Wednesday, January 31, 2001,
Chandigarh, India

P U N J A B    S T O R I E S




Cong fields Kathu Nangal in Majitha
Tribune News Service

MAJITHA, Jan 30 — Mr Amarinder Singh, President, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, today fielded Mr Sawinder Singh Kathu Nangal as party candidate for the Majitha byelection, scheduled to be held on February 19 while Mr Raj Mohinder Singh Majitha, a Rajya Sabha member filed his nomination papers as an Akali candidate in the presence of Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

It was a hectic day both for the SAD and the Congress as leaderships of both the parties had tough time to ‘win over’ the aspirants of the crucial byelection. While Mr Amarinder Singh succeeded in winning over Mr Ranjit Singh Waryam Nangal, Mr Surinderjit Singh — both former MLAs and Mr Sukhjinder Raj Singh Lali, the ruling SAD got the support of Mr Simerjit Singh, son of late Parkash Singh Majitha and Mr Manjinder Singh Kang, chairman, Forest Corporation who had staked their claims for the Akali ticket. Before proceeding for filing nomination papers, Mr Simerjit Singh announced publicly that he would support Mr Raj Mohinder Singh Majitha in every way.

The aspirants for the Congress ticket, however, said that it was their democratic right to stake claim for the party ticket till it was announced. “Now the ticket has been given to Mr Kathu Nangal, they would support him to strengthen the hands of Mr Amarinder Singh”. They said that history of Majitha constituency had been that the Congress party always won the election when the leadership was united.

Addressing a press conference at the residence of Mr R.L. Bhatia, local member of Parliament, Mr Amarinder Singh said that his party would win the election with ‘thumping majority’.

He said the Congress had divided the entire Majitha constituency into 25 zones. Each zone would be looked after personally by former Ministers, local leaders. He said Mr Kathu Nangal would file his papers tomorrow and election campaign would be launched immediately after that.

Meanwhile, the United Christian Front Punjab, headed by Mr Kamal Kumar, extended full support to the PPCC for the Majitha byelection. Mr Amarinder Singh, Mr R.L. Bhatia and Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, general secretary assured the front that after coming to power, the Congress would give due political share to Christians.

The PPCC chief said that the Election Commission had agreed, in principle, to send electronic voting machines from New Delhi as the machines in Punjab could be easily tampered as with the ruling SAD had done during Nawanshahr and Sunam byelections.

When a correspondent asked that Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar, a Congress MP might go abroad during the Majitha byelection, Mr Amarinder Singh said “it hardly matters if one of the members of Parliament do not come for electioneering”, He, however, said that the Congress party was united.

In a significant statement, Mr Amarinder Singh said that the Congress might forge political alliance with the CPI and the CPM for the byelection. He said both the parties were ‘secular’ and would support definitely the Congress candidate.


PPCC complains to CEC on poll code violation
Tribune News Service

AMRITSAR, Jan 30 — Even as Mr Amarinder Singh, president, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, has sent a fresh complaint to the Chief Election Commission for allegedly issuing “back-dated cheques” worth Rs 6 lakh to some panchayats by Mr Raj Mohinder Singh Majitha from his MP quota fund” yet the district administration has continued to carry developmental work in gross violation of election code of conduct.

A Tribune team which undertook intensive tour of the rural-dominated Majitha constituency today and saw men of Public Works Department resorting to “patch work” on war footing. After the Amritsar-Majitha main road, now the work is in progress on the Kathunangal-Tahliwal road (repair work). The new road being constructed in Kathunangal and the Kathunangal-Tapprian road. On the other hand, the Congress has also enlisted a number of other roads where “patch-work” and repair was being done on war-footing.


Amarinder’s offer to Badal
Tribune News Service

AMRITSAR, Jan 30 — Mr Amarinder Singh, President, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee today said that he was ready to vacate his Moti Bagh palace and exchange his moveable and immoveable property with Mr Parkash Singh Badal. “By doing so, I shall not be loser but a gainer as Mr Badal is one of the wealthiest politicians of the country”.

Mr Amarinder Singh said Mr Badal has unnecessarily blamed that he was a “Maharaja” and could not understand the problems of common people.

While the fact is that Mr Badal is richer than kings of yesteryear.

He alleged that Mr Badal had purchased “benami land” in Australia and other countries and hence with the exchange of property with him, he (Amarinder Singh ) would become richer.


SHSAD to work for rout of SAD-BJP candidate
From Our Correspondent

FATEHGARH SAHIB, Jan 30 — The SHSAD will make all-out efforts to ensure the defeat of the SAD-BJP candidate in the Majitha byelection. The party will also field candidate and the talks are also going on with the like minded parties to put up a joint third front candidate said Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, while talking to The Tribune here today. He had come to preside over the working committee and district Jathedars meeting of his party here. But due to the arrest of Mr Karnail Singh Panjoli, state President youth wing of the SHSAD, he addressed a dharna organised by district unit of the SHSAD for his release and in this dharna all the leaders participated and the dharna was lifted only after the release of Mr Panjoli.

Mr Tohra said the name of the candidate would be finalised tomorrow dual the third front meeting to be held at Amritsar tomorrow. He said he had directed his party candidate to file his nomination and after the finalisation of third front candidate.

He will punish Mr Badal who has destroyed all principles of Sikhism and disobeyed Akal Takht. The only aim of Mr Badal was to amass wealth through corruption and install his son as the next Chief Minister.

Earlier, addressing the dharna, Mr Tohra warned that the duty of the police and the bureaucracy was enforce to the rule of law and not the rule of any individual. He said if the police continued to commit atrocities and high-handedness to please their political masters, it would lead to anarchy. He alleged that Mr Panjoli was arrested and tortured on the behest of Mr Badal as he was renovating a shop in the SGPC shopping complex for the party office. The local police led by DSP Charanjit Singh took him into custody and beat him up publicly. In spite of the fact that Mr Panjoli had assured the SP (D) that his party would not open office in SGPC shops, if the Manager of local gurdwara opposed it. He said Mr Panjoli had taken a private building for setting up the party office there. but the DSP again locked that building and took away the furniture. He asked if the SHAD was an anti-national and terrorist outfit. He challenged, I am going to inaugurate office in that private building, which has been locked by the DSP, in Mr Badal can stop us, we are ready to accept the challenge". He said the rule of Mr Badal was likely to change and whosoever would rule the state would be better and during that regime corrupt officials would be booked.

Addressing the dharna Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, Senior SHSAD leader, said there was lawlessness in the entire state and the higher officials were dancing to the tune of their political masters. The people were not getting justice. The recent incidents and murders in Ludhiana exposed the Politician-police nexus. There was gross violation of human rights. He demanded action against the DSP who had humiliated Mr Panjoli.

