Tuesday, May 16, 2000,
Chandigarh, India





punjab
P U N J A B

‘Substandard’ tyre led to mishap
ROPAR, May 15 — The tyre of the ill-fated bus which plunged into the Sirhind canal here yesterday following a tyre-burst, was substandard, according to sources. They said the tyre was of 14-ply specifications whereas according to specifications of the Punjab Roadways any tyre used in the front should be of 18 ply.

Unsafe bridges, watery graves
CHANDIGARH, May 15 — The bus accident, which claimed nearly 40 lives, at Ropar yesterday is not the first such accident nor the last. Earlier also several such mishaps have happened claiming hundreds of lives.

Undertrials beaten in jail
BATHINDA, May 15 — Even as the controversy surrounding the deaths of nine inmates of central jail here, under mysterious circumstances, in the last three years is yet to die down, a case of beating of three other inmates by some employees of the jail has come to light.

Punjab re-imposes 12 pc ST on vehicles
CHANDIGARH, May 15 — The Punjab Government has once again revised the sales tax on all types of motor vehicles with effect from May 18. It will now be 12 per cent on all items, according to the Financial Commissioner, Taxation, Mr C.L. Bains.

HC orders protection for Kamaljit
CHANDIGARH May 15 — Directing the provision of protection to the family of Harpreet Kaur’s husband, Mr Kamaljit Singh, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today also asked the state of Punjab to take appropriate steps for protecting the property of his father at Begowal village.

Rice millers oppose CBI probe
CHANDIGARH , May 15 — The decision of the Union Food Ministry to entrust half-a-decade old case of Punjab rice millers to the CBI has irked the state government.

COMMUNITY

Navjot Sidhu case: notice issued
CHANDIGARH, May 15 — On appeals against the acquittal of former Test cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu and companion by Patiala Sessions Judge in a case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notices for August 29.



YOUR TOWN
Amritsar
Bathinda
Chandigarh
Ferozepore
Jalandhar
Ludhiana
Patiala
Ropar


EARLIER STORIES
  Rode’s interview to Press resented
AMRITSAR, May 15 — The task force of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, and Bhai Jasbir Singh Rode, a former Jathedar of the Akal Takht and President, Shiromani Akali Dal (Panthic), today exchanged heated words before the performance of ‘ardas’ at the Akal Takht here today.

Construction of six buildings stopped
CHANDIGARH, May 15 — Taking up a telegram alleging the construction of six buildings without provision for parking by the Jalandhar Municipal Corporation Mayor in the traffic regulation and pollution control case, Mr Justice Swantanter Kumar of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has ordered that “further construction of buildings specified in the telegram and all such buildings similarly situated shall be stopped forthwith”.

Information centres, museums for zoos
CHHAT BIR, May 15 — The Wildlife Welfare Society of Punjab, constituted for assisting the authorities in the administration of zoos, is setting up information centres and museums for educating visitors to the zoos.

CRIME

Industrialist held for forgery
LUDHIANA, May 15 — An industrialist and believed to be one-time driver of international smuggler Haji Kuli Mastan, Mr Madan Singh Bharara, was arrested today on charges of criminal intimidation, forgery and getting documents signed by the use of force in a joint operation of the Bangalore Police and the local police.

Two shot dead over land dispute
FEROZEPORE, May 15 — Two persons, including a woman, were shot dead by armed men at Gatti village, near here, yesterday following an altercation over a land dispute. While Khushia Bai died on the spot Jeet Singh succumbed to his injuries at the Civil Hospital. Another person, Gurdev Singh, was wounded in the attack.

Jilted girl commits suicide
JALANDHAR, May 15 — A girl, waiting to marry her US-based fiancÚ to whom she had been engaged four years ago, committed suicide at the house of her in-laws to be in nearby Nakodar town yesterday after the boy’s mother broke their engagement.

Custodial death accused in police remand
KHARAR, May 15 — Mrs Neelam Arora, Judicial Magistrate, Kharar, today remanded Malvinder Singh Malhi, sub-inspector Punjab police, to police remand till tomorrow. He is in judicial custody in connection with the custodial death case of the nearby Hasanpur village.

EDUCATION

Temporary teachers continue to teach
PATIALA, May 15 — Pirthee Singh, an undergraduate, was appointed a temporary education worker in his village government primary school on February 15. His term of appointment was to end on March 31. Pirthee is still teaching in the school.


