|Sunday, May 14, 2000,
Coming to farmers rescue
test for Vedanti
in BJP, RSS comes to fore
to write to Pak on PGPC
of funds hits project
sees mid-term poll in Punjab
biggest gym sans power for 9 years
bane of flood protection measures
silent on TADA detainees
court orders set aside
m active landmines in world
on fast track of growth
against RPF authorities
Lal visits Golden Temple
opposes talks with J&K ultras
to seek central aid for saving forests
Development work found unsatisfactory
SHO caught in hotel with
fall ill to evade jail
murder case against CPI man: Dang
Answers without questions
Coming to farmers rescue
CHANDIGARH, May 13 Two high yielding varieties of wheat have come to the rescue of growers in northern India.
All agro economists agree that it is wheat which helps the debt-ridden farmers in Punjab and Haryana. If nature helps in any particular season, the golden wheat not only gladdens the hearts of the farmers, but also fills the granaries of the country, providing the much needed food security. It is another matter that the Food Corporation of India through inefficiency and corruption lets lakhs of tonnes of wheat be eaten by rodents or lost through poor upkeep.
First, it was the HD 2329 variety perfected by Punjab Agriculture University and PUSA Institute and where Hisar University played its role. It was released to the farmers in 1985. It did not let the green revolution peter out. By 1996, over 80 per cent of the area sown under wheat in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi was covered by this variety. Later, experts from various universities, mainly Punjab Agriculture University, evolved PBW 343. It was released to the farmers in a big way during the 1996-97 sowing season. Right now, it covers over 87 per cent of the total area under wheat cultivation.
The two varieties have helped the farmers set new records every successive year. This year, the country has its granary full. Until yesterday, over 14 million tonnes of wheat had arrived in the mandis in the north. It was 13.3 million tonnes last year. Procurement agencies have procured over 13 million tonnes. Last year, the total procurement was 12.89 million tonnes. Contrary to government calculations, the traders and the millers have purchased over nine lakh tonnes. Despite the announcement that the issue price of wheat for the open market sale would be Rs 900 per quintal against the present market price of Rs 585 per tonne quintal, the traders and millers have not come forward. Perhaps, the foodgrain trade is not that lucrative and the traders have not that kind of money to invest. Also, the farmers found the minimum procurement price reasonably good. Hence, not much hoarding. The stocking of wheat has its own problems. Also, farmers need cash to clear old debts and start operations for the coming kharif season.
Agriculture experts feel that in 1980, the total production was 76.77 lakh tonnes and it touched 136.79 lakh tonnes in a decade in 1997. Next year, it crossed 144 lakh tonnes and this year it would be another record. Punjab is a major beneficiary since it contributes 70 per cent of the total wheat buffer.
The experts at wheat
research centres, particularly at Ludhiana, Hisar and
PUSA and Nainital are confident that soon there would be
a better variety to replace these varieties.
Litmus test for Vedanti
AMRITSAR, May 13 A crucial meeting of the Sikh clergy will be held at Akal Takht tomorrow. Apart from various Panthic issues the clergy will also take up the issue of Rashtriya Sikh Sangat an offshoot of the RSS.
Various Sikh organisations including Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), Dal Khalsa and Human Rights and Democratic Forum have submitted a representation to Giani Joginder Singh, Jathedar Akal Takht to take stringent action against the RSS for damaging the Sikh Panth by distorting Sikh scriptures.
The Sikh League, headed by Mr D.S. Gill has even urged the Akal Takht Jathedar to issue a hukmnama (edict) against the RSS on the pattern of the one issued against Nirankaris which had asked Sikhs to sever social relations with them.
Giani Joginder Singh, Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib and Giani Kewal Singh, Jathedar Takht Damdama Sahib today held a preliminary meeting here to discuss issues to be taken up tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the Dal Khalsa in a letter faxed to Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President Shiromani Akali Dal, has strongly criticised the studied silence of the ruling party on the RSS issue. Mr Kanwar Paul Singh, Spokesman of the Dal Khalsa said that instead of curtailing the activities of the RSS, Mr Badal had advised panthic organisations to exercise restraint.
Sikh circles feel tomorrow's meeting will be the litmus test of Giani Joginder Singh who was installed as acting Jathedar Akal Takht in late March this year. If the Sikh clergy take a harsh stand against the activities of the RSS it could cast its shadow over the SAD-BJP combine.
Mr Badal had already held a closed door meeting with the Akal Takht Jathedar at Ludhiana.
Though Mr Badal refused to divulge details he reportedly urged the Akal Takht Jathedar to go slow on the issue.
However, if the Sikh
clergy takes a lenient view on the activities
of the RSS it could evoke strong criticism from the
Rift in BJP, RSS comes to fore
BATHINDA, May 13 The differences in the district units of the BJP and RSS have come to the fore with the state secretary of the BJP, Mr Saraswati Dass, hailing from Maurmandi town of this district resigning from the primary membership of the party in protest against the alleged interference of RSS officials in the working of the BJP.
