Friday, July 21, 2000,
Chandigarh, India






punjab
P U N J A B

Assembly poll before April: Cong
CHANDIGARH, July 20 — The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee is not prepared to believe what the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, says with regard to a mid-term poll in the state. Mr Badal has repeatedly denied that a mid-term poll is in the offing.

Set up federal structure, says Badal
PATIALA, July 20 — Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today demanded setting up of a true federal structure and bringing about modification in the constitution within the ambit of parliamentary democracy.

One washed away in Ghaggar as breaches continue
PATIALA, July 20 — A breach occurred on the Ghaggar river at Sadharanpur village in Samana subdivision in this district today even as water entered several villages in Samana and Patiala subdivisions on the third day of flash floods which claimed one life.

Badal govt blamed for floods
CHANDIGARH, July 20 — The Congress and the Sarab Hind Shiromani Akali Dal have blamed the Badal government for floods in Ropar and Patiala districts.

Mann pooh-poohs RSS 9-point agenda on Sikhs
CHANDIGARH, July 20 — Akali Dal (Amritsar) President and Lok Sabha member Simranjit Singh Mann does not find anything worthy of consideration in the nine point agenda prepared by the RSS to assuage the feelings of the Sikhs. Mr Mann, once a protagonist of Khalistan, is amused at these attempts by those whom he calls “the ultra nationalist organisation.”



YOUR TOWN
Amritsar
Bathinda
Chandigarh
Fatehgarh Sahib
Hoshiarpur
Patiala


EARLIER STORIES
 
COMMUNITY

Victim of bureaucratic apathy?
CHANDIGARH, July 20 — When Dr Darshan Singh Bajaj joined the Punjab Animal Husbandry Department as an epidemiologist 21 years ago, little did he know that his entire-career would be marred by bureaucratic apathy and callousness.

Missing boys traced
AMRITSAR, July 20 — Four schoolgoing boys — Kanwaljit, Atul, Gurjit and Harpreet — hailing from SAS Nagar who were missing since yesterday were found in the Golden Temple complex today.

Police decision on vehicle stickers
CHANDIGARH, July 20 —Following the detection of ‘‘fake’’ stickers to indicate ‘‘authorisation’’ for the use of black film on vehicles, the Punjab police has decided to withdraw all stickers in use at present.

Villagers take the lead
HOSHIARPUR: It is said God helps those who help themselves.That’s what residents of Seena and the surrounding villages in this district decided to do when the authorities paid no heed to their demand for the construction of a bridge.

Politics to blame for militancy, says Bitta
FATEHGARH SAHIB, July 20 — Terrorism is an outcome of selfish politics, according to Mr Maninderjit Singh Bitta, national president Anti-Terrorist Front.

Flood survey ordered in Fatehgarh Sahib
FATEHGARH SAHIB, July 20 — Mr Manoranjan Kalia, Minister for Higher Medical Education, has directed the Deputy Commissioner, Fatehgarh Sahib, to conduct a special survey to identify the flood-prone areas in the district and submit a comprehensive long-term plan for flood protection within a week. He was addressing the District Planning Board meeting here today.

CRIME

Two national-level wrestlers hurt in clash
PATIALA, July 20 — Two international-level wrestlers were seriously injured when a scuffle broke out among two groups of grapplers at the National Institute of Sports campus here late yesterday evening.

YC leader detained for murder?
LHDHIANA, July 20 Mystery shrouds the sudden disappearance of a senior Youth Congress leader who is allegedly involved in a case relating to murder. While some reports said that he had been reportedly rounded up by the police in connection with the same case, family sources maintained that it was a case of kidnapping.

Fake currency seized, 1 held
MALERKOTLA, July 20 — The Malerkotla police today claimed to have busted a gang involved in the printing of fake currency.

‘Sadhu’ forces kids to beg, held
BATHINDA, July 20 — The district police claims to have arrested a ‘sadhu’ who would force children to beg money for him in trains.

EDUCATION

Guidance for medical admissions put off
CHANDIGARH, July 20 — Counselling for admission to medical colleges in Punjab, scheduled for tomorrow, was postponed after counsel for the respondents withdrew the notice dated June 3 in the Punjab and Haryana High Court today.
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Assembly poll before April: Cong
By Sarbjit Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 20 — The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee is not prepared to believe what the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, says with regard to a mid-term poll in the state. Mr Badal has repeatedly denied that a mid-term poll is in the offing.

However, Capt Amarinder Singh, president of the PPCC, says that Mr Badal has started “positioning” his favourite civil and police officers in carefully selected assembly constituencies. Mr Badal has selected 55 Sikh-dominated constituencies and is concentrating on these as far as development work is concerned. The Chief Minister has asked for the names of 20 police officials for posting as SHOs in his own area — the Muktsar belt.

