|Saturday, May 6, 2000,
rolls back ST hike on vehicles
dilly-dallying on sops to retirees
law to take own course in Harpreet case
rules Punjab offices
linked with performance
accommodates defaulting unit
of Patiala, Samana, Patran a harassed lot
|Punjabi language needs promotion
in Pakistan and India
PATIALA, May 5 Fakhar Zamaan, a noted novelist and a former Minister of Culture of Pakistan, yesterday, said that Punjabi language was not being promoted in the Punjab province of his country.
Bailable warrants against
fires: PSEB fails to act
police officers reverted
of poll opposed
hit by water scarcity
govt plans, officers told
killed, Rs 3.70 lakh looted
commits suicide after killing wife
on hotel: 11 detained, let off
admits lapses in murder probe
paper upsets students
Punjab rolls back ST hike on
CHANDIGARH, May 5 The Punjab Government has rolled back hike in sales tax on all types of motor vehicles, from 12 to 5 per cent, from tomorrow, an official notification said here today evening.
The government had hiked the sales tax, under the Punjab General Sales Tax Act, 1948, on motor vehicles, including motor cycles, mopeds, two wheelers, three wheelers and parts thereof, with effect from May 1. However, tractors, harvester combines, tyres and tubes were exempted from the hike.
Punjab dilly-dallying on sops
LUDHIANA: The year 1999 which was celebrated all over the world as the Year of the Elderly People appears to have done precious little to better the lot of thousands of Punjab Government pensioners.
The pensioners complain that the year has failed miserably to move the Badal Government to implement the recommendations of the Fourth Punjab Pay Commission relating to pensions and other retirement benefits admissible to them.
More than two years have elapsed since the report containing 10 major recommendations was submitted to the state government on February 20, 1998, the Badal administration has, so far, implemented only one recommendation, namely revision of pensions. The other recommendations remain unimplemented, complains Mr Yash Paul Ghai, additional general secretary of the Punjab Pensioners Association.
The pending recommendations include old age allowance at the rate of 5 per cent and 10 per cent on attaining the age of 65 and 75, respectively, 97 per cent DA admissible on July 1, 1993, to be counted for gratuity, benefit in pension for service beyond 33 years, restoration of the commuted pension after 11 and a half years, reservation of plots and flats in PUDA colonies, at least 50 per cent pension at the minimum of the revised grade of the post held at the time of retirement, increase in the expenses incurred on the dentures, spectacles and reimbursement of expenses on treatment of chronic ailments.
It is highly deplorable,, says Mr Ghai, despite having the highest per capita income in the country, it is dilly-dallying in implementing the recommendations. There is no point in setting up a pay commission if its recommendations are not be accepted. Pensioners expect a fair deal from the Badal regime.
He expressed concern over the fact that thousands of cases of pre-1986 pensioners for notional fixation of pay and revision of pension are gathering dust in various offices. We want expeditious finalisation of cases. In all fairness, pre-1986 retirees, who are in the evening of their life, deserve a better deal. And, pensioners want the Accountant-General, Punjab, to hold a pension adalat for the speedy disposal of cases relating to pension revision.
The Punjab Government employees who retired between January1, 1996, and September 30, 1996, are also deeply perturbed over the faulty formula for determining their pensions, according to Mr Ghai. They are suffering a loss of Rs 200 to Rs 800 per month in their pensions. Our association wants recomputation of their pensions as done recently in the case of Central Government pensioners, he emphasises.
Pensioners point out that as serving employees, they were getting HRA, CCA and rural area allowance. However, after retirement, they have been deprived of all these benefits. In all fairness, they should be granted a house rent allowance at a flat of Rs 100 per month. The fixed medical allowance of Rs 250 per month being paid to the pensioners is inadequate to meet the ever-increasing cost of medicare these days. It must be raised to Rs 300, he says.
They have another grievance with regard to the fact that over two years ago, the state government asked the Chief Secretary to release the list of chronic diseases for which treatment was allowed by the government. But the authorities are sleeping over the matter.
Another important issue relates to the reimbursement of expenses incurred on treatment at the Christian Medical College and Hospital, the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, Mohan Dai Oswal Hospital, all in Ludhiana, and other approved leading private hospitals in Punjab and in other states. In the case of serious accidents, and ailments, treatment at these hospitals should not require the permission of the CMO or the district medical authorities.
Pensioners also want the
restoration of travel concession to both husband and wife
pensioners. It was withdrawn from one of the spouses from
January,1995 during the late Beant Singhs regime.
It was an unjust step. When all other concessions
are allowed to both of them, then why is this concession
denied to one them...? one affected pensioner complains.