Later the dharna was lifted as the district administration released Mr Panjoili and he also addressed the dharna and described how he was humiliated by the DSP and directed him not to raise the issue of the release of Sikh youths from jails and to hold dialogue with Mr Sukhbir Badal and to join hands with him.

Mr Tohra later presided over the meeting of working committee and district Jathedars. Sources revealed that he was authorised by the members to name the candidate for Majitha by election. 


Majitha bypoll 
Rival Akalis not to contest
Tribune News Service

AMRITSAR, Jan 30 — After facing humiliating defeat’ in the Nawanshahr and Sunam byelections, the rival Akali factions today took a unanimous decision for not contesting the Majitha byelection on the pretext that ruling party might ‘rig’ the poll again.

The rival Akali factions, however, have decided, in principle, to dissolve their factions after the ‘brain-storming’ exercise in the coming days so that the ‘Panthic unity’ could be brought on single platform against the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal. However, the leaders of five Rival Akali factions said that they were not repeating the ‘blunder’ of boycotting the byelection. They said they would take some decision to make some appeal to the voters after yet another meeting.

Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president SAD (Amritsar), Mr Kuldip Singh Wadala SAD (Democratic) Mr Gurdip Singh, SAD (Panthic) Mr Manjit singh Calcutta and Mr Ravi Inder Singh-Sarab Hind Shiromani Akali Dal who held a marathon meeting today said that all factions would rather contest all 117 Assembly seats, SGPC general election and Zila Parishad elections under the leadership of “one-party one leader.”

Replying a question, the leaders of the rival Akali factions said that they were ready to forge the complete “Panthic unity” to defeat the Congress but not under the leadership of Mr Parkash Singh Badal who had denigrated Akal Takht.

The leaders alleged that Mr Parkash Singh Badal was ‘master’ in tampering with the electronic voting machines and hence it was of no use to contest the byelection especially when there was hardly time for electioneering. “No byelection can be held in free and fair manner, so long Mr Badal is Chief Minister” they alleged

The leaders of all the four Akali factions have decided in principle to float a third front at the national level before the forthcoming General Election. They said there were number of like-minded regional parties which were natural alliance of the Akali Dal. However, Mr Badal had “sacrificed” the interests of Punjab and Punjabis and preferred to reach alliance with the BJP for vested interests.

It is interesting that both the SAD (Amritsar) and the SHSAD had fielded separate candidates in the last Sunam byelection and they lost their security deposits.

The Panthic circles have expressed satisfaction over the decision of rival Akali factions for forging unity. “The scattered Akalis could not become a potential force against the ruling Akali Dal in the past”, they said.

However, the decision of four Akali factions would benefit the ruling Akali Dal as the Sikh votes won’t get divided in the byelection.

After May 1994, this is for the first step to forge a Panthic unity.

Though other leaders had claimed that decision of dissolving different factions would regain the lost glory of Panth in coming days, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, who also attended the meeting refused to comment on this issue. Mr Calcutta, said it was too early to comment on probability of dissolving the factions.. 


SAD PAC to meet on Feb 8
Tribune News Service

AMRITSAR, Jan 30 — The crucial meeting of the Political Affairs Committee of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) will be held at Amritsar on February 8 at 8 p.m.

The meeting, which is being convened 10 days before the Majitha byelection, will finalise the candidate for Rajya Sabha election which is due to be held on February 22 (three days after the byelection). The Rajya Sabha seat fell vacant after the disqualification of Mr Barjinder Singh Hamdard, Managing Editor, Daily Ajit, an Akali-supported independent member. The announcement of the Rajya Sabha candidate will be yet another test for Mr Badal as the Bharatiya Janata Party had already staked its claim for the seat. The nomination papers for this seat will be filed by February 12, the nomination papers could be withdrawn by February 15.


BJP sets up panel for byelection
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 30 — The President of the Punjab unit of the BJP, Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, has set up a four-member committee under the Chairmanship of Dr Baldev Raj Chawla, a minister of the BJP, to coordinate with the Shiromani Akali Dal headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal in connection with a joint campaign in the Majitha byelection.

Other members of the committee will be Mr Daya Singh Sodhi, former President of the state unit, Mr Om Parkash Kalia and Mr Kanwar Jagdeep Singh.


3 more in fray for Majitha
From Our Correspondent

AMRITSAR, Jan 30 — Mr Raghbir Singh Rajasansi, chairman, Punjab Prajapati Sabha and also additional secretary SGPC announced the name of Mr Balbir Singh Aarti as a candidate for Majitha constituency elections and appointed Mr Bawa Singh Ghumanpur as the poll in charge of his party.

Another party the Sarb Sanjha Rangretta Dal Mahila Mandal announced its candidate Mrs Kartar Kaur Sandhu also president of the dal to contest the forthcoming Majitha elections. Besides these the Rashtriya Raksha Dal’s state president Col (retd) J.S. Bal was chosen the candidate for the party formed by ex-servicemen.


Arora new Chief Secy of Punjab
By Sarbjit Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 30 — Mr Naresh Kumar Arora, an IAS officer of the 1965 batch, will take over as the new Chief Secretary of Punjab here tomorrow. He will replace Mr R.S. Mann, who will be retiring on attaining the age of superannuation. Mr Arora will also hold charge of the Department of Personnel and Vigilance, as is traditionally held by the Chief Secretary.

As a sequel to the appointment of the new Chief Secretary, an administrative reshuffle at the senior level is expected within this week. Two senior officers — Mr K.N. Singh and Mrs Asha Attri — have proceeded on long leave while Mr Bhagat Singh, currently on deputation with the Union Government, is expected to return to his parent cadre soon.

The Election Commission has also ordered the change of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of the state. The outgoing CEO, Dr Brajendra Singh, is also to be adjusted in the ensuing reshuffle.

The order pertaining to Mr Arora’s appointment was issued today by the government. Born on September 1, 1942, Mr Arora entered the IAS in 1965 after postgraduation in history. His first posting was as SDM at Moga. He also served as the Deputy Commissioner of Bathinda and Ferozepore besides holding other important posts, including that of Principal Secretary (Home Affairs) and Chief Vigilance Officer, Food Corporation of India, from 1984 to 1989.

Mr Arora’s appointment came as expected. Being a senior member of the 1965 batch, he had been holding the charge of Principal Secretary, Local Government. When he assumes charge tomorrow, this post will also fall vacant.

Mr K.N. Singh, now on leave, was holding the charge of Presiding Officer, Sales Tax Tribunal. He will return from leave abroad by the end of July and is due to retire on attaining superannuation by the end of August.

Mr Bhagat Singh, who belongs to the 1967 batch, is currently Additional Secretary in the Union Ministry of Agriculture. He is reportedly returning to the state cadre at his own request.

