Wednesday, March 14, 2001,
Chandigarh, India

P U N J A B    S T O R I E S




Controversies dog Talwandi, Vedanti
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 13
Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi (known as ‘iron man’ in panthic circles), who has completed 100 days as President, Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee and Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, who is going to complete his one-year tenure as Jathedar, Akal Takht, by the month-end, have reportedly failed to take ‘independent decisions’, pertaining to the Sikh panth so far.

Both Mr Talwandi and Jathedar Vedanti had kicked off controversies rather than resolving any burning panthic issues during their respective tenures.

Since Operation Bluestar the Jathedars of Akal Takht had remained controversial due to some reason but Jathedar Vedanti had turned out to be the weakest jathedar so far. But he seemed to have emerged ‘stronger’ after the Sikh conclave held on May 14 last year in which he touched upon some sensitive issues and on ‘ghallughara divas’ he sought immediate release of Sikh detainees who were languishing in various jails without facing trials. But he (Jathedar Vedanti) has failed to get his directions implemented by the SGPC and ruling Shiromani Akali Dal so far.

Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti was installed on March 28 last year after the unceremonious removal of Giani Puran Singh. However, he had failed to come up to the expectations of the Sikh Panth so far. The directions issued to SGPC by Jathedar Vedanti from time to time could not be implemented.

The first directive issued by Giani Vedanti on March 29 last year was first of its kind in the history of Akal Takht. He had revoked all controversial hukmnamas, issued by Giani Puran Singh from January 25 to March 28 last year in his capacity as Jathedar, Akal Takht. It was for the first time that any hukmnama or directive of the Jathedar, Akal Takht, was set aside by his successor. Jathedar Vedanti had also directed the SGPC to appoint a committee of Sikh intellectuals for fixing the duties and responsibilities and qualifications for the appointment of high priests ‘at the earliest’ which could not be implemented for the last about one year. Jathedar Vedanti had also directed the SGPC to formulate rules and basis for issuance of hukmnamas so that hukmnamas could not be issued for ‘personal’ benefits. However, this point was violated by Jathedar Vedanti himself and other jathedars when they atoned Giani Rattan Singh Girn, a Canada-based Sikh, who was excommunicated from the Sikh Panth for violating the hukmnama on langar issue, without presence of the Head Granthi of Golden Temple.

Though the directive of Akal Takht, issued on March 29, had emphasised the need on coordination among all the high priests but the fact remained that he himself failed to ensure the participation of Head Granthi Golden Temple, in the meetings of Sikh clergy so far.

Though Jathedar Vedanti had deplored the fact that the ruling SAD had failed to curb the menace of drug addiction but illicit liquor was distributed among voters for Majitha byelection with impunity (the town is less than 20 km from Akal Takht). No concrete steps were taken against the menace except for launching a symbolic campaign from Anandpur Sahib to mark the Holla Mohalla celebrations.

Despite the directives of Akal Takht, Sikh detainees could not be released from jails.

It was during the tenure of Jathedar Vedanti that any hukmnama was amended (edict issued by Bhai Ranjit Singh was amended). It was for the first time that confrontation between Jathedar, Akal Takht and Head Granthi, Golden Temple, came to fore. Interestingly, book ‘Gurbilas patshahis’ edited by Giani Vedanti was banned by the SGPC during his tenure as Jathedar, Akal Takht.

Though Jathedar Vedanti is one of the most educated and experienced persons who has good command over the Sikh scriptures, yet most of his directives could not be implemented by the SGPC. Despite his best efforts, he has failed to get the controversial issues like Nanakshahi calendar and Dasam Granth resolved so far.

The only achievement of Jathedar Vedanti that he had taken a strong exception to the ‘anti-Sikh’ propaganda by the RSS.

On the other hand, the first order of Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi after taking over as the SGPC chief for appointment of Giani Puran Singh as Head Granthi had kicked off controversy. Giani Puran Singh refused to sit with Prof Manjit Singh, Giani Kewal Singh and Giani Bhagwan Singh who were ‘excommunicated’ from the Sikh panth by his controversial edict issued in his capacity as Jathedar Akal Takht. When the High priests insisted that the meetings of Akal Takht could not be held without the presence of Head Granthi, Golden Temple, Mr Talwandi had left it to Giani Puran Singh that he may or may not attend the meeting. In his (Giani Puran Singh) absence Jathedar, Akal Takht was permitted to call any granthi of Golden Temple for the meetings. Mr Talwandi kicked off yet another controversy with the appointment of two more priests of Golden Temple without any ‘religious test’ a practice which was prevailant till Operation Blue Star.

