explore the possibility of converting the entire Buddha
Nullah into a maturation pond for bacterial reduction in
the treated sewage.
Doctor sues govt for 1.35 lakh
CHANDIGARH, April 19 After waiting for seven years to get her rightful due, the retired Head of the Physiology Department, Government Medical College, Patiala, Dr Birinder Kaur Pannu (now based in Chandigarh), has sued the Punjab Government on account that despite repeated reminders, the Department of Health did not given her medical reimbursement of Rs 1.77 lakh which she was entitled to.
The case revolves around immense expenditure incurred by Dr Pannu to get herself treated for breast cancer in the USA while she was still in service at medical college, Patiala. She stated that following conflicting reports in India about the disease she was suffering from, she decided to seek foreign treatment for which she was granted sanction. It was added that she spent about Rs 1.77 lakh on her treatment from her personal savings and as a government servant, was entitled to medical reimbursement. "Although the claim was laid on January 18, 1993, no relief has been granted till date," she stated.
Alleging that the government was behaving in a negligent manner and intentionally disregarding the rights of a government servant, Dr Pannu filed a civil suit for recovery of Rs 1.35 lakh against the Secretary, Department of Health, Government of Punjab, Director, Research and Medical Education, Punjab, Director, Health Services, Punjab and Principal, Government Medical College, Patiala in the court of UT Civil Judge (senior division) Mr H.S. Madaan. In the suit, on which notice has been issued to the respondents for June 14, Dr Pannu has sought the court to direct the defendants to pay all medical expense which she had to incur on getting herself treated for breast cancer abroad during the course of her service.
Dr Pannu has also asked for payment of interest at the rate of 18 per cent per annum. She retired on March 31, 1993, and has ever since been engaged in a continuous battle to get her claim cleared. She laid a claim with Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Punjab, in 1993 but there was no reaction. "Another letter was then posted in 1995 detailing all facts and when there as no reaction on this also, a legal notice was served upon the defendants on November 28, 1995," she stated.
The plaintiff added, "Meanwhile there was information from the department that an amount of Rs 97,632 had been passed. Nothing however matured. Another legal notice had to be served in May, 1997, and in reply to which the government stated that only salaries could be drawn from the Treasury and hence the delay.
The problem arose when
the plaintiff had to undergo tests at Medical College,
Patiala, in 1993 wherein she was diagnosed to be
suffering from carcinoma of breast. Another CT Scan
report conducted at Patiala detected carcinoma of the
liver. Due to conflicting reports , Dr Pannu had to get
herself examined from the GMR Institute of Research, New
Delhi, which again diagnosed carcinoma of the liver.
Another test at the PGI, however, again mentioned that
she suffered from breast cancer. It was this conflict in
reports which caused Dr Pannu to seek treatment abroad.
Worlds shortest train
AMRITSAR, April 19 The train with the worlds shortest run will be launched between Attari and Wagha tomorrow. As per the agreement reached between Indian Railways and Pakistan Railways, the Samjhauta Express train will cover the three-kilometre long international leg of the journey on Indian rakes from tomorrow.
According to Mr Yogesh Aggarwal, assistant traffic manager, the Samjhauta Express will be flagged off from Attari on a borrowed engine for now as the Indian crew members have not got visas yet. He said members of the crew had applied for visas and till then, the train would be plied by an engine supplied by Pakistan. The Pakistani crew have visas as they have been coming to Attari for the past more than four years. Earlier, the Samjhauta Express ran between Lahore and Attari.
Mr Shashi Kumar Madan, station master Attari, said Pakistan Railways had confirmed the timings of the new Samjhauta Express. Its departure from Wagha (Pakistan) will be 12.30 p.m. and it will depart for Wagha from Attari at 13.55 p.m.
Railway sources said the
agreement was a temporary one and would be replaced by a
permanent agreement proposed to be reached on April 26 at
the meeting of officials of Pakistan Railways and Indian
Railways. There is a proposal to ply the train between
Amritsar and Lahore covering a distance of around 65
Tullu pump users may be booked
PATIALA, April 19 Tullu pump users in the city have to be cautious now as the Municipal Corporation here has decided in principle to get them booked under charges of water theft.
This is the latest step by the corporation to check use of the illegally installed tullu pumps which are seriously jeopardising smooth water supply in the city. The corporation has also decided to form a strong team of about 100 MC workers which will raid a colony together.
