|Monday, May 15, 2000,
CPI: book CM in Harpreet case
stand on US Nagar: Tohra
long wait for question paper from Jammu university
panel to meet CM
tussle takes new turn
jam by CPI on May 25
plan for welfare of women
forgotten royal cremation ground
a well-planned but dirty colony
drains may lead to flooding
stink greets visitors
offers 5 cr for development
1 cr for each MLA: CM
turned into junk yard
asks govt to maintain monuments
councillor holds dharna
destruction teams from June
held on charge of cheating
hurt over wall demolition
PSEB linemen electrocuted
held for stealing bitumen
kills himself, wife booked
issue raises questions
fight fiscal slavery
Drought hits Hanumangarh
ABOHAR, May 14 Pilgrims from this part of Punjab who want to visit prominent religious places in Rajasthan cant do so due to acute shortage of water. The drought in the west of the state has expanded its grip to Ravatsar subdivision and Pallu sub-tehsil of Hanumangarh district, home to Chhaterpal Temple and Pallu Mata Tample, which Aggarwals in particular visit.
Fairs are held twice a year at both places. But Pallu located at a distance of 40 km from Ravatsar town wore a deserted look when this correspondent along with a group of Punjabi pilgrims visited the small town recently.
Residents said none of the villages of the sub-tehsil had potable water, and what water was available was either salty or dirty. The Department of Public Health supplies a limited quantity of drinking water for locals only. And that just once a week. At Kallasar village where just 6 inches of water was stored last Wednesday. Alisher a local resident, said villagers had come from up to 10 km away to fetch water. Another resident, Mamu Singh, said his cow had died after drinking dirty water.
Dr Chandrika Prasad Yadav, Vice-Chancellor, Rajasthan Agriculture University, during a visit to the drought hit district said while water-logging had become a curse for farmers of Indira Gandhi canal zone, in other parts of the district people had been facing a famine-like situation.
Mr R.S. Makkar, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Hanumangarh, said in a statement that 62 relief projects had been started and the government had paid Rs 22.50 lakh in salary to workers from the affected areas.
The Gaushala Managing Committee, Nohar, has been given a grant to provide fodder to 1296 cattle. But farmers said the grant of Rs 3 for small cattle and Rs 6 for old cattle was not in sufficient as fodder had become very costly. Some voluntary organisations have promised to supply relief goods next week.
Interestingly, the district authorities at Hanumangarh have officially conceded that only six villages are facing serious water crisis. But in many areas villagers spend more than Rs 200 per week per family to fetch drinking water from far-off places. They say dozens of cattle head had died during the past fortnight. The authorities have not so far started relief work in such villages while poor electricity supply has added to the woes of the villagers. The dead bodies of at least five cows could be seen lying in the desert while wild animals too were struggling for life with ponds having completely dried up.
Residents of the
villages said the district authorities had included some
villages in the water crisis area category in the month
of February but the contract for supply of drinking water
by tankers was signed only on April 24.
Sheep die for lack of care
ABOHAR, May 14 While the state government has focused attention on the cosmetic exercise of giving ceremonial send off to dry fodder convoys by the Chief Minister including one from the industrial focal point here to drought affected areas of Rajasthan in the Abohar belt itself where several groups of wardens to their herds have sought-shelter nearly 20 per cent of migratory sheep have died during the past three weeks.
Shepherds who transported several thousand sheep here in trucks from Pokharan subdivision of Jaisalmer district told a TV news team at Khubban village that so far no officer of the Punjab Government had bothered to visit them or offer any assistance. The shepherds, after crossing the inter-state border have been moving from one village to another.
This correspondent, while assisting the TV crew spotted the shepherds and sheep after a two-hour search along sandy dirt roads.
One of the shepherds, Bage Khan told us that he belonged to That village of Pokharan subdivision, he had to pay Rs 8,000 to a truck owner for carrying sheep to Punjab as the cattle were starving in his village for want of food and water. Their truck drivers dropped them at village Dhaulipal, inside Rajasthan to avoid the staff at the Punjab border. From Dhaulipal the shepherds and sheep walked to Sittogunno village and on to Punjab.
The sheep, which were hungry from the journey, ate the dry straw left after harvesting of wheat by combines and drank thirstily. As a result some fell ill, while others developed abdominal pain. Fifty of his 270 sheep died.
Bage Khan said they had to keep moving as farmer were readying to sow their next crop. He said in their village some shepherds owned more than two hundreds acres of land but the closest canal was more than a hundred kilometres. Rainfed bajra was their prime crop, but there had been no rain in a long time and there were no tubewells.
Asked whether Rajasthan had given them any financial assistance, the shepherds said the District Collector there had issued them certificate saying they belonged to a drought hit part of Jaisalmer district.
