|Friday, May 5, 2000,
upset over controversy
warns RSS on Sikh identity issue
instructions callous: PCMSA
MC harden stand
finances cause worry
to Punjab on Panchayati Raj Act (A)
mooted on no-mans-land
|7 officers found absent from duty
CHANDIGARH, May 4 - The Punjab Minister of Cooperation, Mr Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, today conducted a surprise visit to the MARKFED office here today morning and found about 100-odd employees, including senior officers, absent from duty.
against PSTC for irregularities
against water shortage
reviews water supply scheme
body to boycott family planning work
Regt team to scale Abi Gamin peak
border officials arrive for talks
case solved; three arrested
impounded for smuggling
lifting of wheat stocks
Badal upset over controversy
CHANDIGARH, May 4 The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, is upset over the way ongoing controversy between the Rashtriya Sikh Sangat, a wing of the RSS, and some Sikh organisations is snowballing into a major feud.
Making very guarded and cautious remarks, Mr Badal told TNS today that both sides involved in the controversy should exercise restraint . Reminding what sort of dangers this controversy could pose, Mr Badal appealed to all concerned not to make fiery statements to hurt the sentiments of anyone.
Punjab has witnessed a worst time in the past decade and it should be kept in mind by all involved in the controversy. There should be no attempt to push the state back into the old violent era. He said he would not say more than issuing an appeal to all concerned to end the controversy.
I dont want to add to the controversy by making any statement, he added. Even a spark could lead to a major fire in the state and there were people who wanted to create such situation. Urging to adopt a policy of forget and forgive, Mr Badal said such controversies were not in the interest of the state and all wise men should understand it.
Meanwhile, informed sources said the government at the political level had started efforts to bring about an end to the controversy. Some senior Akali leaders have reportedly contacted the top leadership of the RSS for resolving it.
What has surprised the Akali leadership is the meeting called by the Sikh clergy on May 14 to discuss the controversy between the sangat and Sikh organisations.
The Akali leadership was not expecting such a quick action from the Sikh clergy. The issue would be further complicated if the Sikh clergy took a tough posture on this issue on May 14, say senior Akali leaders. A senior Akali leader said that the issues at hand were very sensitive and required a very careful handling.
The controversy between the sangat and some Sikh organisations started following a national-level conclave held by the sangat here from April 28 to 30. The conclave was addressed by the RSS chief, Mr K.Sudarshan. Remarks made by certain sangat leaders that Sikhism was part of Hinduism proved a provocation for the Sikh organisations which immediately lapped up the issue and made hard hitting statements against the sangat.
Besides making statements, a number of Sikh organisations had submitted a memorandum to the Jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, who convened a meeting of the Sikh clergy to discuss the issue on May 14. Alleging that the RSS was a terrorist organisation, the Sikh organisations had threatened that they would physically push out the RSS and the sangat from villages if these organisations did not desist from anti panthic activities.
The Sikh organisations
have stated that it is not the business of the RSS and
the sangat to determine what Sikhism was and from where
it originated. Whether it was part of Hinduism or it has
an exclusive identity.
Dayal warns RSS on Sikh
FEROZEPORE, May 4 The latest war of words, involving the RSS and the Sikh hardliners may open old wounds, caused by the decade-long militancy in the border state.
Observers fear that the fresh row will disturb a hard earned peace in the state. The question of the Sikh identity had earlier sparked militancy, for which we all have paid the price, state CPI Secretary Joginder Dayal warned adding, the RSS should desist from raising the issue, which has potential to disturb normalcy.
Much significance is also being attributed to the silence of the president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) Mr Parkash Singh Badal and the leader of the breakaway Akali faction, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra. Both have apparently preferred not to react to the RSS activities. Despite reports that the RSS is descending on Punjab villages with a message, Sikhs are part of the Hindu fold, the two seasoned Akali leaders so far have not reacted sharply. Perhaps, both are in no mood to annoy the RSS on account of political compulsions. Mr Dayal explained while Badal has the compulsion to stay in power with the help of the BJP, Tohra is also hoping for the BJP support to wrest power in Punjab.
The latest row reminds senior CPI (M) leader Balwant Singh of turbulent period that was sparked off by Sikh-Nirankari clash. He, however, view it as an attempt by the RSS to divert public attention from real issues, like price hike effected by the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre.