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Substandard’ tyre led to mishap
26 bodies recovered
From Lalit Mohan

ROPAR, May 15 — The tyre of the ill-fated bus which plunged into the Sirhind canal here yesterday following a tyre-burst, was substandard, according to sources. They said the tyre was of 14-ply specifications whereas according to specifications of the Punjab Roadways any tyre used in the front should be of 18 ply.

The sources alleged that the tyre was manufactured in January, 2000. It was put into use on March 17 and had traversed just 27,300 km against its normal life of 40,000 km.

The Punjab Roadways management is forwarding two theories as the probable causes behind the accident. According to the first, it is being suggested that the tyre may have touched the railing of the bridge which caused it to burst. The second probable reason being given is that the tyre may have touched another passing vehicle resulting in its bursting.

The union leaders of the Workers Union of the Punjab Roadways have, however, rejected both these theories. They have alleged that there is no question of the tyre touching the railing of the bridge as the tyre on the right hand side which burst was at least 10 feet away from the railing. As for the second probability, eyewitnesses say that there was no other vehicle on the bridge when the ill-fated bus was passing over it.

The union leaders have alleged that the management is putting the life of the passengers and the staff in danger by not providing adequate funds for repair of buses. Due to the inadequacy of the funds, the Punjab Roadways buses have been using retreaded tyres.

In the Ropar depot of the Punjab Roadways fours tyres which have burst in an identical manner are lying. In addition to this, there are about 100 new tyres which have burst and are lying in various depots across the state, they have alleged.

They have also alleged that no in-depth inquiry was done into the scandal involving the purchase of sub-standard tyres worth Rs 4 crore, in which a Deputy-Director of the department was suspended. The officer has been reinstated since.

Fitness certificate for the buses is another matter of contention. According to the norms , any bus which leaves the depot has to be given a fitness certificate by the electrician, the mechanic and the chief mechanic. In the case of the bus which met with an accident yesterday no such certificate seems to have been issued, the union leaders allege. The mechanics at the local workshop are of the view that the tyre which burst may have had a cut which was not detected at the depot leading to the accident.

Meanwhile, Twenty-six bodies of passengers of the ill-fated Punjab Roadways bus which fell into the Sirhind Canal yesterday, had been recovered till today evening. The search operations continued for the entire day with the district administration using boats to located the bodies in the ditches of the kutcha bed of the canal. The bodies were found scattered in a stretch of about 5km.

All bodies except for one of a female have been identified by the relatives of the deceased who thronged the local hospital to collect the bodies of their kins.

The dead who have been identified so far include Ram Inder, son of Kehar Singh, of Sector 8, Chandigarh, Chetan, son of Pardeep of Bunna near Balachor, Kamlesh, wife of Pradeep, Swarn Singh, son of S. Malik Singh of Nepran village Rajpura, Tejinder Singh, son of Kewal Krishan of Urban Estate, Jalandhar, Roshan Lal, driver, son of Madan Mohan of Amritsar, Daljit Singh Commando of Dhool Kalan Amritsar, Kartar Singh, son of Jawala Singh of Sector 23, Chandigarh, Mohinder Singh Dua, son of Sant Singh of Chohar Bagh, Jalandhar, Sareshtha Mahajan, wife of Mohan Lal Mahajan of Sector 38-C, Chandigarh, Savita Mahajan, wife of Jugal Mahajan of Sector 22-C, Chandigarh, Sushma Phool, wife of Inder Pal of Sector 22-B, Chandigarh, Kanchan, daughter of Pardeep of Banna, Gurvinder Singh, daughter of Kulwant Singh of Jalandhar, Labh Mahajan, son of Jugal Kishore of Sector 22, Chandigarh, Krishan Chand, son of Malla Ram of Sector 41, Chandigarh, Tej Kaur, wife of Gurbachan Singh of Ghuman in Gurdaspur, Lal Chand, son of a Dharam Ram of Bhara village, Shimla, Sukhdev Singh, a constable from Siana village, Balachaur, Manjinder Singh, son of Nirmal Singh of Sector 46-C Chandigarh, Inderjit Singh, son of Jaswant Singh of Sector 3 Mohali, and Gurmeet Kaur of Mohali.

