Thursday, February 8, 2001,
Chandigarh, India

P U N J A B    S T O R I E S




Poll: PCS officer moved from home district
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 7 — Another senior officer was shifted out from Amritsar district today because of the Majitha byelection.

According to information available here, Mr Randeep Singh, a PCS officer, who was also Additional District Election Officer of Amritsar district, was posted out from the district. The transfer has been ordered as he was posted in his home district.

Mrs Usha R. Sharma, Additional Chief Electoral Officer, Punjab, told Tribune News Service that the matter pertaining to the posting of Mr Randeep Singh was brought to her notice this morning and immediately the authorities concerned were asked to take the necessary action. Earlier, a number of senior police officers were shifted out from the Majitha assembly constituency.

Meanwhile, the Chief Election Commission has directed the Punjab police authorities, through the office of the Chief Electoral Officer, to transfer all personnel of lower ranks in the police who are posted in their home Majitha police district. There are nearly 40 such personnel. Informed sources said that the matter was taken up with the commission against shifting such personnel but it did not accept the plea. Orders with regard to the transfer of these personnel are expected any time, it is learnt.

Mrs Sharma will visit the Majitha constituency tomorrow to supervise the rehearsals pertaining to the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs). Mrs Sharma said that she would ensure the fair use of the EVMs to the satisfaction of all concerned. She would also meet representatives of the public to hear if they had any complaint pertaining to the process of the byelection.

There are political parties which have raised serious doubt with regard to the fair use of the EVMs.

Leaders have alleged these machines could be manipulated easily. Senior leaders of the Congress had met the Chief Election Commissioner to ask not to use the EVMs in the Majitha byelection, but the plea was not accepted by the commission. The Sarab Hind Shiromani Akali Dal( SHSAD) headed by Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra had recently stated that the party would not contest the election because EVMs were to be used in it.

Though a lot of noise is being made through the print media about the misuse of official machinery and violation of the code of conduct, in reality no serious complaint has been received by the local office of the Chief Electoral Officer. Informed sources said that a number of complaints had been received, but most of them were “without substance.”

The authorities in the Chief Electoral Office are suo motu taking notice of reports on the alleged violation of the code of conduct appearing in the print media.

The police authorities are busy identifying the sensitive polling stations. There will be 137 polling stations in all in the constituency. Extra security measures will be taken at stations declared sensitive. The process of identifying these stations will be completed in a day or so.


Mattewal’s new status “code violation”
From Our Correspondent

AMRITSAR, Feb 7 — The Congress has taken a serious note of the accordance of Cabinet status to Mr Hardev Singh Mattewal, Advocate-General, Punjab.

Capt. Amarinder Singh, President, PPCC, calls this development a glaring example of gross violation of the code of conduct during the Majitha byelection. Mr Mattewal, whose village falls under the Majitha Assembly, had canvassed for the Akali candidate and in lieu of it he had been rewarded with the Cabinet minister status. He described this elevation of status as an attempt to influence not only the voters of Mattewal village but also the entire constituency.

This act of Mr Badal has thrown to winds all norms and regulations, and never before any Advocate-General has been accorded with such a status. This would amount to total confusion in the working between the government and the Advocate-General’s office.

The Congress has brought this to the notice of the Election Commission and Capt Amarinder Singh demanded the immediate cancellation of the orders as it speaks of political overtures with an eye on the Majitha byelection.


Plastic leaflets flutter in Majitha
From Our Correspondent

MAJITHA (Amritsar), Feb 7 — Plastic leaflets flutter in the Majitha constituency, aided by the clouds of dust and vehicular emissions in violation of the ban orders on usage and manufacture of the recycled plastics by the local administration.

Not only the Opposition but the local government has also become a party to the alleged violation of the District Magistrate orders using party symbols on coloured plastic leaflets.

Lakhs of rupees are reportedly being spent on the purchase of these plastic leaflets worth Rs 60 per kg. A local manufacturer reveals that tonnes of plastic leaflets were purchased by the Akalis and the Congress.

Interestingly, the cost of the Congress pamphlet is three times higher than that of the Akali Dal.

A local farmer rued the usage of bundles of plastic buntings for the ongoing campaigns. He said the village already had a non-existent drainage system, once the poll was over our farms and streets would get clogged up by the litters of these plastic leaflets.


PPCB notice to civic bodies
Provide waste disposal facilities
From Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

PATIALA, Feb 7 — The Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) has issued notices to all municipal corporations and committees in the state to provide waste management facilities till the end of this year and allowed them to charge the consumers appropriately for the establishment of the facilities.

