Thursday, March 8, 2001,
Chandigarh, India

P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Cabinet okays excise policy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 7
The number of liquor shops, both of Punjab medium and Indian-made foreign liquor, (IMFL), will increase by 2 per cent in the state as the Punjab Cabinet today gave its formal approval to the new excise policy for the next financial year.

At present there are 3750 shops for Punjab medium liquor and 1,162 shops for the IMFL in the state.

The sale of liquor within the walled city of Amritsar and the Municipal limits or the red line areas of Anandpur Sahib, Talwandi Sabo, Chamkaur Sahib, Bhaini Sahib, Raian (Ludhiana), Kiratpur Sahib and Muktsar will be prohibited .

Under the new policy, the Excise Department will try to acquire suitable sites for liquor shops within the limits of corporation cities in case of licensees not getting suitable sites. In such cases, the vendor will pay the lease money for the entire year and hand over the possession of the premises to the next licence on the termination of his licence.

Six distilleries and two more breweries will be allowed to be opened in the border limits and kandi areas to make price and quality of liquor more competitive. Expected revenue from the state excise during the next financial year is likely to be Rs 1,370 crore as against the estimated revenue of Rs 1,332 crore during the current year.

The sales tax on the IMFL and beer has been enhanced from 12 per cent to 20 per cent while social security cess at 2 per cent shall also be charged separately.

The excise duty on the IMFL will be Rs 27.50 per proof litre on economy and medium brands and Rs 40 per proof litre on premium and deluxe brands.

Except deluxe brands, including imported liquor and those premium brands duly approved by the Punjab Excise Commissioner, no other brand of the IMFL will be allowed to be imported into the state .

The licence fee on ahatas attached with medium liquor shops in the rural areas will be Rs 5000 while for corporation towns and other urban areas, it will be Rs 25,000 and Rs 50,000, respectively.

There will be only three dry days — January 26, August 15 and October 2. The working hours for the liquor shops will be from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.


Opposition stalls proceedings
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 7
The Punjab Vidhan Sabha was today adjourned till Tuesday next, following stalling of the proceedings of the House by the Opposition, by the Speaker, Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal.

The Speaker had earlier twice adjourned the House, once for one hour and again for half an hour with the Opposition refusing to relent or pay heed to him.

The trouble started soon after question hour was over. The issue was a repeat of March 5 — discrimination by the government against the Opposition MLAs in respect of development works and the allocation of funds, lack of respect in the government for them and preferential treatment to the ruling SAD-BJP MLAs.

The unruly scenes were a spillover of the March 5 happenings when, too, the House was adjourned before time. The Opposition today marched into the well, squatted on the floor and shouted slogans against the government. These were expunged by the Speaker.

Despite the Leader of the House, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, repeatedly asserting that development of the entire state was his concern and that he had all respect for every MLA, the protest in the well continued. He referred to full courtesy being extended to the Opposition MLAs and assured that there was no discrimination. He gave instances to show how during his ‘’sangat darshan’’ he had responded to all matters relating to community works and panchayats without any political or party-based favour or prejudice. All members were welcome and he offered to meet the Opposition parties individually or collectively. Yet the Opposition would not listen.

The offer of the Speaker to meet the Chief Minister in his chamber during the two adjournments was rejected out of hand by the Opposition on the pretext that it wanted to be heard on the floor of the House and given the same respect and honour as was given to the ruling alliance members.

The Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, who stood up on a point of order, said rather than allowing the time of the House to be wasted, the Opposition should act in a reasonable manner. The House, he said, should condemn such behaviour.

Earlier there was a slanging match between the Treasury and Opposition Benches when a Congress MLA, Mr Avtar Singh Brar, made some comments on the Leader of the House and his nephew. Most of what was being said by members during zero hour was lost in the din.

But Mr Badal, who informally met mediapersons in the press lounge, expressed surprise over the allegations of the Opposition saying due information was given to all MLAs. “We cannot force the presence of MLAs at ‘sangat darshan’.”

Mr Badal made a blistering attack on the Congress, describing it as the ‘’evil’’ behind Punjab’s problems, may these be related to territory, transfer of Chandigarh, the water dispute and even the ‘’bloodshed’’ people suffered. The anti-Punjab and anti-Punjabi policies of the successive Congress governments at the Centre had harmed Punjab to a great extent. It would take time before the desired normalcy returned and the pace of development picked up.

He even listed steps to show how fair the government was in initiating development activities and the allocation of money for projects. Being a shrewd politician, he skirted all inconvenient questions like when he proposed to act on the Prime Minister’s suggestion that Punjab and Haryana sort out their inter-state disputes and the Centre’s offer on intervention, if need be.

As a consequence of the obstructions by the Opposition, no business could be conducted nor discussion started on the Governor’s Address. The Budget session had begun on March 1.


