|Wednesday, May 17, 2000,
set for Bathinda refinery
Dont revive Sikh identity
Dharna by power engineers
Patiala agog with excitement at
NRI familys offer
Arrested without evidence
Contract killings on rise in
RSS meeting to resolve crisis
Pak to hand over spys body
Cong submits memo on price hike
Waterlogged fields worry farmers
LPG dealers threaten stir from
Punjabi writer dead
Tributes paid to Sukhdev
condemned buses on road at Ropar
Failure to take action against SP
2 arrested for killing woman
Body in box found on train
Hijack conspirators remand
Tohra not president of
Hearing on test eligibility
All set for Bathinda
CHANDIGARH, May 16 At last decks have been cleared for starting the work on the Bathinda oil refinery project worth Rs 16,000 crore.
The union Cabinet has given a green signal to the Union Petroleum Ministry to go ahead with the construction work to instal machinery for the project at Phullo-Khari village, near Rama Mandi in Bathinda district.
For commencing the work on the project June 2 has been fixed by the Punjab Government in consultation with the Union Petroleum Ministry. The Union Petroleum Minister, Mr Ram Naik, and Minister of State for Petroleum, Mr E. Punnuswamy, along with the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, will jointly perform the ceremony for launching the construction work on the project on June 2.
In this central sector project, the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited is a principal investor and is negotiating with a French company Totalfina for a joint venture. In fact, already an agreement has been signed by the HPCL with the Totalfina. A high-level team of the HPCL is scheduled to visit France later in the second week of next month for finalising the details of the agreement which include equity. The Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation, a Punjab Government undertaking, is playing the role of a facilitator in this venture.
It is the biggest project to be installed in Punjab since Independence.
The project was hanging fire for the past one and half years. The Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, laid the foundation stone of the project on November 13, 1998, following the clearance of the project by the Public Investment Board on November 4, 1998.
The Principal Secretary to the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Ramesh Inder Singh, who is also Secretary, Industry, told TNS here this afternoon, that the Board of Directors of the HPCL had passed a resolution that it had enough resources to execute the project on its own without any collaboration. In fact, the HPCL had already earmarked Rs 300 crore for starting the work immediately pending the clinching of the deal with the French company. The same resolution was referred to the Union Petroleum Ministry which presented it before the union Cabinet which further gave a green signal to start the work.
Earlier, the Union Government had told the Petroleum Ministry and the HPCL not to start work until a tie-up with some private company was finalised for the joint venture. And this had delayed the commencing of the work on the project.
Mr Ramesh Inder Singh said all necessary clearances from the Union Government had been obtained. The biggest task was the clearance of the site at the Kandla port.
It had been done by the Union Environment Minister. Even the "rights of way" had been obtained from the farmers concerned for laying the pipeline from Kandla port to the project site in Bathinda district. He said the land had not to be acquired for this purpose, but only rights had to be acquired for burying the pipe in the fields of the farmers concerned.
As ships carrying crude oil anchor in the high sea and oil from these had to be brought through pipes to the port site, a lot of technical clearance was involved in the process, Mr Ramesh Inder Singh said. The single point mooring and a crude oil terminal required to be established as a part of the project had also been cleared by the Union Environment Ministry. Mr Badal had held a detailed meeting with the Union Environment Minister in this connection last week.
Dont revive Sikh identity
FEROZEPORE, May 16 The Punjab Government has provided adequate security to Kamaljit Singh, the man who claims to have married SGPC chief Bibi Jagir Kaurs daughter Harpreet Kaur deceased since, and his family.
Talking to mediapersons at Shahzadi village today, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal added that security to Kamaljit Singh and his family had been provided following a direction from the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
Regarding the demand to delete Article 25(I) (B) of the Constitution clubbing the Sikhs with Hindus, the copies of which were burnt by Mr Badal himself, he said such issues should not be revived and given much importance now because Punjab had already suffered greatly due to such things in the past. "Let us not get into politics of negativism". When asked if his party was considering to recommend certain amendments in the constitution during its proposed review to address this issue, he said, "Let the time for review come".
Exhorting the media to observe restraint, Mr Badal said, "Do not do such a thing that might vitiate atmosphere in Punjab". He, however, said it was the duty of the media to represent the views of all. The Opposition was playing a negative role because it wanted to harm peace in the state, he alleged and said, the opposition, however, would not succeed in its tactics.
When asked about his partys stand over the pronouncement by the Sikh conclave that assembled at Akal Takht a couple of days ago that Sikhs had a distinct identity, Mr Badal said, "Do not ask a question that may further deteriorate the situation." However, he said, he had full regard for Akal Takht.