CM: law to take own course
in Harpreet case
KURALI (Ropar), May 5 The law will take its own course in the case of Harpreet Kaur, daughter of the SGPC President, Bibi Jagir Kaur, who died in mysterious circumstances, said Mr Prakash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, while talking to mediapersons here today.
He declined to comment on the possibility of Bibi Jagir Kaur, stepping down as SGPC President due to adverse media reports alleging her involvement in destroying evidence in the case.
Asked about dissidence in his party, Mr Badal said only a few MLAs who had already been ousted from the party were spreading rumours regarding dissidence. He indicated that action would be taken against these MLAs soon under the anti-defection law.
Referring to Akali leader Ravi Inder Singh, Mr Badal said: Giving him the party ticket in place of Mr Ujjagar Singh Wadali was my mistake for which I am suffering now.
On the opposition to Anandgarh by the SHSAD, he said they were opposing the project for the sake of it. Addressing a gathering, Mr Badal said construction work on the Khalsa Heritage Memorial complex at Anandpur Sahib had been started.
Mr Jarnail Singh Aulakh, member SGPC, who was also present, presented a list of 16 villages which had not been given any grant since the past few years. Mr Badal assured the villagers that he would immediately release grants to these villages from his discretionary quota.
Absenteeism rules Punjab offices
CHANDIGARH, May 5 Absenteeism in Punjab Government offices in Chandigarh and in the districts has become a rule. This is so despite clear orders issued in this regard by the Chief Secretary from time to time.
This has not only eroded discipline; but is causing harassment and discomfort to people visiting government offices.
Leaving aside the SAD-BJP governments, common minimum programme, it is common knowledge that it has failed to discharge its primary duty to ensure adequate and timely attendance of employees in its offices.
The surprise raid in Markfed head office here on Thursday by the Cooperation Minister, Mr Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, has exposed the functioning of the government and sent the correct signal down the line. Despite stiff resistance from bureaucrats not to resort to mass suspension, the minister is reported to have put his foot down. He took up the matter with the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and ensured that his orders regarding suspension of Markfed officials and employees were implemented.
Today the attendance in Markfed was total. The minister was satisfied with the action taken by him. In fact, the Managing Director, Mr D.S. Bains, reported to the minister this morning that the attendance in Markfed was total. He also informed him that he had earlier twice warned the entire staff to be punctual, but his warnings had been ignored.
This in fact is neither an isolated incident nor the first time that a minister was greeted by empty chairs in a government office. Right from the Chief Minister, to ministers all have had similar experiences.
Mr Parkash Singh Badal told TNS only yesterday that his encounter with the absenteeism among teachers in schools in his own constituency. In one school, he found no teacher and in another only one teacher. And for that teacher people from another village pleaded for his transfer to a place of his choice. To this, the Chief Ministers response was typical of a fed up political executive.
I told the villagers to get me a lock so that the problem of absenteeism and unreasonable transfers could be ended once for all, he added with a sigh.
Even the rural development and panchayats minister has faced a similar music when he went to a civil hospital in the Gurdaspur area recently.
The Chief Secretary, it may be recalled, in a circular issued in August 1998 pertaining to attendance in government offices had instructed the financial commissioners and administrative secretaries to ensure the presence of the government servants in field in their respective offices at least from 9 am to 4 pm for first four days. Even lunch break was to be restricted to permissible period. The officers, including the divisional commissioners, I.Gs and others were ordered not function from their camp offices at residences during this period in these days.
All officers were told to tour either before 9 am or after 4 pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
Though this problem persisted for a long period, no effective steps have been taken to ensure punctuality and presence of officials and employees in offices. In fact it is a sad comment that even senior bureaucrats in Chandigarh skip offices when the Chief Minister and ministers are out in the field. The line heard in the corridors of power is that when samosas are available in the canteen, the political executive is in office.
Transfers linked with performance
PATIALA, May 5 Now only well-performing teachers and lecturers in primary and secondary schools of the state will be eligible to seek transfer.
In a novel scheme aimed at reducing transfer requests during these months received by the Department of Education as well as to improve examination results, the state government has formulated a new transfer policy for teachers and lecturers.
A communication from the Department of Education sent to all district headquarters says that only those teachers who show more than 50 per cent result in the subjects of science, mathematics and English at least thrice in last five years can apply for a transfer. These teachers should also be able to show over 65 per cent result in Punjabi and Hindi.
Apart from showing results in the subjects they teach, this category of teachers can fill the transfer request forms if their schools have produced more than 60 per cent result at least three times in the past five years.
By another modification in rules, the District Education Officer is empowered to reject the application of a teacher or principal who has not completed three years of service in a rural area. The applicants will also have to furnish details about their previous places of posting. Special entries for facing a department inquiry or any other incident of dereliction of duty during their tenure are also required to be filled.
