Thursday, January 25, 2001,
Chandigarh, India

P U N J A B    S T O R I E S




PAC of SAD to meet on Jan 27
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 24 — The President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who briefly discussed the preparations, to be made for the Majitha byelection with his senior party colleagues here today, has convened a meeting of the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) of the party in Amritsar on January 27.

In a statement, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, secretary of the SAD, said that the meeting would be held at Bhai Gurdas Hall at 11.30 a.m.

At the meeting, the party candidate for the Majitha byelection would be decided , it is learnt.

Meanwhile, keeping in view the Majitha poll, Mr Badal has cancelled all political conferences, scheduled to be held between February 7 and February 22 in nine districts in the state. Informed sources said that Mr Badal today directed all senior party leaders to mobilise party activists in all districts for a sustained campaigning in the Majitha constituency. He has directed Dr Rattan Singh Ajnala, who is the president of the Majitha police district unit of the party, to set the stage for launching the campaign at the earliest and also to find a suitable building for setting up the party’s nodal office for campaign purposes.

He has also been told to make arrangements with regard to the bhog ceremony of Mr Parkash Singh Majitha, who died last week. Mr Majitha had won from the Majitha constituency last time and because of his death, the byelection has been ordered.

The names of four candidates are being mentioned as aspirants for the SAD ticket. One of them is Mr Manjit Singh Bhoma, president of the All-India Sikh Students Federation. Mr Bhoma is at present the vice-chairman of the Punjab Raj Khadi Board. Several leaders of the AISSF in a signed statement have urged Mr Badal to nominate Mr Bhoma as party candidate for this byelection. His village falls in the Majitha constituency. Mr Bhoma had remained in jail for about eight years.

The other aspirants for the party ticket, according to sources, are Mr Rajmohinder Singh Majitha, a member of the Rajya Sabha, Mr Manjinder Singh Kang, chairman of the Punjab Forest Development Corporation and Mr Simarjit Singh Majitha, son of the late Mr Parkash Singh Majitha. Mr Rajmohinder Singh Majitha is also a close relation of Mr Parkash Singh Majitha, it is learnt.

For the Congress ticket, the main aspirants are reported to be Mr Savinder Singh Kathunangal and Mr Ranjit Singh Waryamnangal. Both had contested last time.

Informed political sources said that it would not be an easy task for the SAD to retain this seat. The congress had won this seat earlier a couple of times when there was a wave in favour the Akalis.


Shiromani Punjabi Sahitkar award for Dr Tarsem
Tribune News Service

PATIALA, Jan 24 — The Advisory Board of the State Languages Department, which met under the Presidentship of Mr R.S. Mann, Chief Secretary, at Chandigarh has selected Punjabi writers for various awards.

Prof Pritam Singh, Prof Piyara Singh and Ajaib Chitrakar have been nominated for the Punjabi Sahit Shiromani Puruskar. Dr Ishar Singh, Dr Atam Hamrahi and Dr S. Tarsem will get the Shiromani Punjabi Sahitkar Award and Kalidas Gupta, R.D. Sharma and Mahmud Sultan Anjum have been nominated for the Shiromani Urdu Sahitkar Award.

The Shiromani Hindi Sahitkar award will be shared by Davinder Ishar, Dr Suresh Seth and Dr Hukam Chand Rajpal. The Shiromani Sanskrit Sahitkar Award will be given to Dr S. Hans, Dr Sansar Chand and Dr Padam Nath Shastri while the Shiromani Punjabi Patrakar Award will be shared by Shingara Singh Bhullar, Satnam Singh Manak and Amarjit Singh.

The Shiromani Ragi Puraskar will be given to Bhai Balbir Singh, Bhai Bhan Singh Bora and Bhai Channan Singh Majboor. The Shiromani Punjabi Lekhak Award will be shared by Surjit Singh Dhillon, Dr Kuldeep Singh Dhir and Faqir Chand Shukla.

The Shiromani Punjabi Kavi Puraskar will be given to Mr Harbhajan Singh, Manjit Tiwana and Anup Virk. The Shiromani Punjabi Bal Sahit Lekhak Puraskar will be shared by Manmohan Singh, Jasbir Bhullar, Raj Dular. The Shiromani Punjabi Sahitkar Puraskar (outside Punjab) will be given to Piyara Singh, Harbhajan Singh Rattan and Gurcharan Singh Mehta. The Shiromani Punjabi Television, Radio, Theatre and Drama Award will be given to Neena Tiwana, Ajmer Singh Aulakh and Nirmal Rishi.

The writers would be given awards on February 26 at a function at the Language Department here.


Growers want more canal water
From Raj Sadosh

ABOHAR: Fruit growers have concern over the inadequate supply of canal water.

At a meeting held here they urged the government to direct the Department of Irrigation to consult agricultural and horticultural experts before finalising the schedule for canal closures. They were also of the view that technology for preparing juice from kinnow at the local level should be developed. Two grading and other purposes had been set up in this area for kinnow. This had made some exports possible, but the government was yet to come out with a comprehensive plan for better marketing.

