|Sunday, May 7, 2000,
loss is APs gain
prime accused in Malta boat tragedy
lays college stone, avoids media
proposal on border rules a ploy
asks Delhi to revise storage rates
to move court against Badal
|Amarinder Singh, Bhattal to
address Sangrur rally
CHANDIGARH, May 6 In the continuing chain of Punjab Congress anti-Punjab Government demonstrations, Sangrur District Congress Committee will stage a dharna outside the Deputy Commissioners office on May 10 at 11 a.m.
Nagar panchayat poll rescheduled
on Giani Puran Singh on May 11
grips villagers after cattle deaths
to take up kirpan issue again
link between Fazilka, Delhi soon
alleges water diversion
may approach Centre on US Nagar
veterans happy at recognition
to hike power tariff rejected
union strike on May 11
staff may go on strike
of eye donors honoured
held in human cargo racket
take away truck
awards degrees to 90 medicos
to merge with Markfed
reimburse transport charges
Punjabs loss is APs
CHANDIGARH, May 6 Andhra Pradeshs smart political chief executive Chandrababu Naidu has virtually appointed a Maharashtra cadre senior IAS officer, Mr R.C.Sinha, while the Punjab continued to dither on his appointment.
The appointment of Mr Sinha,who earlier headed the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation, was finalised as Managing Director of the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board(PIDB) in a rank of Financial Commissioner on April 20 at a top level meeting chaired by the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.
The PIDB has been set up by the Punjab Government to develop infrastructure ,including roads, flyovers and bridges over various rivers worth Rs 2000 crore. Already main projects to be taken up by the PIDB have been finalised. These include the four lanning of the Chandigarh-Ludhiana-Moga , Chandigarh-Patiala, Chandigarh-Nawanshahr-Phagwara, Jalandhar-Amritsar roads and one flyover in Ludhiana apart from other projects. By involving the big private companies and raising funds through various private sources, the projects are to be completed within next two years.
Known as an authority in the development of infrastructure, Mr Sinha was approached in Mumbai by the Punjab Government about three months ago by the delegation led by Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Punjab Finance Minister, for coming to Punjab. He had accepted the offer.
However, the authorities concerned in the Punjab Government dithered for two months on his appointment . And it proved a long period for Punjab. During the intervening period, Mr Chandrababu Naidu established contact with Mr Sinha and issued the appointment letter to him. A top Punjab Government functionary told TNS today that Mr Sinha has already assumed charge of his new posting in Andhra Pradesh and he is not available to Punjab. Mr Sinha has got built several flyovers in Mumbai and a super highway between Mumbai and Pune by mobilising funds from private parties in a stipulated period.
Admitting that losing of Mr Sinha to Andhra Pradesh is a big jolt to the state, the Government functionary said that the authorities concerned were out on hunt to find a suitable alternative to the Maharashtra officer.
Meanwhile, informed sources in the Punjab Government said that the technical committees constituted by the State Government with regard to various projects would submit their reports by May 15 .
Within next three
months, the Government wanted to start work at least on
one project. The Government is preparing its strategy to
mobilise resources for these projects. It has already
over Rs 100 crore with the Infrastructure Development
Board. With this much amount the work could be started to
begin with and by that bonds would be launched in the
market to mobilise funds and also private companies would
be approached.The tenders for projects likely to be
floated in the next month. The Government has planned to
enlist only top class companies for this purpose.
13 prime accused in Malta
HOSHIARPUR, May 6 Italy has started proceedings against 13 of the prime accused in the Malta boat tragedy case. This was disclosed by Mr Balwant Singh Khera, Chairman of the Malta Tragedy Probe Mission in a press here today. He said for almost two years, the government of Italy had refused to accept that a tragedy had occurred on Christmas eve in 1996 in the Italian territorial waters, off Siracosa coast, half way between Pachino and Noto.
But evidence received through different quarters had forced the government to concede that a shipwreck had occurred in its territorial waters in which 300 persons from India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka had been killed.
On December 7,1998 an application for indictment under various sections of law was filed in the court of Siracosa against EI Hallal, the captain of the ship Yiohan which carried the illegal passengers, Zervoudakis Eftychios, owner of the ship, Turab Ahmed Sheikh, an associate of Zervoudakis, Sfakianakis Antonia, Fanoyrakis Michael, Sary Midat, Sabhach Giorgio, Koko Vangeli, Sahlin Mazin, Mahmood Ali, Arraf Maen, Zman Fhkssan, members of the Yiohan crew and Augerino Dionisios, member of the crew of the Maltese boat. He said the statement of the investigating Magistrate before the court was based upon the evidence of some survivors who had witnessed the collision between Yiohan and the Maltese boat and the subsequent drowning of passengers. All witnesses corroborated the story.
The Captain of Yiohan and its crew forced the 300-odd passengers to move in to the Maltese boat in spite of the adverse sea conditions and strong opposition by the passengers. In the process, the two ships collided and those on the Maltese boat were drowned.
Mr Khera said although
the statement in the court did not mention the name of Mr
Kamal Taylam, a German national, a TV documentary
carrying an interview of Yousaf Al Hallal, captain of the
Yiohan has helped the investigations. The
Malta Boat Tragedy Probe Mission had written to the
Indian Embassy in Rome to procure a copy of the
chargesheet which it succeeded in getting only now.