Mr Dass in a letter to state party president, Mr Daya Singh Sodhi, said that he was putting in his papers as the interference of the RSS in the elections of Mandal units of the BJP of this district was not justified.
He alleged that the RSS leader in this district, Mr Krishan Murari had been extending undue favour to his men in the elections of mandal units while dedicated workers of the BJP had been ignored for various posts of mandal units.
He pointed out that he had put in his papers when the senior leaders of BJP, including Mr Narinder Modi, did not listen to his complaint when he lodged it at the meeting of the state unit of party held at Chandigarh on May 9.
Earlier, Mr Das Raj, a party worker, had lodged a complaint to returning officers for the party's internal election, Mr Narottam Dass Ratti, alleging that elections to the mandal units were not being held as per the norms laid down in the party constitution.
Mr Des Raj has been served a show-cause notice for allegedly leaking the contents of his complaint to the Press by the district BJP unit president, Mr Mohan Lal Garg.
Mr Garg, said that allegations made against Mr Murari were baseless and he (Mr Murari) was in no way involved in the elections of mandal units of the party. He added that certain workers were trying to weaken the party for their own vested interests.
He pointed out that Mr Narottam Dass had come here on May 11, to make his own enquiries into the complaints made by Mr Des Raj regarding bungling in the election for Nathana mandal. The complaint was found untrue. Mr Murari could not be contacted for his comments.
Earlier, the BJP unit here suffered a big jolt when it failed to get its municipal councilor elected as vice-president of the local municipal council. Due to sharp differences in the local BJP unit, the candidate for vice-presidentship could not be decided upon by the party till the time of elections.
The appointment of the chairman of the local improvement trust had been delayed by the Punjab Government as the party leadership had so far failed to find a consensus candidate for the said post due to differences in the district BJP unit, party sources said.
Mr Garg, however,
clarified that the BJP could not make its own municipal
councilor the vice-president in the election in the
recent past as an Akali minister played foul
and cheated the BJP workers. He added that the Akali
minister even ignored the directions of the state BJP
president, Mr Daya Singh Sodhi, to get a particular
municipal councilor elected as vice-president.
Bibi to write to Pak on PGPC
AMRITSAR, May 13 The clean sweep of the Sikh Gurdwara Management by Badal camp in the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee polls has sent shock waves across the border, especially to office bearers of the Pakistan Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (PGPC) which had recently announced that it would broad-base its organisation.
Dr Gurbachan Singh Bachan, Secretary, SGPC said that SGPC chief Bibi Jagir Kaur would write to the government of Pakistan not to entertain the leadership of the SHSAD on the issue of management of Sikh shrines in Pakistan.
He said the SGPC had taken the right decision in not sending jathas to Pakistan till disbanding of the PGPC, headed by Mr Jawed Nasir, a former ISI chief. He reiterated that the SGPC alone had the right to send Jathas to Pakistan. However, the defunct leadership of the DSGMC had indulged in anti-national activities by sending jathas. Deputation led by Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, general secretary SHSAD had recently held a meeting with the President of Pakistan and office-bearers of the PGPC.
Meanwhile, Mr Sham Singh, co chairman, the PGPC has sent open invitation to Sikhs all over the world on the PGPC website to establish direct links with the Pakistan Embassy for visas to attend the martyrdom day function of Guru Arjan Dev on June 5 at Lahore. He expressed concern at the decision not to send a jatha.
The open invitation
further says that the Pakistani Embassy in those
countries would grant visas from May 29 to June 5.
Lack of funds hits project
CHANDIGARH, May 13 The financial crisis in the state has cast a shadow on a major afforestation project worth Rs 408 crore. The project funded by Japan is running behind schedule due to paucity of funds.
A team of experts from Japan, which reviewed the progress of the project today, told the state government to make adequate funds available for the project otherwise project.
The Punjab Government provides funds for executing afforestation work. The sum incurred by the State Government is reimbursed by the Japan Bank of International Cooperation after the bills are submitted to it by the state government through the Government of India.
Though the Japanese team was apparently satisfied with the presentation made by the Punjab Forest Department with regard to the work done so far, it put a demand for the appointment of a project coordinator between the funding agency and the executing agency. The team members reportedly told the authorities concerned that an IAS officer should be appointed as coordinator.
The team members after holding a review meeting at the Seonk Guest House near here also met the Chief Secretary, Mr R.S. Mann, and sought adequate funds for the project. Informed sources said Mr Mann assured the team members that henceforth there would be no problem on this count.
According to sources, the JBIC authorities reimburse the expenditure incurred within a very short period. There is a backlog of Rs 48 crore in the release of funds so for by the Punjab Government. In 1997-98, Punjab Government released Rs 2 crore against the demand for Rs 15.67 crore. The next financial year it released only Rs 20 crore against a demand for Rs 51.98 crore and during 1999-2000 it released Rs 37 crore against the demand for Rs 64.53 crore. The government has promised to release Rs 95.67 crore during the current financial year.