Drawing the attention of the Chief Election Commission, Capt Amarinder Singh has urged the commission authorities to stop the Badal government from shifting officers from the Sunam constituency, where a byelection is due to be held in the coming months.

Capt Amarinder Singh says wherever Mr Badal goes in the countryside, he asks district officials for the names of Akali leaders who can win the elections. Laying of foundation stones and the releasing of funds for different departments all indicate a the mid-term poll.

Talking to The Tribune here today, Capt Amarinder Singh predicted that the assembly elections would be held before April next year because the Union Government was contemplating the suspension of the wheat procurement operations for some years in states like Punjab and Haryana and the giving of advances as loans to farmers against the wheat stock held by them.

Quizzed about growing factionalism in the state unit of the party and the non-participation of Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar in the anti-repression rally organised by the party in Malout yesterday, Capt Amarinder Singh said that groupism was common in all political parties. Mr Brar was invited to the rally but he did not turn up. Mr Gurnam Singh Abulkhurana, a senior leader of the party, had personally gone to invite Mr Brar to the rally, he added.

Moreover, Capt Amarinder Singh said that the decision to organise anti repression rallies had been taken by the PPCC. It was the collective responsibility of party leaders to participate in such rallies. There was a no precedent regarding the sending of a special invitation to any leader for participation in such rallies. A large number of senior leaders turned up at the rally as they felt that it was a party programme. Mr Brar was also staying away from PPCC meetings.

Capt Amarinder Singh said that more anti-repression rallies would be held in Punjab next week. One of these would be held on July 28 at Khem Karan against Mr Surinder Singh Kairon and his son, Mr Adesh Partap Singh Kairon, Punjab Excise and Taxation Minister, to protest against the “use the of police against Congress workers.”

No rally or dharna in the state could be held by any leader without the banner of the PPCC. This had been made clear to all leaders by the party high command. Capt Amarinder Singh said that he had met Mrs Sonia Gandhi and other senior leaders of the party in this connection and Mrs Gandhi had made it clear that discipline would be maintained in the party at all costs.

Asked whether Mr Brar, who proposed to hold a “maha panchayat” of the poor, had also been informed by the party high command about the use of the party banner, Capt Amarinder Singh said he would be told if he went ahead with the plan. He said, he would not mind if any leader decided to contest the election to the post of president of the PPCC, but no one could be allowed to create a situation which demoralised party workers. Leaders should concentrate on strengthening the party in their respective areas.

Capt Amarinder Singh urged the Punjab State Electricity Board to roll back the power tariff hike. Already 5,000 industrial units had been closed and more would be in a similar situation because of the mounting power bills and other overhead costs. Industry was facing rough weather due to various reasons, the main one being the hefty power bills. The Congress would knock at the door of the Punjab and Haryana High Court for the election of the presidents of the newly elected nagar panchayats.

He supported the view that assembly elections should be held under President’s rule in the states to ensure neutrality by the government machinery.

Asked about the organisational elections, Capt Amarinder Singh said he would accommodate all those party activists who had played a pivotal role in the enrolment of 62,755 active members of the party. The election of the PPCC president would be held on November 4.Top

 

Set up federal structure, says Badal
Tribune News Service

PATIALA, July 20 — Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today demanded setting up of a true federal structure and bringing about modification in the constitution within the ambit of parliamentary democracy.

Inaugurating a two-day seminar on ''Indian Constitution and changing social, economic and cultural realities'' organised by Punjabi University here, the Chief Minister said it was unfortunate that successive Congress governments at the Centre had not given any weightage to the concept of federalism which had resulted in poverty, unemployment and backwardness.

Mr Badal advocated more financial autonomy and more financial resources for the states. He said centralised planning should be done away with and the states should be given 50 per cent of the total revenue collected by the central government from central taxes and other revenue collection measures.

He pleaded for scrapping of article 356 of the constitution which he claimed was repeatedly misused by the central governments to dismiss state governments on petty excuses. He said articles 256, 257 and 365, which were aimed to promoting mutual cooperation between the centre and the states, had given unlimited powers to the central government to misuse them at the cost of the states.

The Chief Minister stressed that money deposited in Punjab banks should be invested in Punjab for the welfare of the state and its people. He said presently 40 per cent of the deposit in banks was invested in Punjab and the remaining 60 per cent in other states. He said similarly the share of cess money collected on consumption of diesel and petrol was not given to Punjab for construction of a road network.