Bibi lays college stone,
PHAGWARA, May 6 The SGPC chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur, today stressed the need for educating girls. She was addressing a congregation at Jagpalpur village, 10 km from here, after laying the foundation stone of Mata Sahib Kaur Girls Khalsa College in the village.
She announced Rs 10 lakh as grant for the college being set up by NRIs. The SGPC would adopt two students of the college, the Bibi announced.
She said the SGPC would soon set up a 1100-bed hospital. Sant Baba Karam Singh honoured the Bibi with a siropa. Jarnail Singh Wahad, PSSSB member, and Jathedar Gurmukh Singh also spoke.
Bibi Jagir Kaur tried to play hide and seek with mediapersons but was cornered as soon as she came out of the village gurdwara. Asked to comment on the setting up of PSGPC, the Bibi said such serious issues could not be discussed casually. She was visibly angry.
The mediapersons were given a rough on treatment by her guards. To a guery on May 11 executive meetings of the SGPC, the Bibi said such meetings were held every month.
Asked about pressure by members of the Political Affairs Committee of the SAD on party President and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to ask her to quit, the Bibi said the question should be addressed to Mr Badal.
Questioned about the
various petitions against her in connection with the
death of her daughter, Bibi took off in her car, saying
she would hold a press conference soon over the matter.
Khaira wants case against Bibi
JALANDHAR, May 6Mr Sukhpal Singh Khaira, General Secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (I) and son of former Punjab Education minister Sukhjinder Singh, has demanded that a case should be registered against SGPC chief Bibi Jagir Kaur in connection with the mysterious death of her daughter.
Mr Khaira, who was
addressing a press conference here today, apprehended
that the probe into the case by the Punjab Police might
not be fair as the Punjab Chief Minister had participated
in the hasty cremation of Harpreet. He
alleged that the police authorities were trying to hush
up the case by implicating Kamaljit and his family into
false cases. Casting doubts on the working
and effectiveness of the SIT, Mr Khaira, said none of its
officers had contacted or recorded the statement of Bibi
Pak proposal on border rules a ploy
JALANDHAR, May 6 (UNI) Pakistan has floated the proposal for border ground rules to checkmate Indias efforts to put up security fence along the international border in Jammu.
The proposal was mooted by Pakistan Rangers delegation during their four-day dialogue with BSF officers at BSFs Punjab frontier headquarters here, according to Frontier Inspector- General and leader of Indian delegation Avtar Singh Aulakh.
He said when border ground rules were first formulated in 1960-61, the two countries had reached an agreement to blast four border observation towers each on either side of the international border. But Pakistan violated the agreement by not blasting tower on its side, while India had blown up the towers through explosive detonation. He said after the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war, India rejected the rules in view of their consistent violations by Pakistan and since then there had been no border ground rules between the two nations.
Asked as to what could have motivated Pakistan to make a proposal regarding the border ground rules which had been observed more in breach or had remained in limbo in the past 40 years, Mr Aulakh quipped, Pakistan is frustrated by its inability to breach security fence we have built in Punjab and Rajasthan and hence has been looking for ploys to prevent India from building defence line within her border.
He said India was determined to build security fence along the Jammu border also to make it impenetrable like the Punjab border. When told that India had not been able to build the security fence in the Jammu sector because of unprovoked firing by Pakistan Rangers, he said, We will find some ways to build it. Asked if India would be able to accomplish its objective in next five years when it had failed to do so in the last five years when the fence project was cleared by the Union Home Ministry, Mr Aulakh quipped, We will achieve our objective much before five years.
The BSF officer said unprovoked firing by Pakistan topped the agenda of mutual dialogue and Pakistan had agreed not to resort to unprovoked firing at least when harvesting of crops was in progress on either side of the border.
He said Pakistan had been successfully preventing India from building security fence in Jammu sector by raising the alibi that it was not a recognised international border. Pakistan had been describing the border as working boundary, while India had been maintaining that it was an international border, he said.
Asked to comment on feverish construction activity in Pakistan across Indias security fence gates in Rajasthan and resultant exchange of fire when India objected to the construction close to international border, Mr Aulakh said Pakistan objective in building fresh underground bunkers across Indias fence gates was aimed at keeping a close watch on movement of BSF personnel.
Mr Aulakh disclosed that the Pakistan delegation, including Directors-General of both Sindh and Lahore Rangers, also objected to falling Indian flood lights on the Pakistan territory. BSF sources said flood lighting of security fence area on Indias side had made the task of infiltrating men and arms difficult.
Mr Aulakh did not agree
that the bi-annual dialogue between the Pakistan Rangers
and the BSF had become futile.
Badal asks Delhi to revise storage rates
LUDHIANA, May 6 (PTI) Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today urged the Union Government to suitably revise the rates of foodgrains storage godowns in the state to encourage people to create more such infrastructural facility for meeting the growing needs of the farm sector.
Addressing a function of the Punjab Rice Millers Association here, the Chief Minister said the prevailing rates were not revised in the past two decades, despite repeated representations and the cost of maintenance of such godowns had increased manifold.
He said he would take up the issue again during his next visit to the national Capital with the Union Ministry concerned.