Mr Kharak Singh Cheema, District Education Officer, commenting on the new policy, said it would go a long way in improving the results and standard of education in government schools. But the teaching community seems unhappy.
Mr Ranjit Singh, Vice-President, Government Teachers Union, said the policy was anti-teacher and did not consider transfer requests on humanitarian grounds. He said such a stringent policy could have been acceptable had the government announced to start evaluation from this year onwards instead of taking into account the performance of teachers and schools during the past five years.
He feared the policy
could encourage unfair support to students in
examinations. He said while a teacher in rural areas
could request for a posting in an urban area, there was
no punishment for those who had stayed long in urban
LUDHIANA, May 5 In a perfect case of bureaucracy coming to the aid of a power thief the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) not only restored the power connection of a unit charged with power theft worth Rs 2.77 crore but also reduced the burden of penalty considerably, allegedly at the behest of certain political bigwigs.
A few days back, a spot review committee of the PSEB had raided the premises of the Ludhiana Steels unit here and detected power theft worth Rs 2.77 crore. According to sources the electricity connection of the unit was disconnected, only to be re-connected within an hour, allegedly at the behest of some highly placed politicians.
It is being alleged that the rules were moulded in order to give a breather to the power thief and he was asked to deposit a fine of Rs 30 lakh (a mere 10.8 per cent as compared to the normal procedure of 33 per cent) and that too after a reprieve of three days something that is rarely done other power theft cases.
Interestingly, this is also the second time in less than a year that power theft worth such a huge amount has been detected in the same unit. About nine months ago, officials of the PSEB had detected a power theft worth Rs 2.75 crore in the same unit and the factory owners had deposited a fine of Rs 50 lakh. The case is still pending before the Dispute Settlement Authority.
However, Mr Ashok Jain, owner of Ludhiana Steels, denied that he had been favoured by the board for collecting of the 33 per cent fine for bringing the case before the Dispute Settlement Authority.
The fine imposed on me by the spot review committee has been done according to the notifications of the board and there is no foul play, he said.
Sources in the PSEB, while confirming that electricity connection of Ludhiana Steels was restored after less than an hour of being disconnected of political pressure, said they had written to the Dispute Settlement Authority for the early settlement of the first case and for putting up the recent case of power theft for hearing at the earliest.
Interestingly, according to sources reports of large scale power theft in unit had been received in February and a team of enforcement wing of the PSEB had been sent to the factory, but this team gave a clean chit to the firm. However, when the officials again received reports of the theft of power, they sent a team of enforcement wing from Amritsar, which confirmed the theft of power in the unit after tampering with seals.
This also puts a question mark on the credibility of the PSEB officials, who gave a clean chit to the accused in February. However, no action has been taken against these officials.
The Chief Engineer, PSEB, Mr A.S. Randhawa, however, denied that any preference was given to Ludhiana Steels at the behest of any political power. It is entirely at the discretion of the spot review committee that comes for theft detection to decide upon the fine to be imposed, in cases where theft was of more than Rs 50 lakh.
Even when power theft is detected, we do not disconnect power supply but 100 per cent fine is sent along with the next bill, the said and added that power supply was disconnected only in case of tampering with meters.
Litigants of Patiala, Samana,
Patran a harassed lot
PATIALA, May 5 It is fate alone which comes to the help of litigants approaching the local Labour Court for redressal of their grievances. The local court has jurisdiction over only one half of Patiala. Litigants belonging to the other half have to go the Labour Court at Rajpura, 25 km from here.
This anomaly has been existing for a long time and has been pointed out by the Bar Association of the Labour Court, Patiala, to the authorities on various occasions.
The Assistant Labour Commissioner, Patiala, has jurisdiction over one half of Patiala and Fatehgarh Sahib district. The Assistant Labour Commissioner, Rajpura, has jurisdiction over the other half of Patiala, along with Samana, Patran, Rajpura and Dera Bassi. This has caused inconvenience to the people of Patiala as well as Samana, Patran and Ghagga area, who are forced to travel to Rajpura for their dispute settlements.
A local resident Manjit Singh said even a worker of Bahera road had to go to Rajpura for settling of industrial disputes. He said there was an immediate need to review the jurisdiction area of both the Assistant Labour Commissioners of Patiala and Rajpura. Patiala Bar Association President Viday Vatrana disclosed that this and other difficulties being faced by the Bar Association had recently been brought to the notice of Punjab and Haryana High Court Justice K.K. Srivastava when he inspected the complex. Mr Vatrana said the association had requested
him to review the jurisdiction area of both Assistant Labour Commissioners to decide the issue at the earliest.