The notices, issued following the notification of the Municipal Solid Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules by the Union Government, have now made it mandatory for every municipal authority in the state to create infrastructure for the collection, storage, segregation, transportation, processing and disposal of municipal solid wastes.

Source in the board said a recent survey in Punjab had revealed that most of the municipal waste in the state was biodegradable due to which it had been decided to concentrate on the development of compost plants so that the compost generated from the plant could be used for agricultural operations.

They said projects for the construction of compost plants at Ludhiana and Jalandhar were already in the pipeline and it was expected that they would start processing waste by the end of this year. The PPCB is also encouraging other municipal bodies in the state to set up compost plants for which a loan of Rs 50 lakh or subsidy on one third of the cost of the project would be provided. They said Hudco loans covering 70 per cent of the cost could be given in case the facility was constructed by a private firm and up to 80 per cent of the cost in case it was done by the municipal body itself. Municipal bodies could charge a fee from the consumers keeping in mind the cost of the facility and its regular maintenance.

They said besides this, stress would be laid on waste gathering and processing. Under this waste would be collected on house-to-house basis. They said to encourage segregation an awareness drive would be started to promote recycling or reuse of segregated materials.

While biodegradable waste would be processed by composting, vermicomposting, anaerobic digestion or any other biological processing for stabilisation of wastes, mixed waste containing recoverable resources would be recycled. Incinerator with or without energy recovery could be used for processing wastes in specific cases.

Land filling would be restricted to non-biodegradable waste which was not suitable for either recycling or biological processing. Municipal bodies would have to establish landfills which would last for at least 20 to 25 years and a no development buffer zone would be maintained around the landfill. The landfill would have waste inspection facilities to monitor wastes brought in for landfill.

The board Chairman, Mr Ajay Kumar Mahajan, disclosed that the board would monitor the compliance of the standards regarding ground water, ambient air, leachate quality and compost quality, including incinerator conditions. Mr Mahajan said a special cell would be created in the board for this purpose.


SAD team to visit J&K
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 7 — The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today deputed a high-level team of the Shiromani Akali Dal, comprising Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, President of the SGPC, Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Finance Minister and Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, MP, to visit Jammu and Kashmir where eight Sikhs were shot dead.

The team will leave Chandigarh on February 9 and visit Jammu and Srinagar, says a press note.

The team will meet representatives of Sikh organisations besides studying the circumstances which led to the massacre.

The team will also meet Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah.

Mr Badal has already spoken to Dr Abdullah and urged him to provide adequate security to the Sikh community.

Mr Badal soon meet the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister to take up the issue of the safety of minority communities in Jammu and Kashmir.


Youth dies in police custody

ROPAR, Feb 7 (PTI) A 17-year-old youth allegedly died in police custody in Morinda police station on Ropar district today.

Jaspal Singh of Sahari village in Morinda, picked up by a police party last night, was reported dead by the police due to health problem this morning, family of the deceased said here.

Meanwhile the police said Jaspal Singh, who was arrested in connection with a fight in the village, later developed serious health problems in the custody.

Jaspal was immediately rushed to Civil Hospital Morinda where he was declared dead, the police said.

Villagers of Sahari blocked traffic on the Chandigarh-Cudhiana highway and gheroed Morinda police station in protest against the alleged custodial death.

A magisterial inquiry had been ordered into the incident, the police said adding no arrest had been made so far.

Family of the deceased said five persons, including constable Manoj Kumar, were responsible for the death as the boy could not withstand the severe beating given by the police. 


SAD to discuss seat sharing today 
Tribune News Service

AMRITSAR, Feb 7 — Even as the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has convened a meeting of its Political Affairs Committee tomorrow to discuss the nomination of the candidates for the Rajya Sabha seats, the BJP has staked its claim to at least one seat.

Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, State President of the BJP, said here today that he would meet Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, and ask him to allocate the seat to a BJP candidate. It may be recalled that one Rajya Sabha seat fell vacant after the disqualification of Mr Barjinder Singh Hamdard. In case, Mr Raj Mohinder Singh Majithia, a Rajya Sabha member, wins the Majithia byelection, another seat would fall vacant. Mr Rinwa said though the BJP was an alliance partner of the SAD yet out of seven, the BJP had Mr Lajpat Rai, as its Rajya Sabha member.

Mr Rinwa who will address rallies in support of the SAD candidate in Majithia, however, took exception to the “council card” being played by the SAD during electioneering. He said the SAD-BJP alliance should not compete with the Congress so far as raising of the communal passion was concerned. The Congress would always raise the “Ayodhya issue” at the time of elections.


