Friday, February 16, 2001,
Chandigarh, India

P U N J A B    S T O R I E S




RS poll divides CM’s attention
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
An interesting political battle is on the cards between the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Chief campaigner against him, Mr Ravi Inder Singh with regard to the Rajya Sabha seat.

Two candidates — Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal and Mr Manjit Singh Khaira — are in the field for this seat for which polling will be held on February 22. Today was the last day for the withdrawal of the nomination papers but none opted out from the contest. While Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, who is called junior Badal in political circle, is backed by his father, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Mr Khaira is backed by Mr Ravi Inder Singh and a number of rebel MLAs from Mr Tohra’s camp.

Though going by the present party position in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, the junior Badal will have no problem in winning the seat but the contest will generate a lot of curiosity not only among political circles but also among public. It will be a time for MLAs especially belonging to the ruling alliance to realise their importance to the party leadership. 


EC urged to send member to Majitha
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, February 15
Former Union Home Minister Buta Singh on Tuesday demanded that a member of the Election Commission (EC) should visit Majitha to check any violation of the code of conduct by the ruling combine.

Talking to mediapersons here, he alleged that the Election Commission had gone slack over the Majitha byelection. Irregularities and doling out of sops by the government were common. Misuse of official machinery was going on under the very nose of the observer, he alleged. He opposed the use of electronic voting machines. He claimed that the Congress morale in Majitha was high.


Code violation: Congress sends delegation
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 15
The Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee President, Mr Amarinder Singh, has sent a two-member delegation comprising Mr Mohinder Singh Gill, former PPCC chief, and Mr Surinder Singla, a former MP, to Delhi with a view to lodge a complaint against the three election observers, who had failed to recommend any action despite violation of the code of conduct in Majitha.

Mr Sukhpal Singh Khehra, Secretary, PPCC, said the two- member delegation would carry the photographic evidence of the violation of code of conduct for handing over to the Chief Election Commission.


Identification of voters made must
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 15
The Election Commission has made the identification of voters compulsory for the byelection to the Majitha Vidhan Sabha constituency.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Narinderjit Singh, who is also District Election Officer, said in a press note here today that the Election Commission had sent instructions that voters who did not have identity cards should prove their identity to the satisfaction of the polling officer.

For this they could produce ration card, driving licence, passport, identity card issued by government or semi-government organisations, bank or post office pass book, kisan pass book, electricity bill, arms licence, railway and bus pass, school leaving certificates or pension payment order.


SHSAD threat to disrupt Budget session
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, February 15
Legislators owing allegiance to the breakaway Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal has vowed to stall the proceedings of the House during the coming Budget session on the paddy issue.

Disclosing this to The Tribune here today senior SHSAD leader, Mr Inderjit Singh Zira, warned that the rebel legislators would disrupt the Budget session in protest against the state government’s inability to compensate the farmers who had to sell their paddy stock at rates below the minimum support price.

“Although the Central Government has announced a Rs 350 crore compensation package, not a single paisa has been paid to the farmers”, he charged.

He pointed out that while the Punjab Government had spent Rs 90 lakh on advertisements, thanking the Prime Minister for the package, the farmers were still awaiting the money. He added that the AISAD would press upon the state government to give the account of package and threatened to disrupt the session, if the demand was not accepted.

Answering a question, he discounted the possibilities of unity between the two Akali Dal factions before the next Assembly elections. He claimed that the SHSAD did not need the ruling Akali Dal’s support for political survival.

He added that the SHSAD was floated on “Panthic” principles and there was no question of compromising on these. He alleged that the ruling Akali Dal had deviated from value-based politics under the leadership of Mr Parkash Singh Badal.


Nangal Fertilisers project commissioned
Our Correspondent

Ropar, February 15
National Fertilisers Limited, one of the leading producers of nitrogenous fertilisers in the country, has commissioned its Nangal expansion project with an installed capacity of 1.50 lakh tonnes of urea per annum at a cost of Rs 161 crore. With this, the total installed capacity of the Nangal unit of the company has increased to 4.80 lakh tonne urea per annum.

The commissioning of the Nangal expansion project has increased the total installed capacity of urea of NFL to 29.22 lakh tonnes per annum from the earlier 27.72 lakh tonne.

The company has five fertiliser plants operating, with one unit each at Nangal, Bathinda in Punjab, Panipat in Haryana and two units at Vijaipur and a bio-fertiliser plant at Indore (MP).

The project, which was approved by the Centre on May 11, 1999 has been executed by a Swiss company on lump-sum turn-key basis. The project has been commissioned in a record time of 21 months and three months ahead of its targeted period.

One of the prominent features of the project is the construction of the new circular, natural draft prilling tower of 104.5 metres.

The high free fall of the urea melt from the top of the tower ensures that adequate free fall time and cooling time would be available for the product to cool down properly and achieve the desired strength.

The new tower with a conical scrapper shall ensure minimal dust formation. The tower is equipped with latest Tuttlo Prilling Rotating Bucket Technology and automoised prilling operation to ensure uniform prill size and high quality urea.

Moreover, with the commissioning of the project, the plant will have lower energy consumption of 1.1 Gcal per MT of urea and reduction in consumption of raw material that would bring substantial savings in the operational costs of the Nangal unit. The new project is also environment-friendly and will further help in keeping the surroundings clean and green.

The fertiliser factory at Nangal was set up in 1961. The plant at that time was envisaged to produce calcium ammonium nitrate (CAN) — a nitrogenous fertiliser. .

The urea plant at Nangal came in to existence in 1978. The plant also manufactures about eighteen industrial products for the chemical and allied industries.

The unit is credited with the ISO-9002 quality certification and the company’s flagship brand ‘Kisan Urea’ confirms the standards set in Fertiliser Control Order (FCO).