Among other problems facing the Labour Court are the building itself, which has been declared unsafe by the Public Works Department, and shortage of staff. Mr Vatrana disclosed that the court room and the makeshift retiring room of the Presiding Officer was small and hindered court proceeding. He said there was not enough room for movement, representatives, clerks and workers. He said there was also no proper toilet-cum-bathroom. The courtyard is not being brick-paved, leading to slush in the monsoon season. He said every year the association made requests to the Inspecting Judge to direct the Labour Court or shift it to the Court Complex, but nothing had been done so far.
Regarding shortage of staff, sources disclosed that there were around 4,000 cases pending in the local Labour Court, which had one reader, one stenographer and one copyist. They said if anyone proceeded on leave, work came to a standstill. This staff is not permanent and is posted on a temporary basis. There is also no chowkidar. The association has demanded that one additional post of stenographer and clerk be created for smooth functioning of the board.
The association has also
demanded that the cases pertaining to the Workman
Compensation Act be transferred to the Senior Sub-Judge,
saying Assistant Labour Commissioners are not conversant
with law pertaining to the Compensation Act.
Punjabi language needs promotion
in Pakistan and India
PATIALA, May 5 Fakhar Zamaan, a noted novelist and a former Minister of Culture of Pakistan, yesterday, said that Punjabi language was not being promoted in the Punjab province of his country.
Participating in a lecture on Pakistani Punjabi literature held at senate hall of Punjabi University, Zamaan said while members in the three provincial assemblies of Pakistan were being encouraged to speak in their regional languages, members in the Punjab Assembly were not allowed to speak in Punjabi.
He said if the people of Indian and Pakistani Punjab fail to give place to their mother tongue, they may soon lose their rich cultural roots.
Zamaan opined that a writer or an artist has to be committed to the healthy and constructive social values, an artist or a writer is a rebel by nature as he has to fight against the divisive and repressive forces and aspires to establish a new social order based on the values of equality, justice, brotherhood and sacrifice. A true writer is rooted in his culture and is wedded to the sorrows and pains, aspirations and expectations of the people around him. He stressed that the concept of art for arts sake is a betrayal to the cause of social change which is the ultimate aim of the writer.
Referring to political undertones in literature, he said that political decisions shape our life and the writer cannot ignore the political scenario of his times. An artist, he said, would have impact on his society only if he wrote with a sense of integrity and deep sense of responsibility.
Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, said that the writers are the true ambassadors of their country and culture. It was unfortunate that the sphere of Punjabi language was shrinking spatially and in time dimension. He said due to political division of the country in 1947, the cultural symbols and centres of Punjabi culture were left in Pakistan and Punjabis living in India as well as Pakistan were losing their cultural roots, as they were increasingly coming under the influence of Hindi in India and Persian and Arabic in Pakistan.
Dr Ahluwalia said it was
unfortunate that Punjabi had been linked to one community
in India and in Pakistan the people have disowned this
language. He exhorted the writers and scholars to work
together to preserve the rich tradition of Punjabi
language, literature and culture. In this connection he
outlined the efforts being made by Punjabi University. He
said the university has undertaken a project of preparing
a multi-volume history of Punjabi literature, which will
also include Punjabi literature created in Pakistan.
Similarly, Punjabi University was preparing a cultural
history of Punjab, which will include Indian Punjab and
Pakistani Punjab. Another project of importance is the
preparation of computer programme and software which will
facilitate the conversion of literature from Gurumukhi to
Shahmukhi and vice versa.
Bailable warrants against ex-CE
CHANDIGARH, May 5 Mr Justice V.M Jain of Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued bailable warrants against Mr J.S. Kalra, former Chief Engineer (Canals), Irrigation Department, Punjab, for May 22, in order to secure his presence in a contempt petition filed by Mr Harjit Singh Bawa and others.
Earlier in the case, short cause notices were issued to him, the Irrigation Secretary, Mr Bikramjeet Singh, and Chief Engineer (Canals), Mr P.K. Singla to explain why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against them for non-compliance with the directions issued by this court. The personal presence of respondents were however, exempted.
Though the respondents were served notices, no one appeared on behalf of former Chief Engineer and one Superintendent working in the department appeared on behalf of Secretary and LA appeared on behalf of the Chief Engineer.
Taking serious note of non-appearance by the respondents, the court held that merely because the personal presence of the respondent was exempted, it did not mean that the respondents would neither appear in person nor appear through counsel and would send some department officers to represent them in the contempt petition. Therefore, it was directed that bailable warrants of Rs 5000, with one surety in a like amount, be issued against respondents no. 1 to 3 in order to secure their presence.