Show-cause notice to Jagmohan Kaura
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 7 — The Disciplinary Committee of the Punjab unit of the BJP has served a show-cause notice on Mr Jagmohan Kaura, a senior leader of the BJP, for making statements against certain leaders of the pary.

Mr Om Parkash Bhardwaj, chairman of the committee, has asked Mr Kaura to explain the statements issued by him against these leaders. He has been also told to make his position clear on the formation of a Democratic Front by him. Mr Kaura has been told to come to the office of the BJP by February 23 to personally explain the points mentioned in the show-cause notice.

Mr Om Parkash has made it clear that if he did not come to the party office by the due date, the committee would decide the action to be taken against him unilaterally.


Naib Tehsildar, 7 others convicted 
From Our Correspondent

MANSA, Feb 7 — The Judicial Magistrate, First Class, Ms Gurmeet Kaur, has sentenced seven persons, including naib tehsildar Harbans Singh (son-in-law of former Congress minister in Punjab, Mr Sher Singh Gagowal, of Mansa constituency), under Sections 382/149, IPC, to one-and-a-half years of rigorous imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 300. In case of default of fine a further imprisonment of six months under Sections 427/149, IPC six months under Sections 447/149, IPC and three months Sections 148/149, IPC. The court ordered that all sentences would run concurrently.

The court gave the judgement on a complaint filed by Mr Chuhar Singh of Korewala village in the district. As per the allegation of the complainant they owned 159 kanals and 3 marlas at Korewala village.

The then Sub-Judge, First Class, Mr A.L. Khichey, had restrained the accused persons from trespassing. But on April 1, 1994, some persons armed with weapons forcibly cut the mustard crop and took it away in a tractor-trailer causing a loss of Rs 16,000 to the complainant.

The matter was reported to the panchayat and the police, but in vain. The complainant then moved the court by filing a private complaint, which resulted in the conviction of the accused.


VDS to continue till March 31
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 7 — Mr Sikander Singh Maluka, Power Minister, Punjab, said today that the voluntary disclosure scheme for domestic, industrial and other consumers would continue till March 31. By making voluntary disclosure, consumers could regularise their power load without paying any penalty.

He said the grievance redressal committees had been set up. Representatives of the public would also be the members of such committees. As many as 2,41,624 cases of energy theft worth 103 crore had been detected.He said the PSEB would ensure round the clock power supply to religious places. Such places would get tubewell connections on priority basis.


Long wait for overbridge
From J. S. Malhotra

JALANDHAR: Over one lakh residents of more than 10 colonies on both sides of the Domoria railway bridge have been awaiting the construction of an overbridge for the past two decades so that road traffic does not have go via an old, narrow and low-lying route under the present bridge.

Krishanpura, Luxmipura, Durga Vihar, Sarabha Nagar, New Luxmipura, Bashirpura, Vivek Nagar, Amrik Nagar, Santokhpura, Dhan Mohalla and the neighbouring localities remain virtually cut off from the main city whenever there is rain due to poor drainage in the bridge area.

Residents are compelled to travel an additional 10 km via the bypass to reach the main city. The Municipal Corporation authorities pump out the rain water every year, making merely temporary arrangements.

Promises of politicians and municipal councillors to get an overbridge constructed in the area are yet to be fulfilled. In fact, even the design of this Rs 18 crore project has not yet been approved.

Mr I. K. Gujral, during his first visit to the city after becoming the Prime Minister in 1997, had declared that the Central Government would bear the entire cost of the project. However, so far the Centre has only invited international bids for the “design and estimate” of the overbridge.

Mr Rajiv Kumar, a resident of Luxmipura, said when traffic was heavy it took a minimum of two hours for vehicle drivers to cross the area. “We have met the commissioner and the mayor of the civic body several times in this connection during the past four years, but nothing concrete has been done”, he said.

The Union Surface Transport Ministry had appointed the civic body the nodal agency to execute construction work on the proposed overbridge.

Mr Ravinder Singh, a resident of Amrik Nagar, demanded that the Municipal Corporation should at least find a permanent solution to the problem of the drainage of rain water.

Mr Deepak Kumar, a shopkeeper at Santokhpura, alleged that though the civic body had laid sewer pipes up to the Domoria bridge for drainage in 1994, the political tussle between the then Congress Mayor, Mr Jai Kishan Saini, and Mr Avtar Henry, MLA, led to the stoppage of work.

Mr D.P.S. Wadhwa, Executive Engineer, said that bids for the project had been received and would be forwarded to the Union Surface Transport Ministry for approval.

“It will take two years to complete the overbridge after the allotment of the contract”, he added.