Regarding Mr Barjinder Singh, Hamdards resignation from the Rajya Sabha, Mr Badal said, "The ball is in the court of the Vice-President who has to decide the fate of Mr Hamdards resignation". The SAD (Badal) had nothing to do with the resignation, He neither denied nor accepted the allegation that Mr Hamdard had resigned only to vacate the Rajya Sabha seat for his son Sukhbir Badal, a former Union Minister.
Patiala agog with excitement at
NRI familys offer
PATIALA , May 16 Patiala is agog with excitement following an offer made by a non-resident Indian family to give Rs 5 crore for development of the area for which it has also requested the Punjab Government to give a matching grant .
The offer has been made by Akali Dal (Badal) leader Surjit Singh Rakhra, who unsuccessfully contested the last Lok Sabha elections from this constituency . Mr Rakhra s brother Darshan Singh Dhaliwal owns a string of petrol pumps and other businesses in the USA and the money is expected to come from him .
However it is not clear till now as to how the money will come into the country and from what fund the government will release a matching grant and as to who would execute the works to be done under the scheme . Patiala Deputy Commissioner Jasbir Singh Bir when contacted by TNS said he did not know anything about the scheme as Mr Rakhra had not shared it with him .
The Deputy Commissioner said the scheme had not been discussed with him and he did not know how the government would release funds for the works . He said though there were no funds with the planning department for the purpose , the Chief Minister could release funds for the purpose from the Infrastructure fund . He said he would be discussing with Mr Rakhra as to how his familys part of the funds would come . He said as far as execution of the works under the scheme were concerned they could be done by any government agency .
Though Mr Rakhra was not available for comment, a spokesman said the family would try to establish a trust to receive and monitor the funds. He said there could be a government nominee in the trust who could regulate execution of the works in cooperation with family trust members . The spokesman said Mr Rakhra was in the process of finalising the details of the project with the Chief Minister .
The spokesman said the Rs 5 crore offered to the government for a joint development exercise was only an initial amount. He said Mr Rakhra s family intended to spend Rs 100 crore for development works in the state. He said implementation of the works could be done on mutual understanding with the Rakhra family undertaking work on the demands of the people of the area.
However, not all people are happy with the project. They feel everything related to it should be done in a transparent manner. Ishu Singla, a businessman, said the entire scheme should be implemented by a committee consisting of government and private nominees. He said stress should be laid on ensuring that all round development was undertaken and that the scheme took off immediately.
Mr Amarjit Singh said
the government should put its share of money
immediately so that the scheme could take off. He said
the government nominee should ensure that works done
under the scheme were not targeted at bettering the
political interests of the Rakhra family only and
encompassed all sections of society. Many others want
that the Rakhra family, which lives near Patiala, should
also take interest in development works in the city like
contributing towards building of a over bridge at railway
gate number 22.
Dharna by power engineers
PATIALA, May 16 The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) Engineers Association today staged a dharna in front of the PSEB head office at Patiala in which engineers from all over the state participated. The engineers demanded the scrapping of power purchase agreement signed with a private company M/s GVK for setting up the Goindwal thermal plant.
The association President M.S. Bajwa and Secretary Anil Miglani said the clause of deemed generation under which board would be forced to buy power from the company at 75 per cent plant load factors throughout the year, would result in a loss of over Rs 100 crore per year.
They said the PSEB had an energy surplus for seven months in a year and sold power to other states during this period. Even during remaining five months, low demand period persisted for 30 to 40 per cent of time but due to the clause of deemed generation, board would be compelled to purchase power from M/s GVK by opting out power from cheaper sources.
They said the agreement on the one hand allowed the company to bring in foreign capital as per its convenience but on the other hand put burden of foreign exchange variation on the PSEB. It is observed that although the PPA was signed on April 17 when dollar rate was approximately Rs 43.85 but board had allowed foreign exchange variation by taking a base dollar rate of Rs 35.70, which was totally unjustified.
Mr Bajwa and Mr Miglani said the inflow of costly power in the PSEB system would further aggravate the already precarious financial position of the board which was virtually on the brink of complete bankruptcy due to the populist policies adopted by the state government.
They said the board was losing over Rs 3 crore per day on account of unremunerative tariff being charged from consumers. The loss on account of free power to agriculture sector alone was Rs 1800 crore per year.
They said the board had already entered a vicious circle whereby loans were being raised to repay earlier loans. In the coming paddy season, they said the cash-starved PSEB would have to make lot of power purchase from central sector to supply power for 8 to 10 hours to tubewells may find it impossible to make the payments thus affecting the supply to rural sector.