Govt plans to lift wheat from fields
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 7
The Punjab Government is in the process of formulating a major decision to lift the coming wheat produce of farmers from their fields itself with an eye to create goodwill among the farming community which is likely to be its major electoral vote bank in the forthcoming Assembly elections in the state.

According to a communication circulated to all deputy commissioners of the state, the Food and Supplies Ministry has mooted a proposal to get the forthcoming wheat produce cleaned by arhtiyas in the fields of the farmers itself before it is moved to the mandis. Under the proposal the produce will be weighed and stitched by the arhtiyas in the fields of the farmers following which it will be brought to the mandi. All deputy commissioners of the state have been called for a meeting by the Chief Minister tomorrow at Chandigarh to give reports of the feasibility of the scheme after having held meetings on this issue in their respective districts.

Sources said the idea behind the scheme was to ensure the farmers were not harassed during the coming wheat procurement season. The coming procurement season is important to the government as observers feel the Akali — BJP government may go in for mid term elections soon after the wheat is procured. During the earlier procurement seasons, the government had come in for criticism that farmers had been harassed as they had to wait for inordinate periods in the mandis waiting for their produce to be procured. The government apparently wanted to make amends in this regard.

Under the new proposed arrangement the commission agents will give their demand for bags to the government following which they will distribute the bags among the farmers according to individual needs.

According to the scheme, both the cleaning of the produce as well as its weighing and stitching, are to be done in the fields of the farmers. Following this the farmers will bring the produce to the market, where before its entry into the mandi, it will be checked by a representative of the procurement agency to ascertain whether it met the fixed requirements or not.

All deputy commissioners and district food and supply controllers have held meetings in this regard. The meeting in this regard for this district was held today which was attended by representatives of kisan organisations and commission agents besides all the sub divisional magistrates and officers of the Food and Supplies Department. Though farmers are enthused at the scheme, the commission agents feel the government is trying to finish them by proposing to implement the scheme.

Punjab State Arhtiya Association President Harjit Singh Sheru said all commission agents were unanimous in their view that it would not be possible to implement the proposed scheme. He said all commission agents had kept manpower at their respective shops and it would not be possible for them to sent the labour to the individual fields of the farmers. He said it would also be difficult to clean the produce with the help of power cleaners as was being done presently in the mandis. He said each power cleaner cost around Rs 15,000 and it would be difficult for commission agents to buy a large number of power cleaners needed if they were to procure the wheat produce from the fields of the farmers.

Mr Sheru said this was the second attempt of the Akali — BJP government to minimise the role of the commission agents in the procurement process and eventually ensure they had no role in it. He said last year the government had mooted a proposal to get the procurement agencies to purchase food grains directly from the farmers without involving the commission agents.

District Food and Supplies Controller H S Mokha when contacted said the issue had been discussed at a meeting with farming and commission agent representatives today. He said the scheme had many positive points and if implemented it could remove the present choking of mandis which takes place during each procurement season. He said, however, commission agents had resented the scheme . He said it was also discussed whether farmers could transport the produce to the storing facility themselves so that transport cost in this regard could also be saved.


Land scam offenders to be booked
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 7
The biggest ever land fraud involving the selling of over 50 acres of the government property worth 12 crore is heading towards climax. Those involved in the fraud will be booked under the relevant provisions of the law within a week.

The authorities concerned today put its official machinery into operation to collect the documents and other evidence to get the cases registered against the offenders. The District Magistrate, Mr S.K. Sandhu, told The Tribune that it would take a week or so to complete the documents and take legal action.

The government had over 100 acres of land at Kuliawal village, near new jail here, which has now become a part of this city. About four decades ago, a part of this land was handed over to the Punjab Housing Development Board that was recently redesignated as the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA). The remaining land of about 62 acres had been left in the name of the state government as per the revenue record. Though it was a government property yet it was in the possession of the private parties.

As the city started expanding towards East, the lands price started shooting up because it became urban property. Private parties started selling the government land under their possession to the interested buyers by fragmenting it into residential plots. The process continued for three decades or so. Even the first buyers sold out the plot further and by now some of the plots have exchanged five or more hands. Though matter was in the knowledge of all government officials concerned for the past three decades or so but no one dared to stop the process. The land was sold to the buyers on the basis of mere agreements without getting proper land deeds registered and mutation effected.

However, as the matter came to the notice of Mr Sandhu, he immediately appointed Mr Kuldeep Singh, Subdivisional Magistrate (East) to inquire into the matter. The SDM has submitted the report to Mr Sandhu, who went around the area yesterday to have a first-hand knowledge of the situation. The area includes Swtantra colony, Jeewan Nagar, new Puneet Nagar, etc.