Earlier, the corporation had for the first time announced forming of raiding teams of women workers for checking the menace of tullu pumps.
The stringent action against these water sources, as the corporation staff calls them, comes in the wake of increasing public complaints of irregular water supply.
Tullu pumps are small motors which residents install on water pipes or taps in order to have water supply in full pressure. The pumps help in supplying water to the upper floors also but the illegal activity affects the supply system as water flowing to other houses is pulled by the tullu pumps.
Talking to the Tribune, Mr K.S. Kang, Commissioner, MC, said the corporation has sought legal advice on ascertaining what kind of charges can be levelled against such thieves of water. He said the water supply in the city will become smooth in a week as four of the eight new tubewells in the digging process have been properly installed and would start working shortly.
Mr Kang said all efforts of the corporation to educate people against the use of tullu pumps have not borne any fruit.
He said the corporation had even advised people to make special tanks on the ground floors and fill them when the water supply is on.
They can then install tullu pumps on these tanks and provide water to the upper floors. He said the corporation has no objection to such a practice but when the pumps suck water from MC pipes causing inconvenience to others, then it amounts to a crime for which they are liable to face criminal charges.
As the corporation is gearing to face the water shortage challenge in the summer season, complaints of harassed residents are increasing day by day. The residents of the outer colonies have no problem of water as they are out of the MC water supply system and thrive on jet pumps.
The inner city residents are the worst sufferers. Of these those in the old walled city are facing an alarming situation as taps in many areas have gone dry.
Enquiries from residents in Ragho Majra, Adalat Bazaar and Arya Samaj colonies reveal that though the corporation has earmarked timings of water supply, it is still irregular in nature.
The main complaint of the residents is regarding no supply in upper floors.
Even residents outside
the walled city complain of the same problem. Mr D.S.
Virk, President, Raghbir Marg Residents Welfare
Association, said they are facing acute water shortage
due to irregular water supply they said the corporation
had assured them that this summer new tubewells were
being installed which will minimise the water shortage
problem but the promise has remained on paper only.
SAD not anybodys property,
SAMRALA, April 19 Addressing the bhog congregation here today in Shahi Palace of Lambardar Gurdial Singh, father of Mr Harpal Singh, president of the Commission Agents, Association, here, Mr Ravinder Singh Dumna, former Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, said history compelled the Sikhs in British time to form the SGPC to protect gurdwaras and then to protect rights of the Sikhs formed its political party the Shiromani Akali Dal, but it was most unfortunate and a matter of great concern that today the people at the helm treated it their personal property.
Mr Ravinder Singh said corruption in the state was so rampant that those who headed it, they themselves and their families had beaten all records of corruption and everything was on sale. Anybody who raised his voice against such acts was expelled from the Akali Dal he added. The former Speaker said if interests of the Sikhs and Punjab were to be safeguarded, then every Sikh would have to do his duty honestly. He expressed sympathy with the Lambardar.
Others who paid tributes
to the departed soul were Mr Baldev Singh Mianpur,
president, BKU, Punjab, Mr Bhupinder Singh Mann, former
MP, Mr Balbir Singh Rajewal, Secretary-General, BKU, Mr
Kirpal Singh Khirnian Member, SGPC, Mr Malhotra DFCO, and
eminent people from all walks of life.
Punjab farmers in debt trap:
NEW DELHI, April 19 Farmers in Punjab are facing a debt trap and over 300 of them have committed suicide in the state during the last two years, the member of Parliament from Patiala, Ms Pavneet Kaur, has claimed.
Participating in a debate on the motion of thanks to the Presidents address to Parliament, which concluded here last night, Ms Pavneet Kaur said the minimum support price of Rs 580 per quintal of wheat announced by the government was inadequate as the rise in prices and inflation had put immense burden on farmers. The problem had been further compounded with the Akali-BJP government in Punjab levying a 4 per cent sales tax on diesel and fertilisers. She said the current pattern of cropping did not enable the farmer to get enough profit margin to support his family and there was not single farmer in the state who was not under debt.
Ms Pavneet Kaur said that though the BJP-led NDA government had spared levying income tax on the farming community, the hike in the prices of fertiliser and diesel would have disastrous consequences for the agricultural sector in the state.
She said the President
in his address had talked about a national agriculture
policy and hoped that this would be formulated after
comprehensive consultations with all parties in the
House. Referring to the dismal industry and
power sector in Punjab, Ms Pavneet Kaur these sectors
were suffering due to lack of adequate investments during
the last so many years.
