Tuesday, February 6, 2001,
Chandigarh, India

P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



No new taxes likely: Kanwaljit
From Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

MAJITHA, Feb 5 — In view of the forthcoming general election, the Punjab Government may not impose fresh taxes, thereby giving a “people-friendly and development-oriented” budget.

The size of the budget is likely to be well over Rs 3000 crore as compared to the previous budget of Rs 2700 crore, which would take care of every section of society.

Talking to The Tribune here today, Mr Kanwaljit Singh, Finance Minister, however, refused to divulge the exact amount of the proposed budget on the pretext that it would be a ‘breach of the faith imposed in him by the House’.

However, the Finance Minister claimed that the budget would be unique in several aspects. It would envisage sustained overall development of the state. In the previous budget, the Punjab Government had imposed taxes worth Rs 150 crore.

The Finance Minister, who had come here to campaign for the ruling party candidate, claimed that with the streamlining of the revenue collection machinery, the state had now come “out of the financial crunch”. He alleged that when the SAD-BJP government came to power about four years ago, the Congress handed over empty coffers.

Mr Kanwaljit Singh said that when the SAD-BJP took over in 1997, the inflation rate was 10 per cent while sales tax growth was negative. At that time, the recovery of sales tax was Rs 1450 crore, which rose to Rs 3000 crore during the Badal government’s tenure, he claimed.

The small saving scheme budget was Rs 900 crore and it rose to Rs 3000 crore. The income from lottery was only Rs 11 crore when the SAD-BJP government came to power and now it had been enhanced to Rs 60 crore, the minister further claimed.

The thrust of the new budget would be on infrastructure development, power, roads, bridges, improvement of irrigation channels, education, rural and health coverage.

For border area development Rs 6.50 crore would be earmarked. More emphasis would be given on agro-based industry. The Finance Minister said special funds had been earmarked for the shagun and old-age pension schemes.


PWD officials ‘favour’ contractors
Tenders rejected on flimsy grounds
From Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

BATHINDA, Feb 5 — A district-level committee formed for supervising tender work and execution of work on the road link from NH 64 to the Guru Gobind Singh Oil Refinery at Phulokhari has called for fresh tenders after the earlier tender process was allegedly vitiated by the PWD authorities.

Official sources said a controversy was created when the PWD authorities refused to issue tender forms to a section of contractors on flimsy grounds, allegedly to favour certain contractors. Work was ultimately allotted to them without the usual procedure of competitive bidding.

The sources said Mr Amarnath, a contractor, in a complain to the Deputy Commissioner, had alleged that he was not issued tender forms by the PWD authorities, despite the fact that his company had an expertise in roads and highways. Repeated efforts to get the forms yielded no result as certain PWD officials were trying to favour a particular contractor, he alleged.

He urged the Deputy Commissioner to conduct an inquiry into the matter. On the direction of the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Jaspal Singh, Mr Vivek Aggarwal, Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development) and chairman of the committee formed for supervising the work, inquired into the matter and found that the process of issuing tenders had been vitiated.

He mentioned in his report that out of six applications received by the PWD authorities, Mr J.S. Nanda, Executive Engineer, Rural Works Division, Bathinda, rejected four applications. Mr Nanda showed that only two applicants were eligible for the forms. The application of Mr Vishesh Kumar Bansal, approved government contractor, had been rejected on the ground that he did not fulfil the conditions.

After going through the scrutiny statement made by the Executive engineer and the documents supplied by the contractor, Mr Aggarwal found that the application of Mr Bansal had been rejected on the grounds that single work worth Rs 265 lakh for group A and Rs 254 lakh for group B had not been done by the firm.

On perusal of the record, it had been found that the firm had submitted a certificate issued by the executive engineer A and B division one PWD, B and R branch, SAS Nagar, for carrying out work of over Rs 2.91 crore for raising and strengthening the old Morinda-Ropar road had been executed by the firm.