The engineers decided to resist all moves of the central government to push through the World Bank-sponsored privatisation of power sector through electricity bill 2000. They said the so-called reforms introduced in Orissa, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh had failed miserably with tariff in these states increasing from 2.5 to 3 times. In Orissa, the agriculture tariff has increased from 29 paisa per unit to 75 paisa per unit, while industrial tariff had increased from 89 paisa per unit to 277 paisa per unit.
ZIRAKPUR: A large number of Punjab State Electricity Boards (PSEB) employee staged a dharna in front of the office of the Executive Engineer here today.
On the call of the PSEB Employees Action Committee, members of various electricity divisions also organised a rally in protest against the new policies of the Board and suspension of their colleagues by the Chairman.
They raised slogans and criticised the authorities for their anti-employees policies. The rally was addressed by Mr Janak Singh, Mr Gian Singh, Mr Amar Nath and other union leaders.
Arrested without evidence
PHAMMANWALI, May 16 Can the police keep under arrest certain persons for more than a month just on the suspicion of their involvement in a murder case and, that too, after 14 years?.
Such a case has come to light in this village near Nadampur on the Patiala-Sangrur border. Three persons of this village are behind the bars even though the police has neither any evidence nor any witness of the crime or even a formal complaint from the family of the murdered persons alleging the involvement of those arrested.
Rajwinder Singh, a daily wage earner in this village had mysteriously disappeared in a 1987. After a few months the police, registered a case of blind murder against certain unidentified persons but no clue about them was found all these years.
In February this year, the Bhawanigarh (Sangrur) police reopened the case, but just on the basis of an informers report booked four persons, including - Jarnail Singh and three brothers- Hamir Singh , Bhura Singh and Kewal Singh. The former three were later arrested while the fourth had absconded.
The police a few days ago also dug up an agriculture field in the village in search of the body of the murdered boy but nothing was found. Teja Singh, father of the three brothers, booked in the case is meanwhile running from pillar to post to get his sons acquitted in the case. Talking to TNS he said his sons had been illegally framed in the case and questioned the right of the police to keep them under arrest without any evidence against them.
Mr Teja Singh said it was strange that the police had on its own registered a case and made arrests without having any proof of suspicion against them. Demanding the immediate release of his sons, he sought a thorough probe into the manner in which the investigations were held in this case.
Mr Janak Raj president district unit of the Lok Bhalai Party (Ramoowalia) has also demanded a high-level inquiry into the case. He has urged the DGP, Punjab to issue directions to the police not register cases without any proper investigations.
While the DIG Patiala Range Mr. Sanjeev Gupta reacting to Tribune inquiries has directed the SSP, Sangrur Mr Jatinder Aulakh, to inquire into the allegations of improper investigation into the murder case, Mr Anil Joshi, SHO, Bhawanigarh, when contacted sought to justify his investigations. Mr Joshi who was posted in the police station in February this year said he made special efforts to solve an otherwise closed case. Admitting that he had no evidence or even a formal complaint from the family of the murdered boy, he said he had based the investigations on the report of the informers.
The SHO said, 14 years ago Kewal Singh, the absconding accused was caught illegally brewing liquor. He said he had definite information that Kewal Singh and his brothers believed that Rajwinder had informed the police about the liquor smuggling and thus had murdered him and buried the body somewhere. Defending his move to arrest the accused, he said he had sent several official letters to the accused to come and meet him regarding the case but when they did not turn up for several weeks he had to arrest them.
Contract killings on rise in
FARIDKOT, May 16 Gurjant Singh of Romana Ajitsingh village was recently arrested by the police for allegedly killing, Mangal Singh, a resident of the same village after taking "supari" (contract money) of Rs 10,000 from Kaur Singh, a brother of the deceased, on May 1.
Three brothers Mela Singh, Sadhu Singh and Babu Singh of Darakapatti Mour village of Barnala police district hired Jarnail Singh of Sohna village to kill the father-in-law of their sister. Jarnail Singh, who was promised a payment of Rs 80,000 for committing the crime was given Rs 40,000 as "contract money" in advance. The killing was executed by three brothers along with the contract killer on March 1.
Two police constable, posted in this district along with a retired cop acted as contract killers and killed Bhadur Singh of Khatra village of Ludhiana district after taking Rs 1.80 lakh from the father, brother and another relative of the deceased in June 1999.
In the Fazilka area, a woman and her kin hired a contract killer to finish her husband. After killing her husband, she along with the other accused threw the body into a canal.