Cop complains against SHO
Suspended after inquiry
Gurpreet Singh
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, February 15
The alleged incident of tearing of an FIR by the in charge of the city police station here has sparked a controversy.

An inquiry into the incident by a Superintendent of Police has indicted lower-rung cops for “cooking up” the complaint.

Constable Jagir Singh had accused SHO Raj Kumar of tearing an FIR filed by him complaining to the higher authorities that the SHO had torn an FIR lodged in connection with a case of gambling at the city police station on February 1.

The constable had claimed that the SHO had asked him to tear the FIR, but on his refusal, he himself tore it.

Subsequently, the Superintendent of Police (Detective), Mr H.P.S. Kang, held an inquiry into the incident.

He indicted three lower-rung cops in his report for “cooking up” a complaint against the SHO.

Based on the report, the department is learnt to have suspended constable Jagir Singh and two others, including Head Constable Ramesh Masih.

The inquiry held them responsible for teaming up against the SHO to save their colleague, Head Constable Paramjit Singh, who had refused to perform field duty.

Sources say the Head Constable had been sent to Majitha in connection with poll duty, but he had manipulated his stay at Ferozepore, allegedly in connivance with the three cops.

As the SHO came to know about this, all reportedly cooked up a complaint against Mr Raj Kumar.

Mr Raj Kumar said the FIR was still valid. Denying that he tore the document, he accused constable Jagir Singh of tampering with the FIR to “malign” him.

He also claimed that the person booked for gambling in the FIR was arrested and later released on bail. “There is no question of shielding anyone”, he added.


Man marries sister just for Canadian visa
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 15
Rajinder Singh, a resident of Mehraj Basti of Rampuraphul, reportedly married his sister Ranvir Kaur to get a visa for Canada.

He began to sell poppy husk to generate enough funds required to get entry into Canada and applied for a passport on a fake name.

Rajinder Singh, who solemnised marriage to his sister after changing his name from Rajinder Singh to Sukhminder Singh, showing himself a resident of Guruser village, also threw a party to his kith and kin at Pushpanjali Marriage Palace of Rampura town on March 24, 2000.

Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, SSP, when contacted, said the matter came to the notice of the police when the accused fell into a police net while indulging in smuggling of narcotics on January 27, 2001. He said the accused had got his marriage with his sister registered with the Registrar of Marriages on March 31, 2000. He had also succeeded in acquiring a marriage certificate.

Dr Jain said cases under Sections 419,420,467, 468, 471 and 120-B and Section 494 of the IPC had been registered against the accused and others. 


Get going, Arora tells juniors
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
Maximum utilisation of Government of India plans, efficient disposal of papers, well-regulated and well-planned visits to the Union Capital and monitoring of the implementation of decisions taken at meetings is part of the agenda the new Chief Secretary of Punjab, Mr Naresh Kumar Arora, has spelt out to various senior officials of the state, including administrative secretaries, through his demi-official letters.

The message through the letters is polite, firm and clear. Mr Arora has not only touched upon the main areas of concern of the state government and shortcomings of the state bureaucracy, but has also set a time-frame for various important issues.

In one of his letters, the Chief Secretary has drawn the attention of the administrative secretaries to the failure of the departments to derive optimal advantages and benefits from Government of India schemes. “In spite of best of our intentions, we have been unable to derive optimal advantages and benefits from the central schemes,” reads the letter.

He wants that all administrative secretaries must look into the matter and intimate what efforts had been made to enrich the state from such schemes. He wants intimation within 10 days.

A number of administrative departments had been losing out on assistance, grants and other benefits because of long delays in implementation and meeting of the mandatory requirements for the implementation of various Government of India schemes. In most cases, subsequent grants are not released till a utilisation certificate of the first instalment of the financial grant is sent to the parent department concerned in the Union Government.

Another important issue touched upon by the Chief Secretary pertains to the frequent visits of the administrative secretaries to the Union Capital where in most cases, the services of the Principal Resident Commissioner are seldom or sparingly utilised in pursuing cases with various departments of the Union Government.

According to the new instructions, the administrative secretaries have been politely advised that visits to “Delhi may be well-regulated and well-planned and that where one can utilise the services of Dr Dinesh Chandra, Principal Resident Commissioner, it may be done so as often as possible. The idea is that avoidable visits may better be avoided in the larger public interest. Besides, it was also felt that after every official visit to Delhi, officers may record the gist of discussions, etc., held there so that proper follow-up may be ensured”.

There have been instances when administrative secretaries have made frequent visits to the Union Capital on one pretext or the other with little or no official output.

The Chief Secretary also wants that each administrative secretary must maintain a separate and personal file about all meetings attended by him as participant or chairman. “This might facilitate better implementation of decisions taken and monitoring thereof. This may also ensure continuity of action as the file so maintained may be passed on to the successor as and when exigency may arise,” said a note from Mr Arora to all administrative secretaries.


Cong ‘stumped’ over freepower issue
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 15
Mr Babu Singh, secretary, district unit of SAD, said on Tuesday that the decision of the Punjab Government to extend the facilities of free power for the tubewell connections to Scheduled Caste farmers had left the Congress and other political parties without any issue.

In a press note issued here, he said the Congress and other opposition parties of the state were deliberately exploiting the issue of non-extension of facilities of free power to the Scheduled Caste farmers by the state government for political gains.


Decision on ceasefire at right time: George
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, February 15
Union Defence Minister Geroge Fernandes has announced that the Union Government led by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee will decide on the ceasefire issue at an appropriate time.