Clock Tower: from glory to apathy
From Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

PATIALA, Feb 7 — Patterned on a similar tower in the Lords Stadium in the United Kingdom and easily the most distinct feature of the Dhruve Pandove Stadium in the city, the Clock Tower built by Maharaja Rajinder Singh of Patiala is today a pale shadow of its once glorious self.

Fitted with clocks on three sides without mechanical parts and running on the principle of gravity, the Clock Tower has apparently fallen on lean days. Presently the building is in urgent need of repair.

The building does not fit its name, with clocks missing from it altogether. While faint marks of dials can be seen on two sides, the spot in which the dial facing the ground has to be fit, has been given a coat of paint. The building, which has extensive wood furnishings on its inside, is in a poor condition as termites have eaten into the wood.

A canopy on the roof of the building, forming an inverted pyramid and covered with tin sheets, lies in a heap on one side of the roof. Vegetation is growing on the roof, further weakening the building. On the first floor, most of the wooden frames of windows are in a poor state. The windows do not have any glass panes, due to which pigeons have made the Clock Tower their home.

Built in 1900 by Maharaja Rajinder Singh along with the stadium, the decline of the Clock Tower has been a slow and steady one. Old-timers say the clocks have not been functioning since Independence. The clock facing the main ground has not been repaired after a Maharaja hit its glass with a flighted shot.

The degeneration of the Clock Tower has accelerated after its transfer to the Punjab Home Guards Department for a number of years. Presently it is with Patiala Cricket Association.

The Patiala Cricket Association secretary, Mr RP Pandove, said new clocks were installed in the tower in 1996, when an international match against Australia was played here. He added that old-fashioned dials had been acquired and a battery-operated mechanism was established.

Sources disclosed that the battery-operated clocks had not been successful due to dampness and effect of rain water as they had not been covered. Pigeons played their part, literally uprooting the dials.

Mr Pandove said part of the Clock Tower building had been renovated by the association. He added that work on replacing the canopy on the top of the tower as well as the brittle wood of the windows would also be taken up.


Seminar on disaster management
Tribune News Service

SANGRUR, Feb 7 — In the light of the failure of the disaster management system in the recent earthquake in Gujarat, the Sangrur unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) would organise a seminar on “Disaster management-role of medical fraternity” on February 25 here.

Disclosing this here yesterday, Dr Surinder Singla, secretary of the IMA, said Dr Rajiv Puri, who is a specialist on disaster management, would deliver the keynote address.

Dr Singla said a number of specialists belonging to the fields of surgery, orthopaedics and medicine would address the seminar. At least 100 doctors from the district were expected to participate.

The recommendations of the seminar would be submitted to the Union Government.

Dr Singla disclosed that the members of the local IMA unit had contributed Rs 1.10 lakh to the Gujarat Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.


Creativity missing in Art Festival
From Our Correspondent

BATHINDA, Feb 7 — The 10th Art Festival dedicated to the birth centenary of painter Sobha Singh and organised by Sardar Sobha Singh Memorial Chittarkar Society at Teacher’s Home here today could not attract large audience as ‘art was missing’ from the festival and what dominated was the imitation of portraits of Gurus and other religious images.

Some of the paintings on the theme of foetus killing were by Bhola Singh Tibba. Death Before Birth, a painting by Yashpal describing the ill effects of the AIDS and portraits of Guru Gobind Singh, Guru Nanak Dev, Radha Swami and Ranjeet Singh were the centre of attraction for visitors.

Some of the artists also projected rural India, culture of Punjab, historical places, faces, different moods and scenes of destruction in their paintings. But religious images dominated the exhibition. Creativity was lacking in the paintings by more than 100 artists from Punjab and Haryana.

The lack of freshness and repetition of subjects in the paintings compelled the visitors to leave the hall within minutes. The placement of paintings and lighting arrangements were also poor and reduced the impact.

Ms Rajni Devi, a visitor, said the artists could have taken ideas from the earthquake of Gujarat to project the negative aspect of nature.

Mr Amarjit Singh, painter and president of Sardar Sobha Singh Memorial Chittarkar Society, said the aim of the exhibition was to promote the budding artists. No common theme ran through the paintings.

The five-day festival will continue till February 11. During these days, a painting competition, talks on art-world and life-sketch of Sobha Singh will be conducted.


Advocates appreciate step on AG
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 7 — Members of the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana, who had a sitting under the chairmanship of Mr R.S. Tacoria, vice-chairman of the council, unanimously expressed their appreciation over the grant of status of Cabinet Minister to the Advocate-General of Punjab, Mr H.S. Mattewal.

“This act has given due recognition to the constitutional authority and has thus enhanced the prestige and image of the legal fraternity as a whole. Mr Mattewal is also the first unanimously elected chairman of the Bar Council of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh representing about 37,000 advocates,” the council said in a statement today.