Though at one stage, bailable warrants were issued against Irrigation Secretary, as well as Chief Minister but before the rising of the court Mr P.K. Singla, Chief Engineer, himself and Additional Secretary, Mr Sumir Kumar, put in his appearance on behalf of the Secretary. Therefore, the court ordered that the warrants against Secretary, and the Chief Engineer need not be issued and they were directed to file their replies two days before the date fixed with an advance copy to council for the petitioner.
to SSP in murder case probe
On a petition for initiating contempt proceedings against Hoshiarpurs SSP, Mr R.P. Mittal for allegedly not completing the investigations within the prescribed time, of three months, the High Court issued notice for July 7.
Accusing the respondent of wilfully disobeying the court orders pronounced on August 13, 1999, the petitioner, Ms Sharan Kaur had stated that till date investigation report had not been filed in her husbands murder case. The deceased, she had stated, was stabbed by two persons. He died on the way to hospital.
She added that the DSP in charge of the investigation was demanding Rs 1 lakh each for presenting the challan against the accused.
The petitioner had
stated that the accused were granted bail as the challan
had not been submitted. On the contrary, she had added,
an attempt was made to involve the brother of the
deceased in the case.
Field fires: PSEB fails to act
PATIALA, May 5 Even as the incidents of fire destroying crops are on the rise in Punjab, the state electricity board instead of taking an initiative is giving homilies to farmers on how to stop the recurrence of such incidents instead of itself taking the initiative in this regard .
Wires continue to sag at many places which are becoming the main reason for fires. Sagging wires cause sparks when these come in contact with each other due to strong winds. Besides loose terminals at many places are also responsible for fires near the vicinity of transformers which had become woes of farmers.
Instead of taking steps to set this right, the PSEB has come out with a set of homilies for farmers. An official release recently said, The board was concerned about the burning of precious crops and offered its sympathies to affected brother farmers. It said in order to stop recurrence of such incidents farmers should follow precautions laid down by it .
The precautions laid down include ensuring that the live overhead power lines are not touched by combine harvesters which may result in sparking. It said smoking in fields should be strictly stopped and wheat should be stacked away from electricity lines. The farmers have also been advised to inform the sub divisional officer of the area concerned before using of combine harvesters so that electric supply of the over head wires of the area concerned was stopped for that period.
Farmers are, however, livid at the suggestions. It is like serving homilies instead of the taking any concrete steps themselves, said Ajitinder Singh, a progressive farmer of Devigarh area. He said the PSEB should have ensured all transformers were checked for loose connections and other faults before the harvesting season set in besides setting the lines right . He and others said it was impractical to follow the board suggestions of informing about the movement of combine harvesters so that electric supply could be cut till the period of harvesting. If the board wants to follow this suggestion seriously it should put its personnel on the job as only then could electric supply be cut in a planned manner. If farmers get supply cut every time they have a combine in their fields it will be inconvenient for those who want to run tubewells, said another farmer Amarjit.
Farmers also want that their compensation cases, specially when they involved the state electricity board, should be verified within a day or two and prompt compensation should be paid to them. At present the procedure is that once a fire incident is reported the district administration verifies it. After that the case is sent to the electricity board . Following that the board verifies the incident and compensation is paid to the farmer only if it is found that the fire was caused due to the malfunctioning of electric supply.
Talking to a cross
section of the farmers it was revealed that the evidence
was lost due to the long time it took to verify the cause
of fire. They alleged in most cases of electric faults ,
the verifying board officials tried to shield their
personnel. The board officials, however, said the
department was made the scapegoat by farmers who wanted
to take compensation from it even when fires were caused
due to human negligence.
38 police officers reverted
LUDHIANA, May 5 Thirtyeight police officers, presently posted here have been reverted to their earlier ranks after being given an out-of-turn ad hoc promotions.
It is learnt that Director-General of Police, Mr Sarabjit Singh, vide memo number 8694-8793-E-6 dated April 28, 2000, has withdrawn promotions of one deputy superintendent of police, one inspector, six sub-inspectors of police, 27 assistant sub-inspector, one inspectors and one sub-inspectors, and one sub-inspector, presently serving the city.
The letter states, that these police personnel will get their pay at their respective substantive ranks and will get their regular promotions on their turn. The letter also clearly states that the ad hoc promotions given to the police personnel be immediately withdrawn.
It is reliably learnt that similar letter has been shot off to all police districts, allegedly in wake of a writ petition filed by the Punjab Police Services Association.
It is learnt that the hearing of this case before the Bench of Mr Justice Swatantra Kumar and Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi was completed on April 28, (the day the DGP ordered the reversions),but the judgement of the case was reserved.
Because of the order, several ASIs would now get the rank and pay of constables/head constables and inspectors/sub-inspectors of assistant sub-inspector. It is also learnt that while the ASIs would now get Rs 700 less each month, the inspectors would get Rs 1000 less per month besides losing the facilities of vehicles and accommodations.