Promotion instructions callous:
PATIALA, May 4 The Punjab PCMS Association today dubbed the recent instructions of the Punjab Government regarding the implementation of four, nine and 14 years time scale pattern a bundle of callous measures to deny the time scales to the vast majority of PCMS doctors. The association has called a special meeting of the state executive committee on May 7 at Ludhiana where further strategy of action will be chalked out.
The PCMSA General Secretary, Dr D.C. Sharma, said in a press statement today that the discontentment and frustration amongst the PCMS cadre had increased further as more facts about the instructions of the government were available. He clarified that the government had taken the decision to lift the ban on the implementation of these time scales to nine categories of officers, including PCMS, much earlier and not on April 17 as reported by a group of doctors earlier.
Rejecting the criteria of adjudging the satisfactory service for granting these time scales which impose the conditions of the 50 per cent annual confidential reports being good, remaining being average and two out of the last three ACRs being good and one average, the PCMSA maintained that even one below average ACR throughout the entire service period, written on extraneous considerations would deprive the officer of the benefit. The PCMSA demanded the scrapping of examining the ACRs while granting these time scales and demanded that the powers to grant these time scales should be delegated to the disbursing officers instead of the administrative secretary to the government, to simplify and shorten the procedure.
The PCMSA also questioned the wisdom of the administration to order a review of all those cases where these scales were granted before the imposition of ban by the Finance Department in September 1998 as only those cases were cleared in case of PCMS cadre who had already got their placements in higher scales after 18 and 8 years of service and their service record for the same was scrutinised then.
instruction that all placements in higher scales
shall be given effect from January next to the year in
which the employee completes the span of service required
for placement in higher scale will give a
disincentive up to 11 months in certain cases. The ad hoc
service has also been excluded from the benefit of
service for these time scales. No benefit of additional
service has been given and on 1.1.96. An officer with 25
years of service shall be placed at the same pay as one
with 14 years, he added.
Teachers, MC harden stand
PATIALA, May 4 Both agitating teachers and Municipal Corporation authorities today hardened their stand, with teachers forming a Sangharsh Committee to intensify their fight and the corporation threatening action against those absenting themselves from census duty.
A teacher was injured yesterday following a scuffle on the corporation premises, following which they complained to the administration and the police that the Executive Officer G.S. Punia was responsible for the assault on their colleague.
Today teachers held a dharna in front of the Deputy Commissioner's office and met the Deputy Commissioner Jasbir Singh Bir and district police chief H.S. Sidhu. No case has been registered against Mr Punia following the complaint by teachers.
The Government High School Lecturers Union President Jarnail Singh disclosed that if no action was taken by the police, teachers would hold a rally in front of the corporation office on Monday.
The corporation today said show cause notices were being issued to absentees and any failure on the part of any official responsible for census duty would call for punishment. Suitable action would be recommended to the Department, it added.
The Corporation Commissioner K.S. Kang appealed to teachers to do their job carefully in the interest of the nation. He said there were 68 absentees till now. He added that census work in the corporation area was in progress, with 60 out of 547 blocks having become operational.
According to him, there was no reason to believe that the work would not be completed by May 24. He said each person had to enumerate 150 households, for which the corporation was giving help to the teachers by deputing meter readers to guide them.
Mr Kang said only few of the teachers had faced difficulty as they did not know which specific areas to cover. He stated that he did not know whether any corporation worker was involved in the scuffle. He ruled out taking action against Mr Punia as the latter was sitting with him when the scuffle took place.
Mr Kang claimed that
there had been complete transparency on his behalf in
allotting duties and giving relief to those who presented
medical certificates. He said a relative of his had not
been spared from census duty.
PSEBs finances cause
PATIALA, May 4 The Punjab State Electricity Board Engineers Association held a meeting of the Patiala region engineers here yesterday to express concern at the deteriorating financial health of the board allegedly due to the populist policies of the government. It criticised the board management for its failure to uphold the autonomy granted to it by an Act of Parliament.
A statement released by the association Regional Secretary Mr Jas Paul Gupta said the engineers felt the main cause of financial bankruptcy of the PSEB was the supply of free electricity to the agriculture sector. It resulted in a loss of over Rs 1,500 crore per annum to the board along with the highly subsidised power supply to the other categories, including the industrial sector.