Mr Badal announced that the policy for supplying gunny bags for the milling of paddy would continue and necessary directions would be issued by the Food and Supplies Department.
He said the advisory committee of the Rice Millers Association would be constituted and the representatives of the trade taken on various committees at different levels which would help reduce the communication gap between the trade and the government.
The Chief Minister said due to the efforts and constant pursuation of the state government, arbitration cases against the rice millers pertaining to 1994-95 had been settled and the Union Government had already sent Rs 100 crore as compensation for the loss incurred during the said year.
He said the remaining problem pertaining to this major issue was being sorted out with the Union Government.
Mr Badal said the state government had abolished testing laboratories of the Food and Civil Supplies Department, thus meeting the long-pending demand of the rice millers.
Pleading to the Rice
Millers Association to help check the menace of
corruption, the Chief Minister said they must pledge not
to give or take bribe.
SHSAD to move court against Badal
BATALA, May 6 Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, General Secretary, Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD) today said a writ petition would be shortly filed in the High Court demanding disqualification of Mr Parkash Singh Badal from the presidentship of the SAD as he was working against the basic policies of Akalis.
Addressing a press conference here this evening, Mr Chandumajra said any resident of the state could file such a PIL.
Mr Chandumajra was talking to mediapersons after participating in an informal meeting of the working committee of the SHSAD here, he said Mr Badal had taken a U-turn.
The meeting observed a
two-minute silence to mourn the death of Giani Mewa
Singh, a Parachark of the SHSAD this morning.
Amarinder Singh, Bhattal to
address Sangrur rally
CHANDIGARH, May 6 In the continuing chain of Punjab Congress anti-Punjab Government demonstrations, Sangrur District Congress Committee will stage a dharna outside the Deputy Commissioners office on May 10 at 11 a.m.
Mr Avtar Henry, Vice President Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, and incharge for Sangrur district, held a meeting of the District Congress Committee at the local Mansa Devi Temple. Mr Henry said for strengthening the party every worker should be given due importance. While refuting the infighting in the Punjab Congress he said the party was united. The May 10 rally would be addressed jointly Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and Capt Amarinder Singh, President, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee.
On this occasion Punjab
Pradesh Congress Committees Finance Secretary as
well as Chairman Umeed Khanna Foundation, Mr Arvind
Khanna, stressed the need for strengthening the party by
forgetting the differences. Mr Khanna stressed on the
need to rise above groupism and work unitedly . He told
Congress workers that his doors were always open for
Nagar panchayat poll
PHILLAUR, May 6 The Punjab Government has rescheduled the elections of two nagar councils and 35 nagar panchayats and byelection of 14 wards of 11 nagar councils and nagar panchayats, this was stated by Punjab Local Bodies Minister Balramji Dass Tandon here yesterday.
He said now elections of two nagar councils of Nagal Dam and Mohali and nagar panchayats of Khem Karan, Bhikhi Rayya Ajnala Raja Sansi (Amritsar district) Kalanaur (Gurdaspur district) Shahkot Bhogpur Goraya (Jalandhar district) Dhilwan Begowal Bholath (Kapurthala district) Mahilpur (Hoshiarpur district) Balachaur (Nawanshahr district) Machhiwada, Sahnewal Mullapur, Dakha and Malout (Ludhiana district) Patran, Chhagga, Ghanaur, Sanaur, Zirakpur (Patiala district) Amloh (Fatehgarh Sahib district), Badhani Kalan Dharamkot, Baghapurana (Moga district) Bhikhi (Mansa district), Barriwala (Muktsar district) will be held on June 18 instead of earlier schedule of May 28.
Mr Tandon said byelections of ward no 6 in Sham Churasi, ward no 8 and 25 in Khanna, ward no 11 in Gurdaspur, ward no 27 in Moga, ward no 8 in Garhshankar, ward no 13 in Patti, ward no13 in Jandiala Guru ward no 1 in Maurrward, 6 in Batala, ward no 3 in Dera Bassi and ward no 9 in Lohian will also be held on June 18.
The minister said that
these elections had been postponed due to transfers in
the local bodies department which would be materialised
Decision to postpone civic poll decried
CHANDIGARH, May 6 Capt Amarinder Singh, President, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, has strongly criticised the Punjab Government decision to postpone the municipal elections scheduled for May 28.
In a statement here
today the PPCC President said that the State Government
with this decision is shying away from its constitutional
duty on a frivolous ground that it has received a
representation to postpone the election as the date was
clashing with an examination.
Decision on Giani Puran Singh on
AMRITSAR, May 6 The SGPC executive on May 11 may take a final decision on the fate of the former Jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Puran Singh.
Giani Puran Singh was
suspended as Head Granthi of the Golden Temple by the
executive at a meeting here in March.
Fear grips villagers after cattle
GIANA (Bathinda), May 6 Fear has gripped residents of this village, bordering Haryana, following the death of four head of cattle in the past four days under mysterious circumstances.
The residents of this village have alleged that four head of cattle had died after consuming water from a pond located near the local gurdwara.
They are worried over the fact that water of the waterworks which they consume in the absence of adequate supply of potable water might be contaminated by pond water through seepage.
Gurdial Singh, one of the residents pointed out that every year the local waterworks used to get canal water supply for 12 hours whenever it turn came but his season canal water was being supplied for only one hour.
