Tuesday, May 30, 2000,
Chandigarh, India





punjab
P U N J A B

Lok Bhalai Manch to get ‘militants’ back
AMRITSAR, May 29 — Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, President, Lok Bhalai Manch today said his party would work for the "safe return" of about 800 Sikh youths to India who had gone to various European and other countries at the height of militancy.

News Analysis
Shanta for probe, Badal agrees
CHANDIGARH, May 29 — Whether some influential politicians and rich millers like it or not, the Union Food and Supply Minister, Mr Shanta Kumar, is determined to know the truth as to who bungled and caused a loss of Rs 250 crore during the 1994-95 paddy procurement season.

8-yr wait for dead son’s ‘release’
AMRITSAR, May 29 — In a bizarre incident a constable emotionally blackmailed the elderly parents of a slain militant for eight years merely by claiming their son was alive, in custody somewhere, and he would reunite them.

Action sought against Parneet
PATIALA, May 29 — Senior Congress leader Brahm Mohindra today appealed to the Congress President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, to take action against the Patiala Lok Sabha member, Mrs Parneet Kaur, for not attending a recent meeting of the District Planning Board.

Punjab Police personnel stand guard as RSS activists perform their morning drill in Kidwai Park, Ludhiana, on Monday
Punjab Police personnel stand guard as RSS activists perform their morning drill in Kidwai Park, Ludhiana, on Monday. photo by Inderjit Verma

Mother united with kids
LALTONKHURD (Ludhiana), May 29 — This non-descript village, 25 km from Ludhiana, witnessed touching scenes today, when two U.K. born Indian children were taken away from their grandmother and aunts and handed over to their mother, a British national, courtesy the British High Commission and the district administration.



YOUR TOWN
Amritsar
Chandigarh
Hoshiarpur
Jalandhar
Kapurthala
Patiala
Sangrur


EARLIER STORIES
 

25 hurt as workers clash, 28 held
SANGRUR, May 29 — At least 25 persons of two factions of the Lal Jhanda Punjab Bhatha Mazdoor Union of this district were today injured in a clash in front of the office of the Assistant Labour Commissioner here while the police arrested about 28 persons involved in the clash. The people also resorted to a mild lathi charge to control the clashing workers.

Police undertrials break fast on persuasion
PATIALA, May 29 — Seven police undertrials, including a Superintendent of Police, lodged in the Central Jail here on murder charges, have broken their hunger strike on the ‘’persuasion’’ of the jail authorities.

POLITICS

JD (S) to support United Front nominees
HOSHIARPUR, May 29 — The district unit of the Janata Dal (S) at a meeting here on Saturday decided to contest and support candidates of the United Front in the nagar panchayat elections to be held on June 17 in the district.

COMMUNITY

Rooted in Indian consciousness
PATIALA, May 29 — Rooted in Indian culture and consciousness, the art of young artist Preeti Mann is full of yearnings for renewal and rejuvenation. Her works of art, specially those in woodcut relief and Intaglio, are also experiments which please the human eye and compel the mind to look for deeper meanings.

NABARD to fund Patiari Dam
HOSHIARPUR: NABARD has agreed to finance the proposed construction of Patiari Dam. Work on the project had been suspended for want of funds. The staff of Dholbaha Dam, construction circle, including one superintending engineer, four executive engineers, 14 sub-divisional engineers, 43 junior engineers along with technical and non-technical employees are sitting idle. The annual expenditure of this circle is more than Rs 7 crore and the staff looks after only the maintenance work of 10 dams out of which six are located in Hoshiarpur district and four in Ropar district.

AIPRF conference concludes
SANGRUR, May 29 — The two-day all India conference of the All-India People’s Resistance Forum concluded here yesterday with the adoption of a resolution to intensify the struggle against the growing imperialist exploitation of the country and the anti-people policies of the central and state governments.

Punjab transfers
CHANDIGARH , May 29 —In yet another round of transfers, the Punjab Government today shifted the Financial Commissioner (Taxation), Mr C.L. Bains, as well as the Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Mr Sudhir Mittal.

Notice on Ropar bus mishap
CHANDIGARH, May 29 — On a petition for registering a case against "erring" Punjab Roadways officials allegedly responsible for causing death of over 40 passengers in Ropar bus mishap, besides restraining the respondents from plying unfit buses, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notice of motion for August 8.

Survey for link roads ordered
CHANDIGARH, May 29 — The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today ordered a survey of all such remote villages, particularly in the border belt, where the first road link has not been provided so far.

CRIME

Immigration racket busted, 3 held
JALANDHAR, May 29 — With the arrest of three persons and the recovery of 33 passports from them the Economic Offences Wing of the district police claims to have busted an immigration racket being run by a manager of a Sharjah-based company and having its office in Mumbai.