The failure of the state government to compensate the board for the cash loss of over Rs 1000 crore suffered during the past three years for free power and at the same time preventing the board to raise tariff of other categories of consumers due to increased cost of inputs like coal, oil and transportation had resulted in an unprecedented financial crisis, it added.
The statement said the board was resorting to borrowing from financial institutions to meet its revenue expenses, resulting in an additional burden of approximately Rs 600 crore per year had already been mortgaged on lease rental. The delay by the state government in allowing tariff revision has only accentuated the grim situation.
It said if the PSEB tariff is brought on a par with that of the HSEB, the additional revenue mobiled would be Rs 1788 crore per annum which is not only sufficient to wipe out estimated commercial loss but also fund various scheme for the improvement of transmission and distribution system.
It was observed that under such precarious financial conditions. The signing of an agreement with GVK company for the Goindwal thermal plant would prove suicidal for the state.
It said it was
regrettable that serious deficiencies in the power
purchase agreement pointed out by the association through
a memorandum to the Chief Minister, Punjab, had been,
brushed under the carpet.
Notice to Punjab on Panchayati Raj
CHANDIGARH, May 4 The constitutional validity of the Punjab Panchayat Raj (Amendment) Act has been challenged in the High Court by Mr Jagjit Singh and another ex-member of panchayat samiti in Ludhiana and Patiala districts, and Mr Harminder Singh, a sitting Congress MLA, in which the state of Punjab the state Election Commission and the Chief Minister have been impleaded as respondents.A Division Bench comprising Mr Justice H.s. Bedi and Mr Justice A.S. Garg issued notice of motion to the respondents for May 16.
The petitioners have sought directions to respondents to hold elections to panchayati raj institutions as the provisions of unamended Act, 1994.It was submitted that the term of the panchayat samitis had expired, as five years had elapsed and administrators were running it. In this respect the constitutional provision had been violated.
The petitioners also alleged that due to the Chief Ministers shaky popularity and his inability to face the electorate, the Chief Minister had devised a strategy to convert most direct elections into indirect election most direct elections into indirect election through the impugned provisions in the unamended Act. The state government first issued an ordinance on December 31, 1999, whereby 70 per cent members of panchayat samitis should be elected by panchayats and 30 per cent by direct election. The 1999 ordinance was thus converted into an Act.The impugned Act was, therefore in direct contradiction of the mandate of the Constitution enshrined under Articles 243 (E) (2), 243 B and 243 E and 254 of the Constitution, they contended.
MC chiefs removal quashed with costs
A Division Bench of the High Court comprising Mr Justice H.S.Bedi and Mr Justice A.S.Garg allowed two writ petitions filed by Mr Bhajan Singh of Samrala with costs and directed the government to notify his name as the president of the Municipal Council, Samrala, within a week and also, quashed the order dated April 9, 1999, whereby he was removed from the post.
It was stated by counsel for the petitioner that the elections to the Municipal Council were held on January 2, 1998, and a meeting for the election to the post of president and vice- president was convened for April 6. Mr Bhajan Singh was duly elected as president on that date. In spite of the petitioner having been elected as president, his name was not notified under Section 24 of the Punjab Municipal Act, 1911. It was alleged that due to the pressure of Jathedar Kirpal Singh, considered to be close to the Chief Minister who had lost the Assembly election recent by, the name of the petitioner was not being notified.
Counsel further stated that while the first writ petition challenging the said inaction of the government , was pending adjudication in the High Court, the petitioner received a show-cause notice from the Principal Secretary, Local Self-Government, to show cause why he should not be removed from office on grounds of alleged misuse of the power. The petitioner submitted his reply but without considering the same, he was removed from the Municipal Council post.
The High Court, allowed
the writ petitions and quashed the order of removal of
the petitioner. It also directed the respondents to
notify the name of the petitioner within one week and
directed them to pay Rs 10,000 as costs.
Memorial mooted on
AMRITSAR, May 4 The Jati Umrah Indo-Pak Parwar Milap Charity Trust (Juippmct) has decided to set up a memorial on no mans land at Wagah-Attari commemorating lakhs of Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims who died in the biggest migration of mankind, ever seen in the world at the time of Partition.
The memorial, on the pattern of India Gate, New Delhi would be set up after getting concurrence of the Government of Pakistan and India.