The Japanese team was headed by Mr Jun Yotsu. The two officers Mr M.K. Jeevrajik and Mr R.K. Sinha from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests were also present at the review meeting which was chaired by the Secretary, Forests Department, Punjab, Mrs Gurbinder Kaur Chahal.
The project has a research component. The Forest Research Institute of India at Dhera Dun, the Horticulture and Forest University, Solan, and the PAU, Ludhiana, are involved in the project.
Punjab figures among the states with the lowest forest cover in the country. The total forest area is around 6 per cent against the requisite 33 per cent.
The State Forest
Department has decided to set up 40 watch towers to
detect forest fires. Officials concerned told the
Japanese team that there had been a number of incidents
of forest fire in the past few years.
Bhattal sees mid-term poll in Punjab
JALANDHAR, May 13 (PTI) Former Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Rajinder Kaur Bhattal today said Punjab may witness mid-term poll any time and the Congress was fully equipped and geared up to face the hustings.
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badals government has failed on all fronts. The state is in an acute economic crisis with development projects at a standstill. Aid and loans from forums like the World Bank have completely dried up due to short-sighted policies, " Ms Bhattal told reporters here.
She said he Congress was putting its act together and party machinery had been activated with a detailed programme of dharnas at district and block levels. She claimed that the partys agitational programme was receiving a big response from people.
The ruling alliance is caught in a host of problems. Various ministers and the SGPC President are facing serious accusations. This crisis can result in any development leading to assembly elections, Ms Bhattal said.
She said some state leaders who were expelled from the party earlier were being taken back into the Congress fold. You would soon hear good news about Anil Dutta too being taken back into Congress, she said , referring to the organising secretary of the state Congress who was expelled by state party president Amarinder Singh on charges of anti-party activities. Mr Dutta was present during Ms Bhattals interaction with the media.
Asked about the state units plans of setting up an implementation committee for the partys programmes, Ms Bhattal skirted the issue saying, So far I do not know if it is being setup. Amarinder Singh had reportedly opposed such a panel even though it was part of the truce formula during his tussle with Ms Bhattal a few weeks earlier when both factions had approached party chief Sonia Gandhi.
Ms Bhattal mainly trained her guns on the performance of the Badal government and what she called the terror unleashed in certain parts of the state against the Congress supporters.
Every day I
receive scores of complaints of police high-headedness
where innocents are being detained using the convenient
Sections 107 and 151 of the IPC. This must end
immediately," she added.
Encroachments bane of flood protection
PATIALA, May 13 Patiala district is ravaged by flash floods during the monsoon season every year as water running down from the Shivalik ranges enters several seasonal rivers criss-crossing through the region. These water channels have at times overflowed considerably, inundating large tracts of land.
This process has not only tested human endurance in the past two centuries but also his ingenuity to devise means of safe guarding himself. Supporting by a mind-boggling maze of natural rivulets and rivers, planners in the bygone era as well as after Independence had, barring two unfortunate occasions, succeeded in taming the flood fury. They had dug up new drains or channels, erected bandhs, built strong embankments and even diverted river paths.
Today all that hard work can become futile. Instead of nature, it is the man himself who is the real villain. Thanks to swelling population pressure on land both for housing and agriculture purposes has increased manifold in these years. People have encroached upon the paths of the seasonal rivers and artificial channels and erected houses there-in or filled these for cultivation purpose.
Be it natural rivers like the Patiala Nadi, Chotti Nadi, Jayanti ki Ra or Mirranpur choe or the man-made Bahadurgarh Drain, Rajbaha Drain, Model Town Drain or other small artery drains, all have due to rampant encroachment either vanished or shrunk considerably. At other places the drains had escaped encroachment but have been choked with water hyacinth or sewage or industrial effluents. Even their embankments have been either assimilated in the adjoining agriculture fields or vanished due to regular illegal lifting of sand.
Planners in the erstwhile kingly era had specially earmarked the water spill over areas and prohibited any kind of construction or cultivation in these areas. The idea was that the water over flowing from the rivulets spreads in these areas and then naturally recedes in the river, thus minimising danger perception at some other place downstream. However, with the construction of private and government colonies like the Urban Estate in Patiala the whole plan has been spoilt.
Touching upon the angle of blockades in flood control measures undertaken every year by the district administration, Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, Deputy Commissioner, and Mr R.S. Randhawa, Nodal Officer Flood Protection, said the planners of the bygone era had designed and built special channels that took a way the excess water collected in the region and deposited in the Ghaggar.
However, while the plan was sufficient for about 60,000 Patialvis in the early part of the century, it has crumbled under the pressure of about 4 lakh now. The excess population is sitting on the paths of man-made drains. At places like Model Town drain, starting from the Sirhind road side of the city and forming an arc around the Anand Nagar to model town region, people have built bridges over the drain. The bridges narrow in size and stop the smooth flow of water during the rainy season, causing floods not only in the said colonies but also in the villages along side the Sirhind road. This is true for most of the artificial drains.
Mr Bir announced that earlier the flood protection measures concentrated mainly on desilting or strengthening of banks of the rivers. This time the struggle is against rampant encroachments made by man himself.