Talking to this correspondent at Langerri village today he claimed that no big violence had been noticed at the Indo-Pak border after the announcement of the ceasefire in the valley. When his attention was drawn towards J&K Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah’s demand to end the ceasefire, the Defence Minister quipped that this demand was coming from many quarters but the National Democratic Alliance government would soon decide on it after reviewing all aspects. When asked, whether the dialogue with Pakistan could be resumed, the Defence Minister said no dialogue could be resumed till Pakistan stopped abetting terrorism in Pakistan. About the possibility of the visit of Gen Parvej Musharraf to India, Mr Fernandes said. “We have no information of his visit or seeking visa for India.

Answering a question about his views on the continuation of the ceasefire the Defence Minister said all decision would be taken by the Union Cabinet. Union Minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa who too was commenting on the ceasefire said violence on the border had definitely decreased.


Traffic rules’ violation despite HC order
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, February 15
Despite the high court order seeking the implementation of traffic rules in the region, the local police and the district transport authorities have failed to reduce road safety rules violations.

A random survey of the district revealed that the violations continne unabated, primarily on account of lack of co-ordination between the traffic police and the Transport Department. Throwing all safety norms to the wind, most drivers continue to travel on their scooters and cars without helmets and safety belts, respectively.

Besides, there is no check on the movement of vehicles without registration numbers. Moreover, a large number of taxi drivers do not issue receipts to their customers showing that unauthorised taxi stands continue to operate in the city. Overloaded autorickshaws carrying school children is a common sight.

At places like Jalalabad and Makhu unauthorisedly improvised vehicles like “gharukkas” ply on roads carrying passengers and schoolchildren. Night driving on the Ferozepore-Fazilka road remains the worst as tractor-trailers plying on the road do not have the necessary near lights.

Even traffic lights are not installed anywhere in the district headquarters, making the regulatory measures more difficult.

Only on a few occasions, one has seen a traffic policeman challaning the drivers encouraging the local commuters to violate the rules with impunity. The authorities concerned have made some arrangements to minimise the traffic chaos. This has been done by erecting boards showing traffic safety signs and glow sign boards indicating important routes and distances along the highways.

The new district police chief, Mr Harchand Singh Sidhu, gave an assurance that all shortcomings would be plugged as the traffic staff has been prepared to implement road safety norms.

The District Transport Officer, Mr Jaskaran Singh, said a coordination committee of the traffic police and his staff would be constituted shortly to implement the high court order.


Pinky was an ex-militant: DSP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
Admitting Inspector Gurmeet Singh Pinky to be a former militant, the State of Punjab today claimed that investigations in the murder case registered against him were being conducted without ‘favouring him’.

In his reply submitted on the behalf of the State before Mr. Justice V.M. Jain of the High Court, the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Ludhiana, Mr. Gurnam Singh, stated that all accused in the case, including Pinky, had been arrested and the weapons allegedly used in the commission of the offence had been seized.

The DSP also stated that the report under Section 173 of the Criminal Procedure Code would be submitted before the court of competent jurisdiction ‘shortly’.

He added that Pinky, absent from duty since January 4, had been reverted to the rank of head constable and had been placed under suspension. Pinky, it may be recalled, was booked for murder and other offences under Section 302, 307 and 336 of the Indian Penal Code after Ludhiana resident Avtar Singh, alias Gola, succumbed to his injuries.

Today, in another petition, Avtar Singh’s father Amrik Singh sought a CBI probe into the incident, besides directions to the State of Punjab and other respondents for shifting Pinky to some other jail outside Ludhiana district.

He alleged that Pinky had been threatening him after getting out of the prison with the help of the jail authorities at night. Besides this, he had also been intimidating him through his men, he added. The case would now come up for further hearing on February 19.


Preparations on for Hola Mohalla
Our Correspondent

Ropar, February 15
The district administration has started preparations for Hola Mohalla at Anandpur Sahib, from March 5 to 10. A meeting in this regard was held under the Chairmanship of the Deputy Commissioner, Mr G.S. Grewal, last evening.

Mr Grewal, in a press note, said that the SDM, Anandpur Sahib, Mr Amarjit Singh, has been nominated as the mela officer.

The main control room of the mela would be set up at the office of the SDM.

All temporary offices for the smooth conduct of the mela would also be set up in this office.

During the mela, the entire traffic from Anandpur Sahib would be diverted.

Alternative routes for the traffic on the affected roads would be provided through Nurpurbedi and Nalagarh.The Deputy Commissioner also directed officials of the PSEB, public health and municipal councils to provide adequate facilities at the mela. Temporary bus stands would be set up for the vehicles of pilgrims.

Shuttle service for the local traffic would also be provided.

Temporary safai sewaks would be recruited to maintain sanitation.

The Health Department would set up a special health care centre and the various government departments would put up an exhibition depicting the development activities in the state.

The SSP, Ropar, has also been directed to ensure that no stalls of skill games or gambling are put up.

The Deputy Commissioner also told that the review meeting of the various arrangements of the mela would be held on February 28, at the office of the SDM, Anandpur Sahib.

Thousands of pilgrims and visitors are expected to visit Anandpur Sahib for Hola Mohalla.

The festival would be held from March 5 to 7 at Kiratpur Sahib and from March 8 to 10 at Anandpur Sahib.


Railway staff hold dharna 
Surnider Bhardwaj

Fatehgarh Sahib, February 15
The Northern Railway Men’s Union (Ambala division) held a protest rally and staged a dharna outside the railway station at Sirhind town today against GM, Northern Railway, for allegedly implicating union leaders in false cases, issuing chargesheets and for his alleged dictatorial attitude towards the employees. Hundreds of employees, led by senior union leaders from the northern region, raised slogans against the GM.