Mr G.S. Grewal, Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, has opened an information centre at the hospital to help the relatives coming to collect the bodies of their kins. The district administration has also made arrangements to provide food and Rs 2,000 to the relatives of deceased at the hospital. Mr Tara Singh Ladal, state Minister of Education, was present at the hospital to console the kin of the deceased.

Meanwhile, according to Mr Grewal, the search operations for locating the bodies have been completed. He said relatives of 26 deceased persons had contacted the district administration. Out of these, 19 have already collected the bodies of their kins. Since no other inquiry for any missing person has been received, it is being assumed that all deceased have been located.Top

 

Unsafe bridges, watery graves
By Sarbjit Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 15 — The bus accident,which claimed nearly 40 lives, at Ropar yesterday is not the first such accident nor the last. Earlier also several such mishaps have happened claiming hundreds of lives.

A few years ago, a bus fell into the Bhakra canal near Patiala and several persons had died. Likewise, twice buses fell in the same canal near Sirhind killing several persons. One bus fell in the Bhakra near Gurdwara Parivar Vichora Sahib on the Ropar - Anandpur Sahib road a decade ago and more than 60 persons were killed in that accident.

Besides, several cars, scooters and trucks have met with similar accidents in these canals. Only four years ago a complete family was wiped out when a car fell in the Bhakra canal near Patiala. When a few years ago, the Bhakra canal was closed for a few weeks, the police found several scooters and cars from the canal bed.

Though the authorities concerned in the PWD ( B and R) and in the Canals wing of the Punjab Irrigation Department say that there is nothing wrong with the design of the bridges and also with the roads which run on canal banks of such water bodies but people feel otherwise.

Take the instance of yesterday’s accident. People feel if there had been a strong concrete wall on the either side of the edges of the bridge, the tragedy could have been avoided or loss to life minimised. Such a protection could have saved the bus from falling into the canal.

Even concrete parapets would have proved saviour for the bus. Railings on either side, though obviously installed as a safety measure, are so week and thin that these could not prevent even a scooter from falling into the canal.

This is true not only in the case of the Sirhind canal but also in the case of other canals. Several times railings on the Bhakra canal bridge near Patiala have failed to bear the impact of vehicles leading to major accidents.

The authorities concerned of late have built roads on inspection banks. These roads have become popular among people as they provide short cuts. But no proper safety measures have been taken against falling of vehicles in these canals. For instance most people use the road on the bank of the Sirhind canal from Nelon to reach Ludhiana. In fact, it has become almost a main road for those who go to Ferozepore bypassing Ludhiana main town. But except on a small portion, there are neither any concrete walls nor parapets to protect vehicles from falling into the canal.

Bridges built before Independence on all water bodies have very strong lime bricked walls on either side of bridges. But at several places on the main highways, these bridges were dismantled and new concrete bridges were constructed to widen the roads and cope with the increasing traffic pressure.

But the bridge on the Sirhind canal is a narrow one. The authorities concerned in the PWD told TNS that an estimate is under process to build a parallel bridge on this canal to cope with the increasing traffic.

Moreover, there are no proper road markings and signs indicating road gemotrics or approaching bridges, culverts and blind curves. Luminous markings will lead better road safety.Top

 

Undertrials beaten in jail
File plea in court
From Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

BATHINDA, May 15 — Even as the controversy surrounding the deaths of nine inmates of central jail here, under mysterious circumstances, in the last three years is yet to die down, a case of beating of three other inmates by some employees of the jail has come to light.

In an application moved in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Mr Dupinder Singh, brother of Harvinder Singh, an undertrial in a murder case, alleged that three employees of the jail thrashed his brother and two other undertrials— Jaspal Singh and Kuldip Singh on May 11.

He demanded that medical examination of the victims should be conducted and a case should be registered against the jail officials involved in the crime.

On the other hand, Harvinder Singh and Jaspal Singh have also moved an application in district courts here requesting that their medical examination should be conducted at the civil hospital. The Additional Sessions Judge, took cognizance of their application and has fixed the case for hearing tomorrow.

Harvinder Singh and Jaspal Singh told this correspondent in the court today that employees of the jail had forced them to put their thumb impressions on blank papers when they protested against their treatment.

Earlier too the eyebrows had been raised after reports of deaths of nine inmates of the jail in the last three years had come to light. Mr Hardev Singh Arshi, leader of CPI group in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, had sought a probe in the alleged irregularities in the functioning of the jail and had also written a letter to Chairman of the Punjab State Human Rights Commission.