Dedicated to theatre
LUDHIANA: The serenity of Gulabo Massi of Laung Da Lashkara strikes you the most. Dig a little deeper and you will find in Nirmal Rishi, who essayed the role, has once again set her eyes on another role.
Nirmal is now planning to form a team of theatre artistes. She says, Theatre allows an artiste to reflect his emotions, ideas and thoughts and develop a one-to-one relation with the audience. It touches the emotional chords in viewers directly. That is why it is my way of life.
Talking about her ethos, she says My upbringing was done in a typical Punjabi manner. The love for Punjabiyat that was inculcated in me by my family remained with me during my education at Sri Ganganagar and Jaipur.
She was involved in acting, dancing, debates right from her school days. She received prizes for her performances.
She recalls, In 1966 I went to Patiala for my post-graduation. There I came in contact with the renowned Punjabi theatre personalities Harpal and Neena Tiwana.
After forming the Punjab Kala Manch with Harpal Tiwana, her acting career began to blossom with the then struggling artistes like Raj Babbar, Om Puri, Gurdas Mann, Girja Shankar and Neena Tiwana.
Neena didi has been a pillar of strength throughout my struggling phase. She always treated me like her younger sister. I have learnt a lot from her.
The group performed in Britain, the USA, Canada and Dubai.
My wit and extrovert nature helped me to overcome the handicap of not having had formal training in theatre. Above all it was the support of the family which helped me move up, she adds.
She has performed in plays, including Hind Ki Chadar, Nasha Kursi Da, Behrupia and Mard Aurat and Adhoore Sapne. This versatile Punjabi actress has acted in almost a dozen films like Ucha Dar Babe Nanak Da, Jigar Jat Da, and Sheran De Put Sher.
Sikh clergy joins AIDS
AMRITSAR, April 19 The Sikh clergy today announced an ambitious programme for eradication of AIDS.
Akal Takht will launch a deaddiction and eradication of illiteracy programmes to mark the centenary celebrations of the birth of the Sikh gurus in the next decade.
Emphasis will be laid on creating pollution-free societies and saplings of trees, with medicinal values would be distributed as prasad from Akal Takht.
This was announced by Giani Joginder Singh, Jathedar Akal Takht Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib, Giani Kewal Singh, Jathedar Damdama Sahib, Giani Mohan Singh and Giani Bhagwan Singh, head granthis of Golden Temple and Akal Takht respectively today.
These ambitious programmes will mark the 500th birth anniversary of Guru Angad Dev which falls in the year 2004. The tercentenary of the martydom day of the sons of Guru Gobind Singh will also fall in this year. Since Guru Arjun Dev had dedicated his life to spreading the mission of Guru Nanak, this year will be dedicated to spreading the message of granth and panth.
Industrialists stage dharna
LUDHIANA, April 19 Several industrialists here staged a dharna and observed a fast in front of the Deputy Commissioners office here today and submitted to him a memorandum addressed to the Chief Minister in favour of their demands.
The industrialists demanded the withdrawal of the alleged false cases registered against Mr Harish Khanna, president of Ludhiana Small-Scale Manufacturers Association. They also demanded that the CBI inquiry be instituted in order to find out the circumstances leading to the arrest of Mr Khanna and the inhuman treatment meted out to him.
They said the wrong policies of the government had rendered more than 8,000 small-scale units sick and despite having declared year 2000 as a development year. The state government had not done anything towards providing the infrastructure.
Despite assurances given by the Chief Minister regarding the abolition of octroi barriers and enforcement wings if the industry gave additional 16 per cent taxes, the government, they said, had imposed more taxes.
They also criticised the provision of free electricity to agriculture and putting more burden on industrial, commercial and domestic consumers.
100-km-long link roads by
ROPAR, April 19 Nearly 100-km-long new link roads in Ropar district will be constructed at a cost of Rs 6 crore by June-end.
This was stated by Mr Gurinder Singh Grewal, Deputy Commissioner, while reviewing the progress of development works at a monthly meeting here yesterday.
Mr Grewal said the work on the construction of new link roads was being done on war-footing. He said the Department of Public Works had already constructed 34 km new link roads.
The Deputy Commissioner added that most of the new link roads would connect the historical and religious places with the villages.