Talking to this correspondent Mr C.S. Bajwa, divisional secretary of the NRMU, said during the inspection tour of the GM on February 6 and 7, the union had already informed the Divisional Personnel Officer (DPO), who coordinates between the union and GM that the union would submit him a memorandum at Dhuri railway station and would also discuss the grievances of the employees. But instead of their prior appointment, the GM refused to meet the union leaders and to take the memorandum.

On the next day, the GM was on an inspection tour at Sirhind railway station and the union informed Mr Raj Kumar, Chief Personnel Officer (CPO) that they would submit memorandum at Sirhind, but the GM again refused to meet the union leaders. He said the employees got agitated and started raising slogans against the GM and his special train was also halted for some time. Following this, the GM called the union leaders and discussed their problems.

He said on the next day, a delegation of the union leaders met the GM at Ambala and expressed concern over the incident and said it was unfortunate and only due to communication gap. He alleged that instead of forgetting the incident, he got FIR registered against six union leaders at Sirhind and issued chargesheets against all leaders who were present on the railway station. He said in the FIR and the chargesheets, it had been mentioned that all mail trains were detained at various railway stations on February 7 due to their agitation and halting the special train of the GM. He said they had enough proof to prove that the trains on that day were detained not due to agitation.

Interestingly, on February 7, due to the halting of GM’s special trains at Sirhind by the employees, four mail trains — 334, 4460, 5210 and 5708 — were detained at various railway stations between Ambala and Ludhiana.

Later, addressing the rally, the union leaders said they are forced to take the step as the GM was adamant to take action against the employees.


FIR quashed

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
Allowing a writ petition, Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today quashed a first information report (FIR) registered against a medical officer on the allegations of accepting bribe for conducting a medical termination of pregnancy. Mr Justice Nijjar also quashed the proceedings pending in the court of Special Judge at Kapurthala.

Dr Jaswinder Kaur Bains, posted as Medical Officer in ESI Hospital at Phagwara, was earlier booked by the Vigilance Bureau in Jalandhar after a Nawanshahr district resident, Ms Balwinder Kaur, alleged that she demanded Rs 2,000 for the abortion. In her complaint, Ms Balwinder Kaur had alleged that the matter was settled at Rs 1,700 out of which Rs 900 was initially paid to the doctor.

The Vigilance Bureau’s plea for granting sanction for prosecution was, however, refused by the Health Department on February 14 last year. The department later reviewed its earlier order and granted the sanction after a letter, seeking reasons for the refusal, was addressed to them by the bureau.

Pronouncing the orders in the open court today, Mr Justice Nijjar observed that the order granting the sanction was not sustainable in the eyes of the law for several reasons.

In the 17-page order, he also observed that the competent authority had no power to review its earlier order on merit “in the absence of some fresh material or some technical infirmity or some clerical error”.

He concluded: “As soon as the earlier orders refusing the sanction was signed on February 14, 2000, the competent authority became functus officio. The Vigilance Bureau had asked for the reason for the refusal of the sanction. It was not a ground to review the earlier order”. 


Ex-DC’s kin allege harassment
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 15
Ms Surinder Sidhu and Mr Ravinder Singh Sidhu, daughter and son of late Sardar Bhadur Pritam Singh Sidhu, who served as Deputy Commissioner in the princely state of Patiala, have been running from pillar to post to get a criminal case registered against those who has allegedly into trespassed into their residential premises and were trying to evict them from there .

In separate letters written to the SSP, Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, both Ms Sidhu and Mr Sidhu, have requested him to take legal action against those who had demolished the boundary wall of their premises. They also pointed out that their lives were in danger.

Ms Sidhu claimed that her family was in possession of the said land and residential structure for the past 60 years. She alleged that on the night of February 6 at around 8.30 pm, certain armed persons entered her house forcibly after demolishing the outer wall of the premises.

Mr Sidhu alleged that those trying to encroach upon their land had also threatened his chowkidar and his family members that they would be eliminated if they tried to stop them.

He pointed out that in 1995, a similar incident took place which was sorted out with the help of then DGP, Punjab,   KPS Gill, and then SSP, Bathinda. Another attempt was made in 1998 which was also thwarted by the timely intervention of the police and civil administration.

The district police authorities, however, claimed that both parties had been claiming the title of the said land. The authorities added that the SDM had been asked to ascertain who the rightful owner was.

The police authorities added the ASP, Mr P.K. Rai, had also been investigating into the matter and strict action would be taken against those found guilty.

When this correspondent approached those against whom the complaints had been lodged by Mr Sidhu and Ms Sidhu, he was not allowed entry into the premises.


Mulazim Dal to set up more units
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, February 15
The All-India Rashtriya Mulazim Dal has launched a campaign to set up a unit in each state to sort out problems of the employees in all government departments in the country. Three units have already been established in Punjab, Haryana and Delhi.

Under the plan, the district-level committees will be formed to register the grievances of the employees which will later be submitted to the state unit and it will take up the issues with the state government. This was stated by Mr Harbans Singh Sherpur, president of the dal, at a press conference here today.

He said the process had been completed in Punjab. A 51-member committee had been formed in each district of the state. Mr Gobind Singh Kanjla, Minister for Social Security, has been nominated as the patron of the state unit. Mr Sherpur said the bodies would work towards lifting of ban on recruitment of employees.


Millers’ concern over delay in payments
From Our Correspondent

Patiala, Feb 15 
The State government’s assurance to rice millers to accept levy rice on a priority basis by providing sufficient space and release of payments promptly so as to encourage the millers to adopt new levy routes was shelved and the delivery of levy rice was tagged with the custom milling even before the end of last year.

All this has led to acceptance of only 50-55 per cent of levy rice in the state. This was stated by Mr Tarsem Saini, president of the Punjab Rice Millers Association (PRMA), yesterday.