Though no organised gangs of criminal are operating, in the region yet contract killings are catching up. In the past two years, villagers, migrant labourers and members of the established criminal gangs of UP and other states have executed the killings in the region in lieu of contract money.
Police sources said there was no organised gang of contract killers operating in Punjab as presently. Some of the criminals who had acted as contract killers had done so out of social and economic compulsion.
The sources said organised gangs of criminals operating in Punjab were mostly involved in the theft of vehicles and burglary. The members of such gangs belonged to different states and their operations were not confined to one state only.
Four members of the Tiwari gang of UP executed the killing of a clerk in the Block Development and Panchayat Office (BDPO), Gidderbaha, home town of Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal in lieu of money about two years ago. These contract killers were hired by the kin of Inderjit for Rs 2 lakh for committing the crime and they were paid Rs 50,000 in advance.
The Muktsar police had arrested Sukhwinder Singh and Rajinder Kumar for killing Charan Dass, a sadhu, in his dera located on Goniana-Muktsar road last year. They had taken Rs 40,000 from Hans Raj for executing the killing of Charan Dass.
A senior police official of the region, when contacted, said on condition of anonymity that if social and economic conditions prevailing in Punjab continued for some more time, contract killings would become more common in the state. After repeated failure of cotton crop in the region, crime pattern had been undergoing major changes, he added.
RSS meeting to resolve
JALANDHAR, May 16 Mystery shrouded the presence of Mr Chiranjeev Singh, president, Rashtriya Sikh Sangat, in a secret but high-level conclaves of the RSS at Pili Kothi, near Patel Chowk, and at some other places in the city, yesterday.
The meeting assumes significance in the wake of the ongoing controversy on the Sikh identity, particularly when the sangat is of the view that the Sikhs bear no separate identity, whereas Akal Takht Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti had clearly pointed out on secondly that the Sikhs had a distinct identity and they were a separate "quam". Without naming the RSS, the Akal Takht Jathedar had said in Amritsar that some "anti-Panthic" forces were out to create confusion about the unique identity of the Sikh Panth. The Akal Takht Jathedar had reportedly directed the SAD to actively participate in the proposed review of the Constitution and efforts should be made to incorporate relevant sections in its revised version on the sentiments, principles and distinct identity of the Sikhs.
The ideological clash in
view of different views of the sangat and the Jathedar
and others have disturbed some to the SAD leaders, who
have been feeling pressurised since they were under
continuous attack from radicals that they were not doing
anything to counter moves by some organisations who were
posing "danger" to the Sikhism by propagating
that the Sikhs were part of Hinduism. Such leaders, in
turn had taken up the issue with the senior RSS-BJP
leaders, and todays RSS meeting was said to be
outcome of it. Though it could not be ascertained what
had transpired at the meeting as the media was virtually
kept at bay, but it was learnt from sources that the
conclave was aimed at resolving the crisis, at least for
the moment so as to give some vent to pressure mounted by
radicals on the ruling SAD-BJP combine. The Punjab Local
Bodies Minister, Mr Balramji Dass Tondon, was playing an
important role to defuse the crisis and he had attended a
meeting of the local RSS leaders here yesterday, which
was considered to be the prelude to the todays RSS
meeting attended by Mr Chiranjeev Singh, Mr Ashok
Parbhakar, President of the state unit of the RSS, Mr
Devender Prasad, General Secretary of the state unit of
the RSS, and Mr Mahavir, Vice-President of the state unit
of the RSS.
Pak to hand over spys body today
GURDASPUR, May 16 (UNI) Pakistani authorities will hand over the body of Satpal, who was working for Military Intelligence, to the Border Security Force personnel at Indo-Pak Wagah joint check post (JCP) in Amritsar district tomorrow.
Confirming this, Gurdaspur sector BSF DIG S.P.S. Tanwar told UNI that they would take members of Satpals family and elders of his village Dadwan to the JCP and hand over the body to them after receiving it.
Tej Ram, father of Satpal, said: "We had lost all hopes of receiving and cremating the body because we were not in a position to bear the cost of bringing back the body from Pakistan".
Satpals father said an intelligence official had informed him on April 19 that his son Satpal had died in a Lahore hospital on April 17. He was told by the official that the body would be handed over to the family on April 20. But the family waited in vain.
Later, the same intelligence official again visited Tej Ram and told him that the family would have to bear the cost of bringing back the body. But Satpals wife Jeeto, who had been working as a domestic help ever since Satpal went missing after leaving home on June 13, last year, expressed her inability to foot the bill.