Mr Gurdial Singh, Superintendent Jail, however, said Harvinder Singh and Jaspal Singh were levelling baseless and false allegations against jail employees. He added that they had not been beaten up by any employee of the jail.

He pointed out that on the night of May 11, Harvinder Singh and Jaspal Singh were watching TV along with other inmates when a scuffle broke out and in order to maintain discipline in the jail, some employees stopped them from fighting with each other. The barracks of the inmates involved in the scuffle were also changed.

He denied that thumb impressions of Harvinder Singh and Jaspal Singh were taken forcibly on blank papers by employees of the jail.

He added that at present the jail was over-crowded as there were 1175 inmates against capacity of 550 because of which sometimes the inmates found it difficult to find enough place to sleep.Top

 

Punjab re-imposes 12 pc ST on vehicles
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 15 — The Punjab Government has once again revised the sales tax on all types of motor vehicles with effect from May 18. It will now be 12 per cent on all items, according to the Financial Commissioner, Taxation, Mr C.L. Bains.

Only recently the Punjab Government had issued a notification decreasing the sales tax on all vehicles, including two and three-wheelers.
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HC orders protection for Kamaljit
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH May 15 — Directing the provision of protection to the family of Harpreet Kaur’s husband, Mr Kamaljit Singh, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today also asked the state of Punjab to take appropriate steps for protecting the property of his father at Begowal village.

Taking up the case, Mr Justice Amarbir Singh also issued fresh notices to respondents, Dalvinder Desi and Paramjit Singh, for May 24. Earlier, in an application, the petitioner stated that he had his family were facing threat. Quoting newspaper reports, he had stated that certain miscreant had destroyed his property in the presence of a police guard.

Seeking directions for registering a case “against all those found responsible for causing Harpreet Kaur and her child’s death”, Mr Kamaljit Singh had earlier asked for handing over the probe to an independent agency like the CBI. Directions for fixing responsibility on persons involved in the “disappearance of evidence” had also been sought.

He had alleged that “on account of political power and influence wielded by Bibi Jagir Kaur, the case relating to Harpreet Kaur and her child’s death would be hushed up and all those responsible for the same would not be touched”. He had further added that the facts and circumstances “clearly indicated that efforts were being made to hush up the case”.

He had stated that “neither any first information report was registered nor any report was made to the police”. The cremation, he had added, was performed stealthily.

Describing the death as “unnatural”, he had stated that her body was not shown to the petitioner’s relatives, nor was the post mortem conducted. The petitioner had also stated that Harpreet Kaur “was the last person to commit suicide”.Top

 

Rice millers oppose CBI probe
By P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH , May 15 — The decision of the Union Food Ministry to entrust half-a-decade old case of Punjab rice millers to the CBI has irked the state government.

This move of Mr Shanta Kumar will not only upset the apple cart of the SAD-BJP, but also have a bearing on the forthcoming kharif paddy procurement and milling.

It all started with an innocent question in the Rajya Sabha by Punjab MP, Mr Lajpat Rai, who asked the Food Ministry to compensate Punjab procurement agencies for the loss suffered due to the sale of paddy ordered by the Union Ministry at rates lower than its cost and shortages . The case pertains to 1994-95.

Rather than extending a helping hand, Mr Shanta Kumar instead said he would order a CBI probe to find out as to who caused those losses: the ministry officials, the rice millers or the procurement agencies.

The minister, sources in the state government say, felt that Rs 275 crore claim lodged by Punjab was without any merit because the state had failed to get its paddy milled in time and also forced the ministry to sell off paddy at low rates to the millers.

The Centre, it is learnt, is even contemplating to “freeze” the first instalment of Rs 120 crore of the compensation already paid to Punjab on the intervention of Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

The decision to compensate Punjab was taken when Mr Surjit Singh Barnala headed the Food Ministry.

The Punjab Rice Millers’ Association on May 11 had requested both the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister to intervene. The association is convinced that Mr Shanta Kumar has, probably, been misled by giving him only “selective information”. Those who did so, perhaps, had their own axe to grind, remarked Mr H.S. Baggar of the association.

To recap, in 1994, there was a bumper paddy harvest. Together, the state agencies and the FCI procured 74 lakh tonnes of paddy. With godowns full, the only alternative was to store paddy in the premises of the private millers after executing proper agreement. To do so in the national interest, the orders had come from New Delhi.