He said 450-km long link roads in the Kandi areas of the district were also being repaired earth work for which was being done by the government due to the poor financial conditions of the village panchayats. On the other hand, in the non-Kandi areas the earth work before the repair of the link roads would be done by the village panchayats.
The Deputy Commissioner has also set up a three-member committee comprising the Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development), DDPO and Executive Engineer (Link Roads) to monitor the earth work on link roads to be done by the village panchayats. The committee has also been asked to submit its report in 10 days.
Mr Grewal also directed the SDMs of the district to make regular checking of the development works in their respective areas to maintain the quality of the work, and completion of the works in a stipulated period.
The Deputy Commissioner
also directed the officers concerned to take steps for
the speedy removal of encroachments and the settlement of
encroachment cases so that government property could be
Industrial plot owners plea
LUDHIANA, April 19 The Focal Point Industrial Sheds Association here yesterday demanded withdrawal of threat of cancellation of their plots allotted by the Punjab Small Industries and Exports Corporation.
Mr Rajnish Ahuja, president of the association, in a press note said even after having run units for 25 years they were threatened with the cancellation of plots on one or the other excuse. He said out of 300 plots allotted the PSIEC after its inception 187 were in Ludhiana alone which were allotted to unemployed engineers who have been running units successfully.
He said initially these plots sheds were allotted on lease-hold basis but later were converted into freehold by charging Rs 10,000 as conversion charges and 10 per cent of the price of plots or sheds as stamp duty. But the terms and conditions incorporated in the conveyance deed are such that defeat the very purpose of the deed and kept the plot or shed owners under the threat of cancellation.
Mr Ahuja said that he
had explained all this to Mrs Surjit Kaur Sandhu,
Managing Director of the PSIEC and demanded necessary
action to ensure that the industrialists got the
free-hold property rights of the plots or sheds owned by
Dental institute opened
LUDHIANA, April 19 An institute for dental health education and awareness under the banner of Drive (Dental Research Institute of Versatile Education) has been opened here.
Dr Puneet Girdhar, Managing Director of Drive, said the institute would come up as a unique one sharing the experiences in dentistry with patients, school children, teachers and the general public.
Dr Anu Girdhar, Director, DRIVE, said the city is centrally located and is the right place to set up an institute.
Implement notice, say engineers
CHANDIGARH, April 19 The Punjab Temporary Engineers Association and the Punjab State Veterinary Officers Association has urged the Punjab Government to implement the notification, issued yesterday to give promotional scales to certain categories of employees after four, nine and 14 years of service, immediately to make the payment of arrears accordingly.
Hailing the decision of the government, these organisations said today that already implementation of promotional scales had been delayed for two years.
They said the government
had no alternative except to issue the notification as
the government was to file a reply in the Punjab and
Haryana High Court in this connection in a case filed by
the Temporary Engineers Association.
Giani Kewal Singh leaves for
AMRITSAR, April 19 Giani Kewal Singh, Jathedar Takht Sri Damdama Sahib today left for a three-day tour of Jammu and Kashmir. He is accompanied by representatives of various Sikh organisations. Giani Kewal Singh said that he would also visit Chatti Singhpora, where 35 innocent Sikhs were massacred.
Mini-bus operators resent
road tax hike
LUDHIANA, April 19 The Ludhiana Mini-bus Operators Union here yesterday criticised the recent increase in the special road tax from Rs 16,500 to Rs 20,000 per year.
Mr Harminder Singh Giaspura, president of the local union, and Mr Charanjit Singh Gill, president of the main union, in a press note said the mini-bus operators were already being crushed under heavy taxes and the recent increase in the special road tax would further hit the operators.
They said instead of
conceding their long-standing demands and giving them
relief the government had added to their problems. Both
leaders demanded that the unauthorised plying of
three-wheelers, indiscriminate challans of mini-buses and
sanction of new routes without proper inquiries should be
stopped. They also demanded that proper bus stops be
earmarked on different routes.
Desperation drove sarpanch to
JALANDHAR, April 19 The Budhanwal poisoning case in which a sarpanch poisoned 10 family members and himself took a new turn after revelation that a money shortage and tiff between Gurmit Singh and his father and his brother-in-law may have been responsible for Gurmit Singhs action.
Meanwhile, a chemical examination of the body fluids of those who died in the incident has established the presence of aluminium phosphide.
Gurmit Singh (40), the Sarpanch of the village committed suicide after allegedly poisoning 10 other members of his family on March 24.
