Monday, January 22, 2001,
Chandigarh, India

P U N J A B    S T O R I E S




Dhindsa to take up potato issue with Centre
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 21 — The Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, today said that he would take up the issue of potato growers in the state with the Centre and was hopeful of finding a way out.

Mr Dhindsa, who was here to attend the marriage ceremony of the niece of the Minister for Technical Education, Punjab, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, told TNS that he would discuss the issue with the Union Agriculture Minister, Mr Nitish Kumar. After discussion the matter might also be raised in the Union Cabinet, the minister said.

Asked whether some minimum support price would be fixed for the potatoes, Mr Dhindsa without giving a clear answer remarked, “some way out has to be explored to ensure that the farmers are not discouraged”. He pointed out, the plight of farmers was already pitiable due to the paddy and wheat glut and now the same was happening with the potatoes. “The farmers will need to be encouraged, otherwise our economy will crash”, he observed.

Reacting to the claims of Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia that no money had been provided by the Centre to the state in connection with the special package for the paddy farmers, Mr Dhindsa said, some funds were still to come and they were expected soon. Denying Mr Ramoowalia’s claims, he said these were baseless as so many farmers had already been compensated under this package. Remaining amount will also be distributed among the farmers, he revealed.

About the reported closure of the Bathinda refinery, Mr Dhindsa said, the refinery was working at this time and there was no question of its closure. Regarding the withdrawal by the current company, Mr Dhindsa remarked, “if one company decides to opt out, there may be several others ready to take up the work over there”.

To a question regarding the Akali Dal’s stand on the Ayodhaya issue, Mr Dhindsa pointed out, the Prime Minister had already clarified that the issue should be either amicably solved by the two parties or left to the courts. He said, the Akali Dal supported Prime Minister’s stand which was the best available option. When asked to comment on VHP’s reported announcement to forcibly grab the disputed site, Mr Dhindsa remarked, “anybody can say anything, but there is a law in the country which no body will be allowed to disobey”.


Waive farmers’ debt: SHSAD

BATHINDA, Jan 21 (UNI) — Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal General Secretary Prem Singh Chandumajra today said any country could withdraw from the WTO agreement by giving a six months’ prior notice in this regard.

Mr Chandumajra addressing mediapersons here cautioned about the ill effects which the agreement could have on our country, especially the farmers, and alleged that both the NDA and Congress were ‘hand in glove’ on this issue.

On the ruling SAD-BJP govt in the state led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Mr Chandumajra remarked that in the absence of the BJP’s support, the state government would collapse anytime. This weakness of Mr Badal was being exploited by the RSS and its associate organisations to interfere with the Panthic matters, he said.

He demanded from the Centre that bank debt on farmers which ran into several thousand crores should be waived as the government had done in the case of sick industries in the state recently.

He revealed that his party had invited all political parties except for the BJP, the Congress and the ruling SAD for a political conference on February 21, in which the possibility of forming a third front among other issues would be taken up.

Mr Chandumajra said food stock worth Rs 70,000 crore had been lying in the godowns and alleged an embezzlement of Rs 25,000 crore by the country’s premier food organisation. He demanded a probe by an independent agency.

He demanded that minimum support price of wheat be fixed at Rs 650 per quintal. The state government should take steps in this regard before the arrival of the crop in the mandis, he added.


Farmers plight: CM to meet Nitish
From Our Correspondent

HOSHIARPUR, Jan 21 —Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has said he will meet the Union Agriculture Minister, Mr Nitish Kumar, to apprise him of the plight of farmers. He would stress upon the Centre to fix the support price for potato and sugarcane. He was talking to mediapersons here this afternoon.

Replying to a question, Mr Badal said their was no proposal of the Central Government to decrease the procurment price of wheat to Rs 520.

Referring to the recent statements of some presidents of municipal corporations and councils regarding the non-release of funds for development, Mr Badal said his government never gave undue advantage to the rural areas in development works. It treated both rural and urban areas equally.

He said in future revenue from octroi would directly be provided to the respective municipal corporations and councils.

Later, Mr Badal attended a “bhog” ceremony of late Arjan Singh Josh, MLA, and father of Ms Mohinder Kaur Josh, Minister for Health and Family Welfare.