Ridiculing certain leaders of political groups for criticising his moderate approach for solving centre-state relations by remaining within the constitutional parameters, he said such leaders were party to the resolution passed at Ludhiana when they were part of the Shiromani Akali Dal.

The resolution also came under sharp focus from former Union minister Surjit Singh Barnala who criticised the host university's Vice-Chancellor, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, severely for writing an article on the making of the Anandpur Sahib resolution which, he said, was untimely and uncalled for.

Mr Barnala, while referring to the article which appeared in a Punjabi newspaper on July 12, said it was wrong for the Vice-Chancellor to claim that the Anandpur Sahib resolution had been drafted by former ICS officer Kapoor Singh and that he and other 11 members of the committee constituted to frame it had been mere rubber stamps. He said eight of the 12 signatories had expired. He said he had talked to Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra and former legislator Bhag Singh in this regard and they were also of the same view.

Mr Barnala said it was also wrong for Dr Ahluwalia to claim that he had written the 1978 Ludhiana declaration. He said the declaration was completely similar to the Anandpur Sahib resolution and that only a few words had been changed. He said Mr Tohra had told him that the Vice-Chancellor had only written his speech.

The Punjab Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, said the right atmosphere should be created for true federalism to take birth in the country as any move in this direction would have to be given the nod by parliament. He claimed that the successwive governments had destroyed the spirit of the constitution by usurping all executive powers. He called for creating autonomy in the planning process.

The Vice-Chancellor in his presidential address pleaded for incorporation of the expression ''federalism'' in the Preamble to the constitution. He said responding to the imperatives of the plural Indian society and regional concerns, the Rajya Sabha should be reconstituted with all states having equal representation, irrespective of the factors of size and population.Top

 

One washed away in Ghaggar as breaches continue
From Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

PATIALA, July 20 — A breach occurred on the Ghaggar river at Sadharanpur village in Samana subdivision in this district today even as water entered several villages in Samana and Patiala subdivisions on the third day of flash floods which claimed one life.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, disclosed that a 12-foot breach occurred at Sadharanpur village in Samana subdivision today. He said following this, water entered the village and submerged the paddy crop belonging to the village and nearby ones under three to four feet of water.

He said one person, Shriram Balmikhi, was drowned when he slipped and fell into the Ghaggar while grazing sheep on its banks. He, however, said the body of the victim was yet to be recovered. He, however, said the body of Malwinder Singh, alias Moni, of Fauji Colony of Banur, who had been drowned near the sales tax barrier in Banur, was recovered today. The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who came to the city today, announced an ex-gratia amount of Rs 50,000 for the next of kin of the deceased.

Meanwhile, Mr Bir disclosed that water had entered various villages in the district, including Doodan Gujran, Daparheri, Lehal Jagir, Rohar Jagir, Sarala Kalan and Sarala Khurd. He, however, said the situation was under control and there was no need to evacuate the villagers as the water level was not alarming.

He said agricultural fields in Sasa Bahana, Sasi Theh, Sasa Gujran, Dharmehri and Hashampur in Patiala subdivision had been submerged in flood waters. He said in a further development, a crack had occurred at RD 150 near Sarala Kalan village in Ghanaur block. He added that the earth had also slightly caved in there. Repair work had already started there, with both the Chief Engineer, Canals, Punjab, and his Haryana counterpart visiting the spot. He said the water level at RD 150 had reduced.

Meanwhile, reports from Khannauri said the Ghaggar was flowing at about 752 feet, which was much above danger mark. However, a mass of water had not collected at Khanuari where the Ghaggar crosses underneath the Bhakra Mainline through syphons which cannot take more than 15,000 cusecs at a time as there has been a breach ahead at Mandvi village in Sangrur district.

Sources said due to this breach, the outflow of water ahead of Khanauri had become fast and water did not head up at Khanauri. The administration, however, disclosed that all preparations had been made for immediate evacuation of populate of villages likely to be threatened if there was any breach in the river in Patiala district.Top

 

Badal govt blamed for floods
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 20 — The Congress and the Sarab Hind Shiromani Akali Dal have blamed the Badal government for floods in Ropar and Patiala districts.

Speaking to mediapersons, Capt Amarinder Singh said here today that the government did not make any preparations to counter the threat of floods in the state.

He said that even a meeting of the Deputy Commissioners was fixed for July 18 with regard to anti-flood arrangements, though the monsoon had arrived in this region in the first week of July.

No initiative was being taken by the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to tame the Ghaggar, which was proving a source of destruction for Patiala and Sangrur districts, he added.

He urged the government to pay compensation to the flood-affected farmers.

Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, general secretary of the SHSAD, said certain officials of the Drainage Department had pocketed lakhs of rupees and they did not take any preventive measures against floods.

Seeking a CBI probe in the funds spent on flood-control measures, Mr Chandumajra said the state would have become totally free from the flood menace if the money allocated to the Drainage Department in the past years had been spent on works to check floods.

He urged the government to issue a White Paper pertaining to the funds spent on flood control in the past three years.Top

 

Mann pooh-poohs RSS 9-point agenda on Sikhs
By Gobind Thukral
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 20 — Akali Dal (Amritsar) President and Lok Sabha member Simranjit Singh Mann does not find anything worthy of consideration in the nine point agenda prepared by the RSS to assuage the feelings of the Sikhs. Mr Mann, once a protagonist of Khalistan, is amused at these attempts by those whom he calls “the ultra nationalist organisation.”

Mr Mann has written a long letter answering every of the nine points.

Mr Mann said, “we would like to point out that there are people who are still under trial languishing in the jails of Punjab and that this delay of justice is illegal. TADA detainees have already served their time in jail and should be set free as per convention. We would much rather see these people set free as per law and conventions, than hear vacuous promises made by the SAD-BJP regime. If the Sangh Parivar is concerned about the ham-fisted approach enshrined within TADA, it should not seek to extend it in any guise in Parliament”.

Mr Mann urged, “we would very much like to see the deletion of black lists of the intelligence community. These black lists were of no purpose other than to harass upright Sikhs in their ordinary lives. This discriminatory tool against minorities is made all the more vile by a corrupt police force which extorts money from hapless citizens unfortunate enough to be listed on its dark roster.”

Mr Mann said, “Sikhs who expressed their desire for a Sikh homeland were not misguided youth, but Sikhs who wished to give material expression to the rich tradition of humanity, tolerance, self determination and democracy inherent to Sikhism. As such they did not “sneak” out of India but left due to threat of liquidation by the Indian state. They should be invited back immediately.”

He wondered at the constitutional amendments that the Sangh Parivar is considering to provide Sikhs “their own specific identity and emotional security.”

“There is no need to examine why a Sikh cannot be the Chief of Army Staff. The practice is discriminatory in the extreme, and reflective of Brahminical mistrust of any one other than their own enjoying offices of high position. The restriction should be put aside instantly, “ he said.

Mr Mann speaking about the partition of India said, “ Sikhs have undergone partition and braved many hardships to bring their lands in UP under the plough. They have every right to it. Their property rights must be safeguarded.”

He also wanted “The practice of restricting Sikhs from buying land in J&K, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan is against the right of a citizen to reside anywhere in the Union of India. The denial again shows the mindset of the Brahminical elite to segregate Sikhs from the rest of the country. This illegality should be dealt with immediately.”

Mr Mann chided the RSS by saying, “while the Sangh Parivar has made a list of ills that it feels alienates the Sikhs, the phased manner in which it seeks to redress these ills shows its inability to see the Sikhs as a whole.

This phased manner denies the inter links between discriminatory practices of the Indian state. There is an urgency in releasing TADA detainees, removing the names of Sikhs from black lists and rehabilitation of Sikh soldiers. It is equally important to address the other points that it has listed at the same time. It is the entire package that counts, not little morsels thrown out, that will placate a simmering discontent.”Top

 

Victim of bureaucratic apathy?
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 20 — When Dr Darshan Singh Bajaj joined the Punjab Animal Husbandry Department as an epidemiologist 21 years ago, little did he know that his entire-career would be marred by bureaucratic apathy and callousness.

Dr Bajaj was selected by the Punjab Public Service Commission in the rank of Deputy Director along with three others — Dr Amar Singh, Project Officer, ICDP, Dr Gurcharan Singh Chahal, Deputy Director, Poultry Production and Marketing and Dr Jagmohan Singh, Deputy Director, Farms.

He claims that the commission had categorically stated that for these posts the merit was prepared separately and postwise. For the post of Deputy Director (Farms), Dr Amar Singh Toor was recommended meritwise at no 1 and Dr Jagmohan Singh at no 2 (ex-serviceman). His merit was lower than that of Dr Toor. There was only one post of Epidemiologist under the general category against which Dr Bajaj was selected. Therefore, there was no question of fixing his merit inter se.

The struggle of Mr Bajaj started immediately after the commission sent its recommendations on December 20, 1978. While Dr Chahal and Dr Amar Singh were given the appointment letters on May 17, 1979, Dr Bajaj was denied the appointment following a complaint filed by Mrs Nirmal Gupta (whose husband was rejected by the commission) questioning the qualifications of Dr Bajaj. The government entertained her complaint and decided to seek clarifications from experts, notwithstanding the fact that he was selected by, apart from members of the commission, two experts deputed by the government. Dr Bajaj was asked to cool his heels till the government sought clarifications about his qualifications and suitability from experts.