The association has about 2,600 members. The millers in Punjab have had a long dispute with the Union Food Ministry over “rice specifications”.

As a consequence of unsettled dispute between the millers and the ministry, the pace of custom milling slowed down. The Punjab Food Secretary, Mr P. Ram , is on record saying, “The state procurement agencies were making all-out efforts to get paddy milled when the Government of India unilaterally announced the policy of ‘open sale’ of remaining stock of paddy in March 1995. This sudden and unilateral decision of the government adversely affected the paddy milling and also sowed the seeds of future trouble”.

The open sale, as per the ministry directive, was to be at Rs 442 per quintal for superfine and Rs 422 for fine variety of paddy. The open sale was ordered to reduce excess and surplus central pool stock level. With there being hardly any buyers, the Food Ministry further reduced the open sale rates to Rs 395 and Rs 375 per quintal for superfine and fine varieties. This was in August 1995.

The rates were further reduced from June 1, 1996, to Rs 330 for superfine and Rs 300 per quintal for fine paddy. Subsequently, New Delhi went lower to allow open sale at Rs 240 and Rs 220 per quintal for the superfine and fine varieties.

Punjab sources say since paddy was sold as ordered by the ministry, it was felt it would be “neither fair nor just” to take action against the millers. Since New Delhi insisted, Punjab resorted to registering police and criminal cases against the millers and also opted for arbitration besides lodging of civil suits.

Prolonged storage in unsafe godowns led to shortages, which the procurement agencies and the FCI detected at the millers’ premises. The shortage of paddy in case of state agencies was 1.6 lakh tonnes and the FCI 20,000 tonnes.

Mr P. Ram constituted a committee on July 26, 1999, under the chairmanship of the Director, Food and Supplies. Its recommendations were considered at a meeting by the Chief Secretary, Mr R.S. Mann, on November 3, 1999. The recommendations were shortlisted and a memorandum for the Punjab Council of Ministers prepared. The same was considered by the council on April 17 last.

The sources said the council took a policy decision to drop pending arbitration cases against millers for any losses suffered by the agencies due to the sale of paddy as per orders and rates fixed by New Delhi. Millers were allowed to deposit rice in lieu of their unauthorised conversion of paddy into rice during storage in their premises.

It was further decided that in case of any shortage in paddy due to moisture it should be deposited by the millers at the rates of custom- milled rice. In case any miller had paid part amount against the shortage, he could deposit the balance in the form of rice as well as bank interest. In case the millers had purchased common paddy unauthorisedly , cases against them were to be withdrawn because they had already paid for the fine paddy.

It was also decided to pursue the pending arbitration and criminal cases against those millers whose physical verification showed that they had neither paddy nor rice with them .It was also decided that in case paddy was found short at the time of the verification of stock, the millers would deposit the money at the sale rate but the release orders were not issued. The orders would be issued at that stage by recovering the balance amount in terms of rice.

It is this backdrop which the sources say Mr Shanta Kumar should understand instead of asking the CBI to probe. The impression in Chandigarh is that this decision of the BJP minister in the NDA will strain the SAD-BJP relations and open a Pandora’s box without much benefit.Top

 

Navjot Sidhu case: notice issued
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 15 — On appeals against the acquittal of former Test cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu and companion by Patiala Sessions Judge in a case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notices for August 29.

Seeking the setting aside of the trial court’s orders, the state of Punjab and the complainant, Mr Jaswinder Singh of Mandi village in Patiala district, had earlier asked for pushing for respondents also.

Terming the acquittal order as “erroneous”, counsel for the state had stated that the trial court had failed to appreciate the law and the evidence on record.

The respondents, it may be recalled, had been acquitted by the trial court on September 22, 1999. Pronouncing the orders, the Patiala Sessions Judge, Mr K.S. Grewal, has observed: “The case has not been established beyond reasonable doubt. The accused are hereby entitled to acquittal. They are hereby acquitted of all the charges”.

Navjot Singh Sidhu and companion, Rupinder Singh Sidhu, were earlier booked by police after Mr Gurnam Singh was declared dead at Patiala’s Rajindra Hospital.

According to the prosecution, Navjot Singh Sidhu had allegedly kicked Mr Gurnam Singh on the left knee and other body parts, besides hitting him on the left temporal region, after being asked to move his car away from their way.