BKU seeks account of Central funds
From Our Correspondent

MOGA, Jan 21 — Farmers and members of the Punjab unit of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) yesterday expressed resentment over the non-disbursement of money which the Chief Minister had received from the Union Government to compensate the farmers for the losses they had suffered due to the distress sale of paddy during the last paddy procurement season.

A deputation of farmers and members of the BKU said Mr Badal had received Rs 350 crore from the Centre for the purpose but had failed to disburse the money although several months had passed. They demanded an account of the money as they feared that it had been misappropriated. They threatened, to launch an agitation in this regard.


Cops pay money to hush up case
From Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA Jan 21 — It is almost official now. Certain persons close to police officials in the city had paid a heavy amount to the affected family of a Dalit youth, who allegedly died of torture at the hands of two police officials, in order to hush up the case.

The police had reportedly tortured three youths. Two of them suffered severe injuries.

While the police and the family members of the youth, Raju, have in the past vehemently denied that money changed hands in the case, TNS has in hand certain documents pointing to the contrary.

Two cheques for Rs 2.90 lakh each were deposited under a fixed deposit scheme in the account of Akash and Balbir Kumar, alias Rohit, both minor sons of the deceased, on November 6. After the cheques were received, the family changed its statement regarding the alleged torture by CIA staff. Raju died later.

The deposit receipts reveal how certain police officials paid money to hush up the case.

A visit to the victim’s house at Chowni Mohalla also gave credence to the idea that money was paid. The family living below the poverty line does not seem to have the resources to have an amount of Rs 5.8 lakh in the bank.

However, while the family members of Raju changed their statements on November 6, the day the money was deposited, another person, Ramesh Kumar, alias Minto, is determined to get the guilty punished. The Minorities Commission has taken up the case. At its behest, DIG Sumedh Saini has started an inquiry into the case. He has called Ramesh Kumar and some others to Chandigarh tomorrow as part of the investigation.

The family members of Raju admitted receiving payment in an emotional outburst to TNS this evening. They said they did not get cash. Someone had deposited the money in the name of the children Sita Devi, wife of the Raju said she did not know anything more, “You talk to our leaders’’, she said.

She also alleged that the police was still harassing them. “Every other day, someone or the other comes and pressures us to sign some papers. We have been telling them to go away. For us, the case is over”, she said before bursting into tears.

The alleged murder took place in October this year. The police had arrested 14 person on charges of gambling. While three of them were detained and tortured , the remaining were set free. Raju, one of the three, was “tortured” that he died of renal failure in a city hospital later.

The police subsequently registered a case against Maninder Bedi, a former CIA inspector, and ASI Jaswinder Singh on the charges of illegal confinement and torture. However, as allegations of the use of money to influence the case began to surface, Ramesh Kumar, another victim, knocked the doors of the Minorities Commission with help from the Vishwa Guru Ravidass Commission. His kidney had failed as a result of the torture.


11,312 fugitives from justice in Punjab
by Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 21 — An absconder and a proclaimed offender a day has taken the number of fugitives from justice in Punjab to a whopping figure of 11,312.

Interestingly, while 30-odd absconders and an equal number of proclaimed offenders are added to the list every month, fewer fugitives are apprehended during the same period.

For example, in November last year, while 38 absconders were added to the list, only 32 were either apprehended or their names were deleted from the list during the same month. In the case of proclaimed offenders while 36 new names were added to the list, only 19 were either arrested or their names were taken off the list.

Jalandhar has been the leader, both in the case of absconders and proclaimed offenders.

Of 9,301 absconders in the state on November 30, 2000, almost one fourth — 2,301 to be precise — came from Jalandhar alone. And the situation in the case of proclaimed offenders is no different. Of the total of 2,011 proclaimed offenders in the state, 326 — the highest — are from Jalandhar.

Some of these absconders and proclaimed offenders are known to be leading a normal life, holding key positions, both in politics and public offices.

Though there is a set procedure to be adopted to apprehend absconders and proclaimed offenders, it is seldom followed for various reasons, the most convenient excuse being the “increased workload”.