What has made the district authorities task difficult in getting the land vacated is the construction of about 450 houses. Some of these houses are about 10 to 15 years old. It will not be possible for the district administration to bulldoze these houses.

When asked about this, Mr Sandhu said he had chalked out a three- pronged strategy to undo the fraud. First is to get the cases registered against those involved in the selling of the government property, secondly to start proceedings under the Public Premises Act (PPA) against those occupants of the houses who would be unable to produce agreement as a proof that they had bought the land from the particular private party. Thirdly a proposal would be put up before the Financial Commissioner (Revenue) of the Punjab Government to legalise the possession of present occupants of the houses on the land by charging the prevalent market price of the land in that area.

As a first step to collect the evidence, the authorities have collected the documents pertaining to agreement from those occupying houses. As a second step, the authorities have started collecting statements supported by affidavits from the occupants mentioning the name of the party from whom they have bought the land to construct the house.

Mr Sandhu said he would direct the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) authorities concerned in writing not to provide any power connection henceforth to the houses built on the government land in that area. Water connection would also not be provided, he added.

What has not been done, so far, is fixing the responsibility of the officials who did not take appropriate action at the initial stage, which means about three decades ago, to stop the people from selling the government land.

The revenue officials act as custodians of the land in the districts and it was their duty to protect the government property from going into the hands of the land sharks. But it requires a lot of guts for the government to fix such responsibilities and to make the officials accountable. 


PSEB employees hold rally...
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 7
Thousands of the employees belonging to various unions of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) today held a rally near the office of the Superintendent Engineer (SE) to press the authorities to accept their demands.

The district police had made elaborate arrangements to avoid any untoward incident. A large number of police personnel were deployed near the venue of the rally and on the entry points of the city. No vehicle carrying the employees was allowed to enter the city and they were made to walk up to the venue from the outskirts of the city.

The rally was part of the ongoing struggle of the PSEB against the alleged atrocities of the PSEB authorities and the registration of false cases against the leaders of the union.

Members of the unions of the PSEB came from Faridkot, Muktsar and Ferozepore also. The rally which was scheduled for 10 a.m. could not start till 1 p.m. due to the late arrival of union members from far off places. The leaders of the union alleged that the police created obstacles which delayed the start of the rally. They further alleged that some of the workers had to walk about 5 km to reach the venue of the rally because the police personnel had stopped them near Goniana village on the Bathinda-Kotkapura road.

Mr Amarjeet Singh Sodhi, president, Technical Services Union (TSU), while addressing the gathering said that PSEB officials had been victimising the TSU leaders because they were fighting for their rights. He alleged that the officials were doing so at the instructions of Power Minister of Punjab. He added that false cases had been registered against the leaders to pressurise them to withdraw their agitation. He said that they would not end their struggle until they got justice.


Karnail Singh is MC chief
Tribune News Service

Maur Mandi, March 7
Mr Karnail Singh, who was backed by Mr Harminder Singh Jassi, MLA, Talwandi Sabo, has been elected President of the local Municipal Council. The elections for the offices of president and vice-president were held today in the municipal council office.

Ms Seema Rani, who was also backed by Mr Jassi has been elected as vice-president. Mr Karnail Singh and Ms Seema Rani defeated Mr Nirmal Singh and Ms Pushpa Devi, respectively with the margin of one vote.

The district administration and the police authorities had made arrangements to conduct the elections in free and fair manner. Section 144 of the Cr PC had also been imposed.

The elections, which had witnessed series of postponement, were held today on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court which had directed the local administration to conduct the election today as no more postponements would be allowed.

Mr Sukhminder Singh, SDM-cum-Returning officer and Mr Vivek Aggarwal, Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development), supervised the election process. Mr R.S. Bhullar, SP (D) and Mr R.S. Chahal, DSP, Talwandi Sabo, were in charge of the security arrangements.

Official sources said that Mr Karnail Singh and Ms Seema Rani polled eight votes each while their opponents could secure seven votes each.

Both the groups comprising seven municipal councillors were being backed by senior leaders of ruling Akali Dal.

The elections which were to be held on February 16 as per the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court were postponed to February 28 when Mr Sukhminder Singh, SDM-cum-Returning officer while apprehending danger to peace declared the postponement of elections. He declared the elections postponed when one of the municipal councillor tore apart the ballot papers and manhandled him.

On February 28, the elections could not be held as Mr Aggarwal, who was convener, was away to Chandigarh to attend a meeting convened by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

Mr Jassi, whose vote was decisive in today’s proceedings, left the venue of elections immediately after casting his vote. Mr Jassi, who had been apprehending danger to his life, had come with half a of dozen of his gunmen,

The district administration was bound by the directions of Punjab and Haryana to hold the elections today itself as a written commitment had been taken from the SDM, Mr Sukhminder Singh in this connection. The high court had also ordered extension in the security cover of the seven municipal councillors belonging to one group upto March 10 from March 1.