Intriguingly, the government did little for more than a year in the clarification game. And when the opinion was sought, Dr C.M. Singh, Director of the Indian Veterinary Research Institute, held that Dr Bajaj had been rightly selected as he possessed qualifications making him quite suitable for the post of Epidemiologist. His opinion was endorsed by the then Director-General of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research and Haryana Agricultural University.

Dr Bajaj was issued an appointment letter on December 23, 1980 — nearly one and a half years after the recommendations of the commission.

The government maintained a stony silence for six years on the determination of seniority of these officers. It was only on January 21, 1986, that the government circulated the seniority list declaring Dr Bajaj junior to Dr Chahal. He made a representation against what he described as the injustice done to him by the government. His representation was first shelved for nearly a year and then rejected by a terse order on March 2, 1987. He again urged the government to reconsider his request, but he did not hear anything from the government for three years.

Left with no option Dr Bajaj moved the court. He filed a suit questioning the seniority list. The court upheld Dr Bajaj’s viewpoint. In its 16-page order the judge ruled: “ I am of the considered opinion that the seniority in the present case cannot be fixed on the basis of the date of joining ... since all four officers were selected by the commission by one and the same order. While Dr Amar Singh and Dr Gurcharan Singh were allowed to join immediately, the appointment of the plaintiff was withheld for no fault of his”. The court set aside the seniority list making Dr Bajaj junior to Dr Chahal and ordered its correction.

The government contested this order before the Additional District Judge, who ruled that the trial court should not interfere in matters of seniority fixed by the state government. This jurisdiction is solely vested in the high court. He, however, held that the plaintiff was entitled to be considered for appointment as a PVs Class I officer from the date the others were appointed.

The government again went in appeal against the order of the Additional District Judge before the high court. Dismissing the appeal, Mr Justice T.H.B. Chalapathi, before whom the case was listed for hearing, ruled: ‘‘The trial court rightly held that admittedly the plaintiff is senior to Dr Gurcharan Singh and two other officers’’. The government filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court against the order of the high court which was also dismissed on November 9, 1998.

Having suffered defeat from the lowest to the highest court, the government issued another order on February 5, 1999, saying that while making the recommendations the commission had mentioned these names in order of merit contrary to what the commission had stated and what the government had pleaded before the trial court. Again, Dr Bajaj has been pushed to the high court for challenging this order of the government. He had filed a writ petition on May 17, 1999. He, however, does not see light at the end of the tunnel, as he would retire in January, 2001.

His long legal battle coupled with tension, said Mr Bajaj, led to an angina problem. He had to undergo bypass heart surgery at Escort Hospital. The government has now given him a parting gift by sending him on deputation as Registrar, Punjab Veterinary Council an insignificant post, even without seeking his consent, as is required under the rules. He says: “I have suffered for a long time. I must say that individuals cannot fight against the cruel system. Even courts fail to dispense justice to victims of bureaucratic callousness. I now intend to put in my papers to save myself from further misery.”

Dr G.S. Chahal, Director of the Punjab Animal Husbandry Department, on the other hand, rejects the claim of Dr Bajaj on seniority. He maintains that while making the recommendations, the commission had stated in its letter dated December 12, 1978: “Nimanlikhat uoomidvaran di yogta karam anusar sifarish karda hai”. This means that the recommendations on the candidates were made in order of seniority.

He asserts that Dr Bajaj did not fulfil the essential qualifications as stated in the advertisement issued by the government. The qualifications were a postgraduate degree in the field of veterinary pathology/virology/bacteriology from any recognised institution and at least five years’ experience in a responsible position in the field of investigation of livestock diseases. Dr Bajaj’s qualification was MV Sc (Medicine).

The fourth point that Dr Chahal argues is that he was an essential party as he was to be affected by the decision of the court. However, Dr Bajaj had not made him party to the suit. Therefore, the decision of the court was not binding on him. Can a person be made to suffer even without hearing him? he asks.Top

 

Missing boys traced
Tribune News Service

AMRITSAR, July 20 — Four schoolgoing boys — Kanwaljit, Atul, Gurjit and Harpreet — hailing from SAS Nagar who were missing since yesterday were found in the Golden Temple complex today.

The boys who could not complete their home work, boarded an Amritsar-bound bus and reached the city. They said they were afraid of facing their teachers since they had not completed their home work during the summer vacations.