Kartar Singh said in absence of adequate potable water supply they had been left with no other alternative than to consume underground water which was brackish and had been declared unfit for human consumption.
Sadhu Singh said residents were not willing to use underground water as they believed that unusual cancer death in the village had happened earlier due to consumption of underground water.
The villagers alleged that due to apathetic attitude of the authorities concerned, sometimes they and their pets had to take water from the same source for drinking purposes.
The villagers alleged that in the absence of doctors in the local dispensary which was constructed few years ago, they had to travel about 6 km to Kalianwali Mandi of Sirsa district of Haryana or Malkana village to get the medical care.
However, a district
administration official said steps would be taken to
provide adequate supply of potable water. He said that it
was yet to be verified that canal water supply to local
waterworks had been reduced to one hour from 12 hour for
cleaning water tanks or for other reasons.
December 11 hooch tragedy
FEROZEPORE, May 6 Negligence shown by officials of the Department of Excise was the cause of the hooch tragedy that claimed lives of 11 persons here on December 11 last. The deceased were habituated to consuming spirit, a cheap substitute for country alcohol.
In his magisterial inquiry report, the local Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM), Mr D.P.S. Kharbanda, has said: Precious human could have been saved if the Department of Excise had taken timely action to check the sale of illicit spirit.
According to sources, Mr Kharbanda was entrusted with the task of holding an inquiry on December 16. Mr Kharbanda submitted his report to the District Magistrate, Mr K.S. Sidhu, for further action.
During the inquiry, Mr Kharbanda recorded statements, among others, of relatives of the deceased, policemen, officials of the Excise Department, and residents of Tankanwali locality here.
In the 9-paged report, Mr Kharbanda said Mehtab Singh, a medical practitioner (vaid), had been selling illicit spirit in the locality for the past over a decade and was booked twice under the Excise Act in 1994 and 1995.
Residents of the locality had told him that a few years ago one person had died of consuming spirit.
The Excise Inspector of the area, Mr Mohinder Singh, gave an astonishing statement. He said he had never conducted a raid at the house of Mehtab Singh because he did not have a licence for the manufacture of spirit. Besides, the department had received no complaint against him. Residents of the locality had also not spoken about his illegal activities.
Mr Mohinder Singh told Mr Kharbanda that he did not know Mehtab Singh was engaged in the trade of illicit spirit. He also was unaware that those who had died had consumed spirit provided to them by Mehtab Singh.
Mr Kharbanda noted it could not be believed that officials of the Department of Excise did not know anything about the activities of Mehtab Singh.
Expressing dissatisfaction over the version given by the Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner (AETC), Mr Kharbanda said: The report filed by the AETC has failed to clarify why raids were not conducted at the house of Mehtab Singh.
Mr Kharbanda pointed out that it was the duty of the excise officials to have interaction with town residents to locate elements engaged in the trade of illicit liquor and other items. He said: When I talked to residents of the Tankanwali locality, they categorically apprised me of the illegal activities of Mehtab Singh.
In his statement to the SDM, Mehtab Singh said he was a registered medical practitioner. Patients suffering from various ailments came to him and spirit was used only for bandage purposes.
Licence holders for the spirit in their statements said they had never sold spirit to Mehtab Singh or any of his family members between April 1, 1999, and December 31, 1999. They also showed documentary proof to supplement their statement.
The ASI, Mr Jugraj
Singh, said the case against Mehtab Singh and others had
been registered on a complaint that some persons had died
of consuming spirit brought from Mehtab Singh and his
Mann to take up
kirpan issue again
AMRITSAR, May 6 Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President, SAD (Amritsar), has decided to take up the issue of carrying kirpan inside Parliament.
Mr Mann, talking to TNS on the phone from Canada, claimed he had been allowed inside Parliament in Canada along with his kirpan. If a foreign country has no objection to my carrying the sword inside Parliament, why should it be denied to a member of Parliament in the Lok Sabha, he asked.
Mr Mann had dropped the issue of carrying kirpan inside the Lok Sabha during the previous parliamentary elections as he had faced criticism by the voter for raking up the issue after winning the Lok Sabha elections in 1989.
Mr Mann did not attend parliament sessions as he insisted on carrying the three-feet kirpan inside Parliament.
Mr Mann said Mr Gurbax Singh Malhi, member of Parliament, Canada, had taken him to Parliament at Ottawa. He had had free access to the Speakers chamber. The Speaker was astonished to learn that the carrying of kirpan, which is the religious symbol of Sikhs, is denied to a member of Parliament, he said.
Mr Mann hoped that irrespective of difference of opinion he would like to get the support of all rival Akali factions on the issue. If Sikh Parliamentarians continue to be denied entry into Lok Sabha along with the kirpan, it will be great injustice to them, he said.
Mr Mann said he had taken up a number of issues relating to Sikhs with the Canadian Prime Minister. He claimed that the latter had assured him that he would press upon the India and Pakistan to de-nuclearise their countries.
Mr Mann also claimed that the Canadian Prime Minister had promised him to take up the issue of violation of human rights in India. He said Canadian Sikhs had urged him to take up the issue of harassment to Sikhs at the international airport in New Delhi.