The Punjab Government had recently notified that the Advocate-General of the state would hold the status of Cabinet Minister.

Mr Mattewal has been the Advocate-General of the state for the third time.

Sources said that the All-India Conference of Advocates-General held in Shimla last year had urged the state governments to issue formal orders to grant the status of Minister to their Advocates-General.

The basis of this resolution, they said, was the 1994 verdict of the apex court which held that under Articles 165 and 177 of the Constitution, an Advocate-General had been conferred the right of audience in both the state Legislature and the state Legislative Council and should be treated on a par with a Minister.

Some states have already given the status of Minister to their Advocates-General. In West Bengal, the Advocate-General has been holding the rank of Cabinet Minister for the past 10 years. In certain other states, including Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Goa, he also holds the rank of Minister. In Himachal Pradesh, the Advocate-General flies a flag on his official car.


Rinwa blames Cong for 1984 riots
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 7 — President of the Punjab unit of the BJP Brij Lal Rinwa today blamed the Congress for the operation Blue Star, 1984, riots in Delhi and Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in Punjab.

Mr Rinwa said the Congress had always pursued a divide and rule policy. For all round development of the state and communal harmony, people of the Majitha had decided to vote for the BJP-SAD candidate in Majitha.

He said he had full faith in the leadership of Mr Badal.


PCMS doctors’ dharna on Feb 11
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 7 — PCMS doctors from Punjab will stage a dharna in Amritsar on February 11 to press the government to roll back the decision pertaining to admission of PCMS doctors under 60 per cent quota in the post graduation courses in the government medical colleges.

Dr Ashok Kumar, General Secretary of the PCMS Officers Association in a statement here said the decision to hold the dharna was taken at an emergency meeting of the association.

He said as per the latest decision of the state Government, the inservice PCMS doctors joining the post graduation course, would be given stipend instead of full salary which was given earlier. Dr D.S.Bhullar, who presided over the meeting, said the decision of the government stopping payment of full salary was unjustified and anti-medical fraternity. 


Sarpanch blamed for attack 
From Our Correspondent

TARN TARAN, Feb 7 — Hundreds of residents of the Sarhali area today marched to the office of the local Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) demanding to lodge a complaint against Paramdip Singh, sarpanch of Sarhali Kalan village and his son Gurmahabir Singh, for allegedly attacking Baba Charan Singh of the same village. A memorandum was also presented to the SSP in this regard.

The residents blamed that several murderous attacks had been made on the Baba and his family members. But, the local police under political pressure was hesitating to take action against the persons. The people alleged that they were maltreated by the SHO, Sarhali, when they went to lodge their complaint.


Shobha yatras cancelled
From Our Correspondent

AMRITSAR, Feb 7 — The annual shobha yatras preceeding Maha Shivratri have been “cancelled” in the wake of the Gujarat earthquake according to Dr Harbilas Rai, president of the Shivala Bhaya Trust.

The money thus saved, would go towards the Gujarat earthquake relief operations. In addition, Rs 4 lakh have been sent for immediate relief by the Shivalya Bhaiya Trust and the Ram Katha Samiti.

The trust has resolved to take 100 children orphaned in the quake under the care.


Shobha yatra on Guru Ravidass
From Our Correspondent

BATHINDA, Feb 7 — The Shri Guru Ravidass Sabha organised a shobha yatra on the 624th birth anniversary of Guru Ravidass here today in which, besides the general public, Mr Mahan Singh, MLA, Mr Ajaib Singh Bhatti, Additional Deputy Commissioner and Mr Bhupinder Singh Bhullar, president of the municipal committee, participated.

Mr H.R. Bhukkal, president of the sabha, said a kirtan darbar and langar would be held at Guru Ravidass Bhavan tomorrow.


Condition of canals deteriorating: YC
Tribune News Service

BATHINDA, Feb 7 — Mr Jagpal Singh Abulkhurana, a senior Youth Congress leader, yesterday alleged that the Punjab Government had failed to repair canals whose condition had been deteriorating.

In a press note issued here, he said the Punjab Chief Minister Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who claimed himself to be champion of farmers cause, on the one hand had been giving funds liberally to village panchayats to woo the voters while on the other hand his government had failed to arrange funds to carry out repair work on major canals in Punjab.

He pointed out that if the repair of Sirhind and its branch canal system, was not carried out it would become non-functional and poor farmers would have to pay a heavy price for it.

He alleged that Mr Badal was while trying to play up ‘Operation Bluestar’ in the Majitha by-election was for forgetting that the PPCC President, Mr Amarinder Singh, had submitted his resignation from Lok Sabha after Operation Bluestar and then from the Punjab Government after Operation Black Thunder. 