Interestingly, a few of
the affected police personnel are presently holding
charge of station house officer (SHO) or in charges of
other police wings. It is still unclear if they would now
be asked to step down.
Deferring of poll opposed
CHANDIGARH, May 5 The State Election Commission has strongly opposed the postponement of the general election of certain local bodies which are scheduled to be held on May 28.
The Secretary of the State Election Commission today intimated to the Punjab Government that the Commission is fully prepared for conducting the election on May 28 and the postponement of the election by the Government to June 18 will be unnecessary add to the cost and cause avoidable harassment to the public.
The Commission said that the Government at no stage consulted it for postponing the election of local bodies scheduled for May 28. The Commission has strongly objected to the reference with regard to commission used by the government in its notification for postponing the election. The commission has urged for deleting such references from the notification.
Ludhiana hit by water scarcity
LUDHIANA, May 5 Residents in this industrial hub of the state are facing an acute scarcity of water as well as a threat of outbreak of water-borne diseases like gastroenteritis and cholera.
According to Civil Surgeon Dr Rajinder Kaur, three teams have been set up to check the sale of uncovered, unripe and rotten fruits, vegetables and other eatables. A control room has been established in the Civil Surgeons office with 25 teams of doctors, paramedics and nurses.
The Civil Surgeon claimed that adequate supplies of the rehydration solution were available with the Health Department. She said of 38 random samples taken from different localities, 34 had passed the bacteriological examination. The level of chlorination in the piped water was also being supervised.
Persistent complaints of residents regarding inadequate water supply notwithstanding, Mr S.S. Jandu, Superintendent Engineer (O and M) Municipal Corporation, asserted that the entire supply made through 211 tubewells and 35 overhead service reservoirs (OSRs) in the city was potable and cent per cent chlorinated with a dose of 1 ppm at source.
The available water supply covered 60 per cent of the citys population and an 11-hour intermittent supply was being maintained which he claimed was the highest in the state. On feeble pressure in the water mains, Mr Jandu attributed the same to wasteful and unmindful use of piped water.
He said nine tubewells
were sunk and installed by the civic body in different
localities to augment the water supply and cover at least
another 50,000 people, but these could not be made
functional due to the failure of the PSEB to provide
power connections. The Chief Engineer PSEB, was not
available for comment on the issue.
AMRITSAR, May 5 Refuting allegations of Mr Subhash Sharma, Mayor that dairies could not be shifted due to the non-cooperation of the police Mr Parampal Singh Sidhu, SSP, addressing reporters here yesterday said that the allegations by the Mayor were mala fide and false.
He said that a special police force had been kept at the disposal of the Municipal Corporation. Besides that department had standing instructions to provide reinforcements if needed to the corporation in carrying out its duties.
He further alleged that the Mayor had used the police as a shield to save his vote bank but actually had no intention of carrying out the high courts orders. Mr Subhash Sharma in a written statement yesterday had alleged that the order of the high court to shift dairies out could not be carried out due to the fact that the district administration had failed to provide security.
Pak Generals visit Golden
AMRITSAR, May 5 India and Pakistan reiterated not to resort to unprovoked firing on the border at a four-day meeting of the BSF and Pakistani Rangers which concluded at Jalandhar today.
Both countries also resolved to contain smuggling of narcotics.
HC team visits Ludhiana
LUDHIANA, May 5 A
seven-member team led by senior advocate of the Punjab
and Haryana High Court H.S. Sethi today visited the city
to have a first-hand information on the implementation of
high court directions on traffic and safety
regulations.The team comprising AIG (Traffic), Joint
Director of Staff Transport Authority and other officials
went round the city roads, visited the general bus stand
and a few educational institutions to see if the
directions of the high court were being followed.While
team members declined to talk to mediapersons, it is
believed that they took serious notice of polluting auto
rickshaws moving on roads and even deployed to carry
school children, misuse of red lights on vehicles by
unauthorised persons and gross violations of rules by
state transport buses.
3 new substations to
LUDHIANA, May 5 Around 60 KVA of additional load is being added for the benefit of consumers, with the commissioning of three new substations in the city.
According to information available, three new 66 KV sub-stations at South City, Dhandari Kalan and Amal Tas are likely to be commissioned by the end of this month. Each sub-station will be providing for 20 MVA of power.
Mr M.S. Dhaliwal,
Superintending Engineer (city circle), informed that
besides adding to the existing power capacity, the three
new sub-stations would also provide relief to the
Kitchcloo Nagar, Ferozepur Road, Noorewal, G.T. Road, and
Industrial Area sub-stations.