He alleged he himself was prevented from boarding a flight to Canada at Indira Gandhi Airport for more than an hour on April 15.
Mr Mann said Sikhs in
Canada were perturbed over the Panthic developments in
India. They want good and pious Sikhs to come
forward and lead the Panth. He said several
Canadian Sikhs had asked him about the secret
meetings -between former jathedars of Akal Takht and RSS
Bhang replaces liquor
FEROZEPORE: Bhang, which in the English dictionary has been defined as a preparation of leaves and flower tops of Indian hemp and has intoxicating properties, is available as a cheap substitute for liquor in the municipal area here.
Bhang shops have been operating under the garb of tea stalls run by a few persons who have put up cloth or polythene covers along roadsides at different places as well as in front of office of the Block Development and Panchayat Officer (BDPO) and outside Baghdadi Gate.
In shopkeepers parlance, bhang is called ragra or deg. The big and small size glasses filled with bhang are sold at Rs 5 and Rs 3, respectively. At one such shop, the shopkeeper, Joginder Singh, says he is a resident of Sodhewala village.
Joginder Singh says that he has been running the shop for about two years. I am not the sole person selling bhang. There are about a dozen similar shops all over the town, he adds, claiming that bhang enhances the hunger of the drinker.
Regarding raw material used in preparing bhang drink, Joginder Singh says it include khaskhas, kali mirch and magz. He used to bring bhang from Lohian village, where it was available in excess.
Enquiries made by this reporter reveal that a large number of people come to such shops to take bhang. They include policemen, other officials and zamindars. But, a majority of the consumers are poor, who cannot afford to spend on liquor.
Certain people feel that no one knows really about material used in preparing bhang. They are of the opinion that the selling of bhang as a cheap substitute for liquor must be stopped to avoid a tragedy.
They point out that 11 poor persons, including rag-pickers, had died after consuming spirit as here last December.
When contacted, the
Superintendent of Police (HQ), Mr Narinder Pal Singh
Sidhu, points out that selling of bhang was not an
offence. There is no provision in any Act to book those
engaged in its trading. However, he adds that such
elements have been warned by the police from time to time
to end such illegal activities.
Rail link between Fazilka,
FAZILKA, May 6 A deputation of 20 members of the Railway Sangharsh Samiti, Kotkapura, led by Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar, MP, Faridkot, met the Union Railways Minister, Ms Mamata Banerjee, on Friday evening to apprise her of problems relating to Railways in Faridkot and Ferozepore districts.
The delegation, included Mr Gurdas Girdhar, member of the PPCC and Mr Bhagwan Bansal, president of the Consumer Forum, Muktsar.
Mr Jagmeet Singh told this reporter on telephone here today that during a two-hour-long meeting with the Railways Minister several long-standing demands of these areas were raised by members of the deputation.
The deputation demanded that the Bathinda-Delhi inter-city, train should be made to run from Fazilka instead of Bathinda. Mr Brar said in order for maintain the train and to construct a washing line at Fazilka, he and Mr Jora Singh Mann, MP, Ferozepore, had jointly offered to allocate necessary funds from the MPs area development funds. The Union Railways Minister and senior officers of the Indian Railways who were present at the meeting assured to fulfil this demand soon.
The deputation also demanded laying of a new track between Kotkapura, Moga, Ludhiana and Chandigarh as a proposal for the Ludhiana-Chandigarh rail link had already been approved in the railway Budget for the current year. The deputation sought prompt supply of necessary construction material for railway flyover at Kotkapura.
Mr Brar also said a proposal to link Fazilka with Abohar had already been approved in the present budget but a nod from the Union Cabinet was awaited in this regard.
Mr Brar said he had also requested to restart a train between Fazilka and Rewari, which had been put off at the time of the conversion of meter-gauge line from Fazilka to Bathinda to a broad-gauge one, a few years back.
He stressed the need to increase the number of coaches in Fazilka-Bathinda DMU from 3 to 6 in view of passenger rush on this section.
Mr Brar said he would do his best to fulfil the promises made to the people during the Lok Sabha elections.
Members of the Lokshakti
Consumers Association, Fazilka, have lauded the efforts
of Mr Brar for taking up their demands.
Rajasthan alleges water diversion
FEROZEPORE, May 6 The Irrigation authorities of drought-hit Rajasthan have lodged protest with their Punjab counterparts that their canal water share was being unauthorisedly divided to some other areas.
It is learnt that the Chief Engineer (Irrigation) of the north zone in Hanumangarh, Mr S.K. Gupta, has written to his Punjab counterpart to check the unauthorised diversion of canal water allocated to the Rajasthan through the Indira Gandhi feeder in view of aggravating water crisis in Jaisalmer and Barmer areas.
Confirming this to the TNS, Mr Gupta said that they were facing public protests in drought-hit districts on account of inadequate water supply through the Indira Gandhi feeder.
Mr Gupta told TNS that despite allocation of 6,900 cusec of water to Rajasthan through Indira Gandhi feeder, the state was practically getting 200 to 300 cusec of water in tail-end areas on account of unauthorised diversion.
Adding that this has aggravated water crisis in drought-prone areas of Rajasthan, Mr Gupta lamented that despite repeated plan to the Punjab Irrigation Secretary and the Chief Engineer, the matter remains unresolved.