The villagers said the Animal Husbandry Department which had mobile vans, had not come forward to treat their sheep. They were surprised that the authorities were sending relief material to far off areas of Rajasthan and Gujarat but did not care for these poor guests in their own backyard.
Bage Khan said the local farmers were however generous and gave them four-five kg of flour. We cook chapattis and eat them with red chilly dissolved in water or some time in ghee. After sunset we sleep in the field to regain energy for the next days journey, he said.
Among others in his clan
Meere Khan has lost 20 of his 270 sheep while Karim Khan
and his nephew Hayat Khan lost 65 of their 290 sheep
during the past three weeks. Now they wait for rain in
the deserts of Rajasthan and worry about returning
Dhaulipal on foot as no truck will ferry them from Punjab
because of hassles at the inter-state border.
CPI: book CM in Harpreet case
JALANDHAR, May 14 (PTI) The Punjab unit of the CPI today urged Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Union Minister L.K. Advani to intervene and direct registration of a case against Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for allegedly allowing the evidence to be destroyed in the matter of the death of SGPC President Bibi Jagir Kaurs daughter Harpreet Kaur under mysterious circumstances.
It is not just Bibi Jagir Kaur who was responsible. The Chief Minister is also a guilty party as he is the Home Minister of the state and despite fully knowing that a post mortem in the case of death of a girl so young was mandatory, he allowed it to be waived and even participated in the hasty cremation, CPI state secretary Joginder Dayal told PTI here.
He said the hasty and hushed-up cremation was nothing but a criminal act. The Chief Minister, while assuming office, undertook an oath to safeguard the Constitution and rule of law but has flouted and breached that solemn undertaking in a most flagrant manner and should be brought to book, he added.
Those seeking justice and demanding Bibi Jagir Kaurs resignation from the SGPC should also focus on Mr Badals role as he is the main player in destroying evidence, he said.
Teenager Harpreet died on April 21 under circumstances shrouded in mystery with a youth of Begowal village surfacing with claims that he was her husband and had even fathered her child whereas the SGPC chief had claimed that her unmarried daughter had died of food poisoning.
Mr Dayal also welcomed the statement of former Akal Takht Jathedar Darshan Singh Ragi that politics and religion should be kept separate. The CPI has maintained a consistent stand that if the two were mixed, nothing would remain of religion, he said.
He also charged both Mr G.S. Tohra, President of the Sarb Hind Akali Dal and Mr Badal of not speaking on the issue of the RSS interference in Sikh affairs. Both these Akali factions know that the BJPs support was crucial to their political survival or ambitions and were silent despite blatant interference by the RSS in Sikh affairs, he said.
Clarify stand on US Nagar: Tohra
RAMPURAPHUL, May 14 Former SGPC President G.S. Tohra said here today that the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, should clarify his stand on the Udham Singh Nagar issue.
Addressing a SHSAD conference Mr Tohra said the BJP was all set to include Udham Singh Nagar in the proposed Uttranchal state but SAD leadership was making no efforts to stall its inclusion.
While criticising Badal government for not taking any action against Bibi Jagir Kaur after the death of her daughter under mysterious circumstances, Mr Tohra said Mr Badal was doing so as his government was surviving at the mercy of the SGPC chief.
Mr Tohra claimed that mid-term Assembly elections was not possible in Punjab as Mr Badal was facing a revolt from within the party. Apart from it, a section of MLAs were fed up with the style of functioning of Mr Badal.
He alleged that two senior Akali leaders were trying to stall the CBI probe into the paddy procurement by government agencies in 1994-95 for their vested interests.
He added that Mr Badal
had managed to win the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Parbhandak
Committee elections by using money and muscle power. He
alleged that Mr Badal had spent crores of rupees to win
the support of members of the committee.
CM reiterates stand on US
AMRITSAR, May 14 Even as the Union Cabinet has approved the creation of Uttaranchal, the Shiromani Akali Dal is all set to oppose the move to include Udham Singh Nagar in the proposed state.
Talking to mediapersons after paying obeisance at Durgiana Mandir and Golden Temple, here today, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president of the SAD reiterated that his party would oppose the move tooth and nail. Our stand is very clear on this issue, he said.
Mr Badal claimed that most of the panchayats and organisations of Udham Singh Nagar had already passed a unanimous resolution that they wanted to remain in Uttar Pradesh. The aspirations and demands of the residents must be honoured by the Centre.
Mr Badal said on behalf of the SAD he would force the three-member committee, headed by Mr George Fernandes, to review the decision of the Union Cabinet.
Mr Badal, however, evaded a direct question whether the SAD would withdraw support from the BJP-led government if Udham Singh Nagar was included in the proposed Uttaranchal.