The prosecution had also alleged that Sidhu had dragged Mr Gurnam Singh out of the car after abusing him and two other commuters. The accused, the prosecution had added, had left the scene with the car keys after an alarm was raised.Top

 

Rode’s interview to Press resented
Tribune News Service

AMRITSAR, May 15 — The task force of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, and Bhai Jasbir Singh Rode, a former Jathedar of the Akal Takht and President, Shiromani Akali Dal (Panthic), today exchanged heated words before the performance of ‘ardas’ at the Akal Takht here today.

The unsavoury incident occurred over an interview given by Bhai Rode to a section of the Press from the top floor of the Akal Takht. Bhai Rode said he had done nothing wrong by briefing the Press. The SGPC spokesman, in a written press statement, has alleged that Bhai Rode has violated the ‘maryada’ by doing so.

The task force manhandled Mr Karan Kapoor, a cameraman of ANI, for interviewing Bhai Rode. The mediapersons were stopped from taking photograhps of the ‘ardas’ performed at the Akal Takht.

Meanwhile, addressing a press conference here today, Bhai Rode said that the ‘Ambit Parchar’ campaign was being launched to spread awareness about Sikhism at the grassroots level. He further said that Sikh organisations would force the government to make public the inquiry report about the ‘disappearance’ of Bhai Kaunke.Top

 

Construction of six buildings stopped
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 15 — Taking up a telegram alleging the construction of six buildings without provision for parking by the Jalandhar Municipal Corporation Mayor in the traffic regulation and pollution control case, Mr Justice Swantanter Kumar of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has ordered that “further construction of buildings specified in the telegram and all such buildings similarly situated shall be stopped forthwith”.

Pronouncing the orders in the open court, Mr Justice Kumar also directed: “The owners, builders and the parties interested therein shall maintain status quo in regard to title, possessions and constructions till further orders of the Court”.

Mr Justice Kumar observed: “It will be appropriate and in consonance with the principles of natural justice that all such builders and owners are heard before the order is confirmed and any other direction is passed. Thus a show cause notice is also issued to the builders and owners....”In his detailed order, Mr Justice Kumar observed that the commissioner, appointed by the Court, “has confirmed that he noticed certain building which was not having a parking place. However, he could not identify the building”.

Justice Kumar also observed: “Be that as it may, in order to prevent irreparable traffic hazard and accident resulting there from, it is ordered that further construction of buildings specified in the telegram and all such other buildings similarly situated shall be stopped forthwith”.Top

 

Information centres, museums for zoos
From Our Correspondent

CHHAT BIR, May 15 — The Wildlife Welfare Society of Punjab, constituted for assisting the authorities in the administration of zoos, is setting up information centres and museums for educating visitors to the zoos.

The first meeting of the society was chaired by Mr Surjit Kumar Jyani, Forest and Wildlife Preservation Minister of Punjab, at Chhat Bir Zoological Park here today.

The minister said the society would establish a fund for securing its aims and objectives. Funds of the society would consist of grants made by the Centre and State governments.

Any person, who made donation or contribution, fee of such an amount as the management committee may decide from time to time may be admitted as ordinary member. Such member has to apply on a form prescribed by the society. the forms would be available with the Divisional Forest Officer in each district, who has been authorised to receive the donations.

Besides, corporate and institutes can be members for which they have to pay initial fee of Rs 25,000. Any person can become a life member by donating Rs 5,000. The annual fee for member is Rs 100.

Mr Jyani said that more ‘‘exotic’’ species of birds and animals would be introduced in zoos and deer parks in the state to attract visitors and tourists. He emphasised the need to start captive breeding of rare and vulnerable species such as vultures which are facing extinction.

He directed zoo director Dr Vinod Sharma to interpret objectives of the zoo through documentaries on wildlife, distributions of pamphlets and posters.

Members of the society will be allowed free entry in zoos and parks of the state. The donors are liable to be exempted from Income Tax under section 80 -C of the Income Tax Act, 1951.

Mrs Gurvinder Chahal, Finance Commissioner, Forest and Wildlife, suggested to open a souvenir shop in the zoo and start toe-master (a battery operated vehicle) to take the visitors around to show different animals in the enclosures.