Sukhbir-backed man defeated
Tribune News Service

Maur Mandi, March 7
New political alignments emerged in the district, considered as a stronghold of the Akalis, when the candidate for the post of president of the local municipal council, Mr Nirmal Singh, reportedly backed by Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, MP, was defeated when Mr Harminder Singh Jassi, MLA, Talwandi Sabo and senior Akali leader, Mr Jaspal Singh DhansukhKhanewala joined hands.

Mr DhansukhKhanewala had unsuccessfully contested the poll against Mr Jassi in the last general Assembly elections. Mr DhansukhKhanewala, who contested the last Assembly elections as a rebel candidate, joined hands with Mr Jassi to get his own candidates, Mr Karnail Singh and Ms Seema Rani elected as president and vice-president, respectively.

In the elections to the offices of president and vice president, the vote of Mr Jassi, had become decisive as 14 municipal councillors had divided into two groups of seven each.

Sources said the local municipal council was the first among all municipal councils of the district where the Congress managed to get candidate of its own choice elected as president due to bickerings in a section of the local Akali leadership.


IMA against exclusion of docs from VRS
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 7
The Punjab unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has expressed resentment for not including government doctors in the proposed voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) for the government employees.

Dr O.P.S. Kande, president of the association, in a letter to the Chief Minister, Punjab, has urged the state government not to exclude doctors from the proposed VRS to be reportedly finalised in the Budget for the next financial year.

Giving this information in a press note issued here today, Dr Surinder Singla, secretary, press and public relations of the association, said any step to keep out doctors from the VRS would force the IMA to hold agitations.

Dr Singla said the Punjab unit of the IMA would chalk-out a strategy with regard to the VRS benefit for the doctors at its state council meeting on March 11 at Ludhiana.

The IMA leader said the doctors were being kept out of the purview of the VRS on account of shortage of the doctors in government service. But on the other hand, the state government was not recruiting doctors hundreds of whom were unemployed.

Thus the government’s plea about shortage of doctors carried no weightage, he added.

Dr Singla further said keeping doctors out of the VRS was totally unjustified and would be considered as discriminating attitude towards the medical fraternity.

Dr Singla also said the government should not only offer VRS to the doctors but also prepare a rehabilitation scheme for the retiring doctors to strengthen the health care delivery system in the state.

He also said the state government should also extend facilities and concessions to the retiring doctors to set up their nursing homes/clinics especially in the rural areas.


No truce with Badal: Bhaur
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, March 7
The vice-president of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD) and former acting president of the SGPC, Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, ruled out any possibility of a truce between the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the SHSAD led by Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra. He said unless Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Punjab Chief Minister, apologised before Akal Takht for flouting the maryada till then there was absolutely no question about unity between the two parties.

In a talk with select mediapersons, he said the power-hungry Akalis could not be trusted as no guarantee could be given about their conduct in flouting Sikh maryada even after unity with the SHSAD. These acts of omission and commission regarding Sikh maryada were noticed with grave concern the world over and the SHSAD would not like to associate itself with the ruling party’s misdeeds.

On the question of “dethroning” the Chief Minister from his powerful position, he said the SHSAD was making elaborate preparations for the Vidhan Sabha elections in which Mr Badal would be defeated at all costs. He said as the SHSAD had abstained from the Majitha byelection it should not be construed as a sign of weakness on the part of Mr Tohra. He said Panthic forces led by Mr Tohra would give a befitting reply to the Shiromani Akali Dal and Mr Badal in particular for a Vidhan Sabha elections.

Ruling out any need for Panthic unity, he denounced Union Minister, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa’s statement that the Shiromani Akali Dal had tried to forge unity between SAD and the SHSAD. He said neither Mr Badal had tried to take the first step towards unity of different parties nor he had ever sent feelers to the SHSAD.

On the question of the recently concluded Majitha byelection, he said if murder of democracy continued to take place as it did in Majitha, Sunam and Nawanshahr the fear of a civil war was very real.

Taking strong exception to the role of the Election Commission observers who turned a blind eye to the election code of conduct being flouted at the Majitha poll, he said the media had given stories with concrete proof and photographers regarding liquor being brewed, new roads being laid, backdated cheques being issued for various government schemes and schools being used for holding political rallies.

He said people were fed up with the manipulations and political manoeuvres of Mr Badal.


2001 declared drug de-addiction year
Lalit Mohan

Anandpur Sahib (Ropar), March 7
The Jathedar of Takht Shri Kesgarh Sahib, Prof Manjit Singh, has declared this as the drug de-addiction year. Social and religious organisations would come together to launch a campaign against drug addiction in the state. About 12 organisations have already joined the coordination committee formed for the said purpose and many more are expected to join soon. The Jathedar stated this while speaking at a quiz contest organised to mark the beginning of the year-long campaign against drug abuse here today.