Last year horticulturists faced a serious problem of fruit dropping in kinnow plants due to dense fog in the subdivision for more than a month. This time they took preventive measures, including the spray of fungicide. They felt that the spray could be made economical and more effective if the state government provided automatic spray pumps at subsidised rates besides offering loans for the purpose. They were unhappy over the state government’s withdrawal of subsidy for drip irrigation even when a team of experts and farmers after their visit to Israel had made a recommendation for encouraging the drip/sprinkle irrigation system to meet the water shortage.

Mr Surender Kumar Jakhar, a farmer of Panjkosi village in this subdivision, was a member of the team which visited Israel and other countries three years ago. He was of the opinion that agricultural scientists had apprehended much in advance that our country would be facing problems regarding water for irrigation and drinking. A report in this regard had been gathering dust with the Union Government. If emphasis was to be laid on growing more fruits to earn foreign exchange, the government must come out with a clear-cut policy. The policy should be implemented in an effective manner and provide, among other benefits, incentives like loans and subsidy to horticulturists.

Mrs Karamjit Kaur of Danewala Satkosi village, also in this subdivision, was recently honoured for providing the best care to her kinnow orchard at a state-level citrus show held in Hoshiarpur by the state government. She had abandoned the wheat crop to ensure that kinnow planted in her 21-acre orchard did not perish due to the shortage of canal water. The water meant for wheat fields was used in the orchard, she said.


ST on lotteries: tug of war continues
By Sarbjit Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 24 — A tug of war between the Finance Department and the Excise and Taxation Department on the imposition of sales tax on state lotteries continues. The Directorate of Lotteries, which controls the lottery business in the state, falls within the jurisdiction of the Finance Department.

Fully convinced that there should be sales tax of 20 per cent on the lotteries in the state, the Excise and Taxation (ET) Department has decided to once again take up this issue. This time, however, the ET Department authorities would straightway approach the Council of Ministers to stamp the proposal mooted by it in this connection.

Earlier, this proposal was sent to the Finance Department which did not agree with it. The Finance Department raised some objections to the proposal. One of the these was that it will not be advisable to impose sales tax in the middle of the year as the contract for the sale of lotteries in the state had already been awarded to a private party.

The ET Department authorities had insisted that the Finance Department should take a rational view of the proposal as it would be in the interest of the state to impose the tax and also sought the help of the Chief Minister in this connection. The Chief Minister referred the issue to the Chief Secretary, who held a meeting with the officials concerned but nothing came out of that meeting as both departments stuck to their stands, according to informed sources.

Mr Tikshan Sud, Minister of State for Excise and Taxation, told TNS that Mr Adesh Partap Singh, Excise and Taxation Minister, had prepared the draft of the memo to be put up before the Council of Ministers for imposing sales tax on lotteries. Both Mr Sud and Mr Adesh Partap Singh have held several meetings with officials of their department in this connection and have also got the issue legally examined from the authorities concerned.

Mr Sud said that the ET Department was earlier expecting revenue of Rs 200 crore from sales tax on lotteries. However, later the Directorate of Lotteries said that the tax could only be imposed on the profit as per a judgement of the Supreme Court in the case of lotteries. The ET Department got the judgement examined from legal experts and reframed its proposal to impose the tax on the profit.

Mr Sud said that the sale of lotteries in the state amounted to Rs 1,100 crore a year. And even if the profit was calculated at the rate of 15 per cent — as the Directorate of Lotteries says that it distributed 85 per cent of the sale proceeds as prize money — the ET Department could earn over Rs 30 crore as sales tax from the lotteries.

He said that Mr Adesh Partap Singh had proposed that the sales tax collected from lotteries could be given to the PSEB for providing subsidised power to poor sections. It has been proposed to impose this tax at the first stage, which means it will be the responsibility of the Directorate of Lotteries to get it deducted while issuing tickets for sale.

Mr Sud said that the ET Department, after a long discussion, had decided to take the case pertaining sales tax direct to the Council of Ministers bypassing the Finance Department. The department would argue at the meeting of the council that it would be beneficial to the state government to impose such a tax. There are certain other states in the country which levy tax on the sale of lotteries.


Varsity to set up drug research centres
From Our Correspondent

PATIALA, Jan 24 — Punjabi University is in the process of setting up a drug and poison information centre, an institute for cardio-vascular sciences, therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) unit, and a centre for alternative system of medicines.

This was stated during the international conference on pathophysiology and drug therapy of cardiovascular disorders organised by the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Drug Research, Punjabi University, here today. Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, was the chief guest.

Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, Vice-Chancellor of the university, said that the university was seriously considering the issue of setting up various centres to upgrade the drug research work in the city. He said apart from the physical factors, various mental and spiritual factors were also involved for the increasing hypertensions. “Various mystics have gone to the West to provide the people there with meditative measures for the relaxation of mind and body, but ultimately all in vain, except that they have made money out of it”, he said. He added that a change is a must in all aspects which is possible only if the community becomes free of traditional stereotypes.