Protest against water crisis
GARHSHANKAR, May 5 BSP and Congress workers protested in front of the office of the Public Health Department here on Wednesday for unsatisfactory supply of drinking water to Kharoli, Kalewal, Seena Saithowal, Habbowal, Kambala, Harma, Nainwan, Achalpur, Bhawani, Rattanpur, Bhagtan, Mazari, Pandori, Jhonewal, Garhi Mansowal, Dallewal, Peepliwal, Benewal, Kokowal, Bhadiar, Dagori, Mehanwani, Kot, Maira and Barapur villages.
DA slab for Punjab staff
CHANDIGARH, May 5 The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today announced grant of dearness allowance (D.A.) instalment to the employees due from January, 2000 on the Central pattern. Necessary orders would soon be issued in this regard.
In a meeting with the
Punjab State Services Federation here today, the Chief
Minister also announced wheat loan to Class
IV employees. He said the government will soon release
the Pay Anomaly Committee report and implement the same
in a couple of months time. The standing implementation
committee will also consider the issue of giving higher
promotion scales to different categories of all employees
in various departments.
CHANDIGARH, May 5
Concerned about the interests of the farming community of
Punjab, the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today
released Rs 40 crore for disbursement of arrears to the
sugarcane growers, according to a press release.
PATIALA, May 5
Patialas three prominent art personalities
Pran Sabharwal and Sunita Sabharwal, a theatre couple,
and Jigar Jalandhari, an Urdu poet, were conferred with
Ramesh Chander National Award 2000 for their
distinguished services. The chief Guest, Prof Jagir
Singh, Chief Parliamentary Secretary of Punjab, honoured
the personalities and presented the award at a function
in Jalandhar recently.
Implement govt plans, officers
FATEHGARH SAHIB, May 5 Keeping in view the historical importance of the district, it will be made a model district of the state, Mr B.S. Sudan, Deputy Commissioner, said while addressing a meeting of district officers here yesterday.
Mr Sudan directed the officers that the policies and programmes of the government should reach the residents and would be implemented in letter and spirit so that they could get maximum benefits.
NRI killed, Rs 3.70 lakh looted
KHANNA, May 5 Three unidentified persons killed an NRI and took away gold ornaments worth Rs 3 lakh and cash worth Rs 70,000 here on Wednesday night. The police has rounded up 21 persons in this connection.
According to information three persons, including two clean-shaven youths aged 25 years and one having beard and aged 40 entered in the house of Mr Prem Singh in local model town at 2.30 am last night.
They had one screw driver and an iron rod. Mr Prem Singh (55) was busy in prayer at that time. He had scuttle with them. One of the looters attacked him with screw driver. Mr Prem Singh died on the spot. The looters tied the wife of Mr Prem Singh with rope and snatched keys from her. They escaped with ornaments and cash.
SSP Khanna R.L. Bhagat
who reached the spot said that the incident seemed to be
committed by some persons known to the deceased. The NRI
couple had returned India from England only tow months
ago. He said some clues had been collected and 21 persons
Man commits suicide after
RAJPURA, May 5 In a shocking incident, a former sarpanch of Gandakheri village near here committed suicide on Wednesday after killing his wife and seriously injuring his daughter.
Mohinder Singh, aged about 55, for the past one year, was facing trial in a murder case as the alleged co-conspirator. The police and family sources said he had been depressed due to the case and had claimed to be innocent.
According to a report given to the Rajpura Sadar police by the surviving family members, Mohinder Singh was sleeping with his wife Harmeet Kaur, aged 52, daughter Sukhdeep Kaur, aged 21, and a granddaughter in a room past night, while the other family members were sleeping on the first floor.
At about 2 am, those on the first floor, heard cries from the room below, following which, the sons of the sarpanch rushed downstairs only to get the shock of their life. They saw the sarpanch's mother lying in a pool of blood and the daughter crying in pain near a cot. The 11-year-old granddaughter of the sarpanch, Charanjit, was weeping inconsolably in a corner.
The sarpanch had, meanwhile, locked himself in another room. When the door was forced open, he was lying motionless on the floor with a bottle of celphos tablets lying nearby.
According to the injured daughter and the granddaughter, the sarpanch attacked his wife with a sword and made several blows on her neck. He then attacked his daughter and stabbed her a number of times before getting out.
While the sarpanch's wife died on the spot with a deep neck wound, the daughter was rushed to Government Hospital at Rajpura. She is presently admitted to Rajindra Hospital in Patiala and is not in a position to talk to reporters.
The Sadar police of Rajpura said Mohinder Singh had been booked under Section 120-B of the IPC for his alleged role in the murder of a person called Gurmail Singh, past year. The sarpanch had recently been released on bail and had also been said to be mentally upset since his return. The police said there was evidence against the sarpanch in the murder case, but, he had always claimed to be innocent.