The quiz contest was organised at Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Anandpur Sahib. Eight teams from different social organisations working in the state against drug abuse took part in the quiz. Most of the questions in the quiz were on drug abuse, the effects of drugs on health and personality of addicts, the international move to check drug abuse and what religion has to say about drug addiction.

The main attraction of the quiz was the compering by Jaspal Bhatti, who used his typical satire to motivate the audience against drugs. The use of drugs and alcohol during the election campaign was also targeted in the quiz when the right answers to a question regarding the methods employed to win elections in the state were told.

Later, while talking to this correspondent, Prof Manjit Singh said as part of the campaign such contests would be organised at all other Takhts. During the Hola Mohalla celebrations on March 9 a chetna march would be organised in Anandpur Sahib against drug abuse. The coordination committee would organise counselling programmes for the drug addicts in schools, colleges and panchayats. After that a door-to-door campaign would also be launched against drug use, he said.

When asked if the police had succeeded in checking the sale of drugs and illicit liquor in and around Anandpur Sahib, he said the situation had improved a lot. Earlier, the Jathedar had created a sensation at a community policing programme held at Anandpur Sahib by openly accusing the local police of harbouring pedlars.

The Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Mr Gurinder Singh Grewal, who was also present on the occasion, assured all help from the district administration in the proposed campaign against drug abuse. It was unfortunate that the younger generation was getting trapped in the vicious circle of drugs. Already many drug de-addiction centres had been started in the district to treat those who wanted to get rid of drugs, he added.


Another Dabwali-type fire in waiting
Pushpesh Kumar

Bathinda, March 7
The Dabwali fire tragedy which claimed nearly 400 lives and left more than 300 persons injured on December 23, 1995, has not been forgotten by residents of the town. Seeming to have learnt no lesson from it, all laws, precautions and mandatory clearances have been given the go-by by the local authorities and not only a private school but also a marriage palace have come up near a godown of Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) on Mansa road in the city. The school and the godown are separated by a narrow street.

A spokesman of the LPG godown claimed that the godown was constructed more than 10 years ago.

Senior officers of the school were not available for comments but reliable sources said the site plan was passed by municipal authorities.

The proprietors of the marriage palace on being contacted said they had got all clearances from offices and were not aware of the laws barring any construction near LPG godowns.

District fire authorities, on being contacted, said laws banning construction within certain limits near petrol or LPG godown were yet to be framed.


Flower show attracts 3,000 entries
Our Correspondent

Patiala, March 7
Lovely blossoms of flowers in different sizes and hues cast a spell on spectators at the Annual Flower and Baby Show organised by the Department of Horticulture at the historic Baradari Gardens here today.

The show, which has attracted around 3,000 entries, has received response from Jalandhar, Fatehgarh Sahib, Malerkotla, besides the city. Most of the early part of the day saw the participants preparing their presentations for the show.

The competition has been divided into two categories for individuals and for government, semi-government and private institutions. The organisers disclosed that the show attracted around 2,600 delegates last year.

Mrs Sarita Aggarwal, a housewife, said she came to know about the competition early in the morning whereafter she started preparing for the contest. She added that all her children study in Bangalore, thus she finds these plants her best companion. In the show, she targeted happy family and Gujarat earthquake through her artistry.

In comparison, the Department of Horticulture, Fatehgarh Sahib, has been preparing to compete in the show for the past two years or so. They specialise in the arrangement of dry flowers. The officer from the department, Ms Rupinder Kaur Deol, said in the cut flower competition, they have used glads, roses, carnation, stock, lily and fresh foliage flowers.

Ms Ranjit Kaur, a teacher from Pheel Khana School, said the show was not undertaking the right competition by allowing various competitors to bring their bouquets ready from their places. She felt the competiton to be unfair in certain respect and disallowing certain meritous person to acquire the real prize they deserve.

Various flowers and even other unusual species of flora were displayed by the participants. Carnation, candytuft, cineraria, dahlia, daisy, roses, stock, lupin, gladiolus, helicrysum, pansy, salvia and such other flower categories showed their excellence adding to this the way in which they were decorated.

Dr Vimal Kumar from the Department of Horticulture, Jalandhar, said they started their preparation to stand in this contest from September-October on beds and by February-March, when they start blooming, these were transferred from beds to pots and vases. He added that last year, farmers who have long experience in growing flowers excelled and demonstrated their art. “Hope this year, too we are able to see something exciting in the on-going show”; said Dr Kumar.

Mrs Sheetal Walia, an admirer, praised the show and said such exhibitions enable various viewers to have a look at a number of new species they have never seen in their lives.