He also attributed water scarcity in Jodhpur and Bikaner areas to this reason.
Although the Punjab Chief Engineer (Irrigation), Mr P.K. Singh, deny the charge, Mr Gupta alleged that the diversion was taking place somewhere near the Dabwali area to facilitate the agricultural areas owned by influential and politically well connected landlords of Punjab.
Denying the charge of Mr
Singla said that the lodging of protest by a state
sharing the river waters was a routine matter. He said
Rajasthan was getting its sufficient water share and
there was no question of raising it.
Badal may approach Centre on
AMRITSAR, May 6 Disappointed at the haste shown by its BJP alliance in the formation of the hill-state of Uttaranchal without resolving the controversial issue of Udham Singh Nagar, the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today hinted he would urge the Union Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes to convene a meeting of the three-member sub-committee formed last year to discuss the issue before reaching any decision.
Mr Badal, talking to mediapersons here today, referred to the statement by Mr Fernandes in Parliament that there was no need for the sub-committee to meet.
The sub-committee consisting of Mr Fernandes as chairman and the Chief Ministers of Uttar Pradesh and Punjab as members has not held any meeting since its formation.
Mr Badal said he would like the matter to be discussed before a decision on the inclusion of Udham Singh Nagar in the proposed state was reached.
Mr Badal refused to be drawn into any controversy over the activities of the RSS in Punjab, saying the primary objective was to maintain peace and communal harmony in the state.
To the demand for the removal of Bibi Jagir Kaur as President of the SGPC over the mysterious death of her daughter, Mr Badal said the matter was already in court and an inquiry was being held by a special investigating team.
Asked about action against 11 rebel party MLAs, he said the matter would be decided by the Speaker.
Mr Badal said he would
have talks with the Vice-Chancellor of Baba Farid
University of Health Sciences for improving and upgrading
Amritsar Medical College.
War veterans happy at
AMRITSAR, May 6 Nearly 125 applications of World War II, veterans pending with the British Commonwealth League are from Amritsar district alone, even as the Government of India denies them financial aid. They rendered their services to World War II under the British rule in undivided India.
Mr Narinderjit Singh Deputy Commissioner, was the chief guest at a function held where 99 veterans and 35 widows were chosen for a quarterly grant of Rs 900 on behalf of the British League and the Ex-Servicemens League.
In the twilight of their lives and hard of hearing bent double over their walking sticks with eyes half-shut, of the 99 four of them had died in the last three months.
But most were proud of the fact that they were recognised at last though after 50 years, although they were yet to get a meagre Rs 300 per month.
Lance Naik Puran Singh (82), driver of a 10 tonner armoured vehicle in the 1st Armoured Division proudly shows his certificate of services. The certificate shows his character as exemplary. He fought in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Africa. You have missed out Italy, he admonishes this reporter but he is proud. It is for the first time that he has been recognised for a grant by the British Commonwealth League, an organisation headed by the Duke of Edinburg.
He laments that his own government has done nothing for him,. The president of the Ex-Servicemens League, Punjab-Chandigarh, Lt-Col Jagjit Singh Mand says a foreign government is not shirking its responsibilities whereas our own government has done precious little for its own people.
Sepoy Suraj Singh belonging to the 11th Division of the Royal Bombay Engineers, was in Burma during the war. Since his retirement in 1946, he sells milk. As many like him he, too, has been identified for the first time.
Another 125 were
identified by the efforts of the Ex-Servicemens
League after more than 50 years and they have not yet
become beneficiaries of the British grant.
Move to hike power tariff
CHANDIGARH, May 6 The Punjab Government has not accepted the proposal of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) to revise its tariff so far. The board authorities are insisting that the tariff be revised to make the board, which is suffering a huge loss due to various factors, viable.
Informed sources said
that the issue of making the board viable was discussed
by the Board Management including its chairman, members
with the Punjab Chief Secretary and other top government
officials yesterday at a meeting held at the Punjab
Secretariat. The Chairman of the Board has said on record
that there was a need to rationalise various tariff
slabs. He is of the view that at least generation and
distribution cost per unit should be collected from all
categories of consumers. Besides, measures to improve the
efficiency of the Board was also discussed.
CM inaugurates hospital
NAWANSHAHAR, May 6 The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, on Friday inaugurated a 30-bedded upgraded community hospital constructed at a cost of Rs 77.23 lakh by the Punjab Health Systems Corporation, at Saroya, 20 km from here.
Addressing a gathering, the CM said the SAD-BJP government was devoted to the all-round development of the Kandi area and it had been spending Rs 250 crore for providing civic amenities like roads, schools, hospitals, drinking and irrigation water to the residents of the area.
Earlier, the CM laid the foundation stone of a residential colony for staff of Baba Onkar Singh Yadhgari Hospital, a charitable hospital at Mhatpur Ulladhani village, and announced a grant of Rs 5 lakh.
The Health Minister, Dr
Baldev Raj Chawla, and the Minister of State for Health,
Ms Mohinder Kaur Josh, were also present on the occasion.
PSEB union strike on May 11
HOSHIARPUR, May 6 In response to a call by Struggle Committee, members of Punjab State Ministerial Services Union of the PSEB will observe a one-day strike on May 11, 2000, to protest against the privatisation of Goindwal Sahib Project and the introduction of the Electric Bill 2000, by the Centre in the Lok Sabha.