After Jalandhar comes Ludhiana. Before the beginning of November last year, Ludhiana police district had 1,594 absconders declared under Section 299 of the Cr P C. Six of them were either arrested or their names deleted from the list during November last year.

During the same period, the number of proclaimed offenders — 199, the second highest in the state — remained unchanged as one PO was apprehended and one more was declared a PO.

Patiala also figures high on the list. It has 965 absconders and 144 proclaimed offenders.

Amritsar is fourth on the list with 507 absconders and 119 proclaimed offenders.

At the bottom of the list relating to absconders is Barnala with 39. This low number is understandable as Barnala, Majitha, Tarn Taran, Khanna, Jagraon, Mansa, Muktsar, Moga and Nawanshahr are among the new police districts carved out of the existing revenue and police districts.

In the case of proclaimed offenders, Tarn Taran is at the bottom of the list with 21 proclaimed offenders. Barnala (32), Batala (34) and Majitha (36) also occupy the bottom positions.

Among the border districts, Ferozepore appears to be in the lead, both in the number of absconders and proclaimed offenders. The district has 522 absconders and 77 proclaimed offenders while Gurdaspur has 123 absconders and 44 proclaimed offenders.

Hoshiarpur figures in the middle of the list in both categories with 450 absconders and 169 proclaimed offenders.

Until a few years ago, there was no concerted effort to maintain up-to-date records of both absconders and proclaimed offenders.

Many a time newsmen enquiring about fugitives from justice would only be given the number of proclaimed offenders and not of absconders. An absconder, after a while, is declared a proclaimed offender by the courts on an application by the prosecution or the police.

To facilitate their apprehension, the police would do well to put the names of both absconders and proclaimed offenders on its website. It has a very small list of “most wanted people” with only five or six names, including known hardcore militants.


PSEB to lease Jalkheri plant
From Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

PATIALA, Jan 20 — Unable to sell-off its straw-based 10 mw Rs 42-crore power plant which was to generate power by using non-conventional energy the PSEB has decided to lease out the plant situated at Jalkheri village near here, to private parties for which tenders have been floated .

The plant, which was run for only 300 hours after it was commissioned in 1995, has been non-functional since then. The inability of the board in procuring straw, at viable rates was cited as the main reason for the closure of the plant.

The Board, which has been unable to get any private party to buy the plant outright for even half of its cost, has now decided to lease the plant for a 10-year period. The private party will be responsible for running the power station as well as its maintainence and the board will purchase power from it.

Though the PSEB will have to buy power from the plant at Rs 3.15 per unit which is much costlier than the rate of Rs 2.5 being charged by it from domestic consumers, board chairman Gurcharan Singh Sohal is not perturbed. Talking to TNS he said even this rate which had been fixed by the Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Resources, was competitive as it would be supplied in the nearby areas and there would not be any transmission or distribution losses. Theft of power could also be controlled .

Mr Sohal said tenders would be opened in a month. Power production by the plant could start by May-June and straw from the forthcoming wheat crop could be used as a fuel as a standby arrangement, pending arrival of paddy crop whose straw would be the mainstay of the plant. The board had decided to give the plant on lease as staff did not want to go there and it was difficult to procure and transport straw to the plant site.

However, sources said the board might find it difficult to find any lessees as the situation at the ground was very different. They said the board had tried to sell-off the plant last year and upon the insistence of proposed purchasers had also run the plant as demonstration to them. However, the buyers were not willing to pay even less than half the establishment cost of the plant.

A visit to the plant site revealed that it was situated around 25 kilometers from here. Though a 10-6 member staff, including an executive engineer, was posted at the site, tractors and propellers parked there were not being properly maintained. The other machines were also in a bad shape. The board chairman, however, said the machines were in satisfactory condition. 


Murmurs of protest over resignation
From Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

AMRITSAR, Jan 21 — The resignation tendered by Mr M.S. Chawla, President, District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, who was reportedly asked to quit by the state body chief for giving ‘undue respect’ to an eminent doctor during court proceedings may snowball into a major controversy.