A fresh certificate had been procured saying that the work was executed in two phases of a little over Rs 2 crore and Rs 90 lakh, respectively, and thereby the condition of executing a single work had not been fulfilled.

The report revealed that the certificates had been issued as per the telephonic message and conversation with Mr Nanda. Similarly, another certificate for widening, strengthening and raising of the Sirhind-Chunni road might be read as Rs 191.00 lakhs and not Rs 249 lakh.

On the basis of these two certificates, the applications had been rejected which means that the scrutinising authorities had created evidence on its own to reject the applications.

The tender forms had been issued to only two parties. Work had been divided into two groups, group A and group B for work worth Rs 663 lakh and Rs 654 lakh, respectively. If only two contractors were allowed to bid, there was no scope for a competitive bid.

The Deputy Commissioner said fresh tenders had been called for after inserting advertisements in national dailies and to make the process more transparent.

The sources said the committee formed to supervise the tender process had decided to give forms to all contractors and they would be asked to give two bids, one technical and the other actual.


Rs 5-cr sanitation project for Bathinda
Tribune News Service

BATHINDA, Feb 5 — The Central Government has sanctioned a Rs 5-crore rural sanitation programme (CRSP) for this district. It envisages setting up of rural latrines, rural sanitary marts, complex for women and school sanitation schemes.

The project, reportedly, the first of its kind in the state, will be implemented by village-level committees and overall monitoring will be done by district-level committees under the chairmanship of deputy commissioners or additional deputy commissioners.

Out of the Rs 5 crore, the Centre will contribute more than Rs 3 crore, the Punjab Government’s share will be more than Rs 1 crore and the rest will be contributed by the beneficiaries of this project. The various components of the projects would be completed within two years.

According to Mr Vivek Aggarwal, Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development), about 40,000 rural latrines at a low cost of Rs 625 would be set up in the already identified villages of this district. The total amount to be spent on this section would be Rs 1.5 crore. These latrines would be single pit brick-lined.

Sources said that with the setting up of these latrines for the weaker sections, the rural poor would be saved from harassment they were generally facing at the hands of landlords, who did not allow them to answer the call of nature in their fields.

The provision of these latrines would put an end to stench, unhygienic conditions and eliminate the chances of contamination of surface soil, surface and ground water.

In these latrines, only locally available material would be used and their maintenance would be possible with semi-skilled labour available in the village. The requirement of water for transport and treatment would be minimum and there would always be the possibility of improvement in future.

Under the second component, the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA), Bathinda, which is the main implementing agency of this project, would carry out the construction of 286 latrines for boys and 304 for girls in the government schools in villages.

In the majority of co-educational schools, great difficulty was being faced by girl students in the absence of proper lavatories. The students of schools where these latrines would be set up have agreed to contribute their share as beneficiaries. In the co-education schools, two separate blocks would be constructed. More than Rs 1 crore would be spent on this component.

Besides, Rural Sanitary Marts (RSM) and production centres would be set up at 27 focal points of the district. At these focal points, unemployed youths would be urged to set up production centres for those goods which would be used in setting up the rural latrines and carrying out school sanitation. The DRDA would also arrange loans for unemployed youths and masons and plumbers would be identified to make RSMs as hub centres.

The DRDA authorities would also set up village sanitation complexes for women in 15 selected villages of the district where adequate land was available and the respective panchayats had agreed to contribute their share from their own resources. These 15 complexes would be set up at the cost of Rs 30 lakh.

Mr Sadhu Ram Kusla, Assistant Project Officer, DRDA, said that selection of villages had been done keeping in view the Scheduled Caste population of village and technical knowhow for setting up the latrines would be taken from the Government Polytechnic Building Centre and Executive Engineers of panchayats and the Public Health Department. Contractors would not be involved in the implementation of project.

The Central government had already given Rs 95 lakh to the authorities concerned to implement the project. In the project, the construction material would be used which was being manufactured in the building centre at Kaljharani.