Mrs Asha Attri, Principal Secretary, Printing and Stationery, has proceeded on long leave for personal reasons. Her husband, Mr K.K. Attri, Inspector-General of Police in Punjab, has also proceeded on long leave.

In view of these developments, the state government has no choice but to order immediate postings and transfers.

An order about the appointment of Mr R.S. Mann as Chairman of the Power Regulatory Commission is also expected shortly.


Trucks with relief, doctors leave for Kutch
Tribune News Service

PATIALA, Jan 30 — The district administration here has offered to take care of 500 Kutch residents who have been injured in the earthquake. It has also sent a team of 25 doctors, besides food, medicine and clothing worth Rs 30 lakh in 10 trucks, to the quake-hit parts of Kutch. This offer has been made after a request by Gujarat in this regard.

Deputy Commissioner, Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, who flagged off a convoy carrying the relief material and the medical team, said the administration had offered to put up 200 of the injured in Government Rajindra Hospital here. He said 100 more such patients would be accommodated in government hospitals in the city its neighbouring areas, besides 200 in various private hospitals here.

Mr Bir said the doctors were carrying life-saving drugs with themselves to Kutch, as these were urgently needed there. The team comprised orthopaedicians as they were needed the most there.

He said the Bakeman’s factory had donated a truckload of biscuits and the Nahar Group had given 2,500 shirts and sweaters for those affected by the earthquake. He said 7,000 blankets, donated by various voluntary organisations and persons, and 5,000 sweaters had also been sent to Kutch.

Meanwhile, a disaster management group headed by the Deputy Commissioner has also been set up in the district. The Additional Deputy Commissioner (General), Mr Vikas Pratap, has been made the head of Dera Bassi and Rajpura blocks, the ADC (Development) Mr Gagandeep Singh, has been made head of the Nabha block, the PUDA Additional Administrator, Mr R.S. Randhawa, has been made head of the Patiala and Samana blocks and the Municipal Commissioner, Mr K.S. Kang, has been made head of the Patiala city block of the disaster management group. Control rooms have also been established under the charge of these officials to check rumour mongers. Strict action will be taken against those who spread rumours.

The administration has also set up 25 collection centres for those who want to donate money and other things for those who have been hit by the earthquake. Such centres have been set up here in Red Cross Bhavan, Jauhrian Bhatti, Railway Crossing 22, Officers Colony, Samania Gate, Birji Handicapped Ashram, bus stand and the office of the Subdivisional Magistrate. Collection centres have also been established in all subdivisions and subtehsils of the district.

The DC said residents could also deposit bank drafts or cheques for the Gujarat Earthquake Relief Fund with the District Red Cross Society.


Punjab to run community kitchen at Bhuj
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 30 — For making arrangements to run a community kitchen at Lal Bagh in Bhuj, a town devastated by the earthquake, Mr Sarvesh Kaushal, Special Principal Secretary to the Punjab Chief Minister, along with representatives of certain saints, today left for Gujarat in a state government aircraft.

According to information available at the official level, Baba Man Singh Pehowa, who had run a community kitchen in Orissa for several weeks following devastation caused by a cyclone, has sent Baba Mohan Singh and Bhai Lashkar Singh for arranging kerosene, diesel and water to run the kitchen. Sant Harbans Singh has also accompanied Mr Kaushal.

Sources said that the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had talked to his counterpart in Gujarat, Mr Keshubhai Patel, this morning expressing the desire to run a round-the-clock community kitchen for the quake victims. Mr Badal asked him to allot some specific area for this purpose.

This afternoon, the Punjab Government received a communication from the Gujarat Government that the Lal Bagh area had been earmarked for Punjab to provide food and other help to the victims. Immediately after receiving the message, Mr Kaushal left for Gujarat.

Official sources said that the state government was in touch with the Chief Secretary of Gujarat and also the Commissioner appointed to coordinate the relief work in Gujarat.

An official spokesman of the state government said that Mr Kaushal would also coordinate work relating to the receipt of relief material despatched from Punjab to Gujarat. Already one lakh blankets have been sent to Gujarat while another one lakh are being arranged for being sent to the Prime Minister Office for delivery to Gujarat. Nine truckloads of rice, two truckloads of tents, three truckloads of wheat flour and six truckloads of clothes, quilts, shawls, some household material and medicines have been sent to Gujarat from Punjab and more will follow.

Mr Badal has also requested the Prime Minister to make arrangements for the airlifting of cooked food from Punjab to Gujarat on a daily basis for one lakh persons.

A chain of 21 akhand paths was started today at the Golden Temple for the peace of the departed souls. Mr Badal was present when the first akhand path began. He has requested all employees to donate one day’s salary for the quake victims .

The Executive Committee of the Senior Engineers Forum, PWD, ( B and R), has decided that its members will contribute Rs 1,000 each to the Gujarat Chief Minister's Relief Fund.

All members of the Punjab Civil Service (Executive Branch) Officers Association will donate one day’s salary to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.

All Assistant Commissioners (General) in the districts will collect this amount from the officers and sent it to the relief fund, according to a statement issued by the association vice-president Mr O.P. Popli.

All staff members of the Punjab State Civil Supplies Corporation will also donate one day’s salary to the Chief Minister's Relief Fund.


Punjab sets up special relief network
From Rashmi Talwar

AMRITSAR, Jan 30 — Even as the Chief Minister’s offer to send cooked food for one lakh persons a day in the quake-hit Gujarat has been praised by the Prime Minister, the Rajasansi airport Director, Mr V.S. Mulekar, has said he has no “clear” information whether the food to be sent will be cooked or in the dry form.

He says it is unviable to send cooked food to the victims which will first reach Ahmedabad and will then be despatched to the other affected areas like Bhuj, Surat, etc via road. “It will be difficult to preserve the food for many hours”.

Meanwhile, Mr Mulekar said the airport was gearing up to accommodate and accept unscheduled or special takeoffs and landings by Indian Air Force aircraft IL-76. Two or three aircraft would be pressed into relief services from Rajasansi.

The Airport Authority of India through its social welfare organisation Kalyan Mayee will collect donations in cash or kind for the victims.

Meanwhile, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has offered to send its kitchen with men and material to prepare fresh food for the victims in Ahmedabad.

“The tradition of the “langar” started by the third Sikh guru for the first time in Amritsar will be carried forward by serving the suffering humanity in another part of the country”, an SGPC statement said.

The Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has announced the setting up of a special relief network at the state headquarters and a special team of officials led by the Special Principal Secretary, Mr Sarvesh Kaushal. The team will coordinate with a senior official of the Union Government assigned by the Prime Minister regarding the airlifting of the meals.