In an exclusive interview with this correspondent, the head of the department, Dr Manjeet Singh, said that the main thrust of the function was not only to set up a research centre but also aim at its application. He said that the idea is to bring together all cardiologists, cardiovascular scientists and cardiothorasic surgeons so that their initiation can help the department to set up an exclusive centre on promoting educational awareness and try minimising future problems relating with heart failures.

Dr Manjeet Singh said that their function is expanded into six symposiums and two scientific assertions which would take up various miscellaneous and large spectrum of projects. He added that the main thrust would be to highlight issues such as those related with heart problems, degree of hypertension increasing in the day-to-day life, block of coronary arteries, health problems and also undertaking of financial difficulties being faced by people belonging to the backward areas.

Dr J.S.Gujral, scientist and surgeon and also Vice-Chancellor of the conference, said that good progress had been made for the past 40 years. “There were hardly any drugs earlier. However, now even such drugs have been produced which keep the heart in working condition even during prolonged anaesthesia”; said Dr. Gujral.

Dr N.K. Ganguli, Director-General of Indian Council of Medical Research laid emphasis upon air pollution which is the main suffering area for the increasing hypertension and cardiac disorders. He added that there has been a rapid increase in the folic deficiency also apart from the fact that “we are moving away from a healthy diet. “The lipids contained in desi ghee are oxidised with great difficulty. The hypertension in case of those working in salt mines is 40% while with tea workers it is 30%. ”

Dr N. S. Dhalla, Director of Cardiovascular Sciences Centre, Canada said, “Cardiovascular disorders is the number one killer in the world primarily because of the ageing population where most of the people die with heart failures. In cases of heart attacks, 30-35% of the area is damaged due to blockage of the coronary flow. Within a period of 2-3 years this size increases and slowly it stops functioning. Its symptoms are breathlessness, difficulty in walking and various other devastating problems.” He said that the flow of blood to heart can be blocked because of three reasons- spasm of arteries, etherosclorosis and thrombosis. He added that the last one was the prime cause for the increasing problems of heart, which involves thickening of the blood.

Dr Dhalla felt that India lacks the basic infrastructure due to which various Indians, including him, who have once gone out of the country do not wish to come back and try to bring implements to their native land.


ITBP to raise 38 companies
From Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

BATHINDA, Jan 24 — The move initiated by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) authorities for acquiring bulletproof tractors from the Punjab Police for fighting insurgency in the tough terrain of Jammu and Kashmir could not materialise as the Punjab Government demanded Rs 1 lakh per tractor from it.

The efforts of the ITBP authorities were frustrated by the Punjab Finance Department when it demanded Rs 1 lakh per bulletproof tractor despite the fact that the Home Ministry had given permission to the ITBP to acquire the tractors for fighting insurgency.

Mr Gautam Kaul, Director-General of the ITBP, who was here to inaugurate the officers’ mess constructed at a cost of Rs 32 lakh, said the tractors were not given to the ITBP despite the fact that these were lying unused in Punjab for the past many years.

He added that the ITBP demanded only 11 tractors for its counter-insurgency operations but due to its financial position the ITBP authorities were not able to fulfil the demand of the Punjab Government.

He added the demand of Rs 1 lakh per tractor was raised by the Punjab Government after a decision to this effect was taken by the committee constituted for the same task. He added that the tractors lying in Punjab were in immediate need of repair and it would cost Rs 1.5 lakh per tractor.

He disclosed the tractors were purchased by the Punjab Police from the funds given to it by the then Central Government to fight militancy in Punjab. The tractors could produce better results in Jammu and Kashmir.

Mr Kaul disclosed the ITBP would raise 38 companies and the entire exercise would be completed shortly. At present, 48 companies had been posted in Jammu and Kashmir.

He added the main aim of the ITBP personnel was to check infiltration on the Chamba-Doda border to stop the militants from sneaking into Himachal Pradesh. In anti-insurgency operations 24 ITBP men lost their lives in 2000 while 65 were injured.

He pointed out that a mental health centre had also been opened by the ITBP to treat its men for stress related disorders. ITBP men posted in Jammu and Kashmir usually suffered from ulcer, defective digestive system, fear, tension, anxiety and high blood pressure.

He said the condition of some of the roads in Jammu and Kashmir was very bad and these could not be repaired by the authorities concerned despite the repeated efforts made by the ITBP. He added that the ITBP authorities were of the view that the state government should construct roads and these should be maintained by the ITBP.


Jagmeet not loyal, alleges Brar
From Our Correspondent

FARIDKOT, Jan 24 — Mr Harcharan Singh Brar, former Chief Minister Punjab and a senior Congress leader, has criticised Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar, party MP and whip in the Lok Sabha, for levelling “false” charges against party leaders in the state. He alleged that Mr Jagmeet Singh had never remained sincere to the party and had shifted his stand from time to time for political gains. This could be verified from his previous record, he said.

He appealed the Congress high command to take disciplinary action against Mr Jagmeet Singh for his anti-party activities.

Talking to The Tribune at the local PWD rest house, Mr Harcharan Singh Brar admitted that there were differences among senior party leaders in the state and appealed Mrs Sonia Gandhi, Congress President, to look into the matter.