The local police said it got information about the boys from the police in mufti deployed around the Golden Temple complex. They claimed they were being accompanied by their parents. However, when asked to call for their parents, they said they had been kidnapped by unidentified persons.

On questioning the boys admitted that they had fled their homes as they could not complete their home work. They were then taken to their parents.
Top

 

Police decision on vehicle stickers
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 20 —Following the detection of ‘‘fake’’ stickers to indicate ‘‘authorisation’’ for the use of black film on vehicles, the Punjab police has decided to withdraw all stickers in use at present.

According to an official press release, the present stickers will be valid only till July 31. New ones will be in use from August 1.

The police has asked all those desirous of having black film on their vehicles to give fresh applications, signed personally, giving the relevant details, including the address, occupation, vehicle particulars and reasons for seeking a sticker.

The use of black film has been prohibited by the high court. Those who need to have the film are supposed to display the authorisation on the windscreen. This is done through a sticker. The stickers were issued on ‘‘security grounds’’ by the Additional Director-General of Police after the threat perception had been assessed by the competent authority and the Director-General had approved of the same.Top

 

Villagers take the lead
From Ravinder Sud

HOSHIARPUR: It is said God helps those who help themselves.That’s what residents of Seena and the surrounding villages in this district decided to do when the authorities paid no heed to their demand for the construction of a bridge.

The residents had been demanding a bridge over the Seena choe for years together. They ran from pillar to post to get the work done, but bureaucrats and politicians turned a deaf ear to their pleas.

The villagers first collected Rs 5 lakh and then approached Mr Charanjit Singh Channi, MP, to provide them with more funds for the venture. He gave them Rs 5 lakh from the Local Area Development Fund for the project.

With the amount, the panchayat of Seena in cooperation with prominent persons of the area started the construction of the three-span bridge, the cost of which has been estimated at Rs 11 lakh, including expenditure on building approach roads. The Public Works Department had estimated that the total cost would come to Rs 35 lakh.

When a team of mediapersons visited the site recently, Mr Ram Parkash, a former sarpanch of Seena, along with Mr Didar Singh, Mr Prithvi Singh, Mr Jagtar Singh and others, was busy supervising the construction work. They said when the choe got flooded, residents had to travel an additional 35 km to reach their destinations.

The route provides the shortest link for Chandigarh, Phagwara and Hoshiarpur city for the residents of more than 25 villages located in the Seena village area.

Among the villages which will benefit from the construction of the bridge are Harta, Badla, Rajpur Bhaiyan, Bhungarni, Mukhliana, Pandori Kad and Mona Kalan.

Keeping in view the increasing cost of construction, Mr Channi later granted Rs 1 lakh more for the bridge. Mr Om Parkash Saini, who is in charge of Mr Channi’s office, says the construction work is likely to be completed by the end of August.
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Politics to blame for militancy, says Bitta
From Our Correspondent

FATEHGARH SAHIB, July 20 — Terrorism is an outcome of selfish politics, according to Mr Maninderjit Singh Bitta, national president Anti-Terrorist Front.

Addressing a press conference at Mandi Gobindgarh town of the district today he said his front was a non-political organisation formed after the Kargil conflict to help the families of Kargil martyrs and of the victims of terrorism throughout the country.

He said the need of the hour was to create awareness against terrorism and for national integration for if we failed to awaken the people nobody could stop the country from disintegration.

He said just as Mahatma Gandhi gave the slogan “Bharat chhoro” his front had given a slogan “Bharat joro” (unite India).

He alleged that politicians were taking the country towards disintegration. Laloo Prasad Yadav had created a 1947-like situation in Bihar where only yadavs can live in Bihar while others were attacked, he said. Similarly in J&K, Pandits and Sikhs were being killed.

He urged the Congress high command to withdraw support from the Laloo government and said his front would organise a function on July 24 in Patna to honour terrorism-affected families of Bihar.

Lashing out at Mr Farooq Abdullah, he said his government should be dismissed, the Governor should be recalled and Mr Jagmohan or Mr K.P.S. Gill be appointed Governor.

He urged the Akali Dal not to raise the issue of autonomy as Punjab was a very sensitive state and it could revive terrorism.Top

 

Flood survey ordered in Fatehgarh Sahib
From Our Correspondent

FATEHGARH SAHIB, July 20 — Mr Manoranjan Kalia, Minister for Higher Medical Education, has directed the Deputy Commissioner, Fatehgarh Sahib, to conduct a special survey to identify the flood-prone areas in the district and submit a comprehensive long-term plan for flood protection within a week. He was addressing the District Planning Board meeting here today.