Jalandhar Mayor removed
From Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

JALANDHAR, Jan 30 — Pandemonium prevailed in the 60-member House of the local Municipal Corporation as the BJP suffered a major jolt when its Mayor Suresh Sehgal was “removed” but the confused and reluctant bureaucracy tried to play safe by not making a declaration to this effect and by sending its “report” about today’s four-hour show to the Punjab Local Bodies Department high-ups for “necessary” action.

Even as cutting across party lines 37 members, including 22 members of the Congress and 10 members of the BJP’s alliance partner Shiromani Akali Dal, supported the resolution favouring the removal of Mr Sehgal at the very outset of the meeting. Commissioner Bidhi Chand Thakur and Secretary D.P. Bharadwaj tried their best to evade the responsibility of making a declaration regarding this and to pass the buck towards each other. Congress leader Avtaar Henry threatened that his party would hold a dharna in front of the office of the Commissioner tomorrow, in case he failed to make an on the spot declaration by this evening. Mr Gurcharan Singh Narula said if the state of abeyance continued today, he would immolate himself in front of the Commissioner’s office tomorrow.

The drama started when Vipin Kumar of the BSP proposed that the item No. 246, pertaining to removal of the Mayor, should be discussed first and the agenda about the condolence of death of thousands of people in earthquake-hit Gujarat should be discussed later on. While the proposal of Mr Vipin Kumar was opposed by a few supporters of the Mayor, his arch rival and leader of the Akali group Mr Narula, who supported the Congress seconded it.

At the same time, the Congress group elected Mr Bachan Lal and declared that he was the new “Mayor”.

The BSP, the Congress and the SAD members shouted that Mr Sehgal was indulging in malpractices and corruption and had no right to stay in power. A group of seven women SAD members led by Ms. Chabbra alleged that the Mayor had no decency to behave with the women members of the house and had been so rude with them.

Later when asked, the Secretary said he was not in a mood to make any declaration about the house proceeding for the moment. “We will send a report to the higher authorities regarding today’s development,” said both Mr Bharadwaj and Mr Thakur. However, when asked about the fate of the resolution pertaining to the removal of the house, Mr Bharadwaj quipped, “it is illegal.”

Interestingly, it is not for the first time that the civic body has been rocked by an unsavoury situation. Earlier, Mr Sehgal and the Commissioner had locked horns over a number of issues, including the removal of encroachments and over the recent allegations of corruption levelled against the Commissioner by the recently suspended Additional District Fire Officer of the corporation fire brigade. The ADFO, who was supported by the Mayor, had alleged that the Commissioner had forced him to cough up lakhs of rupees for construction of his bungalow in Mukerian and he had to take loans from banks for payment of the money to his boss.


BJP leaders yet to be held
DSP to probe case of assault on cop
From Gurpreet Singh
Tribune News Service

FEROZEPORE, Jan 30 — The two BJP leaders — Mr Charan Dass Handa and Mr Hari Dass Chauhan — are yet to be arrested for allegedly tearing the uniform of an Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI), Mr Satnam Singh, here on January 23.

Although a case has been registered against the two leaders and seven others at the Cantonment police station here, no arrest has been made so far.

Any further action in the case is learnt to have been stalled by the DIG, Ferozepore Range, Mr Hardeep Singh Dhillon, who has marked an inquiry to a DSP to thoroughly examine the matter. Mr Dhillon told TNS that the arrests were not necessary and further action would be taken only after going into the merits of the case.

Mr Handa, who is a member of the BJP’s district executive committee, alleged that the case was motivated, as a section of the Police Department was annoyed with the transfer of an IPS officer on the party’s demand.

The case was slapped against the two leaders following an altercation with Mr Kanwar Vijay Partap Singh, an IPS officer. While Mr Handa was allegedly slapped by Mr Kanwar, Mr Chauhan was detained by the officer.

The two leaders had invited the wrath of Mr Kanwar when they tried to meddle into an inquiry of a property dispute case, involving a BJP supporter.

The two leaders had earlier accused ASI Satnam Singh of accepting a gratification from the landlord of their supporter and approached the DIG, Ferozepore Range, for an inquiry.

As the probe was entrusted to Mr Kanwar, the BJP leaders approached him to know the fate of the inquiry without seeking his permission. They also insisted on being present during the investigation of the case, prompting Mr Kanwar to rough up Mr Handa and detain Mr Chauhan.

While Mr Kanwar denies having slapped anyone, a section of the police officers feel that the BJP leaders should have stayed away from the inquiry.

Their contention is that the political parties should maintain a dignified distance from the police to ensure justice. The excessive interference of political leaders in lawful matters only precipitate the matters.

An example of this was the sensational murder of Mr Kapil Saluja within the police station, where local politicians and their supporters had descended on the day of the killing.

Had there been certain restrictions on the entrance in the police stations, the criminal elements in the crowd could not have taken the advantage of slaying Mr Saluja.


Kaura quits BJP, floats front
Tribune News Service

FEROZEPORE, Jan 30 — The Punjab BJP today suffered a major setback when the suspended party leader, Mr Jagmohan Kaura, announced his decision to float a new front under the banner “BJP (Democratic)”.

Mr Kaura also resigned from the primary membership of the party in protest against the alleged interference of the RSS in the BJP affairs. He was recently suspended by the Punjab BJP President, Prof Brij Lal Rinwa, for airing his grievances in the Press.

Although Professor Rinwa had served him a show-cause notice seeking a reply within 15 days, Mr Kaura preferred to react through the media and called a press conference to announce his decision here this afternoon.

Tearing the show-cause notice at the hurriedly called press conference, he said: “I do not find a need to reply directly to Professor Rinwa as I never considered him as the party President”.

Accusing the RSS of imposing Professor Rinwa as the state President on the party rank and file by ignoring the democratic values of the BJP, he said: “The fledgling front will go a long way in restoring democracy in the party”.

He said he was hopeful that all disgruntled party activists would join the “BJP (Democratic)” front that was likely to contest the coming Assembly elections in Punjab. Mr Kaura, however, indicated that the front would give enough time to the mainstream BJP to mend its ways and replace Professor Rinwa before the elections.

He also offered to come back to the BJP if the high command replaced Professor Rinwa and checked the growing interference of the RSS in the party affairs.

Cautioning the BJP against a big political crisis, he advised all party legislators and the ministers to go in for an introspection. He claimed to have received feelers from a number of committed BJP activists, who felt “strangulated” due to the “murder” of intra-party democracy by the Punjab RSS unit.

Describing Professor Rinwa as a “rubber stamp” in the hands of Punjab RSS General Secretary, Mr Devinder Gupta, he accused the two leaders of posing a threat to the ruling Akali Dal-BJP alliance by pursuing their “hidden agenda”.