Beggar burnt to death
JALANDHAR, May 29 — Ramesh Kumar, a beggar, was allegedly burnt to death by some unidentified persons at Mall Road in the cantonment area last night.

EDUCATION

Languages Dept cash-strapped
AMRITSAR, May 29 — The Punjab Languages Department, the Punjab State University Textbook Board and many government and semi-government departments which were opened to promote Punjabi language and culture have been facing a financial crisis due to the alleged "callous" attitude of the state government.Top







 

Lok Bhalai Manch to get ‘militants’ back
Tribune News Service

AMRITSAR, May 29 — Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, President, Lok Bhalai Manch (LBM) today said his party would work for the "safe return" of about 800 Sikh youths to India who had gone to various European and other countries at the height of militancy.

Talking to the press here, Mr Ramoowalia said most of the youths had no links with terrorist activities and had fled to foreign countries as they feared "elimination" by the police. He said such youths who had not committed serious crimes could contribute to the development of the country.

The LBM had already launched a signature campaign and several MPs and prominent persons had appended their signature to the representation, which would be submitted to the Prime Minister.

Mr Ramoowalia claimed that neither the Shiromani Akali Dal nor any other party had launched any such programme so far. He appreciated the decision of Union Home Minister L.K. Advani for the release of Sikh TADA detainees against whom no serious case was made out.

Mr Ramoowalia said Mr Parkash Singh Badal had failed to protect the interest of the residents of Udham Singh Nagar and said he was going to Udham Singh Nagar to mobilise people against the decision of the Union Cabinet. He said his party had also written a letter to Mrs Sonia Gandhi on the issue.

Lashing out at the Centre for allowing the import of milk and milk products and other consumer items Mr Ramoowalia said it would ruin local dairy owners and milk plants set up with huge investments.

He said the Lok Bhalai Manch would launch a campaign against the decision and expressed surprise over the "studied" silence of Mr Badal on the issue.Top

 

News Analysis
Shanta for probe, Badal agrees
By Gobind Thukral
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 29 — Whether some influential politicians and rich millers like it or not, the Union Food and Supply Minister, Mr Shanta Kumar, is determined to know the truth as to who bungled and caused a loss of Rs 250 crore during the 1994-95 paddy procurement season.

In fact, sources in the Food Ministry in Delhi have indicated that the Central Bureau of Investigation has started making preliminary inquires and very soon a formal case would be registered. It may be recalled that an Akali member of the Rajya Sabha, considered close to the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder had shot a letter to Mr Shanta Kumar urging him to drop the idea of a probe and pay the remaining amount of Rs 153 crore to the Punjab Government that had suffered losses. There should be no harassment to paddy millers, he urged.

Interestingly, Mr Badal who initially backed Mr Bhunder and other officers and spoke even to the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, has now stated that he has no objection to the CBI probe. It is possible that Mr Badal has now come to know the real facts and the persons involved in this huge bungling," a senior Food Department officer here quipped.

There is another twist to the tale, the Union Minister, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa ,has come out for the probe. "Why should we be scared of the facts. We were not in the government," he reportedly said. The Punjab Council of Ministers, where this issue had come up earlier in April last was also divided.

Well, food and politics can never be separated, yet the facts in this case are very revealing. During the 1994-95 paddy season, 73.79 lakh tonnes of paddy was procured - 27.4 lakh tonnes by the Food Corporation of India and rest by the state agencies. This paddy as promised was to be milled by February 1995. But only about 33.70 lakh tonnes of paddy could be milled and handed over to the FCI. Roughly 40 lakh tonnes of paddy was left.

Now begins the real story as the letter from the Union Ministry to the CBI revealed. The FCI and the Punjab agencies agreed to allow an open sale of this paddy at Rs 440 per quintal equivalent to the cost and other charges. But only 50,000 tonnes could be sold. later this rate was lowered to Rs 370 per quintal and then in June 1996 to Rs 240-250 per quintal. Some officers came under fire and some are still in the spot, the sources maintained. Why the agencies did not invoke the relevant clauses and force the millers to shell the paddy or pay ?

The sources alleged that many millers had exported the rice milled from this very paddy and there were only paper transactions. Some 20 lakh tonnes of paddy was sold in this fashion, the sources asserted. The FCI did hold an internal vigilance inquiry into the bungling in the districts of Gurdaspur and Bathinda. One district manager, Mr Mangat Ram was dismissed. Why there was no omnibus enquiry to fix the responsibility at all levels is intriguing.

While Mr Shanta Kumar has strongly refuted any bias against Punjab, by saying that Punjab feeds the country and is the front line state of brave people, he nevertheless does believe that the truth about this huge loss must be known.