The villagers would also be educated about how to use latrines and they would be motivated to involve themselves in the sanitation of their dwellings and its surroundings. 


9 cases of hepatitis-B
Unregistered docs using recycled syringes
Tribune News Service

BATHINDA, Feb 5 — As many as nine residents of Chauke village of this district have been found suffering from hepatitis-B out of a total of 40 residents who were suspected of carrying the virus by the district health authorities following a news item which appeared in this connection on February 3.

Official sources said the health authorities found that these nine patients had been given injections for various ailments by unregistered medical practitioners and the syringes used by them were recycled.

Dr S. Nevatia, District Malaria Officer, when contacted, said the survey of Chauke, Mandikalan and Koloke villages had been carried out and no one else was suffering from hepatitis-B in other villages.

He said samples of water being used by residents for drinking had been taken and had been sent for chemical examination. The report of the examination would be received shortly.

Persons manning the village waterworks had been advised to supply water only after it had been chlorinated twice. Chlorine tablets had also been distributed among the residents. He said no one was suffering from hapatitis-C. The residents had also been advised to use boiled water.

He claimed that hepatitis-B cases were sporadic and it had not acquired any epidemic form. He said measures were being taken to check its further spread.

He said in one of the villages, three cases of jaundice had been reported but these persons could not be contacted as they were not at home when the survey team visited the village.


Cops partial to govt put on poll duty : PPCC
From Our Correspondent

AMRITSAR, Feb 5 — In a representation to the Election Commission, the PPCC took objection today to the orders dated January 29, 2001, signed by the Inspector-General (Border), Mr A.P. Pandey, for the deployment of police personnel allegedly partial to the ruling party for election duty at Majitha.

Objecting to the mention by name of police officials for poll duty, the PPCC general secretary, Mr Partapsingh Bajwa, alleged that all seven SSPs were handpicked by the ruling party to favour its candidates. These SSPs are from Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Batala, Gurdaspur, Ferozepore, Moga and Muktsar. In addition to 19 officers of the rank of SSP and DSP, 35 personnel of the rank of constable up to ASI were mentioned by name for assisting the SSP, Majitha, in poll duty, he further alleged.

The officials who have been deputed for poll duty include: Kewal Kumar, SP (City), Amritsar; Darshan Kumar, DSP (HQ), Amritsar; Lakha Singh, DSP (D), Amritsar; Kamaljit Dhillon, SP (O), Tarn Taran; Harinderjit Singh, DSP, Tarn Taran; Tajinder, DSP (D), Tarn Taran; Jaspal Singh, DSP (D), Batala; Sukhbir Singh, DSP (C), Batala; Gurdev Singh, SP (O), Gurdaspur; Puran Singh, DSP (H), Gurdaspur; Ajaib Singh, DSP (D), Gurdaspur; Narinder Pal Singh, SP (H), Ferozepore; Ajay Maluja, DSP, Fazilka; Hardev Singh, DSP, Muktsar; Paramjit Singh, DSP, Muktsar; Nachatar Singh, DSP, Moga; and Jagmohan Singh, DSP, Malout.


PSEB clears power connection for DD
Tribune News Service

PATIALA, Feb 5 — Local talent may soon get a chance to appear on television with the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) granting power connection to the Programme Gathering Facility (PGF) developed in the premises of the local Radio Station which is finally gearing up to become functional.

The grant of the power connection to the PGF last week comes after a long period of wrangling with the department which had led to bypassing of various deadlines fixed for starting the project one of which was in October last year . The project has been near completion since nearly two years since the studio with accompanying cameras was established.

The PGF, which is now likely to become functional in a month’s time, will produce news-based and cultural programmes for Jalandhar Doordarshan. Sources said the programmes besides being of entertainment nature would also focus on the cultural heritage of the city.