Expressing sympathies with the Akali Dal President and Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, he charged Professor Rinwa with creating a wedge between the Akalis and the BJP by raising controversial demands.

He charged Professor Rinwa with staking claim on more Assembly seats and the CM’s post for the BJP at the behest of Mr Gupta, who is also responsible for the conflict between the RSS and the Sikh clergy in the state.

He lamented that Mr Gupta had learnt no lesson from the Sikh militancy that claimed more than 30,000 lives in Punjab and was prompting the RSS to meddle in the Sikh religious affairs as part of his “wishful hidden agenda”.

Accusing the two leaders of digging “political graves” of the BJP ministers, he said the party would lose heavily in the next elections if they were allowed a free run in the party.


Census not mere headcount
By P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 30 — The second phase of the census of India — population enumeration — begins on February 9. The first phase — house-listing operation —was completed in May last year.

The Punjab Director of Census, Mr Inderjit Singh, told Tribune News Service today that house-listing showed “where people live and how”, giving information on houses and household amenities (drinking water source, lighting, latrine, waste water connection, fuel used for cooking, availability of radio/transistor set/television set, etc).

Population enumeration is not a mere headcount, as is widely believed. It is an operation profiling the demographic, social, economic and cultural characteristics of the people. It provides information on fertility and mortality, the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, language (mother tongue), religion, migration, education, health, employment, ageing, etc. All these are essential for formulating policies and plans.

For the second phase, a 39-column schedule has been prepared, including questions that were not asked during the past census operations. These questions relate to “disability, economic activity, distance from residence to place of work and mode of travel, households engaged in cultivation/plantation”, etc.

Mr Inderjit Singh said Punjab had been divided into 42,083 enumeration blocks. Each unit would have about 650 population or 130 households in an urban area or 750 population or 150 households in a rural area. A total of 55,000 enumerators and supervisors would conduct the census in the state. These enumerators would approach a population of 250 lakh, more than the size of at least 150 countries of the world. The households to be covered are 42 lakh spread over 12,729 villages and 157 towns.

Incidentally, this census is the sixth in independent India and 14th in the series.

As per the 1991 census, Punjab’s population is 202.81 lakh — 2.4 per cent of the country. The state has 107.78 lakh males and 95.03 lakh females and a sex ratio of 882. The literacy rate is 58.51 per cent.

Punjab is more densely populated (403) than India as a whole (267). The percentage of main workers to the total population is 30.07. The state has a low percentage of female workers (2.79). The percentage of marginal workers to the total population is 0.81 and that of females 1.6. The percentage of non-workers is 69.12 and that of females 95.60.

Mr Inderjit Singh said an analysis of the 1991 census data showed that female workers in Punjab constituted a mere 4.4 per cent against the countrywide percentage of 22.3. The participation of Punjabi women in economic activity was dismally low, particularly in the case of rural areas. But it seems that since women performed economic and household activities intermittently, it became difficult to isolate the two.

Though the 1991 census data attempted to capture the “unpaid” work Punjab females did in their family or on the farm, the final analysis showed that their work participation rate remained the lowest in the country. In other words, since most of the work women did was “unpaid”, it was not properly reflected in the data. The expected increase in Punjab’s population is 3.6 million — 17.73 per cent.

The mother tongue and language is an important component of the census. This issue snowballed into a major controversy in the state in all past census operations leading to several problems and polemics involving the two principal communities as well as resulting in the creation of a linguistic state (s) which remains “incomplete” in Punjab’s view. Some of those irritants with an emotional tinge still persist surfacing occasionally in one or the other state.

Yet there has not been any attempt by the ruling SAD-BJP to either educate or appeal to the Punjabis on the issue of recording their mother tongue and language. Neither the government nor the Opposition has thought it prudent to create awareness about the significance of the census and the need to furnish correct information besides telling people that “confidentiality is the hallmark of the census”.

The second phase will end on February 28. It will be followed by a revision round from March 1. In an operation of such a large magnitude, though some sections of the population always get left out, much of the authenticity and credibility of the data depends upon individual enumerators.


Silence on mother tongue issue
By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 30 — With the census less than a fortnight away , the silence of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal , its alliance partner, the Bharatiya Janata Party, and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee over the issue of the recording of one’s mother tongue is baffling.

No effort has been made to educate people to put an end to this decades old controversy. The recording of Punjabi or Hindi as the mother tongue on the basis of one’s religion has been the bane of Punjab politics which, even after leading to the reorganisation of the state on a linguistic basis in 1966, has left unresolved the “controversial” demand for the inclusion of Punjabi-speaking areas in the state. The referendum held in Kandu Khera during the tenure of the Shiromani Akali Dal government headed by Mr Surjit Singh Barnala had been keeping this “controversial pot boiling”.

When the referendum was held Capt Amarinder Singh, the then Agriculture Minister in the Barnala government, was given the responsibility of overseeing the entire affair. Now he heads the Punjab unit of the Congress, the main Opposition party in the state. Even the Congress has not made any efforts to educate people on this sensitive issue this time.

Unfortunately, none of the state units of other recognised political parties has made known their stand on the “ticklish issue”.

With the exception of Mr Brahm Mohindra, a former Minister and member of the All-India Congress Committe, who made an appeal to all Punjabis to record Punjabi as their mother tongue, no other leader of status has taken up the issue to educate people on this issue. The Punjab BJP president, Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, also issued a couple of statements besides speaking at some public rallies urging people of the state to register Punjabi as their mother tongue.

However, neither has any Shiromani Akali Dal leader nor any member of the state Council of Ministers has addressed the people on the issue. Their silence on such an issue, which may have a bearing on the future course of politics of the state, is intriguing.

In the Union Capital, the Bharatiya Janata Party has in an appeal asked the Punjabi-speaking populace to record Punjabi as its mother tongue.

The SAD-BJP government in the state has remained busy with issues other than undertaking a public campaign to educate the masses about the significance of the census operations in general and the or mother tongue issue in particular.

A look at the past census operations reveals that people in the state have always remained divided on the language issue. The percentage of people getting Hindi recorded as their mother tongue had been very high leading to “political turmoil”.

Even after 34 years of the reorganisation of the state, the long-standing linguistic and contiguity problems have not been resolved.

Besides the ruling alliance, even the SGPC had a role to play in the education of the masses on the issue of the mother tongue. But the SGPC has preferred to remain silent on the subject.


Talwandi to meet PM over jathas to Pak

NEW DELHI, Jan 30 (UNI) —Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) President Jagdev Singh Talwandi will meet Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee here on February 6 to plead for help in restoring the sole prerogative of the Sikh religious body over the sending of Sikh pilgrim jathas to the historical gurdwaras in Pakistan.