The CBI inquiry would reveal all. The loss calculation is also different. One source pointed out that it is not Rs 250 crore ,but much more and could be Rs 450 crore. Take this rice at the open market price and then calculate the loss. "We cannot digest the fact which everybody knows that paddy is milled till September end, yet in this case the paddy was to be milled by February end. The agreement clauses with the millers were not invoked and by the agencies concerned and the Punjab Government was party to the decision to lower the price repeatedly. "It was known to the authorities that there was no paddy left with the millers when the price was lowered to Rs 240-250 per quintal. It had already been milled and sold. The whole operation was just a sham", a source in the ministry asserted.

But the Punjab Government does not buy any of these arguments. It says the state was not a party to the decisions taken to lower the price. Punjab has suffered a loss of Rs 273 crore and the Union Government has agreed to pay this money. In fact, it has already paid Rs 120 crore. "There is no question of causing any loss to the Punjab Government. But why should anyone object to an open investigation to fix the responsibility"? Union Food Department official ask.

The Punjab Government has already withdrawn pending arbitration cases for any loss suffered by the agencies. Millers are being allowed to deposit rice in lieu of their unauthorised conversion of paddy during storage of this paddy. But Punjab would pursue cases, both civil and criminal where the agreement has been violated. Why has Punjab taken such a long time to pursue this case? Why has now an important member of parliament taken up cudgels on behalf of the defaulter millers and officers who are alleged to have minted money after creating deliberate crisis.

Indeed, Mr Badal, who has backtracked on his known stand against the probe, is aware of the division in his council of ministers and in the ruling Akali Dal.Top

 

8-yr wait for dead son’s ‘release’
Tribune News Service

AMRITSAR, May 29 — In a bizarre incident a constable emotionally blackmailed the elderly parents of a slain militant for eight years merely by claiming their son was alive, in custody somewhere, and he would reunite them.

Daljit Singh and Surinder Kaur, residents of Ghariala village, thought they were a dreaming when they were first told that their only son, Onkar Singh, who was killed in a police encounter in 1992, was "still alive".

The ‘news’ was broken to the family by Head Constable Swarn Singh, the then Reader of the SSP Majitha. Swarn Singh, whose wife is from Ghariala village, told the family that he had seen their son. Although the family had by then performed the last rites of Onkar Singh, a student of MA (Punjabi), Khalsa College they were desperate to believe otherwise.

After a few days Swarn Singh began his ‘blackmail’. If the family gave him Rs 1.50 lakh for the SSP he claimed he would get their son released from secret police custody.

After a while he even introduced them to a young woman, Kuldip Kaur with a two year old baby which he claimed was their son’s child.

Ironically despite failing to deliver on his promises Swaran continued to dupe the family of Onkar Singh for the past about eight years by citing one pretext or the other to explain his failure to ‘free’ their son.

Until the old couple could not take it any longer and turned to its supposed tormentor, the police, in despair. Dalip Singh informed the police that Kuldip Kaur had invited them to gurdwara ‘Shaheedan’ where they were to deliver Rs 10,000 for information about Onkar.

Kuldip was caught red-handed while accepting the money outside the gurdwara. Kuldip Kaur reportedly told the police that Swarn Singh, who is still at large, had promised to get her brother a job in the police, if she acted out the role he asked her too.

Addressing a press conference, Daljit Singh and Surinder Kaur said they faced a danger to their lives from Swarn Singh who was still at large. They said members of their family were so gullible that they believed whatever Swarn Singh said as he was ‘married’ into their village.

They said Swarn had even shown them fraudulent photographs of the marriage of their son with Kuldip Kaur to lend credence to his ‘story’. Top

 

Action sought against Parneet
Tribune News Service

PATIALA, May 29 — Senior Congress leader Brahm Mohindra today appealed to the Congress President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, to take action against the Patiala Lok Sabha member, Mrs Parneet Kaur, for not attending a recent meeting of the District Planning Board.

Addressing a press conference here yesterday along with other leaders, including former minister Prem Gupta, former Punsup chairman Brij Lal Goel, former Improvement Trust chairman Nirmal Singh Bhattian, city leader Santokh Singh and expelled Congressman Birdevinder Singh, the senior Congressman alleged that Mrs Parneet Kaur had violated the directive of Mrs Sonia Gandhi requiring every Congress MP to work in their respective constituencies after the end of the Parliament session. He said he would apprise the party president about the matter. His views were endorsed by other Congressmen attending the conference.

Mr Mohindra said the people of the city felt betrayed at not being represented at the planning board meeting. He said this was more so as Mrs Parneet Kaur would have been the lone person representing the Congress at the meeting. He said due to her absence the Congress could not put across its viewpoint on the allocation of funds for various schemes in the district at the meeting which was held after a gap of nearly one year.