Others who were present included Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Mr Gurmeet Singh, Principal Chief Conservator of Wildlife, Mr V Mohindra, Special Secretary Forest and Wildlife, Mr Dharamvir, Managing Director, Punjab Forest and Development Corporation, Mr Rajinder Singh and Dr Vinod Sharma, Director of the Chhat Bir Zoological Park.Top

 

R.S. Sandhu gets additional charge

CHANDIGARH, May 15 (UNI) — Dr R.S. Sandhu, Director, Health Services Family Welfare, Punjab, has been given the additional charge of Director, Homeopathy, by the state government with immediate effect, an official spokesman said here today.
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Postings date extended
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 15 — The Punjab Government today further extended the last date of effecting postings and transfers of its employees.

As per a press note, the date, which expired today, has now been extended till May 25.
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Industrialist held for forgery
From Ruchika Mohindra
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, May 15 — An industrialist and believed to be one-time driver of international smuggler Haji Kuli Mastan, Mr Madan Singh Bharara, was arrested today on charges of criminal intimidation, forgery and getting documents signed by the use of force in a joint operation of the Bangalore Police and the local police.

A two-member team of the Bangalore Police and a team of the local police arrested Mr Bharara from his urban estate residence early today.

He was later produced before the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr A.K. Mehta, and was given a three-day transit remand.

It is learnt that Mr Bharara would now be produced before the court of the Ilaaka Magistrate in Bangalore on May 18 and his bail application would also be taken up there.

Police sources said the Senior Superintendent of Police, Ludhiana, had received a fax message from the Joint Commissioner of Police, Bangalore, Mr Ajay Kumar Singh, on May 13, wherein it was stated that a case under Sections 342, 325, 506, 386 and 120-B of the IPC had been registered against Mr Bharara and a few others in the Ashok Nagar police station of Bangalore city on February 3, 2000.

The message said while a few co-accused in the case had already been arrested, Mr Bharara had been contacting his associate in Bangalore from Ludhiana. It mentioned the address of Mr Bharara’s factory in Ludhiana along with his telephone number.

The message said, “ .... He is wanted in a case having inter-state ramifications in which he is accused of threatening in the name of some international gangs. It is requested that he be arrested forthwith and an FIR under Section 41 (1) (I) of the CrPC be issued on request and he be taken into police custody till the time a police team from Bangalore reaches Ludhiana.”

The two-member police team from Bangalore, led by Inspector S. Kumaram, reached Ludhiana last night. The sources said the entire operation was carried out secretly to avoid any political pressure because of Mr Bharara’s alleged links with some political bigwigs in the state.

The sources added that the case was registered by the police on a complaint of criminal intimidation from a person, whose property was bought after getting the documents signed allegedly through Mr Bharara’s henchmen and his alleged claims of having association with the Chhota Rajan gang.

Mr Bharara has been allegedly dealing in property and his business spreads across Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Ludhiana. He is one of the leading exporters in cycle parts from Ludhiana.Top

 

Two shot dead over land dispute
From Our Correspondent

FEROZEPORE, May 15 — Two persons, including a woman, were shot dead by armed men at Gatti village, near here, yesterday following an altercation over a land dispute. While Khushia Bai died on the spot Jeet Singh succumbed to his injuries at the Civil Hospital. Another person, Gurdev Singh, was wounded in the attack.

A case of murder has been registered against six persons on his complaint at the local Sadar police station. However, no one has been arrested so far.

Police sources revealed today that six men armed with a rifle and swords, stormed the house of the victims and fired at Khushia Bai.

Gurdev Singh has identified the assailants as Joginder Singh, Kashmir Singh, Diwan Singh, Jagtar Singh, Balbir Singh and Fauja Singh.Top

 

Jilted girl commits suicide

JALANDHAR, May 15 (UNI) — A girl, waiting to marry her US-based fiance to whom she had been engaged four years ago, committed suicide at the house of her in-laws to be in nearby Nakodar town yesterday after the boy’s mother broke their engagement.

According to the police Manjit Kaur (30), travelled all the way from her native Bhanoki village near Phagwara to Nakodar and went straight to the house of Mahinder Lal, her father-in-law to be, and consumed Celphos tablets, an insecticide.