He would also meet Home Minister L. K. Advani and seek that the SGPC should be treated by the central government on a par with the central Haj Committee (CHC) which is the sole authority to decide the number of Haj pilgrims from india and the quota of the states, besides overseeing other arrangements for the pilgrimage.

The National Minority Commission Vice-Chairman Tirlochan singh, who has arranged Mr Talwandi’s meeting with the Prime Minister, said here today that the SGPC President would also meet RSS chief K. Sudarshan during his two-day visit to the capital.

The SGPC had stopped sending jathas of Sikh pilgrims to Pakistan two years ago in protest against the neighbouring country’s move of setting up a parallel Sikh body, Pakistan Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC).

The PSGPC, under a former ISI chief, took over control of Sikh historical shrines from a WAQF board which was overseeing their management in that country.

Pakistan has also encouraged some dissident Sikh leaders in india and abroad, particularly in the USA and Canada, to sponsor Sikh jathas to that country on the Sikh religious occasions.

It succeeded in creating a wedge among the Sikhs and undermining the authority of the SGPC which was vocal in opposing the Pakistan move.

The SGPC wants the centre to impress upon Pakistan to treat the Amritsar-based Sikh religious body as an ‘apex organisation’ of the Sikhs which should be consulted for regularising the entry of all Sikh pilgrims to that country.

It has sought to remind the government that under the Nehru-liaqat Ali pact of 1950 between india and Pakistan, the SGPC had been authorised to send Sikh pilgrim jathas to historical gurdwaras in Pakistan and wanted restoration of the spirit of that pact.

but, on other hand, dissident Sikh leaders belonging to the Akali faction of former SGPC chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra said that in the first place the unilateral stoppage of jathas by the SGPC was against the ‘Sikh maryada’ (Sikh religious traditions) since Sikhs aspire for the “darshan’’ of Sikh “dharam-asthaans’’ related to their gurus in their daily prayers. 


Singhal granted anticipatory bail
Tribune News Service

PATIALA, Jan 30 — A Punjabi University management teacher, Dr K.C. Singhal, who was removed from headship of the University Business Management School by the Syndicate recently, has been granted anticipatory bail by a local court in a case involving “illegalities” committed by him in hosting an alumni meet in October, 1999, following a case being registered against him by the university authorities.

Dr Singhal was granted anticipatory bail by Additional Sessions Judge B.S. Mangat today. His arrest has been stayed till February 5. He has reportedly pleaded that a false and motivated case has been registered against him on behalf of the university management as he had spoken out against the Vice-Chancellor’s style of functioning at Syndicate meetings, besides being a former office-bearer of the Punjabi University Teachers Association.

A case had been registered against the former head at the Sadar police station. He had been charged with giving receipts to private companies for money which was not received by the department during the holding of the alumni meet. It was also alleged that signatures in various quotations while placing orders for sundry items did not match.

Earlier, the Syndicate had removed him from headship of the department after a high-level committee formed to probe the alleged irregularities recommended that a case should be registered against him and the Vigilance Department should be asked to probe the entire issue.

Meanwhile, in a related development, the students of the business school today urged the Vice-Chancellor, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, to reinstate Dr Singhal as head of the department. The students, in a joint appeal, said they had full faith in the integrity of Dr Singhal and that the department needed his guidance and leadership at this juncture.

The students have also sent a similar appeal to the university Chancellor, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), urging him to intervene in the matter. 


Army to raise eco-force for Harike
Tribune News Service

FEROZEPORE, Jan 30 — An Ecological Task Force of Territorial Army is likely to be raised for the conservation and maintenance of the Harike wetland near here.

The draft proposal of the task force is ready for discussion between the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MOEF), the Punjab government and the Army. Sources in the state government revealed that the task force is proposed to be raised at an estimated cost of Rs 2.5 crore.

Besides, a recurring expenditure of Rs one crore annually is proposed to be borne by the Punjab government and the MOEF. According to the draft proposal, the ecological task force will be the implementing agency under the Wetland Authority of Punjab for control of water hyacinth, habitat improvement and watch and ward duties of Harike.

The task force will comprise a headquarter and a company. Apart from the personnel of the regular Army, the ex-servicemen will also be enrolled for the force, which is to be located at Harike. For this, the state government is likely to provide land, accommodation, telephone for effective functioning.

The need for such force was felt after the success of the pilot project that saw the Army flushing out the hyacinth cover from the Wetland. This has attracted an unprecedented number of over one lakh migratory birds to Harike this time.

The activities of the proposed task force range from periodical removal of hyacinth, habitat creation by way of afforestation, watch and ward to prevent illegal fishing and poaching and social fencing by involving local population in save harike campaign.


Apostle of truthful transparency

HIS transparent honesty, ability, humility and belief in Insaniat was utmost. Yes, a more courteous man yet to meet was Pandit Mul Raj Sharma known as the Doaba Ka Gandhi whose 18th death anniversary falls today. It is difficult to write about such persons. His uprighteousness with a strength of no allurements to personal benefits is worth remembering. He was a great reformer and a social worker who believed in truthful transparency in each field of life especially in politics. 

In his last days he cautioned S Darbara Singh, the then Chief Minister of Punjab, against sycophants who could be seen hovering around ministers with garlands in their hands and advised him to embrace grassroot workers who were responsible for reaching you to this coveted position and were also keeping the flag of the party up. He was patronised by renowned personalities like Lala Lajpat Rai, Swami Shardanand, Mahatma Hans Raj and Mrs Rameshwari Nehru who were his guides on his entry in the social reforms arena.

He roused the conscience of the women against social evils and injustice and to achieve this he devoted his life with inborn gift in the service of widows, deserted women and down-troddens. Lala Lajpat Rai termed him as Raja Ram Mohan Rai of Punjab without any resources in the field of social reforms. To achieve this goal money never stood in his way.

His Motto was not to accept big donations but donations of Re 1 from every person which resulted in the involvement of a number of persons in this social event and little money if utilised properly will serve the mankind. He participated in all the freedom movements launched by Mahatma Gandhi from 1921 and remain in jail for over eight years. Gone are the days when political leaders treasured their privacy but now the leaders are publicity hungry, opportunists, unworthy of any respect. Deeds of persons like Pandit ji immortalize them.
— Animesh Sharma


Punjab sops for ex-servicemen
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 30 — At a meeting of the Punjab Rajya Sainik Board held under the chairmanship of the Punjab Governor, Lt-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), the state government today decided to enhance the grant for the marriage of the daughters of ex-servicemen to Rs 8,000 from Rs 5,000 and for orphan daughters to Rs 15,000.