This was disclosed by Maj-Gen (retd) Himmat Singh Gill, Chairman, JUIPPMCT while talking to The Tribune here today. Giving details of the proposed memorial Maj-Gen Gill said that there would be eternal jot which could be seen from far-flung places of both countries.
Mr Mian Mohammad Sharif, father of deposed Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif is a patron of the trust. The trust has been able to unite the people after separation for half a century.
Maj-Gen Gill (retd) said that the trust would open its sub-offices in various parts of India and Pakistan so that poor people who wanted to meet their near and dear ones in both countries could be identified.
Gen Gill (retd) said that the trust would prevail upon the Government of Pakistan to release deposed Prime Minister Mr Nawaz Sharif at the earliest. Mr Sharif has close links with India and the trust and hence it was our duty to pursue the case. He said bhogs of Akhand Paths would be organised for praying to the almighty for coming to the rescue of the deposed Prime Minister. He further said that a memorial would also be raised at Jatti Umra village the native village of the deposed Prime Minister.
Maj Gen Gill (retd) said
that the trust had received hundreds of calls from those
who were separated from their near and dear ones at the
time of Partition. The trust would urge the government of
India and Pakistan to grant 10-year multiple visas to
such people who have relatives here and there. He said
the trust had passed a formal resolution to thank
governments of both countries for arranging meetings of
7 officers found absent
CHANDIGARH, May 4 - The Punjab Minister of Cooperation, Mr Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, today conducted a surprise visit to the MARKFED office here today morning and found about 100-odd employees, including senior officers, absent from duty.
Talking to TNS, Mr Brahmpura said he had ordered action against the wilful absentees. The MARKFED Managing Director, Mr D.S. Bains, later confirmed that suspension orders of 85-odd employees, including 7 manager-level senior officers had been issued.
The minister had called for a meeting of some of the MARKFED managers at his residence today at 10 am. As a routine exercise his staff started checking on the officers concerned to confirm their participation. It transpired that most of the officers and others called up on telephone were found to be absent. This rang a bell. The minister decided to drive down to the MARKFED office in Sector 35 around 9.30 am. he remained there till 11 am.
To his dismay he found that nearly 100 employees were late by at least 30 to 45 minutes, who were let off after they apologised. They were given a warning.When a proper scrutiny was done, he told TNS nearly a dozen odd were found to have submitted leave applications or were on duty elsewhere after having informed the office or the Managing Director.
But probably incensed at the dereliction of duty the minister ordered strict action, including suspensions.
Mr Bains told TNS that 99 were found to be missing while 12-odd were on leave or had taken permission for going on official work.
This was not the first
time that employees in a large number were found absent.
Mr Bains said he had issued instructions for presence on
time in December and again in February, while he had
physically checked presence in January. No improvement
was forthcoming. The action by the minister today will
probably have the desired impact, he added.
9 police officers shifted
CHANDIGARH, May 4 The Punjab Government today ordered the transfer of nine police officers.
Mr Ajaib Singh, S.P. (Detective) at Barnala takes over as SSP at the same place in place of Mr Ishwar Singh, S.S.P., who goes to Nawanshahr in the same position.
Mr Jatinder Singh, S.S.P., Nawanshahr, goes as S.S.P. of Sangrur, in place of Mr Arpit Shukla, who takes over as S.P. (Crime) at Chandigarh. Miss Neerja Voruvuru, S.P. (Headquarters) at Barnala goes as S.P. Traffic at Amritsar.
Mr Parmod Ban, S.P. with the Vigilance Bureau, goes as S.P., city Ludhiana, in place of Mr Sukhwinder Singh, who has been shifted to the post of S.P. (Headquarters), Nawanshahr.
Mr Balkar Singh, S.P.,
Nawanshahr, takes over S.P. (Detective) at the same
place, while Mr Major Singh, S.P. (Operations) at
Sangrur, has been made S.P. (Headquarters) in place of Mr
Lakhwinder Singh (under suspension).
Complaint against PSTC for
FEROZEPORE, May 4 An Abohar-based cooperative society has lodged a complaint against the Punjab State Tubewell Corporation (PSTC) for awarding certain works to a select few contractors without holding mandatory negotiations or calling tenders.
In a formal complaint lodged with the Vigilance Bureau here, the president of Abohar Azad Co-operative Society Limited, Mr Madan Mohan Modi, has demanded an inquiry into the matter.