Dalit beaten to death, BSP holds dharna
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 7
Maninderjit Singh (19), a resident of Kohali village in Majitha police district, was beaten to death by a school principal, teachers, peon and the police, following which relatives of the youth, with support of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), held a protest dharna.

The protesters demanded immediate arrest of the culprits. Though the Majitha police has reportedly rounded up Chowkidar of the school on the charge of beating up the youth yet no formal arrest has been made so far. However, the Majitha police has registered a case against Darbara Singh, head constable police station, Lopoke, Santokh Singh, Principal of the school, Master Bau, chowkidar Amrik Singh and two others under Sections 302 and 34 of the IPC.

Mr B.S. Khehra, SP (Detective) and Mr Harish Kumar, SP (Operation), Majitha, however, claimed that the arrests would be made shortly. They claimed that the boy was not beaten to death by the principal, staff and the police but died due to some other reason. The police officials further claimed that mother of the deceased and sarpanch of the village had taken the boy to their house from the police station.

Mr Des Raj Safar, president of the Punjab Adi Dharma Samaj, while addressing a protest dharna in front of mortuary of the Guru Nanak Hospital, where body of the deceased was brought for a post-mortem examination, alleged that the youth was beaten to death by the culprits. The BSP leaders and relatives of the deceased had insisted that they would not allow a post-mortem examination of the deceased unless the culprits were arrested. The protesters alleged that the ruling party MLA, Mr Veer Singh Lopoke, was shielding the culprits.

However, bowing to pressure of the protesters, a panel of three senior doctors was deputed to conduct a post-mortem examination. The panel of doctors included Dr Guriqbal Singh, Dr Pankaj Gupta and Dr Gaurav Sharma.


Audit officer convicted
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, March 7
D.P. Sharda, an Audit Officer of a cooperative society in Hoshiarpur, who was nabbed by the Hoshiarpur Vigilance Bureau in 1995 while taking a bribe of Rs 1,000 from a Bhingar Khurd resident has been sentenced to one year rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 5,000 by the court of Mr C.D. Gupta, Additional Sessions Judge, Hoshiarpur.

Ms Gurpreet Deo, SP Vigilance Bureau, said here that the Audit Officer was caught red handed on March, 24, 1995, while accepting a bribe from Janjit Singh of Bhingar village in Dasuya subdivision of the district and was booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988.

Later, a challan was put up by the bureau in the court which in turn convicted him to undergo one year rigorous imprisonment on March 5.

Ms Deo said in another incident, Moha Lal, a junior assistant of the DTO office, Kapurthala, has been caught red handed for accepting illegal gratification of Rs 500 from Pradeep Sharma of Kapurthala for issuing him a clearance certificate of his vehicle.

The vigilance party has recovered the money from Pradeep Sharma, who has been arrested.


Visitors throng Hola Mohalla
Our Correspondent

Ropar, March 7
Thousands of devotees thronged Anandpur Sahib today. Most of the inns in and around Anandpur Sahib are already full with the devotees from all over the states. The people from villages have started langars that are catering to the devotees and visitors besides the regular langars at the gurdwaras.

Gifts offered by the Sikhs from across the world at the Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib, including the famous diamond-studded sword have been displayed.

The political parties have also completed setting up pandals for their conferences on March 9. While all other parties have been allotted sites by the SGPC, the BSP and Mr Paswan’s Jan Shakti Party have taken plots on rent for their rallies. The rally of the BSP is proposed to be held near the Kila Anandgarh Sahib and that of Mr Paswan’s party near the railway station.

It is also the business time for most of the local shopkeepers and the traders who have come from outstations. The government departments have set up an exhibition that would be formally opened tomorrow after inauguration by the Public Relation Minister, Mr Natha Singh Dalam.


DSP’s plea for bail
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 7
Punjab Police DSP Jagtar Singh today filed an application in the court of the District and Sessions Judge urging that he be granted anticipatory bail in the case in which he is an accused along with four other police officers, all of whom have been charged with the illegal detention and disappearance of a Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) activist in 1993.

Mr Jagtar Singh, who is presently serving as DSP (CID) at Ropar, is accused in an incident which allegedly took place in Ropar district when he was serving as an Inspector there.

The application was filed in the court of the In charge Sessions Judge, Mr Inderjit Kaushik, who has given notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for tomorrow. The case is likely to be heard by the District and Sessions Judge S N Aggarwal tomorrow.

Non-bailable warrants had been issued against five police officers, including Jagtar Singh, in the case in which they had been accused of illegally detaining BKI activist Sukhdev Singh Sukha following which he disappeared. DIG, Police, Sanjeev Gupta, has already been given bail in the case by the court of the District and Sessions Judge recently.