The financial assistance to World War II veterans and to the widows of those who were killed in this war has been increased to Rs 800 from Rs 300. There will be no municipal tax on war memorials. Ex-servicemen have been clubbed with NRIs providing certain safeguards to their landed and other property under the Land Control Act and the Land Tenancy Act.

Among those who attended the meeting were the Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, the GoC-in-C, Western Command, Lt-Gen Surjit Singh, and the Director-General (Resettlement), Mr N. Chatterjee.

The Union Government will be requested to declare 2002 as the year of ex-servicemen. Mr Chatterjee said dependents of those killed in Operation Vijay had been allotted gas agencies and petrol stations.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh said PUDA should bring a proposal to the Cabinet for earmarking residential plots for ex-servicemen in new urban settlements. He said the Defence Welfare Department had been asked to submit a proposal to allow cash awards and monetary grants in lieu of land for the winners of gallantry and distinguished services awards.

Regarding the share from additional excise duty, he said Rs 15.5 crore had already been paid to the Jalandhar and Ferozepore Cantonment Boards. Arrears of about Rs 30 crore would be paid in four equal instalments.

The Governor suggested that the Defence Welfare Department should take up with Punjabi University the matter of imparting coaching to the wards of ex-servicemen for entry into the IAS and other services.


Kisan Aram Ghar in bad shape
From Pushpesh Kumar

BATHINDA: There is a Kisan Bhavan in the City Beautiful where farmers visiting the city stay. But Kisan Aram Ghar here presents an ugly picture of official apathy which has led to the deterioration of the posh bungalow constructed especially for the farmers.

The aram ghar, located in the grain market of the city, has turned into a garbage dump. The aram ghar is housed in a spacious plot of 2,000 square yards and was constructed in 1980 at a cost of Rs 12 lakh. It has six rooms, two big halls and an equal number of toilets, parking space, a kitchen, lawns and many other facilities.

The boundary wall of the building has collapsed at many places and stray animals roam around freely and use it as a shelter. As there is no watchman, the building is being used as a garbage dump by residents. The electric wiring of the building is loose and many a time, there have been short circuits, said an official of the District Cotton Office (DCO), whose office is located in the building. The building is good but due to poor maintenance and care, it has been turned into a garbage dump, he lamented.

The District Cotton Office is operating from the building for the past several years. “We have send letters, complaints and reminders to the authorities concerned, but to no avail. We have no Class IV employee, due to which our senior employees have to perform their duties as well,” the official said.

There has been a case of theft in the office last year, but no FIR was registered in this regard. The official complained that the window panes were broken, there was no drinking water, proper toilets, or sanitation in the building.

The aram ghar is under the supervision of the local Market Committee and it is responsible for the upkeep of the same. The committee earns revenue by means of market fee and the rural development funds. In the year 1999-2000, the income from the above sources to the market committee was about Rs 4 crore but not even a single penny was spent on the aram ghar.

A senior official of the committee, pleading anonymity, said out of the eight rooms of the rest house, only two were actually meant for the farmers and the rest were being used as offices and were reserved for the guests of senior officers and VIPs.

He added that the rest house was once used by the personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Punjab Police. It was occupied by the CRPF for about 17 years, he added.


Power shutdown
From Our Correspondent

BATHINDA, Jan 30 — The power supply would remain cut-off in some areas of the city tomorrow from 9.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. due to some necessary repairs.

It was stated in a press note issued by the PSEB here today. The areas which would be affected are Amrik Singh road, Shakti Nagar, New Shakthi Nagar, Veer Colony, Vishal Colony, Dr Mela Ram road, Kamal Cinema galli, Santpura road, Nai basti, Malwa Nagar and some portions of the GT road.


Centre notice to Punjab on forest land
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 30 — The Centre has issued notice to the Punjab Government for giving a protected forest on lease to a private company to build an amusement park. This relates to leasing of forest land near a bridge over the Bhakra main line connecting Patiala-Sangrur road. The Union Ministry of Environment & Forests said this was in violation of the Forest (Conservation) Act,1980. 

In a letter yesterday by the Ministry’s local office the Financial Secretary (Irrigation), Punjab, had been asked to explain as to ‘‘why action may not be initiated against you and other officials concerned of the Irrigation Department and why the matter should not be brought to the notice of the Supreme Court for contempt of court for issuing of lease order of the forest area without prior approval of the government under the Forest (Conservation) Act 1980.’’ “Please send your reply within two weeks otherwise one-sided action may be initiated. Meanwhile you are requested to immediately cancel the order and intimate this office accordingly”, says the letter sent by the Conservator of Forests, Mr D.K. Sharma. 

The Punjab authorities have leased out land for 10 years to Sangrur. The land is protected forest and the diversion of the protected forest for non-forestry purposes can be allowed only after taking prior approval of the government under the provisions of the Act.

The Ministry has told the Punjab government that a proposal seeking prior approval of the Centre for the diversion of the land for non-forestry activities has already been rejected by the government.

The Punjab Government’s order is a violation of a 1995 order of the Supreme Court. The letters say as per Section 3-A and 3-B of the Act, the person who has committed the offence and is directly in charge of and is responsible will be deemed to be guilty of offence and will be liable to be proceeded against and punished as per the provisions of the Act.


Additional charge for Sudhir Mittal
Tribune News Service

PATIALA, Jan 30 — Punjab Secretary, Planning, Sudhir Mittal has been given additional charge as Member, Finance of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) following the transfer of Mrs Ajanta Dayalan, who held this charge, as Officer on Special Duty to the State Power Regulatory Commission. Mrs Dayalan was relieved of her charge today.


Fisticuffs in Central Jail; 30 prisoners injured
Tribune News Service

FEROZEPORE, Jan 30 — At least 30 prisoners are learnt to have been injured in an alleged dispute at Ferozepore Central Jail last evening. This is the second such incident reported from the jail in the past three months, the earlier one being in November last.

Although the provocation and the impact of the fight are not yet known, the Deputy Superintendent of the jail, Mr S.S. Saggoo, tried to play down the incident, saying that it was a small fight over a trivial matter. “Nothing serious has happened. Some people are needlessly spreading rumours”, he remarked.

However, sources revealed two groups of the prisoners exchanged blows, leaving an unknown number of jail inmates with bruises. The fight caused panic in the area as the jail authorities reportedly pressed the warning bell.

While Mr Saggoo denied this, the relatives and friends of some prisoners, who visited the jail yesterday, claimed having seen bruises on the bodies of several inmates and the warning bell being pressed.

As the jail authorities are tight-lipped over the incident, unconfirmed reports indicated at least 30 prisoners were injured. There were also reports that the prisoners may have been beaten up by the jail staff who were annoyed at the inmates’ demand for allowances.