Mr Badal said the Bill was yet to be introduced in Parliament where his party would oppose it.
On winning the Delhi
Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee elections by Badal
group he said Nobody liked the wrong policies of Mr
Tohra and his dal and added that after suffering
defeat in Nawanshahr byelections and DSGMC elections, Mr
Tohra and his supporters should seek retirement from
Punjab plan for welfare of
DERA BASSI, May 14 The Punjab government will spent Rs 10 lakh in every block of the state for the all-round uplift of women during the current financial year. Under this policy of the government women will be educated about self-employment, for their rights and personal hygiene.
The statement was made by Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Finance and Planning Minister of Punjab, while addressing a public meeting at Dharamgarh village near Banur today.
It is the policy of the government not to discriminate men and women, they should be given equal status. Financial aid will be given to all the mahila mandals formed in different villages in the state. He also appealed to the educated women of the village to come forward in the the field of politics too.
The development works of the village will be completed on a priority basis. The village naujawan sabha will also be given financial grant, announced the minister.
Examiners long wait for
question paper from Jammu university
PATIALA, May 14 Students of the University of Jammu who had appeared in M.Sc. third semester examination in January this year are still waiting for their results. The local Punjabi University examiner who was to evaluate the answer scripts is waiting for the university to give him the question paper so that he can do his job. The university is ignorant about the appeals and is asking the examiner to despatch the awards.
In a classic case of one hand not knowing what the other is doing, the University of Jammu dispatched answer scripts of M.Sc. third semester examination to a local examiner here on January 31 along with an incomplete question paper of the examination. Simultaneously, the University officials kept asking the examiner, Dr A.K. Trikha, to despatch the answer script awards so that the result could be declared. Dr Trikhas appeals to be given the complete examination question paper went unheeded.
Talking to TNS with documents of the case, Dr Trikha said he had written to the University of Jammu Controller of Examinations on January 31 itself when he received answer scripts with the incomplete question paper. He said he wrote to tell that he had only received one page consisting of seven questions, while the second page consisting of three more questions had not been received by him. He pleaded that he be sent the complete paper.
Dr Trikha again reminded the University Controller of Examinations on March 13 that he had not received the complete examination paper and that the same be dispatched to him forthwith to enable him to mark the answer sheets. Jammu University did not do this but sent a official communication marked most urgent to him on March 13, saying that the awards in respect of M.Sc. course had been received and that the result was incomplete only 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. He said following this communication, he was disgusted at the functioning of the university and did not communicate with it any more. He said he, however, decided to write to the University Vice-Chancellor on April 30 after he received a telegram on April 29 in which he was asked 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 despatch of the answer sheets when he had all along been pleading that he be dispatched the question paper of the examination. 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. He said he had decided to write to the Vice-Chancellor after he received the telegram from the university. In his letter, Dr Trikha said his mental state in the last three months could be very well imagined. He said the students must be cursing him as the University was taking the line that the examiner was not evaluating the answer scripts and sending back the awards.
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 fix responsibility and take appropriate action.
Meanwhile, Dr Trikha is
still waiting for a response from the university. The
answer sheets remain in his possession. I still
want to do my duty and mark the answer sheets immediately
but for this I need the question paper, he added.
Anandgarh panel to meet CM
KHARAR, May 14 The Anandgarh Hatao Sanjhi Sangharsh Committee, which has been formed by residents of 29 villages of the Kharar tehsil where the Punjab Government plans to set up Anandgarh city, has decided to meet the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and Ms Upinderjit Kaur, Housing and Urban Development Minister, Punjab, soon in order to present the views of the villagers who were opposing the proposed city.
This decision was taken at a meeting of the committee, held in Gurdwara Ratwara Sahib near Mullanpur Garibdas yesterday. According to Mr Jasbir Singh Dhaliwal, General Secretary of the committee, if no decision was taken by the government residents of these villages would block vehicular traffic and sit in a dharna on the national highway.
It was decided at the
meeting that residents would file reply to various
notices issued to them under Section 4 of the Land
Acquisition Act jointly and that they would not allow
this city to come up nor would they accept any
BJP-RSS tussle takes new turn
BATHINDA, May 14 The ongoing tussle in the BJP and the RSS units of the district took a new turn when a member of the executive body of the state BJP, Mr Murari Lal Singla, asked the state leadership to cancel all appointments of office-bearers of the mandal units of the district.
Mr Singla in a press note issued here today said the appointments of the office-bearers of five mandals, Nathana, Talwandi Sabo, Joga, Pakka Kalan and Bathinda, were bogus as these were made by violating the partys constitution following pressure exerted by the district BJP president, Mr Mohan Lal Garg, and a divisional paracharak of the RSS, Mr Krishan Murari.