He said he had ordered registration of cases against the encroachers blocking the Bahadurgarh Drain, which if chokes can cause destruction in the Urban Estate Colony and even in villages upstream up to Rajpura.
Following the success of last years experiment in select places, the district administration had decided to set up monitoring centres at the Shivalik foothills itself so that when water collects there timely warnings could be sent.
Explains Mr Randhawa," The present-day planners have technology by their side. We have decided to set up vigil centres in far-away places like Dharamshala, Nalagarh, Nahan, Pankharpura and even at Panchkula and Morni hills.
Punjabs biggest gym sans power
for 9 years
PATIALA, May 13 More than 200 sportspersons practice in the local Polo Ground indoor gymnasium in conditions unsuitable for training. They either train in hot, humid and sultry conditions inside the gymnasium or outside in rain or heat. All this is because the electricity supply to the gymnasium has remained disconnected for the past nine years.
Boxers, gymnasts, judokas and weightlifters train in the gym which is said to be the biggest in the state. It has also been earmarked as a venue of the National Games to be hosted by Punjab in November.
The interest of sportspersons has been suffering as the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) and the Punjab Sports Department (PSD), are fighting over the issue of providing power to the gymnasium. It, besides numerous ceiling fans, has 236 halogen lamps, 400 tubelights and the other electric gadgets. According to sources, the power consumed by 400 tubes of 40 watt each is 16 KW, while 236 halogen lamps consume 236 KW of power.
After the construction of the gymnasium in 1989, for two years, there was a regular power supply. However, the bills amounted to Rs 10,000 per month for the 256 KW connection installed in the gymnasium, which according to the Sports Department officials, was unaffordable. In 1991, on the directions of the then District Sports Officer, the electricity supply to the gymnasium was disconnected, which has not been restored till now.
However, when any state, national or international competition is organised here, the PSEB authorities insist that the organisers pay some security deposit depending on the amount of power consumed, for the connection. However, some organisers get a huge bill, exceeding the security amount, and the PSEB finds it difficult to get the remaining amount reimbursed.
The board authorities say that when the Badminton Association of India (BAI) held the Senior National Meet in 1995, the electricity bill was five times the security deposit amount of Rs 10,000. So, the PSEB has no other option but to write to the Sports Department officials to arrange the reimbursement of the remaining sum.
In 1993, the District Sports Officer wrote to the PSEB to sanction a load of 15 kw so that at least some vital gadgets could be operated. The Sports Department also gave an assurance that halogen lamps, which consumed an abnormally high amount of power, would not be used. For the next seven years, the request remained ignored by the PSEB.
Now, after prolonged discussions and correspondence, the two bodies have agreed that halogen lamps will not be used. It has also been agreed that the PSEB will provide a 20 kw connection to be installed soon. How soon, is anybody's guess.
of the city continue to suffer due to these bureaucratic
hassles. Even now, if the PSEB show some interest, they
will be able to use the facilities in the gymnasium,
however, without the 236 halogen lamps which are the main
source of illumination here.
Centre silent on TADA detainees
LUDHIANA, May 13 The Director General of Police, Punjab, Mr Sarabjit Singh said that neither the Union Home Ministry nor the External Affairs Ministry had till date sought any information regarding the 150 TADA detainees lodged in various jails of Punjab.
The DGP was replying to a question about reports of Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, Member of Parliament, taking up the issue of release of these detainees with the USA. He also said that they did not distinguish between Sikh and non-Sikh detainees.
Mr Sarabjit Singh was talking to mediapersons during his visit to the city here late last evening to inaugurate the new G.O. mess at the police lines and lay the foundation stone of a multi-purpose hall for police personnel.
Asked about the reported move to merge the Ferozepur police range with the border zone, the DGP said that the formalities for this had been completed and the process was underway.
Answering queries about the thinning down of security cover various VIPs, Mr Sarabjit Singh said that the priority of the police had now changed.
Regarding providing security at the Dera Dhakki Sahib, Maksoodan the DGP said adequate arrangements had been made to diffuse tension between the dera inmates and the villagers. He assured that Baba Darshan Singh, who was released on bail on May 8, would not be stopped from entering the gurudwara, as long as his entry was legal.
The DGP also promised to
look into the proposal given by the Ludhiana SSP Kuldeep
Singh, on group medical insurance for the Punjab Police.
Trial court orders set aside
CHANDIGARH, May 13 Allowing an appeal filed by the Punjab, Director Agriculture Capt Deep Singh Sahota, the UT Additional District and Sessions Judge, Ms Sneh Prashar, has set aside the orders passed by the trial court directing the Government to take the current duty charge away from the appellant.
Pronouncing the orders, the Additional District Judge observed: The plaintiff Cane Commissioner M.S. Sonar at the most has the right of being considered for the post of Director Agriculture, but he cannot claim the same as a matter of right.
The Additional District Judge also observed: He has challenged the order dated November 30, 1999, vide which Captain Sahota was given the current duty charge but as per the admitted facts on that date, he was under suspension and therefore was obviously not eligible for the post. That being so, it cannot be said that his rights were adversely affected by the order.