Meanwhile, sources disclosed the main hurdle in the starting of the facility was posting of staff. They said no decision had been taken on the posting of staff to the facility till now and that staff could not be transferred from the Low Transmission Centre running in the same facility as it was also understaffed. They said besides this the studio was still sealed by the Construction Wing and was yet to be handed over to the Technical Wing.

They said the centre had also been unduly delayed due to inability to get a power connection. They said the PSEB had expressed reservations in giving separate connections for facilities located in the same premises. However, the Telecommunications department was apparently able to convey to the Board that separate connection was needed for the programme production facility as it was a separate department.

Meanwhile, citizens are happy at the likely start of the PGF and, said there was a need to augment the transmission system in Patiala so that the reach of Jalandhar Doordarshan could increase. At present the Low Powered Transmission Centre established here is transmitting signals to an area of around 40 km. The centre has not been upgraded since its establishment in 1992.

Meanwhile, Kamaljit Kaur, an artiste, said if the programming facility was complete in all respects and had also been granted a power connection, lack of staff should not be allowed to come in the way of starting it immediately. She said Doordarshan authorities could start production of programmes immediately by keeping production experts on contract basis or should give contract of programmes to experts following their evaluation. This she said, would further give a fillip to local talent and create job opportunities for youngsters.

Dildar Singh, a folk artiste, said the facility should work towards becoming a window for the propagation of culture of the Malwa region. He said, at present presently Jalandhar Doordarshan was Doaba centric and that starting of production from Patiala could reduce this leaning towards the Doaba region. He said Malwai Giddha and other folk traditions could be highlighted through the facility.


Medical colleges to lose control over NRI fees
From Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

PATIALA, Feb 5 — Government Medical Colleges of Punjab will now no longer have control over the fee collected by them through admission of Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) with the government notifying that funds collected under this head should be transferred to its account.

The notification, issued recently, might well sound the death knell to any hopes of revival of the institutions with the government already having amalgamating the funds collected through enhancement of the fee structure in the institutions under the head of Punjab Professional Services Savings (PPSS) into their respective Budgets.

In this manner the government has through these two steps violated the sacred understanding that funds collected through enhanced fee as well as NRI admissions will be used exclusively for the welfare of the institutions. Both schemes, which were started around two years ago, visualised creation of the funds to be used to enhance the services being rendered by the hospitals and Medical Colleges.

The government has now included money collected under both heads into the Budgets of the three Medical Colleges of the state at Patiala, Amritsar and Faridkot and withdrawn its own grants. Around Rs 6.5 crore collected by all three colleges from NRI admissions are in the process of being transferred to the government while Rs 5.50 crore collected by the institutions under the PPSS head has already been transferred to the government.

Sources disclosed that the money transferred to their Budgets might never be used by them. This they said was because the money had been recently made available to them and that they would not be able to spend it by March 31. This means the entire money would lapse and go into the accounts of the government negating the very spirit under which PPSS and NRI funds were collected by the government with a promise that the funds would remain permanently with the Medical Colleges.

The sources disclosed that all the three Medical Colleges of the state had been given only a few days to make purchases following a meeting at the Director, Research and Medical Education (DRME) two days back. A sum of Rs 43 lakh has been approved for the Patiala College and Rs 40 lakh and Rs 22 lakh for the Amritsar and Faridkot Colleges. The sources said the shortest way was to go for a short term tender under which tenders could be invited in 15 days. They said even if they did that the tenders could be opened only on February 18 and only four days would be available to prepare orders as the government had ordered that no new orders were to be given after February 22.

The sources said the government had all along played a sham as far as releasing funds under the PPSS and NRI funds were concerned before the funds from these schemes were amalgamated into their Budgets. They said Medical Colleges were given permission to make purchases under these heads but the treasury was told not to pass the bills. The Government Medical College and Hospital here for instance was able to get Rs 91.55 lakh expenditure approved under the NRI head and Rs 70 lakh under the PPSS head. However, it was able to spend only Rs 20 lakh for purchase of a C T Scan machine tube under the NRI head and clear liabilities of Rs 12 lakh under the PPSS head. The treasury is sitting on the bills of the other purchases.