Mr Kalia also released a grant of Rs 54.49 lakh under various schemes. He said that Rs 484.29 lakh were being spent in the district for various development projects during this. Mr Kalia asked all non-official members of the board to check the proper allocation of funds by the members conceived.

Mr Kalia directed the Chief Agricultural Officer to get the pesticides for farmers within 15 days. Mr Kalia directed the administration to clear all pending cases of pensions by July 31.

Mr Sudan, Deputy Commissioner, informed the House that there were 13,078 pensioners in the district and Rs 26 lakh were being given to them as pension every month. He further said that the pensions up to June 30 had been cleared. He told that 852 new pension cases were under process and reverification of 3500 cases would be decided with in a week.

Mr Sudan assured full co-operation to the House on behalf of administration and asked all officials to deal with respect with the people visiting the administration and other government offices.

Those who attended meeting were Mr Bachan Singh Cheema, Dr Harbans Lal, Mrs Jagdish Kaur, MLAs, Mr Jora Singh, member, Mr Harbans Singh Mehmoodpur, member, Mr Sarwan Singh Suhavi, member and Mr Karnail Singh Panjoli.Top

 

Warrants issued in hijack case
Tribune News Service

PATIALA, July 20 — The designated court of Sessions Judge S.N.Aggarwal has issued non-bailable warrants against seven persons allegedly involved in the hijacking of Indian Airlines flight No. IC-814.

The seven persons are Ibrahim Akhtar, Sunny Ahmed, Shahid Akhtar, Mistry Zahoor Ibrahim, Abdul Rauf, Shanker, alias Rajesh Gopal Verma and Yusuf Azhar.
Top

 

Tenders issued for completed work
From Our Correspondent

FATEHGARH SAHIB, July 20 — The Vigilance Department acting on a complaint of certain Municipal Councillors, today conducted a raid in the office of Municipal Council, Sirhind, took custody of the record relating to construction work and cancelled tenders published in newspapers to be opened between July 19 and July 21.

Earlier Mr Balbir Singh, MC had complained that the Municipal Council, Sirhind had published tenders in some Punjabi dailies about construction work. In the complaint he alleged that the work listed as item No. 6,9, 11, 13 and 17 in the tenders had already been completed or was in progress and substandard material was being used in the execution of work. He had alleged that certain ongoing work had been cleared without passing any estimates. He had demanded cancellation of tenders and enquiry into the use of substandard material.Top

 

Migrant workers ‘treated fairly’
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 20 — Mr Balramji Das Tandon, Labour and Employment Minister of Punjab, today stated that there was no discrimination between workers of Punjab and those who came from any other state.

He pointed out that even seasonal migrant labourers worked with the same employers.

The minister added that migrant workers were given due representation at different levels in panchayats, civic bodies and the state assembly.
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Goods train derailed
From Our Correspondent

BATHINDA, July 20 — Three bogies of a goods train derailed at the railway station here last night in the goods yard when a passenger train coming from Sirsa rammed into the goods train which was standing in the yard due to negligence by the driver.

The railway sources said that all passengers who were boarding the train were safe. The driver and the assistant driver of the passenger train had been suspended by the railway authorities, the sources added.

A senior railway officer said the accident occurred because the driver of the train ignored the two red signals in the goods yard. The driver of the passenger train was supposed to halt outside the station because he had not been given the green signal, he added.

The sources said that an inquiry was being conducted.Top

 

Two national-level wrestlers hurt in clash
From Ravi Dhaliwal

PATIALA, July 20 — Two international-level wrestlers were seriously injured when a scuffle broke out among two groups of grapplers at the National Institute of Sports campus here late yesterday evening.

The two wrestlers have been identified as Anuj Chowdhury and Sandeep Rathi, both of whom were attending a national free-style wrestling camp being held at the NIS in preparation for the Asian junior free-style wrestling championships scheduled to be held at New Delhi next month.

Both the wrestlers were admitted to the Government Rajindera Hospital late yesterday evening. According to doctors attending upon them, both the matmen have been declared out of danger although both have sustained multiple injuries. While Anuj Chowdhury has sustained head injuries, the doctors are not taking any risks and have ordered a CT scan to be done on him. By the time of filing the story, the report of the CT scan was still awaited. The doctors confirmed that the real extent of injuries sustained by Anuj Chowdhury will be known only after the CT scan report is available. Both Chowdhury and Sandeep Rathi have been put on a drip of glucose.

The police have registered a case under sections 307, 323 and 148/149 IPC at the Civil Lines police station, under whose jurisdiction NIS falls. Relatives of Sandeep Rathi have already reached the city.