In her detailed order, the Judge observed: He can feel infringement of his right only if after his reinstatement there would have been an order of the Government declining to consider him for the post of Director Agriculture (current duty charge) on his request, or refusing to consider him for regular appointment to the post.
The Judge added: I feel that the plaintiff otherwise also has no prima facie case because although the Government has declined to accord sanction for his prosecution (in the fertiliser scam), the defendants have produced on record a letter by the Vigilance Department asking for sanction for prosecution of the plaintiff which indicates that his involvement in the criminal case has still not been terminated.
Terming the assigning of the current duty charge to Captain Sahota as apparently contrary to the instructions issued by the Government, besides being against the principles of natural justice, Mr Sonar, it may be recalled, had stated that irreparable loss would be suffered as the defendant was much junior to him.
Giving details, he had
stated that even the annual confidential report would be
recorded by the defendant despite his being junior.
Moreover, he would also have to get the casual leave and
tour allowances sanctioned from the defendant, Mr Sonar
10 m active landmines in world
AMRITSAR, May 13 The world is sitting on a time bomb with over 10 millions landmines laid in over 60 to 70 countries causing widespread damage to human lives and property.
This was stated by Leut-Gen Gurbir Man Singh (retd) while talking to this correspondent here yesterday.
The General, who is presently working as a consultant with the International Committee of the Red Cross, warned the world community about the lurking danger and advocated urgent steps to demine the countries which were being devasted by the excessive use of the landmines.
Citing the examples of Cambodia and more recently of Afghanistan, he pointed that in Cambodia alone more than 5 per cent of its population consists of computers. In Afghanistan, more than 50 per cent of the cultivable land remained mined. He said war-ravaged Afghanistan had now taken an initiative to train 4000 men to remove the landmines which had hit hard its economy and human resources.
Quoting statistics released by the International Red Cross, the General said every month at least 2000 persons were killed or injured with about one victim every 20 minutes. He said the cost of laying single mine was about $ 2 but its demining required nearly $ 300, besides trained manpower. He pointed that in spite of technological advances in military hardware scientists continue to depend upon primitive methods to remove landmines which were not at all foolproof.
The United Nation had taken an initiative to create a special $ 90 million fund in 1997.
The General advocated the ratification of the Ottawa treaty which was yet to be signed by superpowers like the USA and Russia. He felt all governments must make it mandatory not only to ban the landmine but also their manufacturing.
General Gurbir Man Singh, who had come here to deliver the keynote address at the two-day workshop organised by the All-India Women Conference for building public opinion against the landmines, said the Canadian High Commission was funding the awareness programme regarding ten landmines in India.
He said in Columbia and Philippines some of the underground guerrilla groups had agreed not to use the landmines. He urged the Indian Government to launch an initiative to persuade various militant outfits not to deploy these mines while fighting for their cause.
The General complimented the India Government and the armed forces for not using these mines but added that the country continued to manufacture them. Answering queries about the effectiveness of the landmines during wars, he said their use as deterrent was debatable with increasing use of artillery and firepower in wars these days.
He made a fervent appeal
to all developed countries to raise more resources to
fund the demining process.
Village on fast track of growth
MATTEWAL (Amritsar): Mattewal, a village situated on the periphery of Chowk Mehta Gurdwara, 29 km from Amritsar, is fast becoming model village, thanks to the untiring effort of a son of its soil, Mr Hardev Singh Mattewal, the Advocate-General of Punjab.
This village, comprising a population of 6500 and an electorate of around 3300, is bristling with all-around developmental activities which has brought economic prosperity to its residents and established a name for itself on the states rural map.
This correspondent, who visited this village recently, found the village having being lit with solar street lights which were installed at a cost of Rs 8.5 lakh for which a grant was made by Punjab Energy Development Agency at the initiative of Mr Mattewal and his brother sarpanch, Mr Kulbir Singh.
The village boasts of a full-fledged hospital equipped with infrastructure and medicine which caters not only to medical care of this village but also a number of adjoining villages. The village has pucca roads with proper drainage and round-the-clock water supply. Almost all the lanes in the village have residential houses with dish antenna seen on top of most houses.
On the education and computer informative aspects, inspired by Mattewal brothers, the village will soon have its own Internet-connected computer centre at Guru ke Ber School the first of its kind in any village of this state. This facility would be established by the end of next month.
The Advocate-General added this was a small debt that he was paying to his native village. He wants the youth of the village and the surrounding areas to benefit through Internet and thus play a crucial role in the areas prosperity.
Besides Internet, the village will have multi-specialty veterinary hospital being constructed at a cost of Rs 22 lakh. The present high school would be upgraded to the plus 2 level.
The Punjab State Electricity Board has provided 24-hour power supply to the village and to its adjoining villages by erecting a three-km-high tension line and adding a 66 kva transformer at Nibberwind village to ensure continuous power supply.