The new government policy denying any funds to the Medical Colleges while leading to an acute shortage of medicines, is also denying better medical facilities to the its patients which was promised by the government when the patient and investigation charges were increased around two years back. Besides this the colleges are not able to get even repair work done. The PWD Department has refused to conduct repair work worth Rs 22 lakh requested by the local Medical College despite being issued a cheque by the college, saying that it would start the work only when money was actually transferred to its accounts from the government treasury.


Quake : BA staff, agents raise 5 lakh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 5 — Members of the staff of British Airways and travel agents from Punjab and Chandigarh in a novel gesture collected Rs 5 lakh for contribution to the Gujarat earthquake victims by organising a small programme in Jalandhar yesterday.

Members of the British Airways staff sang songs, participated in a dance and raised donations from the audience, including travel agents from Punjab and Chandigarh. Among those who attended the programme and also donated for the quake victims were Mr Allen Briggs, General Manager, South Asia, Mr Alok Sawhney and Ms Anjali Puri (Sales, India), all from British Airways; Mr Shyam Nijhawan and Mr Jyoti Sharma (Nijhawan Travels, General Sales Agent of British Airways); Mr Umesh Kapoor and Mr Kamaljit Cheema (Grand Travel Planners, Chandigarh); and Mr Jeeti Saggar of Ludhiana.The evening programme helped raise Rs 5 lakh for the victims.

Besides, British Airways has decided to donate Rs 100 per ticket sold in India during February and March for the victims.

Badal, Rinwa condemn killings
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 5 — The President of the Shiromani Akali Dal and Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and the president of the Punjab unit of the BJP, Mr Brij Lal Rinwa in separate statements have condemned the recent killing of Sikhs in Jammu and Kashmir and described it as a heinous crime against humanity.

Mr Badal said that violence had no place in “our democratic and peace- loving society”. Such senseless acts must be condemned by all.

Mr Rinwa said that it was a barbaric act of militants sponsored by Pakistan. He said it was an attempt to derail the peace process in Jammu and Kashmir.


A man whose word is command
By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 5 — He symbolises universal brotherhood, unity and goodwill. Though illiterate and an artisan by birth, he commands respect among all 4,000-odd residents of Ballian village in Sangrur district.

The village, dominated by Jats, bows to his wishes. The villagers hold him in high esteem for he has devoted the past 26 years of his life to the construction of Gurdwara Shaheedan in the village through kar seva, devoting most of his time and energy to the “service of humanity”.

He is none other than Baba Surjit Singh, a 74-year-old “mistri” who claims that by the grace of the Almighty neither he nor his family has faced any “misery” during the past 24 years. “I have three sons, one of whom is a big contractor and runs a combine harvester,” he says maintaining that “I spend about 10 to 12 hours a day at the gurdwara which offers langar round the clock besides looking after sick, infirm and old persons.

“In commemoration of the martyrs, we have got a flame burning all 24 hours of the day in the gurdwara ,” says Baba Surjit Singh.

An Indian Brahmin, Mr Pramatma Ram, now living in Germany, was so impressed by the devotion of Baba Surjit Singh that he not only donated Rs 21,000 for Gurdwara Shaheedan but also distributed 1,008 blankets among poor and needy residents of the village and the nearby areas.

It was at his instance that residents of Ballian village, inspired by the donation made by Major Surat Singh Sandhu (retd) for the quake victims of Gujarat — as highlighted by The Tribune — collected donations totalling Rs 11,000 and came all the way to present the draft to the Editor of The Tribune, Mr Hari Jaisingh, for onward transmission to the Gujarat Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.