This was stated by Mr Om Parkash, General Secretary of the union, after a meeting of the state executive of the union held here today under the presidentship of Mr Joginder Singh Jandu, president of the union.Mr Om Parkash said instead of increasing the posts according to the work-load the PSEB management was abolishing the existing posts. Besides, the management was not settling the scales, promotion scales and allowances of its employees. He alleged that the management was not regularising the ad hoc employees in order to save financial benefits. He alleged that the boards authorities had miserably failed in checking and taking any action against certain influential persons who were involved in power theft.
He said dharnas had
already been staged in all zones and the last dharna
would be staged at Patiala on May 8, 2000. He warned that
if the management failed to withdraw the decision to
privatise the project and to accept the demands of the
employees their union would launch a statewide agitation.
Roadways staff may go on strike
NANGAL, May 6 The Joint Action Committee of Punjab Roadways employees has threatened to go on strike on May 11 if the Punjab Government does not invite it for negotiations for their long-standing demands.
This information was given by Mr Gurdeep Singh Sodhi, convener of the committee, at a press conference held here yesterday.
Leaders of the Punjab Roadways employees said they had already sent a memorandum of demands to the Chief Minister and the Transport Minister.
The workers have
demanded that the move to privatise Punjab Roadways
should be stalled and that no changes should be made in
the transport policy made in 1990. They have also opposed
the move to hire private buses by the PRTC and Punjab
Roadways. These private buses will have their own drivers
and slowly it will push drivers of Punjab Roadways out of
job, they alleged.
Unemployed vets threaten stir
LUDHIANA, May 6 The Unemployed Veterinary Doctors Association has threatened to launch an agitation against the government over the delay in fulfilment of their long-pending demands.
A meeting of the association was held here yesterday under the presidentship of Dr Sandeep Gupta. Nearly 100 doctors attended the meeting and demanded that the Indian Veterinary Council Act, 1984, be implemented in toto.
The members alleged that the Punjab Government was going against the Constitution of India by promoting the private practice of the veterinary pharmacist and were posted as in charges of veterinary dispensaries.
They also demanded the
lifting of ban on the recruitment of veterinary doctors
and setting up of a private veterinary college.
Kirpal Singhs charge
AMRITSAR, May 6 Dr Rajinder Kaur, President, All-India Charitable Society, has denied the allegations levelled by Kirpal Singh, a former preacher of Pingalwara, that some of her relatives were involved in corruption.
She claimed that the
allegations levelled by the former preacher were
baseless. She said an FIR was lodged against Kirpal Singh
on April 23 in which it was mentioned that he (Kirpal
Singh) was caught breaking open the locks of donation box
of Pingalwara at Gurdwara Bangla Sahib. A sum of Rs 14191
was recovered from his possession.
CHANDIGARH, May 6 The Punjab government has placed the services of Mr Sanjay Kumar at the disposal of the Punjab Local Bodies Department for his appointment as Commissioner of Municipal Corporation, Jalandhar.
Mr J.B. Goel has been
appointed as Director, Local Bodies Department, Punjab
against a vacant post. Mr Bhupinderjit Singh has been
transferred to Malout as Sub Divisional Magistrate.
Steps to enforce punctuality
CHANDIGARH, May 6 In pursuance of the visit of the Cooperation Minister to Markfed Headquarters, Markfed management has taken a decision to strictly enforce punctuality. Mr D.S. Bains, Managing Director of Markfed said that a computerised Attendance Recording Machine System has been installed at a cost of Rs 25,000 per machine. Backed by a computer, the system will record the time of arrival and departure of each employee.
It will also generate
monthly attendance, leave record and pay roll slips.
Three machines were being installed on Monday, May 8,
2000. Twenty persons can punch in their attendance per
minute on one machine. Thus 300 persons can punch in
their attendance within five minutes.
Bhakras 10th turbine
NANGAL, May 6 Ms Jayawanti Mehta, Union Minister for Power, inaugurated the 10th turbine on the right hand side of Bhakra here today. The capacity of this turbine has been recently increased from 132 mw to 157 mw by Russian Engineers.
Mrs Mehta announced a special honorarium of Rs 1600 each to all the worker and technicians of the BBMB who had contributed in this renovation work.
The Chairman of BBMB, Major-Gen (Retd.) R.R. Oberoi who was also present on the occasion told that it was for the first time that renovation work of such scale had been carried out in the country.
Earlier Mehta paid
obeisance at Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib. She was presented
a siropa by the head granthi. Mr V.K. Pandit, Secretary,
Power, and Mr Anil Rajda, Joint Secretary, Power,
Government of India, accompanied the minister.
Kin of eye donors honoured
PATIALA, May 6 To encourage eye donation, the Baba Ala Singh City branch of the Bharat Vikas Parishad honoured grandsons of two women who who had donated their eyes.
The parishad presented the grandsons of Kamla Wati Jain of Dera Bassi and Raj Rani of Sirhind with plaques. The plaques, besides having their photographs on these, also had an account of their deed. The plaques were presented to the boys by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, at a function in Central Library on Thursday.