He reiterated his stand to contest the forthcoming Assembly elections from the Muktsar Assembly constituency. He had already conveyed his feelings to PPCC President Amarinder Singh.

The former Chief Minister assailed the BJP-led NDA government for its failure to safeguard the interests of farmers.

He said a comprehensive policy should be formed to pay extra bonus to agriculturists keeping in view the production.

He ridiculed Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for making tall claims regarding the development of the state. He alleged that Mr Badal had failed at all fronts.


Badal playing double game, says CPI
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 24 — The secretary of the Punjab unit of the CPI, Dr Joginder Dayal, said today that if the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, was honestly opposed to the WTO, he should withdraw from the NDA government at the Centre.

In a statement, Dr Dayal said that it was the NDA government which was enforcing the WTO agreement in the country. Mr Badal should not play a “double game” by opposing the WTO in Punjab and supporting it in the NDA government. He said Mr Badal’s party was fully supporting the NDA government’s “anti-farmer” policies.

Dr Dayal said that people in the state were capable of understanding the game played by Mr Badal on the WTO issue. They would not allow him to mislead the people on this issue. It was the NDA government which withdrew subsidy on various fertilisers, hiked the price of diesel and other agriculture inputs and also slashed subsidies on foodgrains to be distributed under the public distribution system. He said that while on the one hand the NDA government was cutting subsidies on farm inputs, on the other hand it was removing quantitative restrictions on the import of foodgrains and dairy products to harm farmers in the country.

Dr Dayal said the CPI would expose the “double game” played by Mr Badal. He said the CPI would intensify its struggle against the WTO soon under the slogan “Save agriculture, save nation”.


Assembly ‘disallows’ Chawla’s questions
From Our Correspondent

AMRITSAR, Jan 24 — Close on the heels of allegations of ‘disallowing’ questions of the CPI in the Assembly raised by Mr Hardev Singh Arshi, CPI MLA, Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla, MLA of the ruling party BJP has alleged similar treatment to her starred questions.

One of her questions relating to ‘foreign tours by ministers’, was disallowed on the grounds that another question of March 2 last year covers the information substantially and that another unstarred question in the list of September 6 last year is also on the same subject.

Another starred question relating to the ‘murders in district Amritsar’ was similarly not admitted.

Another question inquiring into the recruitment of ASIs in the Punjab police also remained unadmitted. The question was serious in view of the mention that there were charges of ASIs getting appointed on producing fake degrees, it is alleged.

Two other important questions relating to the “imprisonment of members of Punjab Public Service Commission and of a member of the Punjab Subordinate Services Selection Board remained non-admissible for reasons cited as “disallowed on being an administrative matter affair”.

A prominent starred question relating to the grant of facilities to the ex-servicemen/dharma fauji/crusaders as termed by government also met the same fate. The question enquired whether the term was granted to some ex-servicemen and if so, of which category.

In a statement, Ms Chawla alleged a partisan role by the Speaker of the assembly and said he did not want to admit uncomfortable questions in the assembly.


Left activists stage dharna
From Our Correspondent

FARIDKOT, Jan 24 — On a call by the Left Democratic Front, activists of the CPI and the CPM staged a dharna at the mini-secretariat here today in protest against the possibility of the Central Government dismissing the West Bengal Government under the Article 356 of the Constitution.

Later the protesters led by Mr Pawan Preet, general secretary of the district unit of the CPI, presented a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner. 


Probe irregularities, Railway Manager told
From Our Correspondent

ABOHAR, Jan 24 — The Baroda House headquarter of Northern Railway has asked Divisional Railway Manager, Ambala, to inquire into the alleged mismanagement at the local railway station and remove discrepancies at the earliest.

This was stated in a press release issued by the Railway Passengers’ Association, (North Zone), quoting a communication received from the General Manager Complaints, the association had lodged complaints to the Railway Minister and the General Manager as well listing the alleged mismanagement at the railway station here. It said the Area Grievances Cell had pulled up the local authorities for not opening booking windows as per rules but nobody bothered. The window was opened only a few minutes before the arrival of the trains. This forced passengers either to rush to catch the train leaving balance amount with the booking clerk or to travel without ticket and face heavy fine thereafter. The computerised reservation window allegedly remained closed for three to four days together on the pretext that the clerk was on leave and his substitute was not available. Passengers had to go to Bathinda or Sri Ganganagar to get their tickets reserved.

The association, in the complaints alleged that enquiry counter was almost non-functional. No body could give definite information regarding the movement of trains.

The association had requested the Railway Minister that the second platform should be provided a shed. STD PCO be opened, a cycle shed be arranged to check thefts of two wheelers. The General Manager on his visit last year had promised to clear the proposal at the earliest but nothing was heard afterwards.


Residents allege discrimination
From Our Correspondent

MANSA, Jan 24 — Residents of the town have complained about the poor condition of road here. They said though tenders for road repair had been awarded to contractors work had been stopped without any reason.