Mr Talwandi had also caused furore by referring the case of ‘Sikh definition’ to the Minorities Commission which he later contradicted within 24 hours.

The SGPC headed by Mr Talwandi had not formed any ‘advisory committee’ or board as suggested by Akal Takht Jathedar for making suggestions on various issues pertaining to Sikhs.

Though Mr Talwandi himself wanted to get rid of Secretary Gurbachan Singh Bachan, who was indicted by an inquiry panel, yet he could not take any decision in this regard so far as he had not got ‘green signal’ from the SAD President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal yet.

Though Mr Talwandi had reopened the inquiry against Prof Manjit Singh and Giani Bhagwan Singh both Jathedars of Kesgarh Sahib and Damdama Sahib, respectively, but no meeting could be held so far in this regard. Sources said that both the jathedars had influenced the SGPC chief from SAD high command for hushing up the inquiry.


High priests put off meeting at last minute
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 13
The crucial meeting of the five Sikh High Priests, scheduled to be held at Akal Takht today, was postponed at the eleventh hour without assigning any reason.

Giani Kewal Singh, Jathedar, Takht Damdama Sahib, showed his “displeasure” over the postponement of the meeting as he was informed about it only on his arrival to the city.

Mr Prithipal Singh Sandhu, personal assistant to Akal Takht jathedar, failed to give a satisfactory reply on the postponement of the meeting.

It is learnt that the meeting was postponed after receiving an telephone call from Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar, Kesgarh Sahib, who was calling from Patiala.

Earlier, a joint meeting of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) and the High Priests, which was convened for the first time by an Akal Takht Jathedar today was postponed indefinitely. The meeting was postponed at the behest of Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, SGPC chief, who was not taken into confidence before fixing the meeting.

The High Priests had already held a meeting at Akal Takht in the absence of Giani Puran Singh, Head Priest, Golden Temple, on February 27 in which they had started a process to rejoin the Sikh Panth by an excommunicated Canada-based Sikh.

Earlier, the jathedars had pleaded with the SGPC that as per the maryada, a meeting of Akal Takht could not be held without the participation of the Head Granthi (Golden Temple).

Giani Puran Singh had refused to attend the meeting, scheduled for today as he said he could not sit with Prof Manjit Singh, Giani Kewal Singh and Giani Bhagwan Singh who were “excommunicated” from the Sikh Panth through hukmnama issued by him as Akal Takht Jathedar.


Pak writers ignored for Shiromani Award
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 13
Punjab may talk of the close cultural affinity it shares with Punjabi-speaking people living across the border in Pakistan, but Punjabi writers representing rich cultural traditions of the once united Punjab are apparently persona non-grata as far as the government and its Language Department in concerned.

No Punjabi writer from Pakistan has been considered for grant of the Shiromani Award in the category for foreign writers for the years 1998, 1999 and 2000.

In fact no Pakistan-based writer has been given the Shiromani Award during the past 21 years since the award was instituted. This state of affairs has been allowed to continue by the government and the Language Department, despite the fact that there is no bar on conferring the award on any Pakistan-based writer. No written guidlines have been issued to the State Advisory Board, which selects the awardees, on not giving the award to Pakistan-based writers.

Famous personalities like Faqar-ul-Zaman, Riyaz Majid, Afzal Ahsan Randhawa, Shahbaz Malik, Afzal Taseef, Nazm Husain, Zikhtam Husain, Zaigam, Ilyas Ghuman and Ghulam Rasul have been ignored by the Language Department.

Significantly, other associations in the country do not have the same aversion for Pakistani writers. The Vishav Punjabi Conference honoured Faqar-ul-Zaman while a leading Punjabi newspaper trust honoured Ilyas Ghuman recently.

Language Department Director Madan Lal Hasija, when contacted, said there was no bar on giving the Shiromani Award to a Pakistani writer. He said during his tenure, a Pakistani writer’s name had been only discussed for grant of the Shiromani Award under the foreign writers category.

However, Punjabi novelist Dalip Kaur Tiwana, who is a member of the State Advisory Board which selects the awardees and who had proposed the name of a Pakistani writer for grant of the award this year, said she was told by the Languages Department Director that he did not know whether the government would agree to it.