Mr Saini added that millers had suffered loss worth crores of rupees on this account. He said payments were not released promptly and even for the past one month, no payment of levy had been made to the millers.

He further said that if these payments are not released immediately, the payment to the arhtias would not be made during the committed period, causing a lot of inconvenience to the farmers.

The association has warned the state government to make the levy payments within one week, failing which the association will be compelled to adopt the path of agitation.


TB detection camps on Feb 26
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, February 15
The district Health Department in Association with various voluntary organisations has planned to eradicate tuberculosis in the district.

Under the scheme camps will be organised in slum areas and villages to detect TB patients. Two such camps will be held at the local Bazigar Basti and Dheemawali village on February 26 to identify TB patients, if any.

The Punjab Health System Corporation had granted Rs 36,000 in this connection, said Dr Virender Singh Mohi, Civil Surgeon, here today. He said the patients would be provided treatment and medicines free of cost. He disclosed that during the past four months 677 TB patients had been detected.

They had been adopted by different non-government organisations and individuals for giving free medical aid.


Be innovative, Justice Punchhi tells lawyers
Our Correspondent

Abohar, February 15
Justice M.M. Punchhi, a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court advised lawyers to inculcate innovative ideas with an introspection to concentrate on work to become successful in profession.

Justice Punchhi while addressing a meeting of the Bar Association here quoted certain interesting examples from the history of the country establishing links with the evolution of law.

He appreciated the points raised by Mr Shashikant Gilhotra, a senior advocate in his talk but expressed his inability to attribute details regarding the advice sought therein.

Mr Gilhotra, wanted to draw indulgence of the chief guest for viewing the “eroding legal ethical values”. He said all of them had studied “legal ethics and law of advocacy”.

If we probe ourselves have we ever realised that we, as noble professionals, who in the eyes of olden society used to be placed in high esteem, are now viewed otherwise.

This may be attributed to the change of an era which has changed the entire society. But who is to be blamed for that.

In such a society can the respect and dignity our profession enjoyed and used to adorn, be restored, whether running after materialistic values and working in a way at the cost of self respect is justified and to what extent,” he asked.

Mr Satish Narang, president, MR Mohinder Pal Singh, secretary Bar Association, welcomed the former Chief Justice on his arrival. Mr Rajinder Aggarwal and Mr Lalit Kumar Singla, Judicial Magistrates, also attended the reception.


Employee forced to retire ‘voluntarily’
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, February 15
A controversy has rocked the local Markfed office after Joginder Pal Handa, former senior assistant, accused the District Manager of forcing him to voluntarily retire from service.

In a complaint addressed to the Managing Director of the Markfed at Chandigarh, Mr Handa categorically charged the District Manager, Mr H.S. Walia, of forcing him to step down from the post of senior assistant.

Mr Handa, whose eyesight had been declared as 50 per cent disabled, had applied for voluntary retirement allegedly under pressure from Mr Walia, who was reportedly annoyed with his under performance. However, Mr Walia vehemently denied the charge.


Sanitation scheme for village SCs
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 15
The Punjab Government has earmarked Rs 7 crore for launching Rural Sanitation for Scheduled Caste Only scheme in the state in the current year.

Official sources said that under the scheme, the sanitary toilets would be made for the scheduled caste in the villages. About Rs 3,500 would be spent on a toilet and Rs 500 contributed by the beneficiary. The beneficiary could work as an unskilled labourer in lieu of his share.

Sources said Bathinda had been given Rs 34.95 lakh for executing scheme. The funds in other districts would be allotted in proportion to the Scheduled Caste population in the district. The Scheduled Caste population as indicated in 1991 Census would be taken as the basis.

Villages would be selected keeping in view the Scheduled Caste population. 


Govt proposal on PF withdrawals condemned
From Our Correspondent

Patiala, February 15
The Punjab and UT Employees Joint Action Committee has condemned the decision of the Union Government for initiating a proposal to tax the provident fund withdrawals at the rate of 30 per cent.

The Joint Action Committee leaders alleged that the NDA government had made the employees suffer. Setting aside the election promise of revising the Income Tax limit to Rs 1 lakh, the NDA government had always tried to be pro-trader and anti-employee.

The committee said that if the proposals now initiated take shape, the employees would have no alternative but to contribute at the minimum rates so as to avoid the tax net. The committee leaders are concentrating on dropping the proposal and also plan to raise the income tax limit to Rs. 1 lakh in addition to raising the rate of standard deduction to at least 50 per cent of the gross salary subject to a minimum of Rs 50,000.


Probe ordered
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, February 15
Residents of Kotha Natha Singh village have moved an application before the Deputy Commissioner to enquire into the alleged land grabbing plans of some influential persons of the village.

The residents alleged Mr Rajwinder Singh and his associates had planned to grab the land of the office of the Youth Welfare Club of the village. They said the club had been functioning from the office for the past four years. The Deputy Commissioner has ordered an inquiry to be conducted by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate.


Farm technology agency set up
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 15
Sangrur district has established Agriculture Technology Management Agency (ATMA) recently under the National Agriculture Technology Project to integrate all agriculture related extension and research activities in the district by having coordination with all government departments, research organisations, non-government organisations and agencies, involved in agriculture development activities.

For ATMA to run smoothly, a governing board under the chairmanship of the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anirudh Tiwari, has been constituted which is responsible for drawing up policies related to agriculture research and extension activities in the district. Besides, a management committee of ATMA has also been formed to implement the decisions of the board.

Training has already been given to heads of various government departments like fisheries, animal husbandry, horticulture, dairy farming, Markfed, Punjab Agro, etc.