Mr Prem Sagar Bhola, general secretary of the local unit of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Balwinder Singh Kaka, former president of the Youth Congress, Mrs Amarjit Kaur, district secretary of the All-India Democratic Women Association (AIDWA), and Mr Harpal Singh, Pali, municipal councillor, disclosed they had decided to move court against the present local government regime led by Mr Pawan Kumar Mattiwala for his alleged discriminatory attitude towards development work in the town. They alleged Mr Mattiwala had targeted their wards as these municipal councillors did not subscribe to his dictatorial views.

They said they would be going to that court to seek justice and equality in the development work.

Mr Mattiwala when contacted said work had been stopped due to the shortage of funds as the state government had withheld the cess collected by the Excise Department on behalf of local bodies throughout Punjab. He also disclosed that the state government owed Rs 2 crore to the Mansa Municipal Council. He assured that as soon as funds were made available development work would be started without any further delay.


GHTP plant closed for repair
Tribune News Service

LEHRA MOHABAT (Bathinda), Jan 24 — Unit two of Guru Hargobind Thermal Plant (GHTP) was closed on January 21 for carrying out minor repairs.

Official sources said the unit was closed after taking permission from the Power Controller as it had tripped on the evening of January 21.

The sources said all minor repair works in the unit would likely to be completed today.

Mr Subash Bansal, Chief Engineer, GHTP, talking to TNS said the unit was not closed due to oil fuel shortage.

He said on January 22, unit one also tripped but it was made functional within few hours as there was adequate oil fuel on the plant premises.


MP seeks judicial inquiry
Tribune News Service

BATHINDA, Jan 24 — Mr Bhan Singh Bhora, MP, today demanded that a judicial probe should be held into the shutting of unit two of the Guru Hargobind Thermal Plant (GHTP) a few days ago due to inadequate oil fuel as reported in a section of the Press.

Talking to TNS, he said Power Minister Sikander Singh Malooka had asked the Additional Secretary (Power), Mr Raminder Singh, to submit a report in this regard to the government within 21 days.

He said it was surprising how a government official could give a report. He said an independent probe should be held. 


Faridkot lawyers to hold protest
From Our Correspondent

FARIDKOT, Jan 24 — The district Bar Association has decided to adopt a peaceful agitational approach to impress upon the Punjab Government to extend the boundaries of the district which was trifurcated into Moga, Muktsar and Faridkot districts in 1995.

The decision was unanimously taken at a joint meeting of the lawyers held here on Monday. It was decided to stage a one-hour dharna on the district courts premises for a week.

Talking to mediapersons here yesterday, Mr Surinder Iqbal Singh, president of the Bar Association, said a 15-member committee had been constituted to meet the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to put up the demand. The deputation would go to Chandigarh by the end of the week.

He said if the state government failed to resolve the issue, the lawyers would be compelled to take the issue to the streets.

It may be recalled that the district was divided into three parts by the then state Chief Minister, Mr Harcharan Singh Brar, in 1995.


Health insurance cover for cops
Tribune News Service

JALANDHAR, Jan 24 — After Pashupalika, a 24-hour animal rescue and rehabilitation centre, the Jalandhar police has come out with yet another novel project, “medisure”, with a view to providing health insurance cover to its 5,000-strong constabulary and other ranks.

The project will be an offshoot of the ongoing “Suvidha” scheme, a joint venture of 12 private hospitals and the police, under which ailing officials and their about 20,000 dependents can avail medical facilities at any of these hospitals offering a concession between 30 and 50 per cent.

Under the scheme, each official will be able to get an insurance cover of Rs 50,000, after paying a nominal annual premium of about Rs 500 and in case the official suffers from some disease he will be able to get up to Rs 50,000.

Mr Gaurav Yadav, SSP, said an official will not be required to collect bills and get them signed from the Chief Medical Officer for reimbursement.

Keeping in view the stress level among officials, the police had recently organised a 15-day yoga and meditation camp.


Health for all, when and how?
Tribune News Service

SANGRUR, Jan 24 — As the Union Health Ministry had failed to achieve the target of Health for All by 2000 in the country, the Punjab unit of Indian Medical Association (IMA) will initiate a significant discussion on the topic, “Health for all — when and how,” at its 56th state-level conference to be held at Amritsar on April 8.

Disclosing this here yesterday, Dr Surinder Singla, secretary, Public Relations, IMA, Punjab, said the country had failed in achieving its target Health for All by 2000 due to lack of political will, bureaucratic apathy and less importance given to health programmes. He further said the conference would suggest means and measures to the Central Government to initiate effective steps in this direction.

Dr Singla said another important topic with regard to strategies for control over tuberculosis (TB) would also be discussed at length.


Check-up camps for industrial workers
Tribune News Service

SANGRUR, Jan 24 — The district administration has drawn up a comprehensive plan for medical check-up of industrial workers throughout the district. Mr B.S. Shergill, Executive Magistrate, Sangrur, has been made coordinator for the programme.

A meeting under the presidentship of the Sangrur Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anirudh Tiwari, was held here today to make the programme a success.

Addressing the meeting, Mr Tiwari said the district health authorities and other departments concerned had been directed to conduct medical check-up of industrial works, workshops, dhabas and brick kiln workers.