Although the PSTC Divisional Engineer concerned has denied the charge of irregularities while awarding these works, the Vigilance Bureau here has reportedly forwarded the complaint to higher authorities.
Earlier, Mr Modi had alleged in his complaint that the Divisional Engineer of the PSTC (Lining), Division Number 1, Mr A.K. Jain, had not given a tender copy for these works to him in spite of his having deposited two drafts for Rs 2,000 along with relevant documents for the purpose on March 29.
According to Mr Modi he was willing to take up the work at lower rates than those quoted by other contractors, to whom the tender copies were issued. But Mr Jain declined to negotiate with him. He alleged that the tender copy was deliberately not issued to him till 2.30 pm, the closing time of the tenders to favour some influential contractors.
The Ferozepore range Superintendent of Police (Vigilance), Mr Hardayal Mann, admitted having received the complaint and said it had been forwarded to higher authorities.
Mr Jain, however,
accused Mr Modi of resorting to arm twisting by filing a
false complaint against him. Describing Mr Modi as a
habitual troublemaker, Mr Jain said the
Abohar Azad Co-operative Society does not meet the
standards laid down for the PSTC works.
Protest against water shortage
HOSHIARPUR, May 4 Residents of Jian, Saido Patti, Bathula, Rajni, Lehli Khurd and Hassi Kalan villages led by Mrs Usha Rani, president, Mahila Mandal, Bassi Kalan, staged a demonstration in front of the Deputy Commissioners office here yesterday in protest against the shortage of water in the area for the past two months.
Mr Raman Kapur, general secretary DCC, Hoshiarpur, alleged that the tubewell installed at Bassi Kalan village from where these villages were getting supply was out of order for the past many months. He alleged that despite repeated requests to officers of the Public Health Department nothing had been done so far.
They also submitted a
memorandum to Mr Iqbal Singh Sidhu, Deputy Commissioner,
who ordered the Executive Engineer, Public Health
Department to repair the tubewell immediately. Mr Sidhu
said that there was an acute shortage of water in nearly
12 villages in the Kandi area of the district. He said
due to shortage of funds maintenance of tubewells in the
area was not carried out properly.
CM reviews water supply
CHANDIGARH, May 4 Reacting to a news item carried in The Tribune, the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today directed the Public Health authorities to ensure the commissioning of the on-going rural water supply scheme in a time-bound programme so that potable water to the people of the area could be provided during the current summer season.
Presiding over a high-level meeting to review the progress of rural water supply scheme, Mr Badal said top priority should be given to achieve that goal of supplying safe drinking water in no-source villages.
The meeting noted that 6958 villages had already been provided water in the state and efforts were afoot to provide 1500 more identified water scarcity villages in the near future.
PCMS body to boycott family
AMRITSAR, May 4 Following the recent Supreme Court judgement in a case related to a failed tubectomy operation the PCMS Association has demanded immediate insurance cover for all family planning surgeons and establishment of a separate legal cell to deal with cases of harassment by mischievous elements failing which the association will boycott family planning programme in toto.
Dr Jagjeet Singh Khalsa President of the local unit of the PCMS Association on behalf of the medical fraternity expressed serious concern at the recent Supreme Court judgement.
The case relates to a woman who delivered her eighth child after undergoing a tubectomy operation in Haryana. The failure of the tubectomy led to an unwanted pregnancy in the said case.
The Supreme Court has slapped a fine of Rs 54000 on the surgeon and the Haryana government as relief to the petitioner.
In a joint statement Dr RS Buttar senior vice-president, Punjab, Dr Jagjeet Singh Walia, president and Dr Rohit Mehta, press secretary, local unit of the PCMS Association said that already beleaguered programme of family planning would be affected further in the wake of this judgement as all surgeons felt exposed to legal exploitation by mischievous elements.
Association leaders said that it was a philanthropic service being rendered by PCMS doctors under trying circumstances with bare minimum or no facilities exposing them to serious hazards like AIDS and hepatitis B etc, infections and that too without additional incentives and risk coverage.
Punjab Regt team to scale Abi
CHANDIGARH, May 4 The Punjab Regiment, one of the Indian Armys oldest regiment, has set forth to scale the 24,130-foot Abi Gamin peak situated in the Garhwal Himalayas.
A statement issued here said the expedition, led by Major Sanjeev Soni was flagged off by the Director-General Infantry, Lt-Gen Shankar Prashad.