While the order of the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission clearly mentions that “every citizen of the country, irrespective of his status in society, is equal before law”, Mr Chawla and another member of the District Consumer Forum, Mr Rampal Chatrath, say that respect may be accorded to senior citizens and respectable persons as Civil Service rules permit the same.

They claim that consumer forums are run under the Ministry of Civil Supplies. Hence, such an action should not be considered ‘un-expected’. They say a circular of the Chief Secretary, Punjab, also asks various government departments to show courtesy to senior citizens.

The President of the District Forum further mentions that there is nothing wrong in giving “due respect to a respectable person.”

The order of the state forum reads: “We do not subscribe to the view of the district forum in this regard. Every person is respectable until and unless proved otherwise. Everyone is to be given equal treatment before the fora. We will advise the district forum not to show any undue and unequal interest in any person on the basis of his influence or respectability in society when deciding the matter under the Consumer Protection Act.”

On the other hand, Mr Chawla and Mr Chatrath claim that Dr Hardass Singh, an eminent doctor who appeared in the court, is neither a complainant nor a respondent. Hence, the doctor, who had appeared as an ‘expert witness', can be given ‘due respect’.

Asks member of the District Consumer Forum, Mr Chatrath, when members of the forum are equally responsible for the proceedings, why Mr Chawla alone is being ‘singled out’ for resignation. “Let the state ask us to follow suit”, he says.

Mr Chawla says he has had a ‘long and clean judicial record’ and approximately 98 per cent cases redressed by the District Forum have been accepted by the state forum in toto. “While my five-year term was about to complete in March this year, I was forced to quit on flimsy grounds,” he laments.

Mr Chawla says if he had been in the wrong, why had the authorities allowed him to continue for four years and eight months. “Hardly two per cent orders of the District Forum were set aside by the state during my tenure as President.”

Interestingly, Mr Chawla, has submitted his resignation in two parts. The first resignation letter addressed to the Secretary, State Consumer Forum, reads: “As directed by Justice H.S. Brar, state President of the forum, I hereby submit my resignation.”

Though the first letter dated December 26, 2000, clearly mentions that he had been directed to quit, yet Mr Chawla was asked to sent another letter to dispel impression that he was ‘forced to quit’.

The second letter, by Mr Chawla reads: “In continuation of my earlier letter, I submit my resignation”.

This is for the first time since 1993, when consumer forums were formed for ‘speedy justice’, that a district President has been asked to quit, that too a few months before the end of his term.


Farmers to expose BSF excesses
From Gurpreet Singh
Tribune News Service

MAMDOT (Ferozepore), Jan 21 — Under the aegis of the Border Area Sangharsh Committee, farmers of several border villages are gearing up for an agitation to expose the “high-handedness” of BSF jawans.

A visit to at least three border villages, Masta Gatti, Lakha Singhwala Hithar, and Gatti Hayat, near the Indo-Pak border revealed that the committee leaders were mobilising farmers to take to the streets in protest against restrictions imposed on their movement by the BSF.

The president of the committee, Mr Hansa Singh and the district committee chief, Mr Resham Singh, said they would soon meet the IG BSF (Borders) in Jalandhar to apprise him of the excesses committed on these villagers by BSF jawans. “If need be, we will also hold an agitation near the Punjab BSF headquarters”. A similar exercise would be undertaken in other border districts of Punjab, he said.

The resentful farmers told TNS that BSF guards deployed near their fields, close to the international border, frequently harassed them on one pretext or the other. The guards not only dissuaded them from cultivation across the security fencing raised to check infiltration during fog, but also forced them to clear the area of wild grass before being allowed entry to their fields.

Former village headman, Mr Jagir Singh of Masta Gatti said during the fog, no civilian was allowed to go to his fields to water the crops. “We are not even allowed to bring fodder for the cattle from our own fields”, he lamented.

Roolia Singh, another farmer of the same village, alleged he was once asked by the BSF guards to sweep garbage from below the security fencing before being allowed entry to the fields.

Both Singh of Gatti Hayat alleged that BSF jawans even forced them to raise their temporary posts. Surjit Singh and Gurmeet Singh of Lakha Singh Wala Hithar also remember having been forced to raise temporary posts along the border.