Another credit which
goes to the Mattewal family is that this is the only
village where the election of the sarpanch has taken
place unanimously for the past 50 years. This is the only
panchayat which at president has surplus funds of Rs 12
lakh in its coffers.
Charge against RPF authorities
CHANDIGARH, May 13 The PSEB Engineers Association (Ropar thermal plant region) at a meeting held here today strongly criticised the Regional Provident Fund (RPF) authorities for allegedly bailing out two contractors who were involved in provident fund scam of over Rs 1 crore.
Mr Charanjit Singh, regional secretary, PSEB Engineers Association, in a statement said here today that as the RPF authorities had failed to ensure the compliance of the provisions of the EPF Act, it had led to a major fraud with poor labourers. The contractors were supposed to submit copies of bank challans to the RPF authorities as a proof of deposits made in the bank in respect of the EPF of contract workers numbering nearly 1000.
Even after the detection of the fraud, the authorities concerned had not taken any action against the contractors and were trying to shift the responsibility on the thermal project authorities.
The association urged
the PSEB authorities to take up the issue with the RPF
authorities and demanded an in-depth probe into the
Roop Lal visits Golden Temple
AMRITSAR, May 13 Roop Lal, the recently repatriated Indian national who spent 20 years in Pakistani jails, was here yesterday to fulfill a mission and a desire. The mission present a 200 years old gutka of Sri Guru Granth Sahib at the Golden Temple. The desire to pay obeisance at Harmandir Sahib.
Roop stole the gutka from Montgomery Library, where he also saw a painting of the Sikh era (1780) with Urdu and Punjabi calligraphy.
Mr M.S. Bitta, chairman of the All-India Anti Terrorist Front and a former Cabinet Minister who invited Roop Lal to Amritsar said that he had taken up the issue of the release of 54 PoW of the 65 and 71 wars with Ms Asma Jehangir former chairperson of the Pakistan Human Rights Commission.
Mr Bitta and Mr Roop claimed that between them they had managed to locate 25 families, including 15 in Delhi, whose relatives are believed to be in Pakistani jail. Many of them were prisoners of war.
He said the front proposed to invite the UNO and human rights activists to take up the cause of Indian prisoners in Pakistani jails.
Relating his experiences in jail he said that in 26 years he had shifted six times.
He said he had escaped
from jail in March 1972 and reached Abdulia post where
path of Guru Granth Sahib was in progress.
There were three of us with handcuffs on. We were
given food, shelter, even cigarettes because they said we
were shers (lions) of Hindustan and so were to be offered
every facility he said.
Bitta opposes talks with J&K
GURDASPUR, May 13 Mr Maninderjit Singh Bitta, President, Anti-Terrorist Front, talking to newsmen here today opposed the Central Governments move to enter into negotiations with terrorists of Jammu and Kashmir to resolve the problem of terrorism in that state. He said the ISI of Pakistan was at the back of the terrorists escalating violence in Jammu and Kashmir and any negotiation held with them would be an exercise in futility.
Mr Bitta expressed surprise that Mr L.K. Advani, Home Minister, who had undertaken rath yatras in the past against terrorists and was a crusader against terrorism, had compromised to undertake negotiations with terrorists in J&K.
Mr Bitta cautioned the Home Minister to check US Embassy officials from meeting All-Party Hurriyat Conference leaders in Srinagar. The meeting would tantamount to interference in the internal affairs of our country, he added.
Mr Bitta said he would lead the families of all 54 prisoners of war (POWs) who were detained in Pakistani jails since the Indo-Pak conflict of 1971. He would impress upon the Government of India to secure their release at the earliest as the families were leading a miserable life. He demanded facilities to such families on par with the Kargil martyrs.
He said he had appealed
to Mrs Esma Jahangir, President, Pakistan Human Rights
Commission, whom he met in Delhi recently, to help him
secure the early release of these POWs. He proposed to
hold a seminar in the Capital after he met the families
of all POWs detained in Pakistan.
J&K to seek central aid for saving forests
PHILLAUR, May 13 The Jammu and Kashmir Government would seek central financial assistance to save the forests in the state from the forests mafia, at a national-level meeting of forest ministers of all states which will be held on May 16 and 17 in New Delhi.
This was stated by the Jammu and Kashmir Forest Minister, Mr Peerzada Ghulam Ahmed Shah, while talking to this correspondent at the Punjab Police Academy, here today. He said the state forest protection force needed modern weapons and equipment to continue its fight against forest mafia.
He said 140 trucks and 250 horses loaded with timber were impounded and 65 culprits were arrested in the past three years, while 170 cases in this connection were lying pending in different courts.
Mr Peerzada said the government was working to frame a state forest policy within the framework of the National Forest Policy, 1988, to deal with matters related to forest encroachments, land settlements and joint forest management, demarcation and consolidation of existing forests, natural regeneration and development of forests, protection of wild life, forestry production and extension. He said a 14-member high-level committee headed by a Forest Commissioner was being constituted.
Mr R.N. Saxena,
Director, Jammu and Kashmir Forest Protection Force, said
that government was considering setting up forest
protection forces in all states of the country. Mr A.A.