Ex-servicemen’s rally from Feb 23
From Our Correspondent

AMRITSAR, Feb 7 — A rally will be organised for ex-servicemen and people of border areas at Khalra village in the district on February 23 and February 24.

This was stated by Brig M.P.S. Bajwa, Coordinator of the rally. He said Vajra Corps had planned three rallies this year at Khalra (Amritsar), Harike (Ferozepore) and Dera Baba Nanak (Gurdaspur) villages. The aim of these rallies was to establish contact with the ex-servicemen, improve their resettlement avenues and provide free medical cover to them. War widows and gallantry award winners of the district would be honoured at the rally, he said.

A legal cell, pension adalat and redressal cell will be set up for ex-servicemen to resolve their problems on the spot. Information stalls by the cooperative and mortgage banks, the SBI, PNB, Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana, Horticulture and Fishery Department will also be set up.


Engine collides with train, derailed
From Our Correspondent

BATHINDA, Feb 7 — A diesel engine derailed near the National Fertilizer Limited (NFL) factory when it collided with a goods train coming from the NFL side today.

Official sources said drivers of the diesel engine and the goods train suffered minor injuries. Sources said the railway authorities had put the engine back on rails.

Mr M.K. Vashani, Additional General Manager of the NFL, said the diesel engine belonging to the NFL used to take the train from factory premises to yard belonging to local railway authorities. From there, the engine of the railways used to take it for its ultimate destination.

He said the NFL management sent a message today to the railway authorities to send its engine in the yard to take the goods train carrying urea bags.

After getting nod from the railway authorities, the NFL management dispatched its diesel engine to take the goods train upto yard. On the other hand, the railway authorities had also sent its engine to take the goods train. As a result, a collision occurred near the NFL gate, he said.

The driver of the NFL engine on seeing the diesel engine coming from the opposite direction tried to apply the brakes and succeeded to a great extent to stop the train but the driver of the railway diesel engine could not stop it, Mr Vashani added.


Sadbhavana divas today
Tribune News Service

GURDASPUR, Feb 7 — The 15th death anniversary of Prabodh Chandra, a freedom fighter, former MP, Speaker and minister of Punjab, will be observed as ‘‘satarkta and sadbhavana divas’’ here tomorrow.

Messages have been received from Ms Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Vice-President Krishan Kant, Mr I.K. Gujral, Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Mr G.M.C. Balayogi, CPM leader H.K.S. Surjit, Mr H.D. Deve Gowda, Dr Manmohan Singh, Mr Pranab Mukerjee, the Chief Minister of Karnataka, Mr S.M. Krishna, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Mr Vilas Rao Deshmukh and the Chief Minister of Chattisgarh, Mr Ajit Jogi, paying tributes to Prabodh Chandra on the occasion of his death anniversary.


Appointment of tehsildar sought
From Our Correspondent

BATHINDA, Feb 7 — The Bar Association of Talwandi Sabo has demanded that a Sub-Registrar or Tehsildar should be appointed in the sub division at the earliest. Advocate Ashok Goyal, Press Secretary, the BATS, said in a press note issued here yesterday that at the meeting of the council it was demanded that the tehsildar should be appointed at the earliest.


House gutted
From Our Correspondent

AMRITSAR, Feb 7 — Devastating fire today gutted the house of the honorary secretary of Khalsa College Governing Council, Mr Charanjit Singh Chadha, in the Green Avenue locality of the Civil Lines. According to Mr Chadha, the fire broke out due to short circuit at around 1 pm and engulfed the rear portion of the house and immediately spread to other rooms. Over half-a-dozen fire tenders took more than three hours to control the fire and managed to save the front portion.

According to Mr Chadha household goods, including jewellery, electronic items, furniture worth more than several lakhs were destroyed in the fire. However, there was no loss of life.


Farmers await relief for damaged crops 
From Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

SANGRUR, Feb 7 — Despite an assurance by the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to the flood victims on December 16, 2000 at a “sangat darshan”, the farmers of 20 villages of Moonak subdivision, whose standing crops were damaged in July 2000 by floods, are still awaiting compensation from the state government.

Besides this, the farmers of Moonak subdivision have also not received any compensation for their standing crops damaged in July 1998 and July 1999 by floods. The district administration did not receive any funds from the state government despite reminders to authorities concerned.

It may be mentioned here that the district administration had sent cases to the Revenue Department, Punjab, seeking funds worth Rs 1.33 crore and Rs 35 lakh to pay compensation to the farmers whose crops were damaged in floods.