When asked why he had not raised the issue with the Punjab Pradesh Congress, he said he had thought it fit to take up the matter with the party president. He also admitted that he was not consulted properly on party matters by the PPCC. When questioned about the presence of Mr Birdevinder Singh at the conference, he said the latter was an old Congressman and could not be expelled from the party by any one person alone.

When questioned that he was said to be coming in the way of holding of the elections to the Patiala Municipal Corporation, Mr Mohindra said this was not the case. He said a petition had been filed in the high court against the wrong demarcation of wards, breaking of the principals of contiguity, population, compactness and reservation. He said the court, while acting on the petition, had directed the stage government to correct the anomalies. He said this had not been done by the state government. He claimed the government was reluctant on this score as it felt it could not claim a majority in the corporation.

The Congress leader also condemned the reported move to dispose of prime government property in the city, specially that on which residences of senior officers had been built. He said selling off government property in this manner would not solve the financial difficulties being faced by the government, saying that such a stop-gap arrangement would prove costly later.

He also alleged that the government was not giving Rs 2.25 crore collected as octroi from liquor sale to the municipal corporation. He demanded that this sum be sent to the corporation immediately so that it could take up various development works.Top

 

Mother united with kids
From Ruchika Mohindra
Tribune News Service

LALTONKHURD (Ludhiana), May 29 — This non-descript village, 25 km from Ludhiana, witnessed touching scenes today, when two U.K. born Indian children were taken away from their grandmother and aunts and handed over to their mother, a British national, courtesy the British High Commission and the district administration.

A police party led by Inspector Maninder Bedi and accompanied by British High Commission First Secretary, Ms Angela Slater and the passport officer, Mr Charanjit Singh converged on the village around 3.30 p.m.

Upon reaching the Grewal household, the police brought the two children in one room and after their mother Harjinder Pal Grewal, identified her children and her elder son identified his mother the police brought the children back to the Sub Divisional Magistrate, Mr Kuldip Singh’s court, after finishing the paper work.

The SDM, who had issued production warrants for the two children earlier in the day, later granted the custody of the children to the mother.

It is learnt that the children were brought to India on April 4, 1999, by their parents, Harjinder Pal Grewal and Rajnesh Singh Grewal. The couple later left for the UK, leaving the children in the custody of Mrs Amrit Kaur (Rajnesh Singh’s mother).

The couple was having strained relations and Harjinder Pal Kaur came back to India a few of days ago. She visited the village on May 27 and wanted to take the custody of her two children, which was allegedly denied to her.

She approached the British High Commission and urged it to intervene and help her get the custody of her children. The British High Commission, in turn, approached the district administration here and after a D.D.R. was registered at the sadar police station, today, the entire operation was carried out.

Talking to TNS, Mrs Amrit Kaur Grewal alleged that her daughter-in-law approached her two days ago and wanted the custody of her son only.

"For more than a year, we have raised the two children by giving them love and comforts. My daughter-in-law has misused the British High Commission’s concern for its nationals’ welfare here and manipulated the situation to snatch away the children from us," said an almost wailing Mrs Amrit Kaur Grewal.Top

 

25 hurt as workers clash, 28 held
From Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

SANGRUR, May 29 — At least 25 persons of two factions of the Lal Jhanda Punjab Bhatha Mazdoor Union of this district were today injured in a clash in front of the office of the Assistant Labour Commissioner here while the police arrested about 28 persons involved in the clash. The people also resorted to a mild lathi charge to control the clashing workers.

According to witnesses, brick kiln workers of both factions used sticks, bricks and bottles against each other which not only injured several persons but damaged the showcases windows and other items of shops. Shops near the clash site, were closed for several hours following the clash.

One faction of the union is led by Com Tarsem Jodhan, general secretary of the Lal Jhanda Punjab Bhatha Mazdoor Union, while the other belonged to Comrade Dev Raj Verma, a joint secretary of the Punjab CITU, and Comrade Chand Singh Chopra.

Both factions blamed the other for the clash and claimed their supremacy in union.

According to information available here workers of Tarsem Jodhan faction were staging a protest dharna in front of the office of the Assistant Labour Commissioner in support of their demands since this morning. Workers of the Verma-Chopra faction arrived later in the day. At an altercation followed between both factions which later took any ugly turn.

Talking to mediapersons, Mr Gurdev Singh, SHO (City), claimed that the police had not made a lathi-charge but had intervened it to control clashing workers. He said the police had lodged an FIR on the complaint of the owner of Vijay Tea Stall and had arrested more than two dozen workers of both factions, including Mr Beant Singh, President of the district unit of the union (Tarsem Jodhan group)

Of the injured 12 were admitted to the local civil hospital.