Social activist and BJP Legislator Laxmi Kanta Chawla took up the case with the authorities concerned and it was largely her efforts which moved the official machinery and they agreed to bring back the body of Satpal, who had been tortured in custody by Pakistan Army.
Although Military Intelligence had disowned Satpal, official sources said he was working for various intelligence agencies on assignment-basis like several other residents of Dadwan village.
They said people like
Satpal were sent across the border to gather small bits
of intelligence for various agencies, including the
Border Security Force, Intelligence Bureau, RAW and
state intelligence and were be paid according to the
worth of information brought back by them.
Cong submits memo on price
CHANDIGARH, May 16 A delegation of the Congress party, led by its state President, Capt Amarinder Singh, today submitted a memorandum to the Punjab Governor against the withdrawal of subsidies, price hike of essential commodities and other anti-people steps of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.
Since the Governor is on leave abroad, the memorandum was received by the Secretary to the Governor, Mr S.C. Aggarwal.
The two-page memorandum said protests against government policies, both inside and outside Parliament (peaceful demonstrations and rallies) had failed to move the government. All hopes that some relief would be given to the people before the union Budget was passed were also dashed to the ground. This was despite the strong protest over the price hike and withdrawal of subsidies voiced by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Food and Supplies.
The memorandum said the public distribution system (PDS) in Punjab such was in a shambles and with jacking up the price of atta, wheat, sugar etc the beneficiaries would be deprived of some relief which was accrued to them earlier. All this had created social unrest, it added.
"The Congress will continue to agitate against these anti-poor policies with legitimate means available to the party till the government sees the fury and anger of the people and is forced to revise its policies", the memorandum said.
Several senior Congress
leaders, including the AICC Secretary, Mr Narayanaswamy,
Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Mr Avtar Singh Brar and
Chaudhary Jagjit Singh formed part of the Congress
contingent to Punjab Raj Bhavan.
Waterlogged fields worry farmers
GURDASPUR, May 16 Farmers of about 20 villages located East of Dinanagar are a worried lot due to governments failure to deal with water logging in the area. As many as 5,000 acre of fertile land in the area is waterlogged.
Mr Ram Singh, president of the Block Development Committee, Dinanagar (east), told this correspondent that the committee has requested the government to look into the matter and make arrangement at the earliest to rid the area of the menace of water logging but in vain. Even a letter written to the Chief Minister on March 18, 1998, in this regard had been ignored by the government.
Mr Ram Singh along with members of the Block Development Committee and their representatives in Punjab Assembly had met the Chief Minister during his visit to Gharota on May 14, this year. The Chief Minister had assured them of some positive action in this direction.
The villages which are adversely affected by water logging, included Jandi, Chaunta Bet, Mirpur, Ramvalvan, Sidhpur, Bianpur, Chhota Habibpur, Wadda Habibpur, Gulelra, Katowal, Chechian, Kaleejpur, Bohri Jharoli, Pakhowal, Rasoolpur, Sadana, Hamrajpur and Pandori Bainsan.
The committee complained that excess water of UBDC canal which was being released in Chakki rivulet was causing land erosion in fertile fields of Jandi, Mirpur and Sidhpur. They demanded that a nullah dug in this regard should be connected with main channel of Chakki river to check land erosion.
LPG dealers threaten stir
from June 1
CHANDIGARH , May 16 The All-India LPG Distributors Federation (North-Western Region) today warned the Punjab Government of closing business from June 1 if justice was not done to one of its members belonging to Hoshiarpur, who had been falsely implicated in fabricated cases.
In a press statement, signed by Mr Chander Mukhi Sharma, federation Press Secretary, a complete chronology of events was given about the gas agency , operated by one Mr Ohri, against whom the police had registered a case under the Essential Commodities Act. A copy of the FIR was also attached.
The federation met the Punjab Secretary, Food, Mr P. Ram and sought his intervention. There is also an apex body set up by the government at the instance of the Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, to take care of all such incidents. Yet nothing tangible has been achieved in regard to the Hoshiarpur incident, it said.
The long narration of
the incident in Hoshiarpur on May 9-10 ends with a word
of warning that if the matter was not sorted out by May
31, the gas agencies in the north-western region would
down shutters from June 1.
Punjabi writer dead
PHAGWARA, May 16 Veteran Punjabi writer Pritam Singh Kalasanghian has passed away. He had written more than 30 books, including books for children. He had settled in Jalandhar after retirement.