These villagers also charged the BSF with dissuading them to use tracks along the fencing to ply their carts and tractors.

Since the BSF Commandant of the area, Mr M.S. Shekhawat, was not available for comment, his second-in-command, Mr Karnail Singh on being contacted denied these charges. Describing these allegations as wild, he said, these were concocted by suspicious characters who are being discouraged to go near the border. He asked to specify the areas, where the civilians were still being asked to do sundry jobs for the BSF.

He, however, justified restrictions on the movement of farmers during fog saying. “It is necessary from the security point of view and for the safety of the farmers”.


Badal ‘furthering his interests’
From Our Correspondent

BATHINDA, Jan 21 — Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, general secretary of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD), has said the Punjab Government has failed on all fronts and the people of the state have been cheated by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister.

Mr Chandumajra was speaking at a press conference here last night. He said Mr Badal could not influence the central government in getting the demands of Punjab conceded. He alleged that Mr Badal in order to get some personal benefits had forfeited the interests of the state.

Mr Chandumajra said the other partners of the NDA used pressure tactics to get their demands fulfilled but Mr Badal could not get anything from the Centre.

Mr Chandumajra held Mr Badal responsible for the crisis in the agriculture sector in the state. He said the potato crisis was a result of the failure of government policy which had laid stress on crop rotation. He said the farmers should be given the facility to export their produce. He added that they should be given storage facility by the state government.

Mr Chandumajra alleged that Mr Badal had not done much towards preventing the central government from signing the WTO agreement. He said when that agreement was signed the Shromani Akali Dal was a partner of the NDA. Mr Badal should have asked the central government not to be a party to that agreement, he said. But Mr Badal was more interested in furthering the career of his son, he alleged, and therefore he forgot about taking care of the interests of the public.

Mr Chandumajra alleged that due to the weakness of Mr Badal the RSS was intruding in Sikh religious affairs, setting a bad trend. He added that Mr Badal was promoting his family at the cost of the public. He said the Chief Minister and his ministers had crossed all limits of corruption.


When villagers help themselves
From Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

NANGAL KALAN (Hoshiarpur): When some residents of this village left for abroad one after the other in search of pastures new, the village did not see much in their departure. But after several years, having done well abroad, they thought of their ancestral home and now are participating in an effort to lift the village to the level of a modern town.

With the support of these NRIs, Nangal Kalan is on its way to having an infrastructure on a part with towns with no government help at all.

It started in January last year, when a Village Development Committee was formed with Maj Kulwant Singh (Retd) as chairman. Without waiting for any government help, the committee initiated work on the development of the infrastructure. Several NRIs contributed Rs 50,000 each and some residents rose to the occasion and the committee had a fund of over Rs 15 lakh to give a new look to the village. Among the NRIs were Mr Avtar Singh, Mr Gurdev Singh, Mr Karnail Singh, Mr Ravinder Kumar, Mr Gurdial Singh, Mr Sukhdev Singh and Mr Harmail Singh.

Major Kulwant Singh told a Tribune team that the metalling of the “kutcha” roads, which had been left incomplete by the state authorities was taken up on priority to link Nangal Kalan with its adjoining villages. A large portion of the fund, Rs 10 lakh, was spent on giving shape to three km of roads and internal streets.

Over 15 streetlights were installed at a cost of Rs 1.5 lakh. The streets leading to the village gurdwara and to the school were lighted up. Water from the village pond, which used to flood the village in the rainy season, was given a one-km-long “pucca nullah” to drain out the storm water. The drain cost Rs 1 lakh.

The committee developed two children’s parks and installed swings and other equipment for the children to play. The children were having a gala time in one of the well-maintained parks when The Tribune team visited the village. The Panchayat Ghar and the post office have also been renovated.

An excited Sonu said she enjoyed playing in the park after her school. She was particularly fond of swings.

Even if the village has been able to rebuild some infrastructure, the seven-member committee is not yet satisfied. Its future projects include an underground sewerage system, regular piped water supply, a janj ghar, more streetlights and filling up the village pond.