Mr Tiwari said the district administration would provide medicines and medical assistance free of cost to persons suffering from tuberculosis, leprosy and eye ailments. He said the Labour Department and the Health Department would jointly hold medical check-up camps at different places in the district.

The Deputy Commissioner said Civil Surgeon, Sangrur, would depute teams of doctors for the check-up of the industrial workers. He said in case of emergency a mobile dispensary would be made available.

Among others who attended the meeting included Dr C.P. Bansal, Civil Surgeon; Mr P.S. Bajwa, Deputy Director of Factories and Mr S.S. Bains, Assistant Labour Commissioner.


Dealers flay kisan union leaders
From Our Correspondent

MANSA, Jan 24 — Members of the district Union of the Punjab Seeds, Pesticides and Fertilisers Dealers Association closed their shops today and staged a dharna in the grain market to protest against the alleged dictatorial behaviour of the kisan union leaders. They alleged that union leaders advised the farmers not to pay the bills for seeds, pesticides or fertilisers.

A rally was organised, later on, in which Mr Bhim Sain, president of the union, said some farmers were damaging their crops by untimely use of pesticides.

Mr Kasturi Lal Garg, secretary, said union leaders continue their agitation in front of the shops without trying to reach any compromise. They also threaten the dealers. The members also submitted a memorandum in this regard to Ms Raji P. Sirivastava, Deputy Commissioner.


Rashtri Mulazim Dal office-bearers
From Our Correspondent

BARNALA, Jan 24 — Newly formed Rashtri Mulazim Dal has declared the office-bearers of its Punjab unit and executive committee following the finalisation of the same in its meeting here.

According to Mr Harbans Singh Sherpur and Ms Parminder Kaur Mehal Kalan, president and general secretary, respectively, of the Dal, the following is the list of office-bearers elected unanimously: president — Mr Paramjit Singh Brar; senior vice-presidents — Mr Bahadur Singh Mander, Mr Pala Singh Chahal, Mr Jagjitinder Singh and Mr Gamdoor Singh; secretary general — Mr Raj Kumar; general secretaries — Ms Rupinder Kaur, Mr Gurjinder Singh and Ms Harmeen Kaur; organising secretary — Ms Deepinder Kaur Shergill; and press secretary — Mr Paramjit Singh Kuthala.

Those who were elected Punjab Executive Committee members included Mr Kulwant Singh Jandali, Mr Zora Singh Sidhu, Mr Mewa Singh Kalaboola, Mr Mangat Ram, Mr Amarjit Singh Dhadhogal, Mr Gulshan Mehta, Ms Surinderpal Kaur, Mr Sarup Singh, Mr Charanjit Singh Mann, Mr Ram Murti Gupta, Mr Bharat Bhushan, Mr Jaspal Singh, Mr Ram Singh, Mr Satwinderpal Singh, Mr Harpal Singh, Mr Satish Kapoor, Mr Rupinder Jeji, Mr Karam Singh and Mr Jagmail Singh.

Mr Surinder Kumar Sachdeva will be the office in charge of the organisation at Chandigarh.


Cases with forum pile up
From Our Correspondent

AMRITSAR, Jan 24 — Following the resignation of the president of the District Consumer Redressal Forum, Mr M.S. Chawla, former Sessions Judge, cases lying pending with the forum are piling up.

Meanwhile, the controversy surrounding the resignation refuses to die down, with Mr Vijay Mehra, general secretary of the District Consumer Welfare Forum — another consumer grievances body — alleging that the resignation by the president was not under pressure, but that many complaints against Mr Chawla had been reported prior to his decision. 


Guru Ravi Dass function on Feb 8
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 24 — The Punjab Government will organise a state-level function on the occasion of the parkash utsav of Guru Ravi Dass at Jalandhar on February 8, says a press release.

Presiding over a meeting of the Guru Ravi Dass birthday celebration committee here today, Mr Natha Singh Dalam, Information and Public Relations Minister, appealed to people from all walks of life to celebrate the occasion jointly.


NFL workers hold dharna
From Our Correspondent

BATHINDA, Jan 24 — Activists of the NFL Mazdoor Union staged a dharna in front of the main gate of the NFL plant in the city. The rallies were called by the Centre of Trade Unions.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Vishram Singh, district president, CITU said the policies of the Central and the state governments were against the interest of the labourers. The amendments in the labour laws, cancellation of bonus were not in the interest of the workers, he alleged.


Cultural show for delegates
From Our Correspondent

AMRITSAR, Jan 24 — Delegates from all over the world attending the international mathematics conference at Guru Nanak Dev University were treated to a gala cultural evening by the local BBK DAV College for Women.

The cultural evening began with instrumental rendition by a group of students. The mime performed by six students drew appreciation from all. The ‘gidha’ and ‘bhangra’ by DAV College girls and Khalsa College boys, respectively concluded the show.


Zoo, Tiger Safari closed on R-Day
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 24 — The Chhat Bir Zoo and the Deer Park, Patiala, the Tiger Safari, Ludhiana and the deer parks at Bathinda and Neelon will remain closed on January 26 because of Republic Day, according to Dr Vinod Sharma, Chief Warden (Zoos), Punjab.