Siddiqui, Director of the academy, was also present.
JEs plea on Class II
CHANDIGARH, May 13 The Joint Action Committee of the Junior Engineers of Punjab, Himachal and Union Territory, Chandigarh, has urged the Punjab Government to issue a notification to grant Class II status to junior engineers in Punjab and designate those who have completed 16 years service as assistant engineers.
Thanking the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal for getting the proposal cleared from his Cabinet, Mr Amar Singh Randhawa, convener of the committee said Mr Badal had assured the committee that the notification would be issued soon.
Mr Randhawa said the junior engineers working in various government departments, boards and corporations in Punjab and the neighbouring states were struggling jointly for the past several years for securing Class II status.
Computer centre inaugurated
NABHA, May 13 Nabha Computer Training Laboratory (CTL) was inaugurated by Brig Omit Sarkar, Station Commander, Nabha, yesterday. A large number of officers and jawans were present on the occasion. It was a big event for the small military station as this computer training centre is one of the first of its kind in the Army.
An official Army statement said the CTL would provide extensive computer training facility to all ranks of the units in the station. It would cater for not only the basic but also advanced courses. In addition, it would go a long way in spreading computer literacy among women and children too.
It said the CTL was part of the overall plan to make the Army fit for the future high-tech battlefield. The Army planned to do this through Information Technology Roadmap 2010, which was the blue-print for achieving the goal.
HOSHIARPUR, May 13 (UNI) The mortal remains of Subedar Karan Singh of Second Grenadier were cremated with full military honours at his home Bhagra village, about 50 km from here near Mukerian, last evening.
Subedar Karan Singh died while on patrol duty on the 17000 feet high Uday Hill peak in Kargil sector of Jammu and Kashmir when he slipped of the top on May nine last.
Sukhbir an eighth class student and second son of the deceased, lit the pyre. An Army contingent fired in the air and reversed arms as a mark of respect to the departed soul.
The body of Subedar
Karan Singh was brought by air to Chandigarh from where
it was carried to his home village in an army vehicle.
Punjabi writer dead
AMRITSAR, May 13 A Punjabi writer, Narinder Kaur Jolly, died after a prolonged illness. She was 40.
She is survived by her son, daughter and husband Jatinder Singh Jolly, a Punjabi poet and critic.
Her works, especially translated from Pakistani literature, are being taught at graduate and postgraduate levels in colleges affiliated to Guru Nanak Dev University.
Relief train flagged off
FARIDKOT, May 13 Mr Jagpal Singh, Commissioner, Faridkot Division, yesterday flagged off a train consisting of 40 wagons and carrying the fodder and cattle feed for the drought-hit in Jaislmar district of Rajasthan.
Mr A. Venu Parsad, Deputy Commissioner, who was present on the occasion, said the relief material was collected by the voluntary contributions made by people.
Development work found unsatisfactory
JALANDHAR, May 13 The quality of a number of development work executed by the local municipal corporation in different parts of the city on the recommendation of local MPs has been found to be unsatisfactory by an inspection team formed by the Deputy Commissioner to look into the untilisation of money allotted for the MP Local Area Development Scheme.
The team comprising the Additional Deputy Commissioner, SDM, Mr Sarbjit Singh Makkar, member, SDO (PWD), and Mr Arun Sharma, Executive Engineer of the MC, which has conducted the inspection of different works executed under the scheme, has found that substandard material was used in most of the projects, whereas the payment for the same was made by officials concerned, saying that the quality of work was very good.
Pointing out some glaring examples of substandard works indifferent part of the city in its report submitted to the Deputy Commissioner, the team found that laying of drains in Baldev Nagar, recommended by former MP Iqbal Singh, was of poor quality in spite of complete payment of Rs 3 lakh to the contractor. The report stated that the job of laying of dry bricks in streets had been done in a shoddy manner and the quality of bricks too was not of A class. Suggesting that the excess payment made to the contractor against A-class bricks should be recovered and sought action against officials concerned.
The team , in its report, has given a sound drubbing to the MC authorities for delay in the completion of a park and a road in Professor Colony and for having undertaken poor quality work in connection with the setting up of a badminton courtyard in the area. Though an amount of Rs 1 lakh had been allocated for development of a park in the colony long back, yet the work was still incomplete. Only a 150-foot long and 5 to 6 foot wide pathway has been constructed in the name of park, while two walls of the badminton courtyard were yet to be completed.
The team has recommended the recovery of money form the contractor and action against the officials who had supervised the work.
Similarly, the inspection by the team has revealed that bricks used for the construction of drains and dry-brick laying in Sanjay Nagar were also of inferior quality. The project was recommended by Mr Iqbal Singh, MP. The poor quality of work exerted resulted in choking of drains and accumulation of sewer water in the locality.
The team also found that
the beautification of Hamdard chowk near Ajit Bhavan and
the construction of a road in Shahid Udham Singh Nagar
apparently seemed to be satisfactory. The
project of beautification of the chowk at a cost of Rs 15
lakh had been recommended by Mr Barjinder Singh Hamdard.