He added that if the state BJP leadership failed to take any remedial action, the workers, who were agitated over the undemocratic actions of these two persons, could revolt.
He alleged that some bogus members had been enrolled as party activists. The persons who had been elected as office-bearers of the mandal units had never contributed towards strengthening the base of the party in the district, he said.
Mr Garg, when contacted,
said certain vested interests were trying to weaken the
party. He added that neither Mr Murari nor he himself
were involved in any way in the election of
office-bearers of the mandal units.
Chakka jam by CPI on May 25
JALANDHAR, May 14 (PTI, UNI) The Punjab unit of the CPI, along with several farmers forums, today announced a state-wide chakka jam and plans to lay siege to the Punjab Assembly during the next session to protest against the alleged anti-farmers policies of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badals regime.
The dreams unlimited conjured up by Mr Badal to turn Punjab into a California have turned out to be the most cruel joke he has played on the states farmers. Since the government has not been listening to the silent woes and curses of the farmers, we will now make a deafening noise by bringing the assemblys functioning to a halt, CPI state secretary Joginder Dayal told PTI here.
The chakka jam protest had been scheduled for May 25, he said.
He said the March 16 rally of the farmers backed by five top peasant bodies was the most impressive agitational programme in recent times. We will put up a still better show with thousands of farmers from across the state laying a siege to the assembly where the farmers issues never find any priority, the CPI leader said.
Mr Dayal said the Centre and state governments had completely failed to evolve any wholesome agrarian policy leaving the farmers in a lurch. After making the country self-sufficient in foodgrains, farmers are now finding even survival difficult, but a spate of suicides triggered by inability to pay back agri-loans has failed to move the government, he said.
In the early part of the 20th century, a large number of Punjab farmers joined the Gadar movement fighting for Independence. In the second half of the century, their hard work exemplified by the green revolution pulled India out of foodgrain scarcity. But the regime of Mr Badal witnessed farmers committing suicides, Dayal alleged.
He said the so called pro-farmer regime of Mr Badal had failed to create any storage space, transportation facilities or other infrastructure required for agriculture and the allied sectors. The poultry sector, at one time bringing good returns, is now being squeezed out by market forces but no relief, not even sympathy, has come from the government, he said.
Mr Dayal cautioned Punjabis to guard against the diabolical design of the RSS and a section of the Akali-Sikh leadership of inflaming religious sentiments of the Sikh community for fulfilment of their political agenda.
In a statement here, he charged both the RSS and its affiliate the Rashtriya Sikh Sangat and also the All-India Shiromani Akali Dal (AISAD) with trying to inflame Sikh sentiments for their respective political and vested interests.
He said the RSS-Sangat combine was trying to inflame the Sikh sentiments by its communal agenda, while the marginalised AISAD led by Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra was raking up the Namdharis issue to revive its sagging political fortunes to the detriment of peace and harmony in Punjab.
He asked as to why Mr
Tohra during his 25-year-long reign of the Shiromani
Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) remained silent on
the existence of Namdharis publication Purkh
Guru now found objectionable by his party.
Patiala's forgotten royal
PATIALA, May 14 Glittering marble among vegetable fields. The shahi Samadhan (royal cremation ground) of the erstwhile Phulkian dynasty is this and more. It is a unique example of Sikh and Muslim architecture, besides being a rich repository of history.
Sadly the ground with its monumental samadh of the founder of the Phulkian dynasty, Baba Ala, as well as chatris raised on the cremation ground of the later rulers, is virtually out of bounds for the people of the city and is in the process of decay.
Though the shahi samadhan are situated in the heart of the city, they are all but unseen from the main road leading to Quila Mubarak. This is because the monument of Baba Ala constructed over the cremation place and the adjoining ground are on a lower plane than its imposing main gate. The majesty of the monument is revealed only on entering the grounds. It does not help that the main gate has been permanently closed and the only other way to the ground is from a side entrance accessible only after passing the living quarters of the reigning Mahant of the ground.
As the control over the ground is completely in the hands of the Mahant, it is not possible for casual visitors to see the magnificent edifices created by the Patiala rulers for their deceased kings. According to law, the Mahant is free to manage the affairs of the place to his satisfaction. The Mahant uses a few acres of land adjoining the main monument and other chatris for rearing agricultural produce. Presently vegetables are being raised in the adjoining fields.
In the cremation ground there is a single huge monument built in honour of the dynasty founder, Baba Ala. Behind it are various chatris built in honour of subsequent rulers. As Baba Ala was succeeded by his grandson, a tradition was started whereby the samadh of a king was built by his grandson. There is, however, a clear dichotomy in the monument built in honour of Baba Ala. This, according to art connoisseur and district officer R.S. Randhawa is due to the fact that the ground and first floors were built by different rulers.