Panicked by her act, Mahinder Pal informed her parents and rushed her to civil hospital where she died in the evening. Meanwhile, her parents accompanied by relatives and villagers reached the hospital and demanded registration of a case of abetment to suicide.Top

 

Custodial death accused in police remand
From Our Correspondent

KHARAR, May 15 — Mrs Neelam Arora, Judicial Magistrate, Kharar, today remanded Malvinder Singh Malhi, sub-inspector Punjab police, to police remand till tomorrow. He is in judicial custody in connection with the custodial death case of the nearby Hasanpur village.

Assistant Public Prosecutor and SHO told the court today that the accused who got himself admitted in Rajindra Hospital Patiala, from the central jail. He escaped to Hasanpur village on March 26 where he threatened the father of Mr Davinder Singh asking him to change his statement in the court. The defence counsel, meanwhile, submitted the bail application of the accused.Top

 

Temporary teachers continue to teach
From Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

PATIALA, May 15 — Pirthee Singh, an undergraduate, was appointed a temporary education worker in his village government primary school on February 15. His term of appointment was to end on March 31. Pirthee is still teaching in the school.

So are many others in neighbouring villages of Bilaspur, Jaula, Mahadipur and Salimpur Jattan, besides Mardanheri where Pirthee teaches. The government had launched a scheme in January whereby village panchayats were authorised to recruit those students who had passed the 10 plus two examination to teach at the primary level.

The scheme created groupism in many villages where the panchayats could not evolve a consensus on the appointments. Due to this at many places temporary teachers were kept at the end of January or in February. Pirthee also joined duty on February 15. He had not got any rumeneration till some time back.

Pirthee and many others like him are still continuing to do their duty hoping they will be given extension in service or paid after March 31 as the government has not been able to fill the posts till now.

When The Tribune team visited his village school Pirthee was the only teacher on duty with the other two staff members having gone elsewhere on official duty.

At other places also it was seen that the temporary teachers had been managing the schools to a large extent. However, there are also cases where the recruitments have not been according to the laid down criterion, mainly due to the fact that the sarpanches have made selections on criterion other than merit. Now the same panchayats want extension to be given to the temporary teachers till regular appointments are made. They feel the authority to recruit temporary teachers whenever needed should remain with the panchayats so that it could look after the interests of its village school properly.

Educationists feel the move would further boomerang on the government. Former District Education Officer Gyan Singh said the appointments had been made on the whim and fancy of the sarpanches which had defeated the purpose of the scheme. He said the very concept that the temporary teachers should be from the villages or near it had been violated in many cases. He further said that the selection should have been at the tehsil level so that they could have been given rudimentary training and posted in their own areas.

District Education Officer (Primary ) Harnam Singh Bajaj, when contacted, said there would not be any extension in the scheme and temporary teachers should not take classes any longer as they would not be paid for any extra work after March 31. He said the department was not satisfied with the experiment and had directed the block panchayat and education officers to make a list of those students who had passed the plus two examination so that a consolidated list was created at the block level. He said in this manner the department itself could hire teachers on temporary duty wherever needed.

Mr Bajaj said there was not much scope of recruitment of temporary teachers in the district any more as the government had decided to hire such teachers in the Kandi and Bet areas only. He said 7,200 vacancies were being filled in the state out of which 514 teachers would be recruited in Patiala district.Top

 

Training for PPSC exams
Tribune News Service

PATIALA, May 15 — The IAS and Allied Services Training Centre at Punjabi University will start the two-month crash course for PCS (E)/DSP/BDPO examination to be conducted by the PPSC from May 26.

Dr G.S. Bajwa, Director of the centre said interested candidates could apply on plain paper along with three passport size photographs by May 19. The interview for admission will take place on May 23.

He added that the last selection, out of the 91 selected candidates, 41 were trainees of this centre.
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K.B.S. Sodhi elected PCCTU chief
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 15 — Mr K.B.S. Sodhi (GGN Khalsa College, Ludhiana) has been elected president of the Punjab and Chandigarh Teachers Union (PCCTU) at the 51st general election held at Jalandhar, reliable sources said here today.Prof Charnajit Chawla, Sri Guru Gobind Singh College, Sector 26 has been elected general secretary. He has held the post on previous occasions also.

Other office-bearers include Mr J.S. Randhawa, Lyalpur Khalsa College, Jalandhar, as vice-president and Dr N.P. Manocha, GGDSD College, Sector 32 as finance secretary.The meeting asked the government to make way for implementation of the pension scheme cleared by it as early as 1996.
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