Gurmit Palahi, former
secretary Kendari Punjabi Lekhak Sabha, Kashmir Qadar and
H.S. Preet, chairman and president of the Kendari Punjabi
Lekhak Manch, Prof J.S. Gandam, vice-president, Palahi
Lekhak Sabha today condoled the demise of Kalasanghian.
Tributes paid to Sukhdev
LUDHIANA, May 16 Glowing tributes were paid to Sukhdev on his 94th birth anniversary. The function was organised by the Shaheed Sukhdev Memorial Trust. The presence of film star Raj Babbar added glamour to the function.
100 condemned buses on road
ROPAR, May 16 About 100 condemned buses in two Punjab Roadways depots of Ropar, which are plying on the roads, are posing a constant threat to the lives of passengers. Sixty buses out of a total of 122 buses in the Ropar depot and 40 out of 96 in the Nangal depot have been declared condemned by the Condemnation Board of the Punjab Roadways. However, due to a shortage of new buses these buses are still being pressed into service.
According to the rules, any bus which has completed 5.25 lakh km and has been used constantly for seven years is declared condemned. The Condemnation Board regularly visits the depots across the state and after identifying such buses declares them condemned.
The new transport policy declared by the government, in which it has been decided that no new buses will be purchased, has put further pressure on the local Punjab Roadways managements to use these condemned buses to regulate most of the routes.
Scarcity of spare parts due to a financial crisis in both these depots has further aggravated the condition of these buses. There is a constant demand for spare parts worth Rs 3 to 4 lakh per month in each of these depots. The local general managers have the authority to spend only Rs 80,000 per month on spare parts. The additional demand has to be met by the divisional offices of the Punjab Roadways. Sources in these depots say that for the past one year, the availability of a spare parts from the divisions has become scarce, which has further worsened the condition of these buses. The situation is more precarious in the Nangal depot where most of these condemned buses have to traverse the hilly terrains on their routes.
The leader of the Opposition, the president of the PCC, Capt Amrinder Singh, and the state general secretary of the CPI, Mr Lal Bahadur, in separate press conferences, yesterday, had condemned the new transport policy of the Punjab Government.
They had alleged that
the new transport policy of the government was aimed at benefiting the private transporters at the cost of
Punjab Roadways. They had also demanded a judicial
inquiry into the causes of the accident which led to the
death of 26 passengers.
PCMSA honours Health Minister
PATIALA , May 16 The Punjab PCMS Association honoured the Punjab Health Minister, Dr Baldev Raj Chawla, at Circuit House here today, for his contribution to the medical profession as a practising doctor and a politician.
Dr M.S. Randhawa, Dr D.S. Gill and Dr Manjit Singh, Patron, President and General Secretary, respectively, of the association, in a joint statement said the medical fraternity had high hopes on Dr Chawla, who could understand the problems and needs of the patients and medicos. Giving him floral honours, it presented him a stethoscope as a memento and symbol of professional bondage. It advised the minister that he needed more professional skill of diagnosis and cure rather than political manoeuvering to improve the Health Department.
The minister assured
them that he would try his best to improve the working
condition of doctors and health staff. He said he would
address himself to all genuine grievances of doctors, who
he felt should concentrate their full energies to serve
the sick and poor.
Promotion criteria harsh: PCMSA
PATIALA, May 16 The Punjab PCMS Association yesterday alleged that the criteria of adjudging the service record on the basis of annual confidential reports (ACRs) imposed by the Punjab Government for granting three assured career progressions (ACPs) was not only too harsh but grossly illegal as it was a disincentive to deny these scales to the vast majority of officers which could not be imposed retrospectively now for the scales which were to be implemented from January 1996.
In a press release issued here yesterday, Dr B.S. Sahota, Dr D.C. Sharma and Dr Rabinder Sethi, president, general secretary, and vice-president, respectively, of the PCMS Association said there was a widespread resentment among the PCMS doctors against this decision of the government which required at least 50 per cent of ACRs as "good" and remaining 50 per cent as average with no below average ACR in the entire career.
The PCMSA demanded that the criteria of examining the ACRs for these simple time-scale placements should be withdrawn and the ACPs should be granted after verifying the length of service only and the power to grant these ACPs should be entrusted to the drawing and disbursing officers.
reiterated its demand that the revised rates of
non-practicing allowance (NPA) should be implemented with
effect from January 1996 from the date from which the
revision of pay-scales had been effected. This, they
said, had been done by the Union Government and this was
also the convention in Punjab.
Field duties for surplus
PATIALA, May 16 In a major rationalisation exercise, the Health Ministry has decided to shift surplus doctors from over-staffed hospitals in the city to the field against vacant posts.