2 held for smuggling willow bats
From Our Correspondent

GURDASPUR, Jan 24 — Two inter-state smugglers involved in stealing and smuggling of willow bats and poppy husk have been arrested. Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP, today said the accused had been identified as Ranjit Singh of Kathua and Mohammad Amin of Anantnag. As many as 3,300 willow bats worth Rs 2.33 lakh have been seized from their possession.

The SSP said a naka party, while checking vehicles yesterday, intercepted the truck. The truck had also been impounded.

The accused during preliminary interrogation confessed that they had earlier carried a similar consignment from Kathua to Jalandhar successfully about six months ago. Mohammad Amin working as labour manager with the United Enterprises, Kathua, had stolen the willow bats from the company in connivance with the other accused and sold it to Martial Exports, Jalandhar. They were going to sell the second consignment to the factory when they were arrested.

The SSP said 4 kg of poppy husk was also seized from the truck.

A case under Sections 379 and 411 of the IPC and 15, 61, and 85 of the NDPS Act has been registered.


Woman arrested for husband’s murder
From Our Correspondent

TARN TARAN, Jan 24 — Hundreds of people who included a sizeable number of women, today demonstrated in front of the local City police station against the “murder” of a man by his wife. The people were demanding the arrest of all those responsible for the alleged murder.

According to information received from official sources, Prem Kumar 37, was poisoned to death by his wife Mamta yesterday. He died on the spot. The police station City has registered a case and arrested Mamta. There were demonstrations by BJP leaders Som Nath Kundra, Mr Jatinder Bhatia, Mr Ashwani Kumar Kukku, Mr J.P. Gupta, demanding action in the matter. Prem Kumar was being threatened to be eliminated. The leaders alleged that a gang was behind the murder of Prem Kumar. They demanded the arrest of all those behind this crime.

Mr Harinderjit Singh, DSP, assured the demonstrators that thorough investigation would be conducted and no accused will be let off. On the other hand the body of Mr Prem Kumar cremated after a post-mortem examination in the local civil hospital.


2 petrol stations looted

JALANDHAR, Jan 24 (UNI) — Three car-borne men looted cash at gunpoint from a petrol station without making payment of the fuel at K.S. filling station at Sarakpur on Shankar Road near Nakodar last night, police said.

In a similar incident at Ram petrol station at Nawanpind Shaunkian, three men riding a scooter looted cash.

Police sources suspected both robberies to be the handiwork of the same gang who could have switched from car to scooter to commit the second crime which occurred just about an hour after the first robbery.

The Nakodar police, too, has registered a case relating to the two crimes under Sections 382/34 of the IPC and Sections 25/54/59 of the Arms Act.

Suresh Kumar, a 19-year-old salesman, at K.S. filling station, told the police that he and his cousin Randhir Kumar were working at the petrol station of Simrat Pal when at 7.25 p.m. white Maruti car (without a number plate) drove in and a sikh behind the steering wheel ordered filling up of its fuel tank.

He said the tank was filled up with just 17 litres of fuel. But, Suresh said when he requested for payment, one of two clean-shaven man brandished a pistol, snatched his cash bag containing Rs 6,000 and drove away.

Almost same amount was looted from the second petrol station at around 8.30 p.m.


Revenge murder by granthi
From Our Correspondent

AMRITSAR, Jan 24 — Terror has gripped the residents of Tahli village after the murder of a granthi, Bhai Bhagwan Singh, by another granthi Kuldip Singh, of the same village.

Reports revealed that the accused had been arrested but his accomplices were still at large. No granthi is ready to undertake ‘seva’ (religious service) in the village gurdwara, it is reported.

A deputation led by sarpanch Jarnail Singh met the SGPC Secretary, Dr Gurbachan Singh Bachan, and apprised him of the situation.

It is learnt that Kuldip Singh was ousted by deceased after his objectionable activities were brought to light. The accused then planned the murder to take revenge.


Jassi case: SI gets judicial remand
From Our Correspondent

MALERKOTLA, Jan 24 — Sub-Inspector Joginder Singh, who is allegedly involve in the Jassi murder case was sent in judicial remand for eight days by Subdivisional Judicial Magistrate, Mr S.K. Sachdeva, here today.

The police prosecutor prayed for a further police remand of 10 days to recover mobile phones which were allegedly used by the suspect and the money taken by him to kill Canadian citizen Jaswinder Kaur Jassi. But Mr Sachdeva rejected it and sent Joginder Singh in a Judicial remand.

Joginder Singh is a co-accused in the sensational murder case of Jaswinder Kaur Jassi at Narike village of Malerkotla sub-division in June. She was murdered when she was going with her husband from Malerkotla to Narike on June 8 by hired killers.


Case against kisan leaders
From Our Correspondent

RAMPURA PHUL (Bathinda), Jan 24 — The police today registered a case against the five members of the BKU (Ekta) who had yesterday forced certain bank officials to free one of the defaulters.

According to information Sukhmander Singh, a resident of Mandi Kalan village who was a defaulter of Land Mortgage Bank Rampura, was sent to jail for 10 days by the department. He was produced in the court of Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Phul, yesterday. The manager of the bank and the field officer who accompanied Sukhmander Singh to the court were attacked by activists of the union. They got Sukhmander Singh freed and fled.