The committee, however, is not a averse to government help. Apart from the NRIs’ support, it expects suitable grants from the Punjab Government to compete its projects, Major Kulwant Singh added.


Follow example of Jews, Sikhs urged
From Our Correspondent

AMRITSAR, Jan 21 — Giving an example of the daring of the Jews despite a hate wave against them, Mr Kulmohan Singh, general secretary of the Delhi Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, addressing a gathering at the historical Chheharta Sahib urged the Sikhs to follow the example of the Jews to uplift their community.

Mr Kulmohan Singh addressing on behalf of the Akal Purukh Fauj, organisers of the three-day function, held yesterday said Sikhs could only rise higher, firstly, by getting the best of education and, secondly, by being firmly rooted to the religion like the Jews were.

Bhai Kirpal Singh, Director of the Miri Piri Academy and an American Sikh, said Sikhism held a rare attraction the world over.

Among those who addressed the gathering were Giani Kewal Singh, Jathedar of Damdama Sahib, Talwandi Sabo, Mr Jaswinder Singh, member, SGPC, and Giani Surjit Singh, Sikh Missionaries.

Registration manual amendment opposed
From Our Correspondent

PHILLAUR, Jan 21 — All 250 naib tehsildars and 90 tehsildars of the state have decided to stop the work of the registration of sale deeds from February 10 in protest against the amendment in para 135 of the Punjab Registration Manual-1929. This decision was taken at a state-level meeting of the Punjab Revenue Officers Association, presided over by the association president, Mr Iqbal Singh Sandhu, near here, yesterday.

The association acting president, Mr Kamal Kishore Verma, talking to newsmen here last evening said the meeting urged the government to accept the association’s demand immediately. In another resolution, the meeting appointed Mr Kamaljit Singh Randhawa as general secretary of the association.

Mr Verma said the amendment in para 135 of the Punjab Registration Manual-1929 could multiply the problems of revenue officers by engaging them in litigation cases, pertaining to fraudulent registration.


No danger from WTO: Amarinder
From Our Correspondent

PATIALA, Jan 21 — Leaders of the ruling SAD-BJP coalition government in the state were unnecessarily trying to create a scare in the minds of the people on the WTO issue just to achieve their political objectives.

This was stated by Capt Amarinder Singh, president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), while addressing a gathering of ex-servicemen at the Chotti Baradari here today. The rally was organised by the ex-servicemen unit of the PPCC.

He said the farming community in the state should not have any fear from the WTO. He said that SAD leaders had instilled a fear among the farmers by saying that developed countries would dump their wheat and paddy in the markets of Punjab. However, he maintained that there was no need for the farmers to panic as the government was in a position to stop markets from facing this glut by imposing a heavy import duty. At the same time, he urged farmers to go in for diversification and that they should bring at least 25 per cent of their land holdings under agro-industrial related products.

He said that to improve the lot of ex-servicemen he would ask Congress MPs to take up the issue in the forthcoming Budget session of Parliament. He said that his party would work overtime to improve the quality of life of ex-servicemen and for the implementation of ‘one rank-one pension’ scheme for them. 


Punjab to launch anti-narcotics drive
From Our Correspondent

MOGA, Jan 21 — Expressing concern over the rise in the consumption of intoxicants by schoolchildren and youths in Punjab and smuggling of narcotics from adjoining states, the government has decided to curb the menace. Punjab Education Minister Tota Singh said here yesterday that the government had decided to launch a statewide drive in this connection.

He was speaking at the inauguration of a medical camp at Rauli village. He further said all developing schemes undertaken by Mr Parkash Singh Badal would be completed.

He further said the state government had decided to construct more link roads all over the state during the current financial year.

Mr Tota Singh also laid the foundation stones of a primary school building at a cost of Rs 2.5 lakh, a grain market and a bus stand at Nangal village in the district. He also presented cheques for Rs 10 lakh to 200 persons under the “shagan scheme”. He urged the people to end factionalism in their respective villages and help the government in development works.


Decision to restart bus services
From Our Correspondent

BATHINDA, Jan 21 — Bus services from Bathinda to Bhagu, Phoos Mandi and Tungwali villages of the district will be started shortly. The bus services to these places was stopped some time ago.