Addressing a press conference here after a meeting of senior health officials of Sangrur, Ludhiana, Fatehgarh Sahib and Ropar, the Health and Family Welfare Minister, Mr Baldev Raj Chawla, said the exercise would be started within fifteen days. He was answering a query regarding overstaffing of doctors in urban areas.
Mr Chawla said some specialists were working in cities against non-specialist posts. Senior health officials said the problem was most acute in Patiala and surrounding districts. He said he had discussed the issues of absenteeism and corruption at the meeting.
The minister said a drive would be started to stop the manufacture of spurious drugs. He added that civil surgeons and drug inspectors had been directed to ensure this was implemented. Action would be taken against them if spurious drugs continued to be manufactured in their districts, he stated.
Speaking about the meeting, he said civil surgeons had complained against lack of infrastructure and non-supply of medicines. He directed them to make advisory committees at the medical centre and dispensary level so that philanthropists could be urged to donate money for medicines. He said the government would purchase a year's stock of common medicines, to be forwarded to the health centres.
Mr Chawla said by December 2000, places having a population of 5,000 would be provided with a sub-centre, those having a population of 10,000 with a subsidiary health centre, those having a population of 30,000 with a primary centre and the places having a population of one lakh with a community centre. He said a district hospital would be built at the subdivisional level and a district hospital in the district. He said Punjab Health Systems Corporation would construct 50 hospitals.
He said Assistant
Medical Officers would deal with medico-legal cases.
Answering questions about objections raised by the Indian
Medical Association over the inauguration of a clinic of
Dr Bengali, who was not a registered practitioner, he
said he had only attended the function.
Failure to take action against
JALANDHAR, May 16 Even though 18 days have passed, no departmental or other action has allegedly been taken by the Punjab Police into the case pertaining to a Superintendent of Police based at Pathankot, who was booked by the district police for allegedly coercing and demanding money from an Assistant Sub-Inspector, also posted at Pathankot.
Although a case was registered against Mr Mohinder Singh, SP, under Sections 165, 201, 467, 468, 471, 506 and 120-B, of the IPC and under the Anti-Corruption Act at Police Division number 1 on April 27 and subsequently the case was referred to the Crime Branch of the Punjab Police, yet no action has been taken against the SP so far. What has raised eyebrows, particularly among police circles, is that the SP concerned has not been transferred or suspended, which according to many, has sent "wrong signals" to the police force, especially at the lower level.
Mr Paramjit Singh Gill, AIG (Crime), who is conducting a probe into the case was not available for comment, but a senior police officer admitted that not taking any action against the SP has set a wrong precedent. "Naturally it will send a wrong signal down the lower levels that one can get away after committing any crime. According to the established norms, the SP should have been transferred after the registration of a case against him to ensure a fair probe into the case, "said the officer. He said not much progress had been made as far as the Crime Branch probe was concerned.
In his complaint, Mr Tarsem Lal, ASI, who was earlier posted at Dinanagar, had alleged that Mr Mohinder Singh had forced him to shell out Rs 30000, which he had to arrange after selling his wifes jewellery. As he was unable to pay an additional amount of Rs 20,000 to the SP, he was "implicated" in a false theft case. The Punjab and Haryana High Court, on a petition, filed by Vandana, a resident of Dinanagar, had ordered the registration of a case against the ASI and subsequently an enquiry into the case was conducted by Mr Mohinder Singh.
The ASI had alleged that during the investigation, he had presented himself before the SP on November 2, 1999, who, in turn, directed him to approach his Reader. The reader allegedly threatened him that he would have to pay Rs 50,000, otherwise he would be booked in the theft case. But in spite of paying Rs 30,000 he was made to get his statement recorded in the theft case and was handed over a copy of the complaint made by Vandana by the Reader. The ASI further alleged that the SP threatened him with dire consequences if he did not pay him the remaining Rs 20,000. The ASI said Vandanas statement was changed to implicate him in the case.
2 arrested for killing
AMRITSAR, May 16 The police claims to have solved the murder case of Ramesh Rani Khanna with the arrest of two persons.
One killer was alleged to be domestic servant of the deceased while the other is a gardener residing opposite the deceaseds residence. The assailants Raj Kumar, alias Raju and gardener Rakesh Kumar, alias Raju, son of Ram Samaj, were allegedly arrested while boarding a train to their home towns.
According to Mr Parampal Singh Sidhu, SSP, a secret information was received on Sunday about the whereabouts of the two accused who had fled after committing the crime. Working on that information the police claims to have arrested the two.