Speaking on the occasion, the trust Secretary, Dr Amita Rishi, said both donations had made two other persons see. On the occasion, the trust also honoured two workers of the state electricity board and the Municipal Corporation, Mr Chhotu Ram and Ms Bimla Rani, respectively, for their services.
Speaking on the
occasion, Mr Bir said persons should be educated on the
need for pledging their eyes. He said non-government
organisations could take a lead in this regard. He said
the NGOs should also take the lead in encouraging
relatives of the deceased to give permission to
transplant the eyes. He also gave Rs 3,100 to the
parishad on the occasion.
One held in human cargo racket
BATHINDA, May 6 The district police claims to have achieved a major success with the arrest of a member of a gang involved in the export of human cargo from India to other countries today.
In a press note issued here today, Dr Jathinder Kumar Jain, SSP, said Mr, Mithu Singh, a resident of Pitho village, made a complaint to the police that his son Boota Singh wanted to go to Germany for which a group of thugs demanded Rs 5 lakh from him.
The complainant alleged he paid Rs 3 lakh to the group comprising Jugga Singh, Sukhdev Singh and Laddi of Delhi.
The accused took Boota Singh to Delhi. They sent him to Moscow instead of Germany. Boota Singh, however, managed to escape to Romania.
In Romania, he was arrested by the police and sent to jail. After spending three months in jail, he went to Greece.
Mr Jain said on receiving the complaint, a police party was asked to look for the culprits and Jagga Singh was arrested today.
He said different parties had been sent to Delhi to nab Laddi who was said to be operating the racket for the past few years.
A case under Sections
420 and 120-B had been registered in this regard.
Robbers take away truck
JALANDHAR, May 6 Four persons forcibly stopped a Srinagar-bound truck, tied its driver with a tree near Quereshian village and fled with 560 tins of ghee loaded on it.
According to the police,
two persons stopped the truck which coming from Khanna
with Army supplies, while two others entered the
drivers cabin before dragging him out. Ashok Kumar,
a Pathankot-based driver, was then tied to a tree by the
four, who sped away with the vehicle. Ashok Kumar lodged
a complaint with the Bhogpur police.
CM awards degrees to 90 medicos
AMRITSAR, May 6 The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today called upon doctors and other health officials to bring dedication in this profession to mitigate the sufferings of the rural people in the state.
Mr Badal who was addressing the convocation of the Amritsar medical college regretted doctors were not willing to serve the people in villages and resist their postings there. Even those who have been posted there had taken houses in town and cities.
Admitting that medical facilities had not benefited the poor, Mr Badal said the government was helpless over the rising cost of medical expenses.
Mr Badal wondered whether the mushroom growth of dental colleges and health institutions in the state would be beneficial for the people and whether it should be encouraged or not. He was also sore that no doctor was ready to be posted in the medical college at Faridkot.
The Chief Minister conferred degrees to 90 MBBS students.
The Principal of the
college, Dr B.L. Goel, claimed that this institution
remained source of modest quality of patient care to the
vast area of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and
I could have been a PCS
AMRITSAR, May 6 The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, would have become a doctor or a PCS officer if he had not joined politics.
He revealed this while addressing the convocation of the local Medical College here today that he opted for medical science after passing his matriculation and did his FSc in medical science from a Lahore college but dropped it as he found it a very difficult subject and then did B.A. which, he said, was must for politics.
On completion of his
B.A. he approached the veteran Akali leader Giani Kartar
Singh for his nomination to the PCS. The orders were
issued by the then administration but he tore the orders
when the latter told him that he was not cut for the job
as he was made for appointing PCS officers.
Constofed to merge with Markfed
CHANDIGARH, May 6 The Punjab Government has decided to merge the Punjab State Federation of Consumer Cooperative Wholesale Stores (Constofed) in Markfed. This was disclosed today by the Punjab Cooperation Minister, Mr Ranjit Singh Brahmpura. He said that Constofed was running into loss for the past several years and had become a liability on the State Government.
It has over 50 employees
which would be adjusted in Markfed. Mr Brahmpura said
that only technical formalities required to be completed
for the merger. He said that all the properties of
Constofed would be transferred to Markfed.
Millers: reimburse transport
PATIALA, May 6 Punjab Rice Millers Association President Tarsem Lal Saini today said rice millers of the state were facing problems in delivering rice to the FCI due to a space crunch.
In a statement here yesterday, Mr Saini said the situation had come to such a point that rice millers had to deliver rice at other stations within the district and outside. He criticised the FCI for taking undue advantage of the compulsions of the millers by forcing them to give an undertaking that they would bear the transportation charges.
Mr Saini said during various meetings, Union Food Minister, Shanta Kumar had admitted that the responsibility for the creation of space lay with the FCI.
He said a few days ago the Managing Director of the FCI had issued instructions for reimbursement of the transportation charges to millers for the rice delivered by them for the central pool at other stations. However no amount had been paid to the millers of this district on this account. The millers had been left to suffer losses worth crores of rupees.
Mr Saini cautioned that if the transportation charges incurred by the millers were not reimbursed, they would be compelled to step up agitation besides knocking the doors of the judiciary to seek relief. This would delay the milling process and the state and its agencies would suffer heavy losses.
He criticised the state
and central government for dilly-dallying on their
long-pending demands which include milling charges and
fixed recovery rate for surplus bags on last years
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