Com Tarsem Jodhan said the Lal Jhanda Punjab Bhatha Mazdoor Union was affiliated to the CITU and he controlled the union. So no new union under the same name could be formed.

Earlier, com Dev Raj Verma, Joint Secretary of Punjab CITU, said the police resorted to a lathi-charge on their workers and demanded the arrest of Mr Tarsem Jodhan.Top

 

Police undertrials break fast on persuasion
From Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

PATIALA, May 29 — Seven police undertrials, including a Superintendent of Police, lodged in the Central Jail here on murder charges, have broken their hunger strike on the ‘’persuasion’’ of the jail authorities .

The undertrials had resorted to a hunger strike on May 19 according to a press note issued by them. However the Jail authorities had claimed that the undertrials started their hunger strike on May 23. The strike was organised in reaction to a statement attributed to the Union Home Minister in which he had said that the case for release of militants booked under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act was being considered by the Central government. The police undertrials had demanded that cases against them should also be withdrawn before the government considering releasing militants booked under TADA.

Superintendent of Police Dilbagh Singh, who is one of the undertrials lodged in the Central Jail, himself disclosed to his family members today that the policemen had ended their fast. Mr Dilbagh Singh disclosed this to his family members, including his wife Rajinder Kaur, whom he met in the Government Rajindra hospital today. He had been brought to the hospital for a medical check up of a back pain.

Mrs Rajinder Kaur told TNS that her husband and other policemen had been coerced into breaking their fast by the jail authorities. She said the fast was broken on May 27 after a visit to the prison by the Inspector General of Prisons. She said the Jail authorities told the undertrials that they must break their fast immediately or the jail authorities would take action against them. She said the jail authorities said if the undertrials did not break their fast they would be segregated and put in different cells.

Mrs Rajinder Singh said this threat forced the undertrials to break their fast. She said the undertrials felt they would come under a great security risk if they were put up in different cells with other prisoners. She said due to this the undertrials chose to break their fast. She said the jail authorities had, however, promised the undertrials that they would be allowed to meet their relatives freely.

She said some days back she had also faced difficulty in meeting her husband. She said despite waiting for two hours she could not meet him. She said while she had met her husband today whom she described as being in satisfactory health, she would now go to the jail to meet him tomorrow during the fixed meeting hours. She appealed that her husband be allowed bail as he was facing charges on cases which were many years old.

Mrs Rajinder Kaur was in the city today along with another relative Labh Singh and her two children. During her stay in the city she also prayed at the Kali Mata Mandir on the Mall road where she was presented with a siropa by Hindu Suraksha Samiti President Sanjeev Bhardwaj.

Ever since the news of the fasting undertrials broke out after one of them — Assistant Sub Inspector Devinder Singh — was released on bail on May 22, the Central jail here has seen a lot of action. On May 26 activists of the Punjab Shiv Sena shouted slogans against the jail authorities after they were refused a meeting with the undertrials. The Shiv Sena had also demanded to know the state of health of the undertrials alleging they were being kept under wraps by the jail authorities. The authorities have all along been claiming that the undertrials were in sound health and that their health as well as weight was being constantly monitored. They include a Superintendent of Police, one Inspector, one Sub Inspector, two constables and two special police officers. Top

 

6 join Lok Bhalai Manch
Tribune News Service

AMRITSAR, May 29 —As many as six office-bearers of the youth wing of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal joined the Lok Bhalai Manch today.

They are Mr Dishadeep Singh, senior Vice-president Youth wing of the SHSAD, Mr Tarlok Singh Sohi, Mr Sukhpreet Singh Pooni, Mr Mandeep Singh Bedi and Mr Sarbjit Singh Sultanwind. They joined the Lok Bhalai Manch in the presence of Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, President of the Manch, Mr P.S. Sidhwan and Mr Harinder Singh Rayar.Top

 
POLITICS

JD (S) to support United Front nominees
From Our Correspondent

HOSHIARPUR, May 29 — The district unit of the Janata Dal (S) at a meeting here on Saturday decided to contest and support candidates of the United Front in the nagar panchayat elections to be held on June 17 in the district.

Mr Harbhajan Singh Bhaur, general secretary of the unit, stated in a press note that a meeting of the United Front would be held on June 2 at Mahilpur to finalise the strategy for the ensuing nagar panchayat elections.

The meeting expressed concern over the inefficient working of the local Municipal Council. It was decided to stage a dharna in the last week of June to protest against the deterioration in the condition of sanitation, roads and water supply.Top

 
COMMUNITY

Rooted in Indian consciousness
Tribune News Service

PATIALA, May 29 — Rooted in Indian culture and consciousness, the art of young artist Preeti Mann is full of yearnings for renewal and rejuvenation. Her works of art, specially those in woodcut relief and Intaglio, are also experiments which please the human eye and compel the mind to look for deeper meanings.