The bank manager Mr Nirmaljeet Singh, informed the police immediately. He alleged that farmers had threatened him and his staff against going to the villages for the recovery of debt.

The police has registered a case under Sections 220, 225 and 506 of the IPC against Jeet Singh, Balwinder Singh, Kaka Singh, Balbir Singh and Roshan Singh.


Fee hike in Punjab colleges on cards
Tribune News Service

AMRITSAR, Jan 24 — Even as the Minister for Higher Education, Master Mohan Lal, has been denying any move to hike college fees yet the fact remains the new fee structure could be announced in the near future.

The process for hiking college fees has been going on. The minutes of the meeting of the State Council for Higher Education which met under the presidentship of the Minister for Higher Education clearly mention that there was a clear move to hike the fee. The recently held meeting of Dean, Colleges, under the presidentship of Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, Patiala, has decided to base its recommendations on the basis of the Soch Committee so far as the fee structure is concerned.

The minutes of the meeting held by the Education Minister reads, “The Vice-Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, stated he had recommended Rs 125 as tuition fee and Rs 250 as admission fee in the colleges”.

However, Mr Subash Kumar, president of the Principals Association, said the fee should be hiked in such a manner so that the students do not feel burdened. The Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, had said the autonomy of the universities must be maintained.

The minutes of the meeting read, “The fee in government colleges was much less as compared to private colleges. This fee could not be hiked for a long time. The meeting suggested that the fee may be allowed to be hiked so that the financial crunch of colleges could be sorted out.”


Confusion over history course
From Deepkamal Kaur

LUDHIANA, Jan 24 — There is confusion over the “real” syllabus of history of Class X. While the examinations are barely a month away, the Punjab School Education Board is yet to settle the issue of “changed” history syllabus.

Though most schools have been teaching the new syllabus all through the year, board officials have been maintaining that there is no change in syllabus and the papers will be set according to the old syllabus. With only a few days left for the examination, a delegation of school principals of the city has decided to rush to SAS Nagar to settle the issue and end the anxiety of students.

Gurjeet Kaur, a class X student, said there was confusion among the students of her class. She said their teachers had been teaching from new books and feared that the examination might be set from the old syllabus, affecting the result.

A random survey conducted by this correspondent revealed that most of the schools have taught the subject according to the changed syllabus. The Vice-Chairman of the board, Dr Gurdev Singh Sidhu, said here yesterday that there had been no change in the history syllabus. The examinations would also be conducted according to the old syllabus.

Dr Sidhu said the teachers had started teaching the changed syllabus on their own and the board did not issue any such directions. He even said the history books with the changed syllabus were yet to be published. However, contrary to his statement, new books published by the board in Hindi and Punjabi are available in the market and most of the schools have been following these ever since the beginning of this session.

The revised edition of the books has six chapters, three common with the old book and three new on the history of Punjab. The first four chapters from the old book have been excluded.

Now that the date sheet of Class X has been declared, the confusion over the syllabus still persists. A history teacher at R.S. Model Senior Secondary School said, “All through the year we had been following the new syllabus as given in the revised books of the board. Now that the board officers have been telling that the examination will be conducted from the old syllabus, the confusion has increased all the more.”

The teachers said they had been telling the Principal to go to the board office at SAS Nagar in this regard.

However, there are some schools where the teachers and the students are following the new as well as the old syllabus. Mr Narinder Sharma, Principal, Sanatan Senior Secondary School, Civil Lines, said he had directed his teachers to follow the old as well as new chapters. Even though he knew that the students would be burdened with 12 chapters, they would at least be on the safe side. 


BDS interns on strike
From Our Correspondent

FARIDKOT, Jan 24 — Sixty interns of the local Dashmesh Institute of Research of Dental Sciences are on strike for the past three days in protest against the non-recognition of the institute for the past eight years.

They said it would create hurdles in getting government jobs on doing private practice. The strikers said more than 240 students who had earlier done BDS course from here had not got jobs.

When contacted, Dr Gursewak Singh, Director of the college, said the Central Government had already approved of the college and the recognition of the institute was under consideration. The issue was likely to be settled soon, he said.


ITI students go on strike
From Our Correspondent

FARIDKOT, Jan 24 — More than 400 students of the local Industrial Training Institute (ITI) went on an indefinite strike today in protest against the shift in working days, hike in tuition fees and order on compulsory uniform in the institution.

They also blocked traffic for two hours. Later talking to medipersons, Mr Gurpreet Singh, president of the ITI Students Association, alleged that the government was unnecessarily harassing students. The tuition fee hike from Rs 500 to Rs 3,400 would affect poor students, he added.


Bawa reappointed
From Our Correspondent

AMRITSAR, Jan 24 — The syndicate of Guru Nanak Dev University has reappointed Dr R.S. Bawa, as Registrar of the university for another term of four years from February 27 to February 26, 2005. Recently, Dr Bawa was also elected the President of Indian Economic Associations (IEA) during its 83rd session held at Jammu.

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