A scuffle broke out between two groups yesterday morning when the national campers were playing a friendly game of handball. Heated exchanges followed after which things cooled down. However, in the evening things again went out of hand between the two groups, and according to sources some of the grapplers could be seen wielding knives and in the ensuing scuffle both Anuj and Sandeep Rathi got seriously injured and were immediately rushed to Rajindera Hospital.

A big question mark hangs over the security system of the sports institute, widely perceived to be Asia’s premier sports institute. Earlier this year, the locks of the rooms in which some international boxers were staying were broken, although the NIS authorities, at that time, in a quick damage-control exercise, managed to keep the pugilists quiet by giving them some money on the spot and the matter was hushed up.

The executive director of the NIS, Col Baljit Singh Ahluwalia was unavailable for comments. However, the NIS authorities have set up a committee to enquire into the sequence of events leading to today’s clash which has sent the national free-style camp into a spin.Top

YC leader detained for murder?
Tribune News Service

LHDHIANA, July 20 Mystery shrouds the sudden disappearance of a senior Youth Congress leader who is allegedly involved in a case relating to murder. While some reports said that he had been reportedly rounded up by the police in connection with the same case, family sources maintained that it was a case of kidnapping.

Though senior police officials in the city were silent on about the incident, it is learnt from well placed sources, that the Congress leader. Nirdosh Dhand had been picked up by the police in connection with the murder of Malkiat Singh, brother of Baba Ajit Singh Pula.

It is learnt that the accused Nirdosh Dhand was reportedly picked up by some plainclothesmen in a white Indica car this afternoon after a chase from the Focal Point area.Top

 

Fake currency seized, 1 held
From Our Correspondent

MALERKOTLA, July 20 — The Malerkotla police today claimed to have busted a gang involved in the printing of fake currency.

Giving this information to mediapersons, Mr Jatinder Singh Aulakh, SSP, Sangrur, said that under the supervision of Mr Surinder Singh Saini, DSP, Malerkotla, Mr Sukhdev Singh, SHO, laid a naka at Grewal Chowk here on July 18.

During checking, a Maruti car (No PB-10X-4679) coming from Nabha was stopped. It was found that the driver, Sunil Sharma, a resident of Partap Avenue Colony, Amritsar, was carrying a fake registration certificate and the car was stolen.

A briefcase was found on the back seat of the car from which counterfeit notes amounting to Rs 1,03,850 and a revolver containing six rounds (32 bore) were seized. A case was registered under Sections 379, 411, 420, 468, 471 and 489-B of the IPC. During interrogation, Sunil Sharma told the police that he had stolen the car from Amritsar.

On his tip-off, the SHO recovered a computer set which was being used for printing the counterfeit notes. An Esteem car (No CH-01X-4689) was also impounded. It had been stolen from Kumar Hotel, Amritsar, by the accused.

According to police sources, Sunil Sharma used to supply counterfeit currency in Malerkotla with the help of his two friends, Devinder Singh Palli and Harmeet Singh. The two were arrested on April 9.Top

 

Sadhu’ forces kids to beg, held
From Our Correspondent

BATHINDA, July 20 — The district police claims to have arrested a ‘sadhu’ who would force children to beg money for him in trains.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Jatinder Kumar Jain, SSP, said Shankar Dass, a resident of Delhi, had kidnapped a ten-year boy with the intention of forcing him into beggary.

He said the accused would force children to beg for him near the local railway station. He had been arrested on a tip-off.
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Guidance for medical admissions put off
By Our Legal Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, July 20 — Counselling for admission to medical colleges in Punjab, scheduled for tomorrow, was postponed after counsel for the respondents withdrew the notice dated June 3 in the Punjab and Haryana High Court today.

The notice had invited applications from residents of Punjab who had passed the plus one and two from the state of Punjab or outside, and those who had passed the plus one from Punjab and plus two from outside or vice versa, to appearing for the PMT test.

It is understood that 500 to 600 students had appeared for the test in view of their eligibility as mentioned in the notice. Now since the notice had been withdrawn as a mistake on the part of the government, the students career had been affected.

Dismissing the writ petitions filed by students passing the plus one and plus two examinations from Chandigarh but declared ineligible for the test, Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar had earlier held that the amended clause in the brochure was not suffering from the vice of arbitrariness.

In their appeal against the judgement, counsel for the petitioners — Damandeep Singh and others — had stated on their behalf that the order deserved to be set aside on the ground of being based on wrong assumptions. Counsel had added that there was no legal justification for upholding arbitrary and discriminatory rule.

The single Judge, he had added, should have accepted the plea of students as Chandigarh, besides being Union Territory, was also the capital of Punjab.Top

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