In a press note issued here yesterday, Mr Harpreet Singh, secretary, Bathinda Mini Bus Operators Union (BMBOU), said the decision to restart the bus services to the villages was taken in a meeting between Mr Chiranji Lal Garg and the representatives of the union.

He said the minister had assured them that the students of various educational institutions would get bus passes by Monday for the mini buses. He added that full ticket amount would be taken from students if they did not have the passes. 


Aggarwal Sabha office-bearers
From Our Correspondent

MANSA, Jan 21 — A state-level meeting of the Aggarwal Sabha was held today at the local Gaushala Bhawan. It was presided over by Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, Minister of State for Science and Technology. Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala was lauded for appointing the sabha’s leader M.L. Goyal as the Chief Secretary, Haryana.

The following were elected office-bearers of the state unit of the Aggarwal Sabha; president — Mr Rameshwar Dass Sarpanch (Sunam), vice-president — Mr Ram Niwas (Budhlada) and general secretary — Mr Prem Kumar Garg (Barnala).

The following were elected the presidents of the district unit: Mr Kesho Ram Bhupal (Mansa) and Mr Parshotam Dass Ballo (Bathinda).


Attackers flee as dogs alarm family
Tribune News Service

JALANDHAR, Jan 21 — Balbir Singh and his family were saved when their pets alarmed them as a group of 10-12 marauders attacked his farmhouse on the outskirts of Pattar Kalan village.

The armed attackers, however, had to beat a hasty retreat when Balbir Singh’s two pet dogs alarmed the family, which in turn started crying for help. Villagers surrounded Balbir Singh’s house forcing the attackers to flee.

However, the crowd got hold of one of them and beat him to death. His body has been sent for post-mortem at the local Civil Hospital. A case has been registered.


578 lakh sanctioned for Fatehgarh Sahib
From Our Correspondent

FATEHGARH SAHIB, Jan 21 — The Punjab Government has sanctioned Rs 578.12 lakh for various development schemes in this district. The amount will be distributed among all villages as per their requirement, Mr B.S. Sudan, Deputy Commissioner, said while addressing a sangat darshan programme at Sampli village today.

He urged people to shun petty politics for the development of their villages. He said no government policy could be implemented without the cooperation of the public. He said various public-oriented schemes have been implemented and people should take advantage of the schemes.

Villagers highlighted problems, particularly that of drainage of sullage, among others. Various complaints relating to old-age pensions, shamlat land and electricity were redressed on the spot. The rest were marked to officials concerned for redress in a time-bound period.


PUDA plans sale of property worth 200 cr
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 21 — Under a multi-pronged strategy, the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) plans to sell commercial and residential property worth around Rs 200 crore by the end of the current financial year.

A spokesman of PUDA said 104 acres had been acquired by PUDA from the Irrigation Department in Pathankot along the National Highway to Jammu. The project, providing 600 freehold house sites, had been christened Dhauladhar Enclave. He said the approval of the Chief Minister had been sought to allot the plots by draw of lots instead of auction.

Similarly, the old jail site in Ludhiana had been divided into commercial pockets to be sold as shop, booth and shop-cum-office sites. Auction of the sites would be held on February 15, March 2 and March 15. Prime property of the authority on the Ferozepore road, Ludhiana, was also being put under the hammer on March 16. In the case of Jalandhar, commercial sites opposite the new bus stand would be auctioned on February 20. Low- income category plots would be auctioned in Bulandpur village, near Jalandhar, on March 21.

He said plots in Phulkian Enclave, behind the proposed district administrative complex on the Nabha road near the Patiala Central Jail would also be allotted. An auction of commercial sites would be held under the Kaur Sahib Haveli scheme on March 20. In Kapurthala town, residential sites would be auctioned near the District Institute of Education and Training on March 15.

The spokesman said residential and commercial sites in Sehaj Enclave, behind Ram Lal Eye Hospital at Amritsar, would be auctioned on March 12. The old Frash Khana site in Sangrur would be auctioned on March 23.

A millennium plaza site in SAS Nagar had been replanned as shops and shop-cum-offices sites to be auctioned on March 12.

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