The case with regards to compensation of Rs 1.82 crore to the farmers was prepared by the district administration on the basis of a special “girdawari” conducted by officials of the Revenue Department. As the farmers felt that they won’t get compensation this year also like the previous years, they brought the matter to the notice of the Chief Minister who in turn assured them that he would send Rs 1.82 crore as compensation in a week but to no avail so far.

Sources in the administration have disclosed that a revised case for paying compensation had been sent to the state government on January 12, 2001.


Farmers threaten agitation
From Our Correspondent

AMRITSAR, Feb 7 — Sounding a warning to the Badal government, the Kisan Sangharsh Committee (KSC) has said that the Deputy Commissioner’s failure to return the amount “dubiously” obtained by commission agents from paddy farmers till February 10 will invite angry protests from farmers.

The farmers had made a representation to Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, on February 5. The latter in his remarks had written to the DC to “inquire into the matter personally and take necessary action.”

It may be recalled that agents had charged Rs 20-Rs 60 as inspection fee from farmers in mandis of Harike, Patti, Dayalpura, Kacha Pacca and Bhikhiwind to sell their produce to government agencies.


Octroi supdt suspended
From Our Correspondent

PHAGWARA, Feb 7 — Mr Piare Lal, superintendent, octroi, has been placed under suspension for dereliction of duty, it was learnt yesterday.

At least 15 employees of a private octroi contractor have also reportedly been sacked for their misbehaviour with a Nabha-bound trader yesterday.

The trader was coming from Nawanshahr when local private octroi staff checked him for “rahdari” and allegedly indulged in high-handedness.

The harried trader contacted the superintendent who allegedly and did not bothered at all. The trader complained to the Director, Local Bodies, Punjab, Mr J. B. Goel, who directed the local municipal authorities to initiate action against the erring persons.


District administration complex gets nod
Tribune News Service

BATHINDA, Feb 7 — The Punjab Government has decided to construct a district administrative complex (DAC) in the town to house all offices in one complex for the convenience of public and to provide accommodation to those offices which were in a bad shape.

Mr Jaspal Singh, Deputy Commissioner, and Mr Vivek Aggarwal, Additional Chief Administrator, PUDA, while talking to mediapersons here today said DAC would be constructed at a cost of Rs 15 crore and would provide accommodation for 43 offices on an area of 28,000 ft.

The project will be totally financed from the resources raised from the auction of government lands in urban areas, which had already been transferred to PUDA. For generating the funds, the general and children hospitals for those living in trans-railway colonies and in the city would be dismantled and sold off and in its place a modern dispensary would be set up.

The newly constructed meeting hall, planning complex, district transport office and the PWD office in the existing Deputy Commissioner’s complex would also be dismantled to construct the four-storeyed modern complex with modern facilities.

Mr Jaspal Singh, Deputy Commissioner, said for constructing such a big complex the loss incurred by dismantling some of the newly constructed buildings would be meaningless.

When asked when the DAC project would be implemented and why those lands were chosen for sale on which government offices and hospital were located, he said under the optimum utilisation of government vacant land scheme (OUGVL), the provision for disposing of such lands and buildings had been made.

He added that the children and general hospital would not be dismantled immediately. The existing government offices in the DC complex would be shifted there and these offices would function there till DAC came up. He added that the work allotment for the execution of the project would be completed by March 15.

Mr Aggarwal said the complex would be approachable from three roads and would have adequate space for parking.

He further stated that the construction of DAC would be completed within one year.


Census work to be over by Feb 28
From Our Correspondent

BATHINDA, Feb 7 — Mr Ajaib Singh Bhatti, Additional Deputy Commissioner, said that census in the district would be completed from February 9 to February 28,2001 and all preparations had been made for this purpose.

In a press note issued here on Monday, he said that this was the first census of 21 century on the basis of which the central government had to form the new policies, for the whole country. He added that all citizens should provide the true information to government.

He pointed out that all persons appointed for census, had been given the identity cards and added that they would get the signatures on the forms of the head of the family.


FCI offer on old rice
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 7 — The Food Corporation of India has decided to offer more than one-year-old rice of various categories lying in the Punjab region at the rate of the current levy price of rice plus the cost of gunny-bags.

This was announced here today by Mr D.P. Reddy, Senior Regional Manager, FCI. He, however, made it clear that the rice procured from 1999-2000 onwards was not included in this offer.

He said the offer was for the state government and any buyer on a first come, first served basis.


3 arrested for cheating
Tribune News Service

RAMPURAPHUL, Feb 7 — The district police has arrested three persons who were allegedly charging commission from people by getting bank loans arranged for them.