Dr Tiwana said she had proposed the name of Nazm Husain during the meeting of the Advisory Board. She said the Director had said he would seek a clarification from the government in this regard.

Other writers, preferring anonymity, alleged that Indian expatriates in England, Canada and the USA, were able to get the Shiromani Award because of their rapport with prominent writers in India. “By ignoring Pakistani writers we are crippling our own mothertongue which is the same as that of those living in the Punjab province of Pakistan and doing it a great disservice,” said another prominent author.


IT staff asked to check private tuitions
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 13
The Punjab Higher Education Ministry has written to the Income Tax Department to conduct surprise checks on government college teachers taking private tuitions. Talking to The Tribune, Punjab Higher Education Minister, Master Mohan Lal, said income tax officials were likely to conduct checks in this regard in the state in a phased manner. It had been decided to take the help of the tax officials as reports had been received that government college teachers continued to take private tuitions.

The government was asking various colleges to start extra classes after regular hours for weak students. Some colleges, including Bikram College of Commerce, where he had come to preside over the annual function today, had started extra classes.

Sources said the drive against tuitions by government teachers was likely to start after the completion of the annual examinations.

The Minister said in view of the financial crunch being faced by the state and his Ministry, it had been decided that regular appointment of teachers would not be made in any college. Though at present each ad hoc teacher was getting Rs 6,500 per month, it had been decided that they would be paid a consolidated amount of Rs 8,500 per month.

The teachers would be given a contract covering the academic session and would be recruited again following a two-month summer break.

Mr Mohan Lal said it had also been decided to rationalise the college posts and distribute them according to need. The Ministry was going in for this step as there had been reports that some colleges, particularly those in Mohali and Nangal, were overstaffed. The Director Public Instruction (DPI), Colleges, had been asked to submit a report in this regard following which the corrective action would be taken. He, however, said there was no move to abolish posts of Sanskrit or Hindi teachers even though the subjects were attracting less students. He appealed to the student community to opt for Sanskrit as it was suited for modern times also.

In the next session all colleges would have regular principals. He said out of the 48 colleges in the state, only 12 had regular principals.

He ruled out a fee hike in colleges in the next academic session. A committee of Vice-Chancellors had recommended a fee hike, but the proposal had been kept pending with the state Cabinet deciding against any hike. The budget of the Ministry had also been increased from Rs 260 crore for the current financial year to Rs 450 crore for the next financial year. 


Ludhiana liquor vend auctions crucial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
The auction of liquor vends in Punjab, starting on March 14, is critically poised as the state government, in the interest of revenue, may compromise on the group size of vends. From an estimated turnover of Rs 1,310 crore during the current financial year, the government has pegged its expectations from the ensuing auctions at anything between Rs 1,370 crore and Rs 1,400 crore in an otherwise “saturated” market.

The results from neighbouring Haryana are far from encouraging as there has been a lukewarm response to the auctions so far. Liquor vends in seven districts, including Ambala and Kaithal, could not be auctioned in the first phase. Though in Haryana the quota of liquor is more than in the case of Punjab, the licence money from the auction of vends is comparatively much less. Similarly, Uttar Pradesh, though a much bigger state, gets about Rs 1,800 crore from the auction of liquor vends.

In the new excise policy, though the Punjab Government laid emphasis on smaller groups of vends with a ceiling of Rs 8 crore based on the licence fee for the current financial year, the Excise Commissioner has been empowered to allow bigger groups in the interest of revenue and for ensuring the disposal of all vends.

For exceeding the limit of a group of vends beyond Rs 15 crore, the state government has the power to approve. The government may have to use its discretion while deciding the group size of vends in Ludhiana.

The government proposes to increase the number of Punjab medium liquor and IMFL vends from 3,750 and 1,162, respectively, by 2 per cent each.

The most crucial of all liquor auctions in Punjab are those of Ludhiana district, which remained a subject of controversy throughout last year. Successful bidding for Ludhiana vends is all that Excise Department officials aspire to achieve this time for the proposed 5 per cent increase in revenue.

Throughout the auctions, the Principal Secretary, Excise and Taxation, Mr Y.S. Ratra, and the Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Mr Dilsher Singh Kalha, will camp in Punjab and at the venues of auctions starting with Jalandhar on March 14, with Ludhiana put at the end on March 26.

This year, under the new uniform floor tax agreed upon by all states, Punjab has decided to levy 20 per cent sales tax on the sale of liquor. The Union Territory of Chandigarh, which is yet to announce its excise policy for the next financial year, is also being pressurised to levy the same 20 per cent sales tax on liquor.