The CBI, which has filed a charge sheet in the case in the court of the Special CBI Magistrate, has claimed that Sukha was called to the Sohana police station by an Inspector on the plea that then SSP Sanjeev Gupta wanted to meet him. The CBI claims Sukha was kept in the CIA interrogation centre for one month in March, 1993 and in other police stations for few other months before disappearing in July never to be seen again.

Foundation to celebrate women’s day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 7
The Umeed Khanna Foundation, committed to the service of the poor and under-privileged sections of rural society, will celebrate “International Women’s Day” on March 8 at Sangrur.

The foundation has already made its presence felt by free mobile dispensaries under its scheme “Health at the Door Step”. To mark “International Women’s Day”, the foundation is organising a seminar on” importance of women’s in shaping the future of nation”.


Tarsem makes to Limca Book of Records
Ravi Dhaliwal

Patiala, March 7
A local resident, Mr Tarsem Lal Goyal, has made this year’s edition of the Limca Book of Records by reciting the Bhagwadgita in 75 minutes.

Mr Tarsem Lal is the second city resident to make it to the Limca Book of Records. The first one was Test Cricketer Navjot Sidhu for having scored a record five successive half centuries in one-day cricket in 1987 Reliance World Cup — a record still not broken. Tarsem Lal’s effort has been described as a recitation “with perfect clarity and enunciation”. Tarsem Lal, a resident of Urban Estate, has no formal education in Sanskrit. A postgraduate in Public Administration and Philosophy, Tarsem Lal is indebted to Dr Ravinder Kaur, Professor and Head of the Department of Sanskrit, Punjabi University and Prof Abhimanyu Malik for teaching him the nuances of the language.


Bank employees hold rally
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 7
The local unit of the Punjab Bank Employees Federation (PBEF) yesterday held a rally in the city to protest against proposals of the union budget. Mr Pawan Jindal, secretary of the PBEF, in a press note issued here yesterday said members of the union participated in large numbers in the rally.


Man ‘murders’ father-in-law
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 7
An auto rickshaw driver, Prem Lal (35), allegedly killed his father-in-law Raj Pal (65) with a sharp-edged weapon in Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar near here yesterday. The police has registered a case and arrested the accused.

According to the police, Prem Lal was having strained relations with his wife Sunita, who had allegedly eloped with her paramour Raja Ram to Muradabad a few months ago.

The accused, who was produced before the mediapersons by the police, said he killed his father-in-law in a fit of anger as he had been shielding his daughter. He claimed that his brother-in-law was illtreating his children and was not giving them food. The children would often complain that they were beaten up by their uncle and even refused food. This provoked him to commit the crime. He said despite his repeated pleas he was not allowed to keep his children with him.


Flesh trade racket busted
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 7
The district police today claimed to have busted a gang involved in flesh trade, with the arrest of five persons.

Dr Jatinder Jain, SSP, said the gang was operating from the grain market area of the city, from a rented accommodation. The arrested included Manohar Singh, Karamjit Singh, Nishan Singh, Rajinder Kaur and Sushil Rani.


Class V paper leaked, exam cancelled
Deepkamal Kaur

Ludhiana, March 7
Much to the chagrin of parents, thousands of students of class V who had been looking forward to a good start to their board examinations had to return home for no fault of theirs. It came as a shock for the children when they were told that their mathematics paper scheduled for today had been cancelled due to the leakage of the question paper last evening.

The students had come all prepared for their first examination with new pens. The superintendents and supervisors who were to conduct the examination at their respective centres had arrived on time to begin the proceedings since they did not know about the leakage that took place sometime last night.

But minutes before the question papers were to be distributed among students officials of the District Education Department arrived at the centres and declared the paper cancelled. The superintendents were told to send back the question papers to the department. The students were informed that while the remaining examinations would continue as per the datesheet the cancelled paper would be held at the end, for which a date would be declared soon.

While the paper leakage is said to have taken place late last evening its source has not been traced so far. The District Education Officer (Primary), Mr Gurtej Singh, said the sacks containing question papers were being received by the department and these would be carefully scrutinised.

Mr Gurtej Singh said he had been receiving telephone calls since the past one week threatening leakage of the papers for which the department had been taking all precautionary measures. He said since the sealed sacks of question papers had been sent to the centres last morning there were chances of some miscreants opening these.

The DEO said he came to know about the leakage late last evening after which he consulted the Education Secretary at Chandigarh who asked him to confirm the report. He spoke to the Education Secretary again this morning after confirming the leakage. He was advised to declare the paper cancelled.

While this correspondent was in conversation with Mr Gurtej Singh, the latter received a phone call threatening him that the caller would be able to procure question papers of the forthcoming examinations as well.

Meanwhile, taking precautionary measures, the DEO said question papers of the forthcoming examination would be sent the same morning. He has ordered all superintendents to reach the centres a bit earlier to receive the sets of papers.