Preeti has travelled a full circle in her exhibition which was inaugurated in the Banasar Art Gallery in the North Zone Cultural Centre here today. Right from copying western subjects, to perfecting the art of drawing and painting through beautiful painted still life, she delves deep down into Indian psychology, its culture and the uniqueness of its time old magic.

A few of her paintings stress this point. Preeti says the paintings were self realisations also as after this she felt the world in India and we did not hanker to go here and there for anything. The paintings, including ‘My World My Heritage’, Ganesha and Qutab Minar also stand out for the attention paid to detail. She has used the ancient cultural heritage to capture the inner unity between the world of nature and that of man.

Preeti herself feels that she practices Art as a means of culturing herself. She seems to have capacity to capture different moods and depict difficult experiences. The limbs of her figures are pure and harmonious and her draughtsmanship excellent.

The woodcut relief and Intaglio works soothe the eye. She has mainly concentrated on the Fine Arts Museum in the Punjabi University, besides other symbols in the works which are done in light colours. Others works include many which are full of enthusiasm depicting surging strength.

The exhibition titled “Safar” was inaugurated by Punjabi University Vice Chancellor Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia with other dignitaries, including North Zone Cultural Centre Director R.T. Jindal. The exhibition will go on till June 5.Top

 

NABARD to fund Patiari Dam
From Ravinder Sud

HOSHIARPUR: NABARD has agreed to finance the proposed construction of Patiari Dam. Work on the project had been suspended for want of funds. The staff of Dholbaha Dam, construction circle, including one superintending engineer, four executive engineers, 14 sub-divisional engineers, 43 junior engineers along with technical and non-technical employees are sitting idle. The annual expenditure of this circle is more than Rs 7 crore and the staff looks after only the maintenance work of 10 dams out of which six are located in Hoshiarpur district and four in Ropar district.

The proposed dam is the 11th of the chain of 31 dams in the Kandi area of Hoshiarpur and Ropar districts.

The proposed dam site is at Patiari Khad and is 5 km up-stream of Kharkan village. The dam site is situated at about 23 km from Hoshiarpur city on the Hoshiarpur-Una road. The estimated cost of the dam is Rs 18.04 crore.

Mr T.L. Bangay, Superintending Engineer, Dholbaha Dam construction circle, said that due to the rugged topography of the area movement of water on the surface was not feasible. It has been proposed to lay an underground PVC carrier channel. This system had worked well in Perch, Saleran, Mirzapur and Siswan Dam command areas. He said that the distribution system which would be laid down in the command area of 730 hectares and in a length of 23 km would cover Dalewal, Patiari, Kharkan and Mehlanwali villages. The command area is mainly on the both sides of Patiari Khad.

He said that the proposed dam would bring radical changes in the economic conditions of this Kandi area.

He said that as soon as funds from NABARD were received construction work would be started. The pre-qualification tender and other formalities had already been done.Top

 

AIPRF conference concludes
Tribune News Service

SANGRUR, May 29 — The two-day all India conference of the All-India People’s Resistance Forum (AIPRF) concluded here yesterday with the adoption of a resolution to intensify the struggle against the growing imperialist exploitation of the country and the anti-people policies of the central and state governments.

The conference also condemned the decision of the Punjab Government to allow the import of milk and milk products of a multi-national company of Denmark as this would badly affect the small milk producers in the state.

The AIPRF also resolved to launch a campaign against the repression of the peasantry movements in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Dandakaranya, comprising 12 districts of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa.

The conference also criticised the Union Government’s proposal to impose a ban on the CPI (ML), People’s War Group and other revolutionary organisations.

The work report of the AIPRF for the period 1994-99 was presented at the conference by Mr G.N. Saibaba, national general secretary of the forum.

Mr Saibaba said the forum would also launch a nationwide struggle against the anti-people policies of the Indian ruling classes and against the state repression.

Dr Darshan Pal, national president of the forum, presented the perspective of the AIPRF.

In the last session of the conference following were elected office-bearers of all India executive committee. president — Dr Darshan Pal (Punjab); general secretary — Mr G.N. Saibaba (Delhi); and joint secretary — Mr A.P. Singh (Bihar).Top

 

Punjab transfers
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH , May 29 —In yet another round of transfers, the Punjab Government today shifted the Financial Commissioner (Taxation), Mr C.L. Bains, as well as the Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Mr Sudhir Mittal.

In their place come in Mr Y.S. Ratra and Mr D.S. Kalha, respectively.