While Baba Ala's grandson Amar Singh built the ground floor, the first floor was constructed much later during Maharaja Narinder Singh's time. While the ground floor is influenced by Punjabi rural art and has rural motifs and false doors made in plaster over small lahori bricks, the first and second elevations are made of the finest marble with beautifully inlaid patterns in the Muslim style. There are minarets on all four sides as well as ornately carved huge chatris which led grandeur and beauty to the building. The only imperfection in the monument is the missing gumbad on the third elevation. According to sources, this gumbad had been taken down for repairs but was never reinstalled. Though the monument is entirely devoted to Baba Ala and has a courtyard to circumvent the structure, his wife, Mai Fato, has also been honoured with a small stone in the courtyard signifying her cremation ground.
Other subsequent maharajas have beautifully engraved chatris covering their cremation sites. All chatris have the names of the deceased kings and their titles written in English and Urdu. While the initial kings like Amar Singh have simple titles like Raja-e-Rajgan the epitaph of Maharaja Mahinder Singh reads Farzand-e-Khas, Daulat-e-Inglisha, Mansur Zaman, Amir ul Umra, Maharajadhiraj, Rajeshwar Shri Maharaj-e-Rajgan Mahinder Singh Mohinder Bahadur. The cremation areas of the most famous of the Patiala Maharaja's Maharaja Bhupinder Singh as well as the last Maharaja Yadavindra Singh sadly lie uncovered.
Citizens of the inner
city feel the shahi samadhan can be converted into a
breathing space for the city by converting the area
around the main monument into a park. They feel the
Mahant can also profit from the venture if there is some
coordination with the administration to allow him to
charge an entry fee. The Mahant is, however, ambivalent
to the move saying people may not visit a place where the
dead have been cremated. However, Ishu Singhal, who lives
nearby, said this was not so and the area could be easily
developed into a heritage site. If this is done, he said,
revenue could also be generated for regular maintenance
of the site which is not possible right now as the Mahant
gets a pittance from several hundred bighas of land of
two villages attached to the samadh for its well being.
Tripuri a well-planned
but dirty colony
PATIALA, May 14 It would appear a cruel joke when someone claims that Tripuri township is the most well-planned area of the city. After all a locality, which has all the ingredients like potholed roads, heaps of garbage, blocked and overflowing sewage and rampant encroachments to be safely termed one of the dirtiest place to live in, can never be a planned place of dwelling.
But the municipal records or a talk to the old inhabitants of the colony or just a closer look at the colony's design verily prove the claim. Its present status of being an ugly place notwithstanding, the colony was indeed a well-planned one with over 100-foot wide main roads and over 50-foot wide inner streets. It also had uniformly carved out housing plots with specially earmarked land for about 30 parks.
Not only this but the colony had planned provision for markets as well. The designers had some inkling of the future pressure of population and the accompanying traffic and, therefore, a number of alternative paths to reach a destination were made. The colony, according to municipal records, was one of the first dwelling areas outside the walled city to have sewerage.
But all this seems to be a dream today. The place stinks like anything from its one end starting from the Nabha road to the other one that has inter-mingled with the newly constructed Anand Nagar and Rattan Nagar colonies. Thanks to both official apathy and irresponsible attitude of the residents, the wide roads have shrunk due to encroachments. Heaps of garbage have become a common sight.
Residents while talking to Tribune News Service blamed the indifferent attitude of the Municipal Corporation towards their colony. However, the corporation authorities pointed a finger towards the residents who kept their houses clean but threw dirty water and garbage on the streets.
Mr Mohan Gera, President, Citizens Welfare Association of the colony, says: "A majority of people of this colony were migrants from Pakistan in 1947. Having no place to go they were provided land by the erstwhile rulers of the princely state. The colony at that time was the best in northern states in spheres of planning but with the passage of time it has lost it's beauty."
Constructed for a few thousand people, the colony today supports several thousands. The construction spree gained momentum, especially after the anti-Sikh riots in 1984 when a number of families left Delhi and settled here. According to Mr Ashok Chawla, General Secretary of the association, the locality, which was already over-populated, could not sustain the pressure. In the process not only the cleanliness was lost but even the park land was used for construction. The pressure was felt on the market side as well. A number of shops came up, making the bazars more crowded.
According to Mr Chawla, the development or provision of basic amenities could not keep pace with the rise in population, leading to the present problems. "Today, we are facing every conceivable problem. Our bazars are crowded, thanks to the encroachments on the otherwise wide roads. There is no greenery around. The sewer lines remain choked. There is no system of draining out of rain water," he said.