The team pointed out that even as the quality of work in
case of the chowk was satisfactory, electric poles in the
pathways there were a nuisance.
SHO caught in
LUDHIANA, May 13 The Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Kuldeep Singh today placed under suspension a station house officer posted here, after he was caught with a woman in a hotel room last night.
According to the
information available from the police sources, the SHO of
Salem Tabri, Mr Jagraj Singh, was caught in compromising
position in Hotel Metro, Chaura Bazar, during a police
raid led by DSP Sandeep Goel.
Meter reader booked
LUDHIANA, May 13 The police has today booked a meter inspector with the Punjab State Electricity Board on charges of corruption and forgery.
According to information available from the police, the Punjab State Electricity Board has lodged a complaint with the police against Nacchitar Singh After conducting a departmental inquiry against him.
It is alleged that the accused, Nacchitar Singh tampered with the electric meter at M/s Balwinder Tools, Dhandari Kalan after a deal was struck between the proprietor Mr Balwinder Singh and the accused.
After striking the deal
he went to the factory and removed the meter from the
premises. After the meter was fixed he put it
back. He was paid Rs 15,000 for the job.
Cops fall ill to evade
FEROZEPORE, May 13 Three Punjab police officers remanded in judicial custody by the District and Sessions Court here on May 11 for the custodial death of a youth are relaxing at a surgical ward at the Civil Hospital instead of in jail.
Interestingly the Deputy Superintendent of the Central Jail, Mr Sukhdev Singh Sagoo claim the three officers were in jail and were not being accorded VIP treatment. However, the accused are learnt to have been hospitalised on the very day that they were sent to jail.
Enquiries at the hospital revealed that the three officers DSP Avtar Singh, Inspector Darshan Singh and Sub-Inspector Jaspal Singh, were admitted here on May 11 for treatment on different grounds.
While Avtar Singh complained of chest pain. Darshan Singh complained of sugar while Jaspal Singh reported pain in his abdomen.
Sources say the fact that all of them fell ill at the same time is too much of a co-incidence and they were probably hospitalised to be able to while away their confinement in comfort there are indications that some political pressure also been exerted on the hospital authorities to accommodate the cops.
The Senior Medical Officer, Dr Pritam Singh Saona, however, denied the charge and said all three of them were admitted after a medical examination.
The three officers were
sent to judicial custody by the District and Sessions
Court after charges were framed against them for the
custodial death of a youth, Raju, in 1993.
Cancel murder case against CPI
MALOUT, May 13 Mr Sat Pal Dang, former Secretary of the state unit of the CPI, has urged the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to get the case of murder registered against Dr Ram Chand, a party activist, by the police, cancelled.
In a letter written to Mr Badal, Mr Dang alleged that Dr Ram Chand was booked in a murder case on February 14 last.
He added that Dr Ram Chand was implicated in a false case on account of his enmity with the police.
He pointed out that post-mortem of the deceased did not suggest the involvement of Dr Ram Chand in the crime. He was only implicated as he (Dr Ram Chand) and his wife, Mrs Sudesh Kumari, had filed a case against a senior police official.
He urged the Chief
Minister to issue necessary instructions to the officials
concerned for the cancellation of the criminal case.
Answers without questions
PATIALA, May 13 Students of University of Jammu who had given their M.Sc. third semester examination in January this year are still waiting for their results.
The University of Jammu dispatched answer scripts of M.Sc. third semester examination to a local examiner here on January 31 but with an incomplete question paper of the examination. Weeks later the university officials were asking the examiner Dr A.K. Trikha to send back the answer script awards so that the result could be declared while Dr Trikhas appeal that he be given the complete question paper went unheeded.
Talking to TNS Dr Trikha said he had written to the University of Jammu Controller of Examinations on January 31 itself when he received answer scripts with an incomplete question paper. He received one page consisting of seven questions of the two-page question paper.
Dr Trikha again reminded the University Controller of Examinations on March 13 of the incomplete questions paper. Jammu University did not send the paper but sent an official communication marked most urgent to him on March 13 saying that other awards in respect of the M.Sc. course had been received and the result was incomplete for want of awards from him.
The university communication, written by its Deputy Registrar, (Evaluation ) said: I understand that you might be busy with some academic assignments. But at the same time I would be obliged if you kindly spare a few moments out of your busy schedule for the said examination.
Disgusted at the functioning of the university he did not communicate with it any more. However, he decided to write to the university Vice-Chancellor on April 30 after he received a telegram on April 29 asking him to wire details of the date on which he had sent the marked scripts and awards.
Dr Trikha said he was surprised that the university had asked him details of the dispatch of the answer sheets when he had all along been pleading that he be sent the question paper. In the letter to the Vice-Chancellor, a copy of which he made available to TNS, he vented his ire at the total lack of coordination between various offices of the institution.
The Examiner in his
letter to the Vice-Chancellor said he was going to the
press to clear his position before the students. He has
also asked the university to inquire into the matter and
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