Mr Bains goes in place of Mr Ratra as Financial Commissioner (Development), while, Mr Mittal has not been given a new posting, as per a Press note issued by the government.

No one has been posted Commissioner, Patiala division, in place of Mr Kalha.The Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, Mr S.K. Sandhu, has been asked to look after the work of the Commissioner till further orders.

The PCS officers reshuffled today are as follows :

Mr Chander Gaind is posted as Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Jalandhar -II; Mr Harminder Singh is now Sub-divisional Magistrate , Nakodar , in place of Mr Sucha Singh Mast, who has not been given any posting .

Mr Shivdular Singh Dhillon is the new Assistant Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana, against a vacant post. His place as SDM , Ropar also remains vacant.

Ms Amrit Kaur Gill goes as Land Acquisition Officer, PSEB, Patiala, relieving Mr T.P.S.Phulka of the additional charge. Her place as SDM, Dhuri, has not been filled.

Mr Mohinder Pal is now Assistant Commissioner (Grievances), Amritsar, in place of Mr Harminder Singh, who has since been posted as SDM, Nakodar. Mr Rajiv Prashar is joint State Transport Commissioner in place of

Mr M.P. Arora, who has not been given fresh posting orders.

The work of the Assistant Commissioner (grievances), Ludhiana, will be looked after by Ms Anita Darshi.

Given the vacancies yet to be filled and interests being shown by MLAs and others pulls and pressures more transfers are on the anvil.Top

 

Notice on Ropar bus mishap
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 29 — On a petition for registering a case against "erring" Punjab Roadways officials allegedly responsible for causing death of over 40 passengers in Ropar bus mishap, besides restraining the respondents from plying unfit buses, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notice of motion for August 8.

Seeking directions to the Ropar Senior Superintendent of Police for registering a case under Section 304-A of the Indian Penal Code against the officials, the petitioner — Punjab Civil and Consumer Welfare Front — had also asked for the grant of Rs 5 lakh as ex-gratia payment to the kin of the Ropar bus accident victims.

The organisation, in their petition taken up by Mr Justice R.S. Mongia and Mr Justice K.C. Gupta, had further asked for directions to the states of Punjab and Haryana, besides the UT Administration and eight other respondents, against running buses "over seven-year-old and not conforming to the road safety rules".

Claiming the buses to be "unfit due to old age and defects", the petitioner had added that earlier also over 50 passengers were stranded for more than five hours after Chandigarh Transport Undertaking bus broke down on April 30 near Karnal.Top

 

Survey for link roads ordered
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 29 — The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today ordered a survey of all such remote villages, particularly in the border belt, where the first road link has not been provided so far.

During his recent tours of the border areas, he was informed that for the first road link to all villages in three border district would mean construction of approximately 600 km link roads at an estimated expenditure of Rs 40 crore.

Stressing the need to complete link roads which were left half way a number of years ago, Mr Badal today released a sum of Rs 28 crore for this purpose to the Public Works Department and the Punjab Mandi Board giving an assurance all incomplete roads would be completed in one go within this year, says a press note.

Mr Badal also directed the Punjab Mandi Board and Rural Development Board to formulate plans for the second phase of 2,000 -km-long link roads.

It was also brought to the notice of Chief Minister that heavy commercial vehicles engaged in sand mining tended to damage the link roads near such quarries. Mr Badal has sought legal feasibility of imposing toll on such heavy commercial vehicles for generating resources for repair of such roads.Top

 

Badal’s schedule
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 29 — Ministers, members of Parliament and Assembly, political, social and reliious leaders and senior functionaries of political parties, can meet the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday (working days only) at his office in the Secretariat from 11.30 to 1.30. The general public can see him on the same days at his official residence at 4 pm, says a press note.Top

 

Mazdoor Union stages dharna
Tribune News Service

JALANDHAR, May 29 — To lodge their protest against rise in prices of the PDS goods, the Pendu Mazdoor Union organised a dharna in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner, here today.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Tarsem Peter, General Secretary of the union, alleged that the Central Government was withdrawing subsidies at the behest of the WTO. He said on one hand the Punjab Government was sympathetic towards the farmers and manufacturers of local goods on the other a resolution had already been passed in the Assembly in favour of entry of foreign goods in the domestic market.Top

 

Disabled soldiers given 1 lakh each
Tribune News Service

JALANDHAR, May 29 — Next of kin of martyrs and disabled soldiers of the Punjab Regiment hailing from Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir were honoured at a function organised by the Punjab Regiment at Fazilka yesterday.