Residents allege that the corporation's sweepers hardly do any scavenging. There is no check on the parking of rehris and rickshaws and no one picks garbage for days together. Enlisting a few irritants, Mr Chawla said a large ground behind Hindu Public School was once a park and a playground for children but now it has become a dumping ground for garbage. He said the Welfare Society had pooled money to maintain a forgotten park in the water tank chowk but now its condition was also deteriorating and it was being used as a place for gambling.
Mr K.S. Kang, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, said there were definitely some problems in the area which could only be solved through the cooperation of the people. He said the corporation had repaired the roads several times but residents threw water which weakened the roads. He said not only this but shopkeepers had raised the level of earth outside their shops and thus the rain water accumulated on the roads, causing considerable damage.
Mr Kang said earlier the
colony was the end of the city's sewerage system and thus
it used to overflow, but now the corporation was
expanding it and the problem would be solved. He said he
would look into the problem of garbage. Mr Kang said the
corporation had some new development schemes for the
colony like construction of a park that was coming up
near the dispensary. If the people came forward to adopt
the new MC-public cooperative schemes then the things
could improve at a faster rate. To be
Choked drains may lead to
GURDASPUR, May 14 Farmers of the district whose land is near nullahs complain that the administrations failure to clear them of silt has resulted in water-logging in about 50,000 acres of land.
According to official sources, the district has four drains the Kasur drain system, Kahnuwan swamp drain system, Gadhrian drain system and Sukki Nullah drain system. As much as 728 km of drains falling under these systems are choked and need immediate desilting.
NABARD has sanctioned Rs 5 crore for flood-control measures on the Ravi and the Beas and for desilting drains to prevent floods and water-logging.
Mr B. Vikram, Deputy Commissioner, talking to newsmen here today said Rs 1.25 crore was spent last year on de-silting of link drains over 167 km. He claimed that a huge tract of land measuring about 20,000 acres was reclaimed in Kahnuwan and other Chhamb areas resulting in a bumper crop during the rabi season this year.
BATALA: Stink emanating from overflowing sewers, open drains and filth greet visitors on entering the city. Streetlights are also not functional. The Municipal Council (MC) has no funds for their repair or replacement. The water supply is also erratic.
* * *
For the past over two decades the local slaughter house has not been functioning. Despite that the MC records show that six to seven goats are slaughtered every day. The MC collects a fee of Rs 5 per goat. A visit to different meat shops reveals that at least 200 goats are sold. Where are these goats slaughtered and which veterinary doctor inspects and supervises the slaughter remains to be seen.
* * *
Till 1999, a large number of godowns of traders of TV, refrigerator, tea and sugar were situated at Umarpura village on the Jalandhar road and Model Town on the Pathankot road. With the extension of the Batala municipal limits a few months ago, the area under the MC has increased nearly three times. By that reckoning, the octroi collection should have doubled, if not trebled. But the actual increase is reported to be only 27 per cent.
* * *
Rakhra offers 5 cr for
PATIALA, May 14 A local Non Resident Indian (NRI), Mr Surjit Singh Rakhra, has offered Rs 5 crore to the Punjab Government for carrying out various development works in the state.
Stating this here today, Mr Rakhra, who unsuccessfully contested the last Lok Sabha elections from this seat, said he was waiting for the government to pool its share of Rs 5 crore so that various works could be started.
Mr Rakhra said various rural development works would be taken up under the scheme which would include construction of school buildings, upgradation of facilities in existing schools, establishment of dharamshalas in villages, sport facilities and providing clean water. He said while his family had initially decided to contribute Rs 5 crore, it had now decided to contribute several more crores and would request the government to match its contributions.
The Akali leader said his family was engaged in sponsoring children for higher education at Wisconsin University in the USA. His family had established a Chair at the university in the name of their father Subedar Kartar Singh. The family provided scholarship to 60 students sponsored by it.
Mr Rakhra said his
family was also engaged in promoting literature and arts.
It had been awarding meritorious writers through the
Punjabi Sahit Academy, Ludhiana. It had now instituted an
award to be given through Sahit Kala Sangam, Delhi.
Park turned into junk yard
JALANDHAR: Junk dealers and brick crushers have encroached upon a 19-year-old park in Gurudev Nagar in the city. Their activities have added to pollution. Instead of trees and green grass one encounters heaps of rubbish, waste paper and polythene bags. Even the drains around the park are rarely cleaned.
Besides junk dealers and brick crushers some gas agencies and rehri owners have set up their shops in the park premises. They reportedly were emboldened by the fact the Municipal Corporation hasnt taken any action against the junk dealers and brick crushers.
One third of the park has been polluted with the waste of a grease manufacturing unit near the park.