“We were greatly motivated and moved by the spirit of Major Sandhu. Though I am illiterate, someone read out the report to me. So we started collecting money. It was a voluntary effort. In fact, voluntary donations have been the hallmark of Gurdwara Shaheedan, which has come up so well. We must have spent about Rs 20 lakh on it,” adds Baba Surjit Singh, maintaining that the “people of Ballian were really moved by the misery and agony of the people of Gujarat. We have to sympathise with them”.

“It is the Baba in whose name everyone unites and agrees to participate in any programme under his command,” says Mr Darbara Singh, a former sarpanch. Mr Balwinder Singh, the present sarpanch, agree with his predecessor’s views.

Though Mr Ranjit Singh Ballian is a Minister of State in Mr Parkash Singh Badal’s Council of Ministers and belongs to the village, they preferred to come to The Tribune to deposit their contribution.

“We have also contributed blankets and other relief material through the Deputy Commissioner of Sangrur,” said Mr Baljinder Singh, a brother of the sarpanch.

Meanwhile, the Principal, members of the staff and students of Government Medical College, Amritsar, came in a group to deliver a cheque for Rs 1.96 lakh to The Tribune for onward transmission to the Gujarat Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.


Move to shift defiant prisoners
From Gurpreet Singh
Tribune News Service

FEROZEPORE, Feb 5 — The Central Jail authorities here are contemplating to shift defiant prisoners to Faridkot in view of the recent violence that left about 30 undertrials injured. A recommendation to this effect has already been forwarded to the government.

Confirming the move, the Jail Superintendent, Mr Bhajan Singh, said there was some “safe space” available in the Faridkot jail to house the surplus undertrials.

The cause of the violence is said to be shifting of 300 undertrials to Ferozepore from the Faridkot jail which is under repair. This had sparked frequent group fights.

Some barracks are learnt to be safe to house the surplus strength. Mr Bhajan Singh said habitual trouble-makers were also likely to be shifted to prevent violence.

The fight between the two groups of prisoners prompted jail staff to canecharge the undertrials. The groups were led by Rajesh Mehta and Kuldeep Singh.

Kuldeep Singh is suspect in the murder of senior Congress leader Harmesh Kumar Mukhija.

Both are the ring leaders of the prisoners. The jail authorities have also decided not to allow Rajesh Mehta from going to the court for hearing in a special car. Earlier, he was allowed to attend the hearing in a private car, instead of the bus that ferries all undertrials to court.

While Mr Bhajan Singh was not aware who authorised Rajesh Mehta to go to the court on his own, he said it would not happen in future.

As Rajesh is the brother of a local Beopar Mandal President, Mr Ashwani Mehta, a section of the jail staff alleged that he was being given a VIP treatment. Pleading anonymity, they said we interacted with his friends and relatives for a longer duration.

However, Mr Ashwani Mehta denied the charge, saying that the permission to use a car to ferry Rajesh was given by a competent authority in view of a threat to his life. “This cannot be termed as a VIP treatment as he never drove to court in an air-conditioned car”, he said.

He instead charged the jail staff of beating up his brother and others as they had been complaining of shabby treatment meted out to them.

Ridiculing the theory of jail violence, he accused the jail staff of torturing the undertrials.


PNFC workers block traffic
From Our Correspondent

ROPAR, Feb 5 — Workers of the Punjab National Fertilisers and Chemicals Ltd (PNFC) today, once again, blocked the traffic on the Una-Chandigarh road. The workers of the closed unit sat on a dharna on the Nangal Dam bridge, the only connecting link across Sutlej, disrupting the traffic on the route.

Their leaders announced an indefinite blockade on the bridge. Commuters remained stranded on both sides of the road for about three hours. The workers also threatened suicides if the administration tried to use force.

The impasse was resolved only after Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, Food and Civil Supplies Minister, called the union leaders for talks at the Sutlej Sadan. Mr Mittal assured the workers that a meeting chaired by the Chief Minister would be held immediately after the Majitha byelection. Earlier also meetings were held on December 26 and January 31. The union leaders also gave a memorandum to Mr Mittal.