Education college faces closure
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, March 7
The local Government Education College, one among the three such colleges in the state, may face closure from the next academic session if the authorities concerned fail to take corrective measures to keep it running.

Official sources said at present the college, which had been imparting education to students for their Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) and Master of Education (M.Ed) courses, had been running on a bare minimum and had been failing to fulfil the conditions imposed by the National Council for Teachers Education.

The council has made it mandatory for the colleges of education owned by the state governments and private persons running B.Ed and M.Ed courses to have at least six permanent teachers. Any college having less than six permanent teachers will not be able to admit any student for B.Ed and M.Ed courses.

The council has also made it mandatory that only 10 students can be admitted for these courses against one teacher. Every teacher who is recruited for imparting education for such courses should himself or herself have done B.Ed or M.Ed.

According to information gathered by The Tribune, the Punjab Government has sanctioned 14 posts of permanent teacher in the local Government Education College and out of 14 sanctioned posts eight have been laying vacant. Two teachers of different subjects have been working against the vacancies of other subjects. A section of teachers imparting education in the college have not done B.Ed and M.Ed courses.

Information revealed as per the guidelines issued by the council only four teachers have been working in the local college for history, economics, psychology and science subjects.

Official sources said two teachers for physical education and philosophy had been recruited on part-time basis to maintain the academic atmosphere in the college where the strength of students had been witnessing a decline over the years.

Sources added the authorities concerned had failed to make arrangements for fulfilling the strength of sanctioned teachers in the college despite the fact that a number of representations had been made to the Secretary, Higher Education, the DPI (Colleges) and other authorities by the local college authorities.

Sources said the teachers, who fulfilled all conditions for recruitment in the local college were not willing to join here as they had been finding less tuition work here as compared to other developed districts.


Khalsa College gets regular Principal
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 7
The Managing Committee of the local Khalsa College finally bowed down to the ultimatum given by Punjabi University on the issue of appointment of a regular Principal to replace the ad hoc appointment in force for more than one-and-a-half year by appointing Dr Harbir Singh to the post today.

The appointment was made following a meeting of the managing committee presided over by Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) President Jagdev Singh Talwandi.

Punjabi University had in a communication to the college on February 2 declined to give further extension to the college to appoint a regular Principal. A plea in this regard had been made by the additional secretary of the local management committee. The Punjabi University Dean, Colleges, while declining to give further extension for appointment of a regular Principal said the new appointment must take place immediately after following the necessary selection procedure.

Following the receipt of the university communication, the local management committee forwarded the same to the SGPC.

The university had earlier taken exception to the appointment of Dr G L Bhutani as officiating Principal of the college. The grounds for taking objection were that Mr Bhutani did not have a PhD degree and was not eligible to hold the post. Mr Bhutani, who it is claimed was close to former SGPC President Jagir Kaur, is presently on medical leave and is due to retire in June 2002. The new appointee, Dr Harbir Singh, is a senior teacher of Khalsa College itself.

After presiding over the meeting of the selection committee, which had received eight applications, Mr Talwandi left the college in a huff. He declined to install the newly elected Principal in his chair when it was requested from him saying he may have to unseat him later.



GCG-Patiala girls shine
Our Correspondent

Patiala, March 7
Paramjit Kaur of the Government College for Girls (GCG), Patiala, and Khushwant Singh of Government Mohindra College, Patiala, emerged victorious in folk instrumental category during the inter-college competitions for folk instruments, folk singing and folk dances at Punjabi University here today.

GCG, Patiala, and Shanti Tara College, Ahmedgarh, stood first and second, respectively, in the Kavishri category. In the Sammi category, GCG, Patiala, and Punjabi University Campus, Patiala, bagged the first and second positions, respectively. Finally, in the Jhumar category, Punjabi University, Patiala, and DAV College, Bathinda, stood first and second, respectively.

Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, said that the university had drawn up a detailed programmes to revive the tradition of folk instruments, folk singing and folk dances sammi and jhumar of composite Punjab.

Dr Ahluwalia released a brochure giving details of these folk dances so that the present generation was able to recognise the creative aspects of these dances.

He declared that from the current session, a special Chancellor’s medal would be awarded to the student-artist, excelling in the cultural activities during the previous year.

He further stated that the Department of Music and the Department of Dances would jointly organise a workshop during the summer vacation to impart training to the students of affiliated college and an effort would be made to develop authentic version of these dances which would become part of the next year’s youth festival.


Jashan 2001 opens
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 7
“Jashan 2001”, annual cultural programme of Guru Nanak Dev University, opened here today at Dasmesh auditorium of the university. Dr (Mrs) Mohinder Kaur Soch, wife of Vice-Chancellor, inaugurated the programme by lighting candles.

Addressing students Dr (Mrs) Soch said besides basic education, extra-curricular activities were very important for their overall personality development.

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