Residents of the area allege that they have repeatedly taken up the matter with the Municipal Councillor of the area and higher authorities of the corporation, but all in vain. The Councillor, Mr Raj Kumar Gupta, the Opposition leader in the municipal corporation, said that he had also taken up the issue many times during the meetings of the municipal corporation. The encroachers have illegally occupied this area in connivance with some municipal corporation officials, Mr Gupta alleged. He says complaints in this regard to the Mayor and the Commissioner of Municipal Corporation have failed to produce results.
Rs 1 cr for each MLA: CM
GURDASPUR, May 14 (PTI) Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today said that the state government decided to allot Rs 1 crore each to MLAs in the state to persue development activities in their constituencies.
He advised them to make a list of development activities required in their respective constituencies and fix priorities to carry on these activities within a year.
Mr Badal directed the Deputy Commissioners also to prepare master plan of the district even if they have to engage private agencies in this matter. All problems should be computerised and be implemented in phases on priority. He gave them two months to make this plan.
Addressing a public meeting here, Mr Badal accused the Congress of the backwardness of the Punjab and the country.
Court asks govt to maintain monuments
SANGRUR, May 14 (PTI) A local court has directed the Punjab Government to maintain the Bansar garden, Barandari and Dewan Khana, all monuments of historical importance.
It has been directed to regain the lost glory of the historical monuments constructed by the erstwhile maharaja of Jind.
Sangrur was the Capital of Jind state. The court directed the state to comply with the directions within a period of four months.
In its 13 page judgement, the Additional Civil Judge (Senior Division), Mr J.S. Khusdil, has observed that the plaintiffs have projected a gloomy picture of the maintenance of garden and antiques.
BJP councillor holds dharna
PHAGWARA, May 14 Mr Balbhadar Sain Duggal, BJP councillor, led a dharna outside Satnampura police station this evening against him alleged manhandling by ASI, Vijay Joshi, who, however, denied it.
People from Hadiabad ward and Satnampura gathered outside the police station at 7 p.m.
Addressing the gathering Mr Duggal said the dharna would continue till the ASI was arrested and the SHO transferred.
The trouble started when a police party had gone to local Basant Bagh to intervene in a land dispute case.
Food destruction teams
LUDHIANA, May 14 June will be observed as anti-malaria month in the district. Preventive measures against malaria, cholera, gastro-enteritis and hepatitis-B will be taken.
The decision was taken at a meeting of district health officials attended by senior officers of the Municipal Corporation.
Deputy Commissioner S.K. Sandhu, who presided over the meeting, said heads of all private and government educational institutions would be directed to ensure that cut fruit, uncovered and unhygienic eatables and ice-candies etc were not sold within or outside schools.
In addition school children would be educated about disease prevention measures.
Civil Surgeon Rajinder Kaur said the city had been divided into two parts with medical officers of the corporation made responsible for supervising food destruction teams so that food items unfit for human consumption could be destroyed. In rural areas the respective senior medical officer of the block would supervise this job.
The Civil Surgeon claimed the quality of drinking water was being monitored and random samples were being taken on a regular basis from different localities for analysis at the PAU laboratory.
According to district
epidemiologist, Dr A.S. Chawla, a control room (phone No.
444193) has been set up in the office of the Civil
Surgeon where teams of doctors, paramedics and other
health staff were in a state of preparedness for any
4 held on charge of cheating
JALANDHAR, MAY 14 (UNI) Four persons, including two residents of Delhi, have been booked on the charge of cheating Mr Dalip Singh of Jalalpur village in the Tanda area of Hoshiarpur district of Rs 12.20 lakh they had allegedly procured from him for arranging his and his daughters passports, Visas and journey of the USA last year.
Mr Dalip Singh told the police that he had his daughter had neither been sent abroad nor his money returned so far.
He said when he sought the assistance of his city-based relative Jarnail Singh for travelling to the USA, the latter told him that he could arrange it trough one Gursharan Singh Walia who was in the business. Mr Dalip Singh said a deal for Rs 15.50 lakh was struck between him and Jarnail Singh, secretary of the Bhglath market committee, and he had paid the first installment of Rs 8 lakh to Jarnail Singh in April, last year. Later at Jarnail Singhs house here, he paid Rs 3.50 lakh to Vijay Kumar Chadha and the Nindi, both residents of Delhi, in the presence of Walia and Jarnail Singh, he added. Dalip Singh said he paid another Rs 70,000 to Jarnail Singh.
6 hurt over wall
LUDHIANA, May 14 At least six persons were injured in a clash between tonga drivers and the alleged henchmen of a land developer when the latter tried to demolish a wall demarcating the land bought by the developer and the tonga stand near Lakshmi Chowk past midnight.