The PNFC plant here has stopped production for the past three years. Five hundred workers of the company have not been paid salaries for the past 18 months.

The workers have to come daily to the plant and mark their attendance. They allege that they are being forced to stick to the closed unit.


SGPC despatches relief to Bachau
From Our Correspondent

AMRITSAR, Feb 5 — Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today flagged off a contingent of more than 200 volunteers of the SGPC in 23 trucks loaded with foodstuff and other essential items to the quake-hit town of Bachau in Gujarat.

The SGPC team led by its additional manager, Mr Major Singh, will serve the food to the affected people through a single window system and will continue the same till the relief operations are over.

The Chief Minister said the Punjab Government in collaboration with all social, religious and voluntary organisations have come forward in a big way to help the quake-hit. All relief operations would be carried out under a Senior IAS officer operating as the nodal officer to coordinate the operations, he said.

More than 1300 tents have already been dispatched to Gujarat and cheque for Rs 5 crore is also being sent. Besides this, a large number of blankets, woollen clothes and medicines have already been sent to the affected people.

This is the first of the instalments to be sent by the SGPC and the process will continue till the people are rehabilitated.

Apart from the truckloads of eatable, mobile dispensary, medical teams, two new generators, mobile toilets and tents have been dispatched today to Gujarat.


CID ASI suspended for graft
Tribune News Service

JALANDHAR, Feb 5—A Phillaur based CID Assistant Sub-Inspector, who allegedly strayed into the house of a Sundh village resident, posing as an ASI posted at CID unit, Banga, and forced him to cough up Rs 4,300, lying that he had been deputed to enquire abut his Italy based son, has been transferred and placed under suspension, while the Incharge of the Phillaur, CID unit has been suspended by the department for alleged lack of control over his subordinates.

The ASI Raj Kumar, posted at Phillaur, had allegedly approached Manjit Singh of Sundh village in Nawanshahr district saying that he was from the CID, Banga and had been instructed by his superiors to conduct an inquiry about his Italy based son, who was likely to be “deported” to India for some reasons. He, however, allegedly assured Manjit Singh that he would be writing a “favourable report” in case an amount of Rs 10,000 was given to him.

Manjit Singh handed over Rs 4,300 to the ASI with a promise to give the balance amount soon. Manjit Singh, however, got suspicious and noted down the registration number of the Hero Honda motorcycle of the ASI. It was found that the motorcycle belonged to ASI Raj Kumar of Phillaur unit of the CID, who had no jurisdiction to conduct any inquiry in an altogether different district.

When contacted, Mr Ishwar Chander, SP CID (zonal), confirmed that Raj Kumar had been suspended and transferred and so was Inspector Sarin Kumar, the Incharge of the Phillaur CID as they were found guilty. Meanwhile, the official sources maintained that Raj Kumar had not been detailed by any officer of the CID. 


Nine police officials transferred
From Our Correspondent

AMRITSAR, Feb 5 — Poll observers have ordered the transfer of police officials. Mr Kewal Kumar, SP (City), was transferred to the Indian Reserve Battalion, Patiala, as its Additional Commandant (Second Battalion). Mr Amit Prasand, SP-II (Operations) was given the joint charge of the SP (City), whereas Mr Snehdeep Sharma, DSP (City-II), was transferred to the Punjab Armed Police (PAP) in Jalandhar on the same rank. Mr R.K. Jaswal, ASP, was given the charge of DSP (City) in Amritsar, similarly Mr Sukhminder Singh, DSP, was transferred to Batala.

Mr Baljit Singh Randhawa, DSP, Majitha, was transferred to Fatehgarh Churian. Whereas Mr Shamsher Jang Bhadur, DSP, Police Lines, Majitha, was transferred as DSP (IRB). Mr Jagdeep Singh, Jandiala DSP, was transferred to the PAP (Jalandhar) and Mr Paramjit Singh Teja, DSP, was to Majitha.