Talking to TNS, Dr Swaran Singh, Chief Agriculture Officer, Sangrur, and a member of the governing board of ATMA, said during the current financial year, the agency had got meagre funds to the tune of Rs 10 lakh. The money was being spent on the requirements to launch the programme on a grand scale from the next financial year.

The Sangrur district unit of ATMA had prepared a proposal for obtaining funds for the year 2001-2002. As per the proposal Rs 108.46 lakh would be sought for meeting the expenses on account of recurring and non-recurring expenditures. Recurring expenditures worth Rs 24.20 lakh included those for pay and allowances, and technical assistance, training and consultancy, etc. Non-recurring expenditures worth Rs 84.36 lakh included equipment, civil works, field programmes etc, he added.

In Sangrur district as many as 12 blocks will be covered under the National Agriculture Technology Project by ATMA. For each block, an action plan will be drawn up to achieve the aims and objectives of the project.

The Chief Agriculture Officer said a farmers’, advisory centre would be set up in each block to integrate extension and technology transfer activities at the village level. On the basis of the Farmers’ Advisory Committee’s suggestions, the block-level plan would be prepared. Later, the action plan of all blocks would be examined by the ATMA management committee before sending the same to the governing board for approval, he added. 


Farmers’ ultimatum on canal water
Our Correspondent

Abohar, February 15
Farmers of Abohar subdivision today served an ultimatum to the Executive Engineer, Irrigation, at Circle here that an agitation will be launched in a phased manner from February 28 if water supply in the canals and sub canals in this area was not regularised by then.

The farmers led by Mr Gurdip Singh, sarpanch of Shergarh village, alleged in a memorandum submitted to the irrigation authorities that some outlets of Lambi sub canal had not been getting supply of canal water as per allocation. This had severaly affected cotton and wheat crops. The authorities had been repeatedly making false promises to the deputation of the farmers but many farmers had missed three to four turns, especially on Fridays and Saturdays, due to unscheduled closure of canals. The RD 202120 outlet had not received water for drinking even for the past three months. Even the drinking water reservoirs in some villages had dried up.

Syed Shah Nawaz Hussain, Union Minister of State for Coal and Human Resources Development, during a recent visit here, had assured sarpanches and panches of several villages that the canal water supply would improve, but the situation remained unchanged.

The Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had visited Abohar to attend a marriage on February 4, but farmers were not allowed to meet him. The farmers alleged that supply in Lambi sub canal had been diverted to Rajasthan to facilitate Mr Badal’s family to irrigate their farmers at Chak Badal village.

The farmers were sore that if the water that was sprinkled on the roads for Mr Badal’s welcome was saved it could have been utilised for irrigating fields of poor farmers in at least one village. As many as six tankers had been acquired from municipal councils and market committees to sprinkle water on roadsides for his visit, they claim.

Copies of the memorandum submitted by the farmers to the XEN here had been sent to the Chief Minister and Irrigation Minister also. It is learnt that the DCC President, Mr Sajjan Kumar Jakhar, will be convening another meeting of farmers’ associations on his return from Majitha, where he is campaigning for the Congress candidate now. Mr Jakhar too had given one month’s time to the irrigation authorities for regularising canal water supply. Some farmers had complained to the SDM here that theft of canal water was going on in full swing, allegedly by farmers having political influence.


Farm technocrats meet Badal
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 15
Farm technocrats of Punjab have urged the state government to implement the already-taken decision on December 8 and to rectify the November 28 notification in which the pay scales and status of agriculture technocrats was lowered.

In a press note issued here, they alleged that the decision taken in a high-level meeting held on December 8, 2000, presided over by the Chief Minister, had not been implemented even after a period of two months.

A deputation of farm technocrats, led by Dr Satnam Singh, state general secretary of the Agriculture Technocrats Action Committee, Dr Hazara Singh Cheema, general secretary of the Punjab Animal Husbandary Services Association and Dr Balwinder Singh Butari, president of the Soil Conservation Officer Association, met CM Parkash Singh Badal yesterday.


Centre gives 11.15 lakh to Bathinda
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, February 15
The Central Government has released Rs 11.15 lakh for the district under the Prime Minister’s Gram Uday Scheme.

Mr Jaspal Singh, Deputy Commissioner, while presiding over a meeting of the officials of the administration here today, said that the Centre was helping all districts of Punjab under the scheme. The meeting was convened to review various ongoing development projects in the district.

He said that the amount given by the Centre had been used for purchasing about 815 tins of milk power, 40 quintals of sugar and 39 quintals of cereals. The products would be distributed amongst the under nourished children between 6 months and 3 years. He said that about 1999 children of Grade-II and about 1031 children of Grade-III and Grade-IV had been identified who would be given the food items. The programme officers and child development officers had been given instructions about the proper utilisation of the scheme.

The Punjab Health Systems Corporations would organise 18 free medical check-up camps at different villages of the district. At these camps, besides the general medical check-up, special attention would be given to handicapped primary schoolchildren. These children would be issued certificates by the administration.

To help the blind persons, the district administration would provide every help to social organisations and clubs working in that field.

Mr Jaspal Singh further said that to ensure the enrolment of all eligible children in primary schools, a special drive would be started in various villages of the district. The public would be persuaded to send the children aged between five and eight to schools. Under the ‘Education for All’ scheme to identify the eligible children, a meting would be held on February 19.

Under the Swaran Jayanti Gram Sway Rozgar Yojana, small-scale handloom industries would be established at the villages of Mandi Kalan Dhadhe, Malooka, Lehra Mohabat, Deon, Pakka Khurd, Singho and Jodhpur Pakhar. Under the scheme, about 320 women from families below the poverty line would be given training to start their handloom units.

The Central Government had approved a Rs 5 crore project for establishing these centres in 57 villages of the district. During the first phase, Rs 80 lakh were being spent for eight villages.