Ramesh Rani, wife of Hira Lal Khanna, a resident of Race Course Road in the Civil Lines area was murdered on May 6.
investigations have revealed that Rakesh Kumar was to be
married shortly and, therefore, was in much need of the
money. He conspired with Raj Kumar to loot the house of
Dr Hira Lal. The two entered the house of the doctor with
the help of the servant. They knocked at the door of the
room of Ramesh Rani who was at that time resting. When
she opened the door the two demanded Rs 50,000 from her.
On her alleged refusal the two stabbed her and fled after
snatching her gold chain.
Body in box found on train
AMRITSAR, May 16 The police in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh is being contacted to identify a body which was found in a box in Chattisgarh Express here yesterday.
The locked iron box containing the body was found by the Railways staff when the train was taken to the yard for washing. Foul smell was emanating from the box.
Officials of the Railway Police said the person was in the age group of 25 to 30 years and was believed to be a resident of Agra or an adjoining area as the shirt he was wearing had a tag of a tailor from Agra. The Agra police had been asked to verify the persons identity, the officials added.
Hijack conspirators remand extended
PATIALA, May 16 (PTI) A city court today extended judicial remand of three alleged conspirators in the hijacking of Indian Airlines plane to Khandhar till May 30.
The three Abdul Latif, alias Patel, Bhupalmar Damai alias Nepali and Dalip Kumar were produced before the District and Sessions Judge, Mr K S Grewal, amidst tight security, and the Judge conducted the proceedings in-camera.
CBI sources declined to divulge any details but sources said the trio had been remanded to judicial custody till May 30.
They were first produced in the court of CBI Judge Amarjit Virk who referred the case to the court of the Sessions Judge.
president of educational society
CHANDIGARH, May 16 The Punjab PWD Minister, Mr Sucha Singh Langah, who is also a member of the SGPC, said today that Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohras claim that he had been elected president of the Sikh Educational Society was false.
Addressing a press conference, Mr Langah said Mr Tohra was not a member of the society and hence he could not be elected as its president. He claimed that the SGPC executive at its meeting held last week had removed Mr Tohra and two dozen others as members of the society and had nominated the same number of SGPC members to the society.
He claimed that the executive was legally within its rights to nominate members as an agreement had been reached with the society in this connection earlier when a loan of Rs 30 lakh given by the SGPC to the society had been converted into a grant by the SGPC
He alleged that Mr Tohra was using the services of certain nominated members in the society to remain president of the Society. The SGPC was examining all documents in this connection and would start legal action against Mr Tohra after consulting all concerned.
Mr Langah, who claimed that he had been elected as vice-president of the society, said the new office-bearers of the society headed by the SGPC President, Bibi Jagir Kaur, had written to the banks concerned to seal all accounts of the society till further orders. Principals of colleges being run by the society had also been informed about the newly elected office-bearers.
He said he had proposed
for postponing the election of the society last week. He
blamed Mr Tohra and Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra for the
violence at the meeting held on May 13. Mr Chandumajra
and Mr Kirpal Singh Libra had come armed along with their
supporters to create disturbance at the meeting, he
Hearing on test eligibility
CHANDIGARH, May 16 The Punjab and Haryana High Court today adjourned the hearing on writ petitions challenging the eligibility conditions laid down in the prospectus for Pre-Medical Entrance Test till May 18, the last date for submission of forms.
Arguing before Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar, counsel for the petitioner submitted that since 1996, the only condition for eligibility was that the students should be holding the domicile of Punjab. Counsel added that now after preparing for the test for two years the students had been declared ineligible which was unjustified.
Counsel added that the Supreme Court had held in a number of cases that reasonable expectations arising out of the policies of the Government could not be thwarted by changing the policy midway.
It may be recalled that
the students holding Punjab domicile having passed 10 + 1
and + 2 from educational institutes outside Punjab have
been made ineligible to compete according to the
eligibility conditions laid down in the prospectus.
CHANDIGARH, May 16 Mr Tarsem Bahia, Principal, A.S. College, Khanna and Mr A.S.Bedi, Principal, S.D.College, Hoshiarpur have been elected president and general secretary, respectively, of the Association of Principals of Non-Government affiliated colleges.
Mr R.L. Uppal and Mr J.S. Dhillon have been elected senior vice-president and vice-president of the association respectively. Mr J.S.Gill has been elected secretary. Mr A.C. Vaid and Mrs Raj Garg have been elected as finance secretary and organising secretary, respectively.
The association in a
resolution passed at the meeting has expressed concern
over the continued delay on the part of the Punjab
Government in releasing the salary grant and in the
implementaion of the pension and gratuity scheme for the
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