A number of persons allegedly armed with lathis and kirpans reached the site on the GT road near main railway station around 1 a.m. and started demolishing the wall separating tonga stand from the plot.
Tonga drivers were allegedly beaten up when they tried to stop them, leading to the clash.
Later, a police party led by an ASI reached the spot and the situation was brought under control.
However, the president of the Tonga Mazdoor Union, Mr Niranjan Singh, alleged, When we went to lodge a complaint with the police at around 6 a.m. the land developer, Mr Madan Singh Bharara, started the demolition work again.
Later, tonga drivers in the area blocked traffic on the GT road for more than an hour and raised slogans against the developer and the Punjab Police for being hand-in-glove and trying to usurp the land of the tonga stand.
A tonga driver Nanson alleged, This land was auctioned by PUDA at a very low rate as compared to the existing market rates. At that time, the entry point given to the developer was through a small lane, but now the developer was trying to make entry point through the tonga stand by demolishing the wall, in order to increase the market value of the land.
Mr Bal Krishan, president of the Lakshmi Shopkeepers Association, also alleged that as the developer had the backing of certain politicians there was no one to stop him from usurping the land belonging to the tonga stand.
Mr Madan Singh Bharara, however, alleged that the tonga drivers were trying to encroach upon his plot and he was only trying to thwart their attempt. He also alleged that the tonga drivers were demanding Rs 25 lakh from him for vacating the land.
Mr Bharara further said, I ordered the demolition of the wall in order to construct a new one and the tonga drivers were angry because they had built sheds extending in my area and with the demolition of the wall, these sheds will also have been demolished.
He denied allegations that the police was playing in his hands because of his political connections. He also alleged that the tonga stand did not exist in the records maintained by the Municipal Corporation and the tonga drives had actually encroached government land.
2 PSEB linemen
PHILLAUR, May 14 A lineman Jagdish Singh and Assistant Lineman Pyara Singh Malhan of the Punjab State Electricity Board were electrocuted when they were working atop and electric pole at Rurka Khurd village, near here, yesterday. A reversal of electric current during repairs was said to be responsible for the mishap. Jagdish Singh was secretary of the Technical Service Union, Goraya.
2 held for stealing
BATHINDA, May 14 The district police has arrested two members of a gang which has been involved in the selling of bitumen belonging to the Punjab Government in the open market.
Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, SSP, in a press note issued here today said the two accused identified as Rajinder Singh and Baldev Singh were caught red-handed while they were siphoning off bitumen at a construction company located near the Lehra Mohabat thermal plant.
He added the accused used to sell bitumen belonging to the government in the open market while fake entries were made in the record books of the department concerned to which the bitumen belonged. He said the police had seized two tankers from which the bitumen was being taken out. The drivers of these two vehicles had also been arrested.
Man kills himself, wife
LUDHIANA, May 14 The police has booked a woman and two of her relatives for her husbands suicide.
According to information, 38-year-old Surinder Singh was often subjected to harassment by his wife, her father and other relatives.
Post-mortem issue raises
FEROZEPORE, May 14 The exemption for conducting post-Mortem by the SDM in two separate cases of mysterious deaths within a week has raised many questions.
While Rishi Kumar, a young boy who died here yesterday under mysterious circumstances was exempted two sisters who reportedly died of poisoning last week were also exempted. The SDM, Mr D.P.S. Kharbanda, had exempted the bereaved families in both the cases reportedly after police enquiries.
However sources in the police department said that these deaths were of mysterious nature.
With the bodies having
been cremated without autopsy, it is now difficult to
establish the cause of death. Sources cited the case of
the daughter of SGPC Chief Bibi Jagir Kaur. While Jagir
Kaurs family maintained that her daughter died a
natural death, the husband of the deceased
has challenged it in the court.
Agnivesh: fight fiscal slavery
BATHINDA, May 14 Swami Agnivesh, eminent educationist and Chairman of the Bandhua Mukti Morcha, today called upon the people to organise themselves to crush the rulers who were trying to surrender the economic sovereignty of country to multinational companies under the diktats of the IMF the World Bank and the WTO.
Addressing a function organised at Teachers Home in connection with the launch of monthly Punjabi magazine. Buniyad, today,Swami Agnivesh said the need of the hour was to change the social set up and to save the country from such plunderers.
He pointed out that ruling politicians were bartering away the interests of the country under the influence of World Bank, WTO and IMF.
Terming the present education policy to be ineffective, he said a section of teachers had made education a trade. He added that revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh and Chander Shekhar could not be produced from the current education system.
Mrs Amarjit Kaur, eminent educationist, while addressing the gathering said education in India was meaningless.
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