Significantly, the Congress had raised a hue and cry over the partisan attitude of the police towards the ruling party in recent days during its poll campaigns.


Demolition drive continues
From Our Correspondent

BATHINDA, Feb 5 — The demolition drive launched by the Punjab Urban Development Authorities (PUDA) on Dhobiana Road continued for the second day today without causing any incident of violence.

The anti-encroachment drive launched yesterday by PUDA officials went on smoothly till the evening in the presence of district authorities.

Yesterday, the demolition squad had to face resistance when they were clearing the structures on the proposed 80-foot wide road passing from phase three of urban estate.

2 killed, 3 hurt in road mishap
From Our Correspondent

DHURI, Feb 5 — Two persons were killed on the spot and three injured, two of them seriously, when their Maruti car in which they were travelling rammed into a vehicle near Bhasour village on the Dhuri-Malerkotla road last night.

All five occupants of the car belonged to this town and were going to Malerkotla.

The deceased have been identified as Jagan Nath, alias Jogi and Paramjit Singh, alias Lovely.


Markfed may recover loss from guards
Tribune News Service

FEROZEPORE, Feb 5 — The Markfed authorities are contemplating to recover the loss of about Rs 2 lakh caused by the recent theft of over 300 bags of wheat from security staff.

The bags were allegedly stolen from a Markfed godown at Makhu by 10 armed persons. Though a case has been registered at the Makhu police station, no arrest has been made so far.

As the stolen wheat could not be recovered, the axe will fall on the three securitymen on duty on the night of the theft. The robbers struck at the godown on the night of January 16 and after tying the security guards, they decamped with the wheat. Most of them were armed with swords and rods, while one of the them had a revolver.

Confirming the move, the District Manager of Markfed, Mr Harmohinder Singh Walia, said, it was necessary to fix the responsibility on the security staff. “Notice to this effect have already been served on the staff that showed laxity,” he said.

The security staff was also made to shell out money in an earlier case of theft.

Both the police and Markfed remains clueless about those involved in the crime.


3 held for duping tractor owners
From Our Correspondent

BARNALA, Feb 5 — The Dhanaula police has unearthed a tractor resale racket, in which 26 tractor owners were duped of about Rs 50 lakh, with the arrest of three main accused. Suba Singh of Kotduna village, Harjinder Singh and Joginder Singh, sarpanch, Surjitpura Kothe village and 24 others have been booked in the case.

Mr Ajaib Singh Kaleka, Senior Superintendent of Police, revealed today that Suba Singh involved in the tractor sale-purchase business for the past four-five years in connivance with Joginder Singh and Harjinder Singh and some agents used to buy tractors at resale markets in Bathinda, Rama Mandi, Mansa, Sunam, Budhladha and Barnala.

Suba Singh struck deals with tractor owners paying advance money ranging from Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 and maximum Rs 20,000.

Mr Kaleka said Suba Singh had duped 26 tractor owners offering them only Rs 1,66,000 as advance payments. He sold these tractors in other markets at comparatively lower prices in the past two months.

Sixteen tractors had been recovered, the SSP said. Suba Singh had been planning to run away after selling his village house and land, added Mr Kaleka.


2 chemist shops burgled
From Our Correspondent

BATHINDA, Feb 5 — The locks of two chemists shops, located on the main road near the bus stand were found broken on the intervening night of February 3 and 4.

The shopkeepers said they came to know about the incident in the morning when they found that the locks of the shops were broken. They added that a sum of Rs 19,000 had been stolen from their shops.

Mr Harish Kumar, owner of the Bathinda Medical Hall, said the thieves had stolen Rs 8,600 cash and some silver items from the shop. He added that the incident might have taken place at midnight.

The owner of the Mohan Medical store, said Rs 10,000 had been stolen from the shop and added that he came to know about the incident in the morning when he found that the shutters of the shop was broken. The police has registered a case.

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