Preliminary investigations by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed by the district police chief Mr Gaurav Yadav has pointed to the possibility of shortage of money and resultant tension as factors in the tragedy.
The immediate provocation was a quarrel between Gurmit Singh and his father, Joginder Singh a week before the incident after Gurmit demanded the return of several lakh rupees lent by him to his sister and her husband Rattan Singh. Joginder Singhs objected saying Gurmit should not ask for money loaned to his sister as it was against Punjabi culture to ask for things given to girls.
Gurmit Singh, was then depressed by his cold storage project costing about Rs one crore, especially as none of his relatives and friends seemed willing to loan him money for it.
Initial investigations show Gurmit had also sought help from Harlabh Singh, a resident of Chack in Ludhiana district who had worked with in the USA, Shyam Singh, a resident of Jodhewal in Ludhiana district and one of his relatives Gurdip Singh, an employee of Punwire at SAS Nagar.
But barring Gurdip, who loaned him Rs 60,000 from his GPF account, none of his relatives or friends came forward to help him.
The familys financial situation was evident in their bank accounts. Gurmit Singh, who had worked abroad and owned 22 acres of land, had just Rs 50,000 in his account, while his fathers account showed a balance of Rs 12,000. One of his uncles Mohinder Singh, who also died in the incident had Rs 106 in his account.
The familys dire straits were also clear in Gurmit Singhs wife visits to the village gurdwara.
A number of residents
told the SIT that she had become regular visitor to the
gurdwara recently. Gurmits partner in the cold
storage project also stated during interrogation that
Gurmit had always been apprehensive about the success of
Endangered species rescued
LUDHIANA, April 19 An endangered species, civet, was rescued from a madari here today, who ran away leaving behind a bag and an earthen pot.
Dr Sandeep K. Jain, president of the PFA said, the bag had a civet in it and four snakes, including a dead snake. The PFA informed the wildlife officials about it and they decided to set free the snakes in the jungle and the civet would be sent to the zoological park.
Smuggling cases on the rise
AMRITSAR, April 19 Smuggling of contraband has become common as more and more cases of carriers of banned drugs and fake currency are being detected.
The recent drive against anti-social elements by the Tarn Taran police and the BSFs combined checking has started showing results with the arrest of four persons.
According to Mr Jagdish Kumar, SSP, Tarn Taran, four persons in separate operations were arrested yesterday for possessing drugs.
The police arrested two persons at Gazal village while carrying 4.5 kg of opium on a motor cycle. Balwinder Singh of Khalra, Mehal Singh of Valtoha were under the Narcotics Act. Investigation revealed that the narcotics were supplied to them by a courier from Rajasthan.
In another incident DSP Ashutosh of Patti arrested Dayal Singh of Manochal for carrying 535 gm of opium in a cotton bag.
On the same day DSP Lakhwinderpal Singh of Goindwal arrested Sarwan Singh of Dhunda village for carrying 15 kg of poppy husk. A case was registered at Sarhali.
On April 17 evening the police arrested Manga Singh of Saffipur for carrying 20 morphine injections on his person.
According to delayed
reports, a consignment of fake currency notes worth Rs
2,000 was detected from three persons, Pratap Singh and
Gurpreet Singh, both from Amritsar and Harpal Singh of
University teachers demand arrears
AMRITSAR, May 19 The executive committee of Guru Nanak Dev University Teachers Association (GNDUTA) sat in dharna in front of the Vice-Chancellors office to protest against the indifferent attitude of the Punjab Government towards their long demands. The dharna was in response to a call given by the All-India Federation of University Teachers Association (AIFUTA).
In a statement issued to the press, Dr H.S. Sidhu and Dr Kulwant Singh Thind, president and secretary respectively of GNDUTA, accused the government of misappropriating money meant for paying the arrears of teachers.
PATIALA, May 19
was organised by the Punjabi University Teachers
Association (PUTA) in front of the Vice-Chancellors
office to make its protest for non-payment of arrears due
to the teachers on account of pay revision with effect
from January 1, 1996.
Contract system abolished
PATIALA, April 19 The Punjab Mandi Board has abolished the system of getting wheat bags stitched through contract system in the state and reverted back to the old system of allowing commission agents to bill labour charges for the purpose.
According to a notification in this regard, the rate fixed earlier by the board amounting to Rs 1.22 paisa would now be billed by commission agents to the procurement agencies. All procurement agencies have also been informed about the decision.