The family members at
the cremation ceremony here today, said, "The former
sarpanch always talked about the bad name his family had
earned due to his involvement in the murder case. He
always talked of ending his life."
Raid on hotel: 11 detained,
JALANDHAR, May 5 The police raid on a prominent city hotel near bus stand and the brief detention of three young girls and eight boys, including the son of an Akali leader and a former Punjab minister on May 2, has become the talk of the town.
The boys and girls led by a city-based martial arts specialist were let off by the city SP, allegedly after pressure from some higher-ups.
The boys and girls, all in their early twenties, who had come in two Honda City cars and one Maruti 800 had checked in the hotel in two groups at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. and allegedly remained closeted in two rooms till the police raided the room at around 12.15 a.m. The rooms were booked in the name of Sanjay Sharma.
A high drama followed the raid which was conducted by a city DSP and the area, SHO, after someone tipped them off about the unusual activity in the hotel. At this, some of boys rang up some high-ups while the girls, including daughter of a senior officer, were seen pleading before the police officials to let them go. The pleadings, however, did not work till an SP descended on the scene and ordered the release of all of them at around 1.25 a.m.
Though the police
officers were tight lipped about the incident, sources
said no FIR was registered but a DDR entry was made in
the police division no. 4 about the searching of the
hotel. Though the DDR confirms the
questioning of eight boys, most of whom were
from the city and from Amritsar no mention was made about
SSP admits lapses in murder
AMRITSAR, May 5 Mr Parampal Singh Sidhu, SSP, here yesterday admitted that there were serious lapses in the initial investigations in the Naresh Mahajan murder case and vital evidence had been lost.
He said the possibility of parallel banking as a prime motive behind the murder could not be ruled out.
Naresh Mahajan, Senior Bank Manager, was found murdered on October 22, 1998, in his car at a posh locality.
Parallel banking was cited to be the prime cause behind the alleged crime.
The case took a curious turn when nine SPs were reportedly changed during the course of investigations. It was also alleged that some influential businessmen were involved in parallel banking and were directly or indirectly connected with the murder. Mr Sidhu, however, said no headway in the case was achieved as the evidence against the alleged culprits was not tangible enough to nail them.
Meanwhile, Mr Satya Pal Dang, veteran CPI leader, had alleged that the police was trying to shield some influential businessmen. Mr Surinder Billa, President All-India Hindu Shiv Sena, had alleged that the DGP was insincere in the investigations.
Letters were written to the President, Prime Minister and Home Minister in this regard. Subsequently, the case was shifted to the Crime Branch Chandigarh.
SHO, ASI booked
FATEHGARH SAHIB, May 5 The police has registered a case against the SHO, ASI and others of Mandi Gobindgarh police station on the direction of DIG Patiala Range, for their involvement in the grabbing of Rs 2.55 lakh from an employee of a firm of the town at a naka.
On April 24, Rajinder Prashad an employee of an Iron Trading Company in his car No. PB48A-4031 was carrying Rs 11.68 lakh in cash collected from the traders. His car was stopped at the naka of Mughal Majra and he was taken to Mandi Gobindgarh police station where allegedly Rs 2.55 lakh was kept by the police and 9.13 lakh returned. The employee informed his employer, who brought the matter to notice of traders organisations and the local MLA. The traders observed a bandh in protest and informed the DIG about the incident, who deputed Mr H.S. Sidhu, SSP Patiala to conduct an inquiry.
The SSP Patiala in his report confirmed that the amount was taken by the police and further revealed that if the matter is properly investigated, the connivance of other police officials could not be ruled out. He has also mentioned that the SHO also got some affidavits signed from the parties concerned forcibly. He had written that the employee had narrated the entire episode to him.
The police has
registered a case u/s 7,13(2) 88 Prevention of Corruption
Act, 341, 342, 384, 34 of the IPC at Mandi Gobindgarh
police station and Mr Rajiv Ahir, has been deputed to
investigate the case. The SSP was not available for
PHAGWARA, May 5 At least 70 per cent of B paper found place in A paper of agriculture economics and marketing for BA III in the ongoing annual examinations of Guru Nanak Dev University today baffling students and teachers alike.
A perturbed college
teacher and puzzled students told this reporter after the
morning session examination that while paper A contained
agriculture economics, paper B dealt with the marketing
part. However, 70 per cent of questions of paper B i.e.
marketing portion were set in todays A paper,
alleged students. The concerned teacher was so upset over
the topsy-turvy paper that he left straight for Amritsar
to meet the Controller of Examinations to apprise him of
the howler. The teacher had also sent written
representation to the university.
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