The team comprises three officers, two junior commissioned officers, 30 other ranks and a medical officer, all drawn from various battalions of the Punjab Regiment.
The team plans to establish their base camp at Vasundara Tal, 14,500 feet above sea level, where they will acclimatise for 10 days. They will also spend some time at Gamsali before setting out on May 24 to establish subsequent camps. The final challenge to scale the peak will commence on June 2.
To bid the expedition a
bon voyage, was Lt-Gen J.S. Aurora (retd), the liberator
of Bangladesh and a former Colonel of the Punjab
Regiment, the present Colonel of the Punjab Regiment,
Major-Gen S.K. Awasthy, Commandant of the Punjab
Regimental Centre, Brig R.M. Sharma and Major-Gen
Mohinder Singh, among others.
Pak border officials arrive for talks
WAGAH, (Indo-Pak border) May 4 A 14-member team of the Pakistan border security officials crossed over from Wagah road barrier yesterday to hold a three-day meeting with Indian Border Security Force officials at Jalandhar.
The officials would discuss border problems like smuggling, repairs and raising of border pillars and unprovoked tensions.
The team led by Major General Abdul Kadir, Director-General of Pakistan Rangers Sind Zone consisted of Director-General of Pakistan Rangers of Punjab, Gen Zarar Azim, Pakistan Narcotics Board Officials and building engineer.
HC judge inspects courts
PATHANKOT, May 4 Mr Justice Amar Dutt of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, has inspected the civil, criminal and revenue courts here. He also interacted with members of the Bar Association, Pathankot and heard the problems of Jail inmates.
The president of the
association submitted a charter of demands demanding
appointment of a Additional District Judge and
construction of a record room in the courts. Mr Dutt,
however, assured them that he would take up their demands
with the departments concerned.
AMRITSAR, May 4 The State Council of Junior Engineers yesterday deplored the suspension of Mr Balkar Singh, JE at Company Bagh and condemned the high-handed behaviour of the S.E. (City) in dealing with the staff.
The council demanded immediate revocation of the suspension orders. A seven-day notice has already been served on the authorities to withdraw the suspension orders.
CHANDIGARH, May 4 The Punjab Government yesterday suspended Additional Director, Public Relations, Punjab, Mr Jagdeep Singh Chauhan, for allegedly committing irregularities in the production of a film. His headquarter has been fixed at Bathinda. A charge sheet will be issued to him separately.
Sudhanshu Maharajs birthday
PATIALA, May 4 The Vishwa Jagriti Mission (Patiala Mandal) celebrated the birthday of Sudhanshu Maharaj by organising various social activities and programmes. About 100 followers of Sudhanshu Maharaj assembled at Mata Kali Devi Mandir for a prabhat pheri which passed through the bazaars and streets of the city. The priest of Satya Narayana Mandir and devotees also joined the satsang at the temple and the parbhat pheri also culminated there.
MC chief removed
ABOHAR, May 4 Mr Babu Ram Arya, president of the local municipal council has been removed from office by the state government. Orders to this effect were received here yesterday.
The notification signed
by Mr N.K. Arora, Principal Secretary, Department Local
Government, said a show-cause notice under Section 22 of
the Punjab Municipal Act 1911 was served on Mr Arya on
February 26. He was asked to explain why he should not be
removed from the office on account of various allegations
Murder case solved; three arrested
AMRITSAR, May 4 The police claimed to have solved the case of a recent murder of Mr Banarsi Lal with the recovery of stolen items.
Talking to newspersons, SSP Parampal Singh Sidhu said three persons were arrested in this case, including a servant of the house, the motive for which is claimed to be robbery.
Fortyeight gold biscuits, cash, jewellery and watches worth Rs 30 lakhs were recovered from the arrested persons.
Those arrested are Gulzar Singh, Bikramjit Singh of Chogawan village and Ashwani Kumar. Two others involved in the case are at large.
Mr Banarsi Lal was murdered on the night of April 2 at his home in Katra Jaimal Singh.
The accused made off with loot after murdering Mr Banarsi Das. The deceased was strangulated and knifed to death.
According to police investigations, Ashwani Kumar (40), a servant in the deceaseds house, connived with four others to commit the murder.