They were allegedly taking a commission of Rs 20,000 per loan case. The three accused namely Kulwant Singh of Goniana, Harbans Singh of Mandikalan and Hardeep Singh were running the racket for the past several months.

The police seized from them some official papers of Rampura Primary Agricultural Development Bank and blank signed promissory notes. The account books maintained by them for the purpose were also seized. The accused, who were acting as touts had so far arranged more than 150 loans and every client was allegedly charge heavily.

Police sources said the racket came to light when Mr Lachman Dass of Kotrakolianwali village of the district lodged a complaint with the police that three persons had taken Rs 20,000 from him for getting a loan of Rs 1 lakh arranged for him. The trio were arrested and a case under Sections 420 and 34 of the IPC was registered.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that poor farmers, who found it difficult to get loans from some of the selected banks despite fulfilling all formalities, had fallen prey to them.

Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, SSP, said the district police had launched a campaign against those who had been cheating people on various pretext.

He pointed out that few days ago, the Bathinda police had arrested Suresh Kumar, who in connivance with an Assistant Manager of the Punjab Scheduled Caste Land Development and Finance Corporation was running a fake loan scandal.


Lovers jump before train
Tribune News Service

MUKTSAR, Feb 7 — Balkrishan and Simranjit Kaur of Bhagsar village of this district committed suicide by jumping before a train this morning.

Police sources said Balkrishan and Simranjit who were in love for the past seven years took this extreme step when they found that their respective families were forcing them to break their friendship.

Balkrishan wanted to marry Simranjit Kaur, a mother of three.

It is reported, when the train approached, she tried to run away but Balkrishan was determined and caught her from the legs.

A case has been registered.


School co-chairman held for fraud
From Our Correspondent

MALERKOTLA, Feb 7 — The Varanasi police arrested Mr Prem Goyal, co-chairman of the local DAV Centenary Senior Secondary Public School this yesterday.

When contacted, the city police confirmed the incident. He said Mr Goyal had been arrested under Sections 406 and 420 of the IPC.


221 education blocks rationalised
From Our Correspondent

FARIDKOT, Feb 7 — The Punjab Government has rationalised 221 primary blocks to promote science and commerce in the state. Under the plan a school equipped with all equipment of science will be opened in each block from the next academic session. The existing institutions will, however, work as usual, Mr Jagtar Singh Khatra, DPI(S), Punjab, told mediapersons here today.

He said under the prevailing conditions, science and commerce needs more attention. He stated that the computer education would be introduced in all schools during the next two years. About 700 schools had already been brought under the scheme and more than 1000 schools would be brought under the scheme during the next session.

The DPI said 10 districts, including Amritsar, Bathinda, Faridkot, Ferozepore, Mansa, Moga, Muktsar, Patiala and Sangrur had been chosen to eradicate illiteracy under the “Sarabh Shiksha Abhiyan” scheme sponsored by the Centre. The government had already sanctioned grants in this regard.

Mr Khatra further said over 1000 teachers from C and B and JBT categories will be promoted during the next session. Similarly, 200 headmasters, 800 lecturers and 500 principals would also be promoted during the same period. He added that all promotions would strictly be under the rules.


Move on PMT merit opposed
From Our Correspondent

AMRITSAR, Feb 7 — The proposed move to give 50 per cent weightage to the marks obtained in plus two examination while deciding on the merit to PMT for admission to medical colleges has been opposed by the National Students Union of India.

Mr Aman Prasher, General Secretary, NSUI, Punjab, in a press note said the decision taken at a meeting of Vice-Chancellors of universities of Punjab and Principal Secretary, Medical Education and Research, had failed to evolve a consensus on the issue.

He said the recommendation comes after an earlier condition of 60 per cent marks in the plus two for eligibility to PMT test. The new proposal would not only encourage large scale copying in the plus two examinations but would deny a second chance to a brilliant student who otherwise lost on account of plus two aggregate despite his good performance in the PMT.

“Corruption in evaluation in non-computerised schools boards will be the norm” he added.


No salaries paid to teachers
From Our Correspondent

FAZILKA, Feb 7 — About 10000 teachers and employees working in senior secondary schools of Punjab under the plan scheme have not been paid their salaries for January.

The main reason for the non-payment is that the Education Department has not granted financial sanction for the posts. The department had accorded approval for the posts only upto December, 2000. It is surprising that despite the lapse of 10 months, the department has not given approval for January and February. Mr Raj Kishore Kalra, Spokesperson, Government Secondary Teachers Union, Punjab, has urged the Education Secretary, Punjab, to grant approval for these posts immediately, so that the salaries of the affected teachers and employees could be released.

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