Maj Gen Mohinder Singh, GOC, was the chief guest. He presented cheques worth Rs 1 lakh each to disabled soldiers and Rs 50,000 each to the martyrs’ kin.Top

 

Tributes paid to Atma Singh
From Our Correspondent

KAPURTHALA, May 29 — Rich tributes were paid to Atma Singh, a former minister and leader of the Akali Dal (Badal), on his third death anniversary at Sultanpur Lodhi on Saturday.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, announced that a team of experts under the leadership of the Chief Town Planner would prepare a plan for the overall development of the town. He said the funds would be provided for sewerage and water supply pipes during this year.

Mr Badal said Rs 25 lakh would be spent on the construction of school buildings in each Assembly constituencies.Top

 

Water tankers flagged off
Tribune News Service

JALANDHAR, May 29 — The Punjab Youth Congress and the Punjab Petroleum Tankers’ Union today jointly sent 10 water tankers for the drought affected areas in Rajasthan.

The tankers were flagged off by Mr Som Parkash, Deputy Commissioner, in front of the Indian Oil Depot at Suchi Pind near here.

Mr Davinder Singh Babbu, President, Punjab Youth Congress, said the tankers had been sent to Delhi from where hundreds of other tankers would be flagged off for Rajasthan by the AICC president, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, tomorrow.Top

 
CRIME

Immigration racket busted, 3 held
Tribune News Service

JALANDHAR, May 29 — With the arrest of three persons and the recovery of 33 passports from them the Economic Offences Wing of the district police claims to have busted an immigration racket being run by a manager of a Sharjah-based company and having its office in Mumbai.

Mr Gaurav Yadav, SSP, said the accused were arrested yesterday when they were busy conducting interviews of candidates, who were desirous of going abroad, at Guru Nanak Nagar locality. Benjamin of Sonawala in Mumbai, one of the accused, had specially been called to conduct the interview to give it a genuine look.

Benjamin is working in Mumbai as manager of a Sharjah-based company. The two other accused have been identified as Avtar Singh of Ramgarh locality and Atma Ram of Fatehgarh locality in Hoshiarpur town.

Chander Bhan of Kahnpur village near here, on whose statement the police has registered a case against the three, had alleged that he was defrauded of Rs 1.8 lakh for being sent abroad.

Mr Yadav said the accused had allured a number of youths in this connection. They had also taken their passports and promised them work permits in the Middle East. A case has been registered and the investigation in this regard has been entrusted to Mr Amit Parsad, SP, Operations.Top

 

Beggar burnt to death
Tribune News Service

JALANDHAR, May 29 — Ramesh Kumar, a beggar, was allegedly burnt to death by some unidentified persons at Mall Road in the cantonment area last night.

The body was recovered by the police today. No arrest has been made. A case has been registered.Top

 
EDUCATION

Languages Dept cash-strapped
Tribune News Service

AMRITSAR, May 29 — The Punjab Languages Department, the Punjab State University Textbook Board and many government and semi-government departments which were opened to promote Punjabi language and culture have been facing a financial crisis due to the alleged "callous" attitude of the state government.

The cash-strapped Punjab Languages Department has not been able to announce even the "Shiromani awards" for the past two years. So much so an advisory board, which recommends the names of awardees has not been constituted so far. The SAD-BJP Government, which came to power about three years ago, has presented these awards only once so far.

Interestingly, the Secretary, Higher Education, recommended the winding up of the Punjab Textbook Board due to several reasons about two months ago. However, the state government has not taken any decision so far in this connection.

It is pertinent to mention here that the then Higher Education Minister, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, had constituted an advisory board for the Punjab Languages Department which had recommended the names of eminent writers for the "Shiromani awards" in January, 1998. The then SGPC President, Mr G.S. Tohra, had presented these to the winners. Though it is a tradition that either the Chief Minister or the Governor of Punjab or both must be present at the award-presentation ceremony, both of them failed to make it. Their absence was felt by the eminent writers at that time.

Though Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta constituted the advisory committee again in 1998 it was not approved by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. After the resignation of Mr Calcutta, the portfolio of Higher Education was allocated to Master Mohan Lal. However, the Chief Minister again took over charge of this prestigious department. It is reliably learnt that these departments have been facing a lot of problems while paying the petrol, electricity bills etc due to the financial crunch. Most of the Punjabi writers who had applied to the Punjab Languages Department for financial assistance for the publication of their books have been waiting for such grants.

Similarly, the Punjab State University Textbook Board has been passing through a critical financial crunch these days. It is learnt that during the stint of Mr Prithipal Singh Kapur and Mr Suba Singh as Directors of this board it had enough funds. The then Minister of Higher Education, Mr Sukhjinder Singh, had showed a keen interest in streamlining the board at that time. Many attractive schemes were framed for smooth running of the board. However, the board came to face difficult days due to the alleged "callous" attitude of the authorities concerned.Top

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