Trucks impounded for smuggling
AMRITSAR, May 4 As many as 1033 trucks were impounded during March 20 and April 20 for smuggling of wheat and rice to Jammu and Kashmir, Mr Mal Singh Ghuman, Chairman of the Punjab Mandi Board, said here yesterday. While 923 of these trucks were impounded at the Madhopur sales tax and Lakhanpur barriers, 110 trucks were impounded at the Batala and Gurdaspur barriers.
These trucks were despatched by different firms in Amritsar district. The Mandi Board was considering the cancellation of the licences of these firms.
Meanwhile, 26 officials of the Mandi Board, including six secretaries, were suspended in Punjab following 24 raids carried out by the Chairman himself during the current procurement season.
Mr Ghuman said these raids had paid rich dividends as the board had earned Rs 116 crore more in the market fee which was 33 per cent of the total collections.
Mr Ghuman expected an increase of 15 per cent in the market fee collections this season due to raids.
Raids were aimed at creating fear among procurements agents to check market fee evasion and providing adequate profits to farmers.
Mr Ghuman said he had
already conducted raids on several wheat purchase
centres. He stated he kept all his surprise raid plans as
a closely guarded secret and even the DGMs of flying
squads were not told about the plans no member of the
flying squad was allowed to carry mobile phones. Wireless
operator Kashmir Singh was suspended at Rayya Mandi
yesterday when he was caught sending a warning to mandis
about impounding raids.
Poor lifting of wheat stocks
ABOHAR: All roads inside the new grain Market here have been blocked with heaps of bags of wheat as arrivals crossed 6 lakh-quintal mark. The central and state government agencies had purchased 5,58030 quintals of wheat till April 28 out of which 1.81 lakh quintals awaited lifting. Not only the commission agents and the farmers but daily wage earners were also critical of the poor arrangements. The promises made by the Chief Minister and the Minister of Food and Supplies had proved to be bundle of lies once again, Mohinder Singh, a farmer from Burjmuhar village, said.
Mr Kali Wadhwa and Mr Basant Mittal, president and secretary of the Commission Agents Association, were coming out of the office of the secretary of the market committee when The Tribune team visited the grain market. They expressed their resentment over abnormal delay in making payment by all agencies, poor arrangements for lifting of the wheat and shortage of gunny bags. There was no truth in the tall claims made by the state government they said.
Mr Wadhwa and Mr Mittal said as per revised guidelines the commission agents were entitled to claim bag stitching charges @ Rs 1.25 per bag. They were getting the stitching done but the government agencies were not prepared to accept their claims for reimbursement of expenses. The intention of the agencies looked malafied. We had explained our problems to the Deputy Commissioner during his visit but were asked to discuss the matter with the Sub-Divisional Magistrate. We followed his advice but the SDM appeared to be helpless, they lamented. No body was prepared to give a petient hearing, where should we go, Mr Wadhwa said.
Out of a total purchase till April 28 the FCI had purchased 1,67914 quintals, Markfed 1,52336; Punjab Agro 1,19300, Punsup 49435; PWHC 32495; Food and Civil Supplies 29500, Nafed 7300 and private traders 750 quintals of wheat. The PWHC and Nafed had not entered rural purchase centres where the progress in lifting was extremely poor. Majority of these yards had small capacity.
Hundred of men and women were busy at the grain market here braving heat. In such weather and adverse working conditions a stall run by the Jakhar family gave relief not only to the labourers but also to the visiting farmers. Lassi prepared with milk and sugar was being served daily at the stall to visitors at least for six hours. The service was discontinued late afternoon as consumption of ice-cooled water could be harmful for the labourers sweating in scorching heat, health experts said.
The secretary of the market committee had been sending his report to higher authorities daily mentioning that unlifted stock was causing problem but the senior district and state officials had not bothered to look into the matter. The Punjab Market Committee bylaws clearly stated that the buyer will lift the agriculture produce bought by him within 48 hours of auction or purchase. In case of failure to do so the buyers will be liable to pay 25 paisa per unit per day as demurrage to the market committee. If produce is not lifted within seven day, it may be lifted or removed from the principal market yard by the secretary of the market committee at the cost of the buyer.
No agency was responding
to the requests made by the market committee or the
Arhtia Association here. The arrival which was 92710
quintals till April 28 was likely to increase in the next
few days but there would be hardly any space available at
the main yard. On the other hand trucks waiting for their
turn outside the godowns or plinths were creating traffic
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