Besides this the Mandi Board has also increased the loading, down loading weighing rates by five per cent. Loading labour has now been increased from 94 paisa to 98 paisa and down loading and weighing from Rs 1.42 paisa to Rs 1.46 paisa.
Talking to TNS, Punjab Arhatiya Association President Bal Krishan Singla welcomed the Mandi Board decision and said it had avoided a confrontation between the board and commission agents. He said his Association had repeatedly demanded the contract system saying it delayed the procurement process as contractors were not available at hand immediately to stitch the bags. Due to this on many occasions the commission agents got bags stitched at their own cost.
Meanwhile, a Mandi Board team headed by its Chairman Mal Singh Ghumman and Secretary Phulwant Singh and seven flying squads today made surprise raids at various mandis to check the procurement process besides flour mills. The team reportedly seized record of various flour mills.
Later talking to newsmen
Board Chairman Mal Singh Ghumman said the board would
take strict action against the guilty. He said steps
would also be taken to stop inter state smuggling of
wheat. He said checking in this regard would be
increased. There had been an increase in arrivals as
compared to the same period last year despite which the
procurement process had been smooth. Mr Ghumman said 75
per cent of arrivals had already come to the mandi.
34 pc hike in sales tax
LUDHIANA, April 19 There has been a 34 per cent hike in the sales tax collections during the year 1999-2000, which has risen to Rs 1990 crore from Rs 1418 crore last year.
This information was given by the Punjab Excise and Taxation Minister, Mr Adeshpratap Singh Kairon, while addressing a press conference, after attending a high- level meeting with delegations of more than 12 traders organisations here yesterday.
The minister said the department had also netted a revenue of Rs 1121 crore through the auction of licences of liquor shops in the state. He also said the department had set a target for collections to the tune of Rs 3000 crore during this year.
Answering queries about the governments decision making filing of purchase return mandatory for trader, Mr Kairon clarified that it was a regulatory step rather than being a retrogative step. The form had been simplified now for the benefit of traders.
The minister also informed that an inquiry had been ordered into the case regarding availability of blank signed ICC forms at the Shambhu information collection centre on payment of money, allegedly to evade sales tax. He also said the information collection centres in the state had proved to be useful in checking tax evasion to a large extent.
When asked about the hike in sales tax on bread and other bakery items. Mr Kairon informed that the matter had been referred to the Cabinet sub-committee for fiscal reform. While the government had already waived the renewal fee for registration of new sales tax assesses, the fee of issuing of new registration certificates to dealers was yet to be decided.
On the implementation of uniforms sales tax rates in all states, he said while most states had implemented these, the others were likely to follow suit soon.
Earlier, more than 12 delegations of various trade and industry organisations met the minister and discussed issues regarding sales tax proposals for their industry. Among the associations that submitted a memorandum in this regard were the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings, District Brick Kilns Owners Association, Ludhiana Spinners Association etc.
Wheat procurement picks up
LUDHIANA, April 19 The procurement of wheat has started picking up in all 1500 procurement centres set up by the Punjab Government in the state. Near nine lakh tonnes of wheat had been purchased till yesterday said Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, Minister for Food and Civil Supplies, Punjab.
He told newspersons here today that 4.63 lakh tonnes of wheat was purchased yesterday alone. Leaving aside 47,000 on tonnes purchased by traders the entire stock had been lifted by the state agencies.
Mr Mittal said the farmers would be paid for their proceeds within 72 hours. He claimed that the government had enough stocks of gunny bags and funds required for the procurement.
Answering a question, he
said 33 per cent of the total procurement would be made
by the Food Corporation of India. This central agency had
so far purchased only 1.69 lakh tonnes of wheat. Mr
Mittal said that since Punjab had a bumper crop this
year, a record yield of 85 lakh tonnes of wheat was
expected this year as against 79 lakh tonnes last year.
Bankers put off strike
PATIALA, April 19 The All-India Bankers strike scheduled for tomorrow has been put off till April 26.
Stating this in a press release issued here yesterday Mr Amar Singh Secretary Associate Banks Officers Association, said the central leadership of the All-India Bank Officers Confederation had decided to postpone the strike.
The press note said the
strike call had been given for implementation of the
agreement on salary revision in UCO Bank, Indian Bank and
United Bank of India in spite of the fact that the
agreement stood cleared by the Union Finance Ministry.
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