Under the Jawahar Gram Samridhi Yojana, the district had received Rs 97.60 lakh, out of which Rs 81.25 lakh had already been spent on various schemes. Under the Indira Awas Yojana 245 houses had been built for the poor, while 123 old houses had been repaired.

The Forest Department had been asked to use the waste land in the villages for planting the saplings.


Warrants against two on farmer’s plea
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, February 15
Mr K.K. Lomas, Judicial Magistrate, Class I, Bahinda, has issued non-bailable warrants against Jiwan Lal and his father, Parveen Kumar, commission agents of Goniana Mandi for alleged non-payment of dues to Raj Singh, a farmer of Aklia Kalan village, for the paddy purchased from the latter.

According to the information available with The Tribune, Raj Singh had brought his paddy for sale to the Goniana grain market on September 27, 1999. He had put up his produce for sale at the shop of Jagan Nath Parveen Kumar, Kacha Arhtiya of the market.

Raj Singh had used the tractor-trailer of Bikkar Singh, a native of his village, to bring about 107 bags of the crop, each weighing 65 kg. He had to wait for about eight days for the procurement of his produce. On October 4, the auction for his paddy was held and the bidder had agreed to pay Rs 520 per quintal for it. Raj Singh alleged that no payment was made to him by the bidder after purchasing the paddy.

After the purchase of any agricultural produce, the issuance of form ‘J’ is mandatory on which the quantity and rate of the produce is mentioned. While one copy of that form is given to the farmer, a noting of the same is made in the register of the market committee.

Raj Singh complained about this to the official of the market committee and refused to sign the ‘J’ form. To authenticate the document, the accused allegedly forged his signatures on the form. The form (number 49) was issued with the fictitious signatures of Raj Singh and was shown to the official of the market committee.

He further alleged that the accused also made a fictitious entry in his account registers on November 5, 1999, claiming that a payment of Rs 31808 and 15 paise was made to Raj Singh for the purchase of paddy. Here again, the signatures of the farmer were allegedly forged in the account books.

Raj Singh made a complaint to the Secretary of the Market Committee, Goniana Mandi.

He also made a complaint to the Superintendent of Vigilance here. The department referred the case to the higher authorities at Chandigarh, who directed the market committee to look into the matter.

When no action was taken Raj Singh moved an application in the court of Judicial Magistrate, who issued non-bailable warrants against the accused and ordered them to appear in the court on or before March 30. 


22 booked for encroachment
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, February 15 
On a complaint of Mr Karam Chand of Basroop village , the police has registered a case against 22 persons.

According to police sources, Mr Karam Chand had been cultivating a land situated at Basroop village since 1980.

The complainant said the revenue record showed members of his family as tenants since 1964.

Persons shown as the owners in the revenue record sold the land in 1996 to Charan Singh and Pritam Singh, but the complainant remained in possession of the land as tenant.

Mr Karam Chand complained that Sukhjit Singh, Prem Singh, Malkiat Singh, Kuljeet Singh, Jagjeet Singh, Pritpal Singh, Kaka, Pappu, Lali, along with 13 persons encroached upon their land on February 10 and also caused injuries to the persons and property under their tenancy.


Married woman raped by relative
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, February 15
A married woman of Lauka village, the wife of a BSF soldier posted in Jammu sector, has been reportedly raped by a relative.

The 24-year-old rape victim told mediapersons here today that the person involved Balwinder Singh of Pandori Ran Singh village, was the husband of her husband’s sister. He called her from Jammu to look after his house as they wanted to attend a marriage at some other village.

The victim said after being raped she was threatened with dire consequences if she disclosed the incident.

She, along with her child, came back to her in-laws and apprised them of the incident.

Mr Jagdish Kumar Mittal, SSP, told mediapersons that a case under Sections 376, 342, 506 of the IPC had been registered in this regard.


Gang of robbers busted, 3 held
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, February 15
The district police claims to have busted a six-member gang involved in looting train passengers with the arrest of three of its members here today. Two pistols were seized from them.

Mr Gaurav Yadav, SSP, stated here yesterday that on receiving an information that three persons were robbing people by distributing laddoos mixed with some intoxicant at Purianwala mandir in Ajit Nagar. A police party raided the place and arrested them. About 1 kg laddoos were seized from them.

The arrested persons have been identified as Sunil Chohan, Jai Shankar Chohan and Ramesh Chohan, all residents of Mamooni village of Ajamgarh district.


Dist education institute in bad shape
Chander Parkash and Pushpesh Kumar
Tribune News Service

Deon (Bathinda), February 15
The District Institute of Education and Training (DIET) which caters to the needs of the district for the training of students in the Elementary Teachers Training (ETT) course is in bad shape.

This is one of the 17 DIETs of the state and has 200 students on the rolls. The building was constructed a few years ago and the land was donated by the villagers for the noble cause. The strength of the boys and girls in the institute is 100 each. They belong to all parts of the district and come from far-flung villages.

Although the institute trains the teachers of the future but it lacks certain facilities which an educational institute is supposed to have. It does not even have a Principal. The post of the Principal in the institute has been lying vacant for the past many months and the authorities have tried little to fill the vacancy. Without somebody heading the institute the students find it difficult to get official work done.

The authorities have done little to provide the basic facilities to the students. The institute does not even have a canteen. One of the students alleged that the drinking water provided in the institute was not potable and they had to go about 1 km to fetch potable water. A private canteen is being run by a resident of the village. Even the parking lots at DIET are not in order. Vehicles of the students can be seen parked in a haphazard manner.