Earlier, in November last three undertrials allegedly assaulted an equal number of prisoners inside the jail, leaving a few injured.


Gang of cheats busted
From Our Correspondent

GURDASPUR, Jan 30 — The police has unearthed a racket involved in extorting money from innocent persons on the plea of getting them jobs. Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP, today said all the members of the gang identified as Chhajju Ram, Ram Kumar Oberai and Sat Pal, all residents of Dhariwal, had been arrested.

The SSP said Harbhajan Singh, resident of Mallianwal, lodged a complaint with the police that he was cheated by the gang on January 17 of Rs 3500 which the gang took as advance against a sum of Rs 10,000 which Harbhajan Singh would have to pay them for getting a job for his son. The accused after taking the money on January 25 asked him to see the members at the railway station here on January 28 from where they would be taken to a specified place. He alongwith his son, reached the place and waited for the accused unsuccessfully for a long time. Harbhajan Singh thereafter realised that he had been cheated and reported the matter to the Dhariwal police where a case under Sections 420/34 of the IPC had been registered.

The SSP said one of the accused posed himself as managing director of the Dairy Vikas Farm here. The area of operation of the accused included Gurdaspur, Batala and Amritsar. The accused have cheated more than 20 innocent persons so far, said the SSP.


Mishap unearths cheating racket
From Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

BATHINDA, Jan 30 — A road accident near Barnala crossing on the Bathinda-Chandigarh road which claimed four lives on January 25 has proved a boon for the Bathinda district police as it has succeeded in busting a gang of cheats who have been investing money earned through illegal means to set up a convent school in a village in the district.

Police sources said the kingpin of the gang, Jaswinder Singh, along with his accomplices has adopted a unique modus operandi to earn money.

He used to purchase new cars in his name after getting the vehicles financed from private finance companies.

After purchasing the vehicles, he used to get these registered with the transport authorities in Haryana by concealing the facts that he had got these financed.

He would then register an FIR that his vehicle had been snatched or stolen and would get a certificate of “untraceable” from the police in Dehra Dun.

He was doing all this to earn hard cash by taking insurance money from insurance companies. The other accomplices of the accused are Pawan Kumar, Jaskaran, Surinder Singh and Deepak Walia.

Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, SSP, said the car which was involved in the road accident on January 25 was sold to a local lottery businessman, Mr Mukesh Kumar, by Jaswinder Singh who told him that the vehicle was not insured. After purchasing the vehicle, Mukesh Kumar insured the vehicle.

The cheating came to light when Mr Mukesh Kumar approached the insurance company to get the claim of the damaged vehicle in the accident.

After the police authorities came to know that a gang had been operating in the area and cheating the people by adopting a unique modus operandi, two members — Pawan Khanna and Jaskaran were arrested immediately.

Jaswinder Singh, who has been investing the illgotten money to set up a convent school in Kotshamir village, has also been running a hospital at Talwandi Sabo.

He was earning money by selling the newly purchased vehicles to unsuspecting buyers and afterwards getting money from the insurance companies by showing the same vehicles as stolen.

A case in this connection under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC has been registered in the city police station.


4 traders booked for encroachment
Tribune News Service

BATHINDA, Jan 30 — The local Municipal Council authorities have succeeded in getting criminal cases registered against four shopkeepers who have allegedly encroached upon the corridors of Gandhi Ground Market by raising permanent structures.

Official sources said Municipal Council authorities which woke up only when the shopkeepers encroached upon the corridor, used as thoroughfare, on the night of January 27. The shopkeepers succeeded in encroaching upon the corridor despite the fact that council authorities and district administration were duly informed by the other shopkeepers regarding the intention of encroachers on January 12.

The sources said after the encroachment, the council authorities moved a formal application to the district police and a case under Sections 172(2), 189, 195 of the Punjab Municipal Act was registered against the four shopkeepers.

Mr Bhupinder Singh Bhuller, President, Municipal Council, said the council authorities would not spare any one who had encroached upon its or public land. He added that court of contempt proceedings would also be launched against the guilty shopkeepers.

He said council authorities kept a close watch on the activities on the shopkeepers when it came to know that they would encroach upon the corridor. The shopkeepers after taking benefit of the few holidays on account of the Republic Day succeeded in encroaching upon the corridor. Some of the shopkeepers had also extended the boundaries of their shops and merged the encroached areas into the shops.

He added that all the encroachments would be demolished by the process of law.


Proclaimed offender arrested
From Our Correspondent

BATHINDA, Jan 30 — The district police has arrested a proclaimed offender needed in two cases of smuggling of narcotics.

According to a press note of the police, Gurdeep Singh, a resident of Janta Nagar in the city, was declared a proclaimed offender by the Additional Sessions Judge, Bathinda, in 1999. He dodged the police for more than a year but was trapped yesterday and has been sent to judicial custody.

Gurdeep Singh was arrested in 1998 for carrying 35 kg of poppy husk from the outskirts of the city. A case was registered against him on April 12, 1998, under the NDPS Act at the Thermal police station. During the proceedings of the case, he got bail from the court of the Additional Sessions Judge, Bathinda. He was declared bail jump by the same court when he did not turn up in the court.

When the police could not trace him he was declared a proclaimed offender in September, 1999.

Gurdeep Singh was again found carrying 70 kg of poppy husk in October, 2000, and a case was registered against him at the Sangat police station. However, this time he told the police that he was Sant Ram of Ghumirwali Mundia Kalan in Ludhiana district. He also purchased a scooter under the same name and gave an affidavit to that effect.

The wife of the culprit was asked to identify him who confirmed that he was Gurdeep Singh and not Sant Ram. Besides the cases of smuggling, the police has registered a case of decietment under Sections 419 and 420 of the IPC at the Sangat police station.

The police has also arrested Ashok Kumar, a resident of Jassi Pauwali village, for possessing 10 kg of poppy husk and has registered a case at the Sadar police station.

Under the Satta Transactions Act, three cases have been registered and three persons arrested. As many as Rs 6,200 have been recovered. The cases have been registered against Om Parkash of Bathinda, Kamaljeet Singh of Talwandi Sabo and Harpreet Singh of Naya village.

The police said two cases had been registered under the Arms Act and Vijay Thakur, a resident of Kartar Basti in the city, and Jatinder Kumar of P and T Colony had been booked for possessing sharp-edged weapons.

The police has registered five cases and has booked five persons involved in the trade of illicit liquor. It has recovered 19 litres of liquor and 42 litres of lahan, besides detecting an illegal distillery. The suspects have been identified as Gurcharan Singh of Sangat, Roop Singh of Rayia, Balaur Singh of Mehraj, Chanan Singh of Basti No. 2 in Bir Talab and Bhola Singh of Fetehgarh Nau Abad.

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