The institute has residential facilities for the Principal and the staff and a hostel for the students but interestingly all buildings have been vacant ever since their construction. As the institute does not have a full-time Principal the bungalow meant for being his residence has been turned into a garbage dump. Weeds have grown all over the lawns of the bungalow. The staff quarters are also vacant and are being used by the villagers for various purposes, including storage of cow dung cakes, wheat husk and dried cotton sticks.

The institute has no boundary wall and cattle herds can be seen roaming about the institute. The hostel of the institute although complete has never been occupied by any student. As there is no warden or chowkidar students don’t feel secure. They travel for about two hours in the morning as also in the evening to reach the institute. Still they do not want to live in the DIET hostel. One of the girl students said if the staff and the Principal were reluctant to live in the institute how could they stay in the hostel.

As a result of the apathetic attitude of the authorities the institute grounds have been turned into a cattle grazing ground and the people of the area attend to the call of nature on premises. The NSS unit of the institute had planted about 1,000 saplings of poplar to give a green cover to the institute but they were all eaten up by the cattle.

Mr Gurdev Singh, District Education Officer (S), who is the officiating incharge of DIET, was not available for comments.


PUTA show concern over VC’s participation
From Our Correspondent

Patiala, February 15
A large number of teachers participated in a dharna in front of the Vice-Chancellor’s office held by the Punjabi University Teachers Association (PUTA) here today.

The association President, Dr B.S.Khehra, and the General Secretary, Dr Balwinder Singh, informed the teachers that due to the agitation by teachers, some decisions had been taken by the Vice-Chancellor, particularly pursuing the case of amendments to the statute for selection committees which had been pending for the past one and half years.

The association criticised the irresponsible style of functioning of the Vice-Chancellor. According to them, the university Syndicate decided to stop the process of interviews till the amendment to the statute under the chairmanship of the Vice-Chancellor on January 25. However, violating the Syndicate’s decision, an interview was held on February 7 at the Vice-Chancellor’s residence.

Though no one was selected, what one fails to understand as to why the idea of interview was initiated. The association felt that the Vice-Chancellor wanted to show to the Syndicate members that he had scant regard for their decisions. The members appealed to the Punjab Chief Minister and the Chancellor to intervene in the functioning of the university.

The association members also informed the faculty about the response of other teachers’ organisations. They declared that all organisations of teachers, particularly the AIFUTA, the PFUTA, the GCTA, the PCCTU, the GNDUTA (Amritsar), PAUTA (Ludhiana), PUTA (Chandigarh), KUTA (Kurukshetra) and the HFUTA would jointly participate in a dharna scheduled to be held on February 23.


Symposium on biodiversity
From Our Correspondent

Patiala, Feb 15
The ecological balance is becoming so acute by every passing day that the very existence of life on earth has become a puzzle. The man made phenomenon with the byproducts of urbanisation and industrialisation based on the capitalist industrial revolution has made nature an inanimated matter.

This was stated by Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, Vice-Chancellor at the national symposium on plant diversity and its conservation on the Punjabi University campus organised by the Department of Botany here yesterday. Dr Ahluwalia added that the environment concerns were well reflected in the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, but the blitzkrieg of globalisation was fast moving in the opposite direction.

Dr Ahluwalia stressed that what was needed was not merely new biotechnologies that would ensure “sustainable development”, but an attitudinal change towards nature of the kind enshrined in the Indian philosophical and religious traditions that recognised nature as living organism with integral, inter-dependent bonds with man, all species and all flora on earth. From this angle, Dr Ahluwalia stressed that ecology and environment should be seen not merely as the external physical condition for the survival of life on earth but as the constituent of life in all its forms.

In his keynote address, the noted forest geneticist, Dr P.K.Khosla, Vice-Chancellor, Himachal Pradesh Agricultural University, Palampur, stressed the importance of biodiversity and its conservation. He added that biodiversity included all organisms and species, their immense genetic variations as well as their complex assemblages of communities and ecosystems.

Earlier, Prof T.A.Sharma, Dean, Life Sciences, introduced the subject of the symposium and Dr B.S.Bhatia, Dean, Research and Registrar of the university presented a profile of the university. Dr J.S.Dargan, Head of the Botany Department and convener of the symposium, elaborated on the conduct of research on various aspects of plant diversity. Dr R.M.Goel, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, released the abstract volume containing 85 research papers devoted to plant biodiversity and conservation strategies.


ABVP against move to hike tuition fee
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, February 15
The Akhil Bharati Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) will oppose any move of the Central and the state governments to hike the tuition fees in educational institutions.

This action of the government will not only harass students but also create hurdles in the promotion of education. It said the government should take other measures to generate income.

Dr Kailash Sharma, Vice-President of the ABVP said here last evening that the parishad had been floated to fight for the cause of “vidyarthis” and had no links with any political party.

He said the parishad had constituted a special committee at the nation level to identify orphans in Gujarat to adopt them.

The ABVP had already donated Rs 1 lakh as relief.

He demanded the withdrawal of the ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir. He also urged the Central Government to make decisions regarding GATT and WTO treaties after weighing the interests of labourers and farmers who would be the most affected.


Cultural and sports meet
From Our Correspondent

Patiala, February 15
The first annual sports day was organised by Kaintal School here. About 280 children of the school participated in the meet. The meet will be an annual feature in the future, according to Mrs Neena Dhundia, Principal of the school.

In the nursery section, Harmanpreet Singh and Sahej Nirwan won the first position in group 1 and group 2 of the chair race, respectively. Karanjot Singh won the first prize for my favourite cap. In the prep 1 section, in the hop race, Harmanjeet Kaur, Rohit and Amit won the first prize in group 1, group 2 and group 3, respectively. In prep II, Puru Bansal and Nakul Bansal won the first position under the group 1 and group 2 categories in race, while Bishmeet and Jashanpreet bagged the first prize in the two categories in spoon race.

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