Unlike last year, the Punjab Excise Department has raised the security amount. Instead of making 7.5 per cent of the licence money deposit at the fall of the hammer, as was the case last year, it will be 10 per cent this year. The remaining 5 per cent has to be deposited by March 28, failing which 2 per cent penalty will be levied till April 10. Last year, not many vendors paid the security amount, which is being recovered from them even now.


Mansa areas cry for potable water
K.K. Goyal

Residents of this district, a backward district of the state once known as Asia’s biggest cotton market, are not getting potable water supply and the authorities have failed to take necessary steps in that connection.

More than 40 per cent of the residents of areas near New Professor Colony, Government Nehru Memorial College, Gandhi Nagar, Baghwala Gurdwara, District Courts, Bhatta Basti and Jawaharke Road, are still waiting for potable water supply even after residing there from more than 10 years and have been consuming underground water that has been declared unfit for human consumption.

Residents have to make arrangements for underground water in their houses by installing handpumps as the authorities have failed to provide them adequate potable water. Sources say that a kothi for use by the Deputy Commissioner was constructed by the district administration near Government Nehru Memorial College by spending lakhs of rupees of the state, is lying vacant due to drinking water problem, as the water of the area is saline.

Residents point out that even in localities where water is being supplied, they have to keep awake late hours at night and wake up early in the morning to fill buckets of water. In these areas, water is being supplied once in two to three days.

The residents fear that piped water supply, whenever it is resumed, is contaminated at times. They point out that earlier, due to entry of sewage into drinking water diarrhoea epidemic had struck the town, resulting many cases of gastroenteritis.

The residents have demanded that the authorities should make proper arrangements for adequate supply of potable water.

However Ms Raji P. Sirivastava, Deputy Commissioner, said piped water was being supplied to the residents from storage tanks. The Deputy Commissioner replied that she was not fully aware about how much of the town areas are not getting potable water.

Resentment prevails among the residents as the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board (PWSSB) had sent water supply bills by adding Rs 24 as pollution cess.

They alleged that they were already paying too much, and now the Punjab Government had burdened them further by charging pollution cess. They have demanded a roll-back of the cess.

Mr Surinder Kumar, SDO of the PWSSB, said on behalf of the Municipal Council, the Executive Engineer, Bathinda, had sent a project report to Hudco for loan sanction, so that the areas where potable water was not being provided would get supply.

He stated that the Municipal Council had awarded a contract to supply the potable water to those areas where drinking water was not available.

He wanted the board to charge Rs 20 extra per month to consumers who had installed electric motors, as this was being done in Budhlada town in the district.


BKI activist’s case: arrest of cops stayed
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 13
A local court today stayed the arrest of Superintendent of Police (Detective) Mohinder Singh Chahal, Deputy Superintendent of Police Jagtar Singh and Inspector Ramesh Chander till March 15 in a case involving the alleged illegal detention and subsequent disappearance of a Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) activist.

Additional Sessions Judge Birender Singh today stayed the arrest of all three police personnel till March 15. Warrants had been issued against the police officers for March 16 by the Special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court.

The Superintendent of Police (Detective) and the Inspector had filed an application seeking anticipatory bail in the case yesterday. The DSP had field for bail in the case earlier. The Additional Sessions Judge today issued notice to the CBI to give its reply in the case on March 15.

The police officers are accused of being part of a conspiracy to illegally detain and subsequently eliminate BKI activist Sukhdev Singh Sukha in 1993. The other prime accused in the case is Patiala Range Deputy Inspector-General of Police Sanjeev Gupta.

According to the CBI, the BKI activist was called to the Sohana police station on the pretext of meeting then Senior Superintendent of Police Sanjeev Gupta and detained in the CIA interrogation cell in Ropar. The CBI claims he was kept in illegal detention and disappeared after he was taken away by Superintendent of Police M.S. Chahal in mid 1993.


Hijack: 7 named proclaimed offenders
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 13
A local court today declared seven Pakistan-based persons, who are accused of masterminding the hijacking of an Indian Airlines aeroplane to Kandhar in Afghanistan from Kathmandu, as proclaimed offenders.

The District and Sessions Judge, Mr S.N. Aggarwal, today declared Yusuf Azhar, who had been set free from a jail in Jammu and Kashmir as demanded by the hijackers, and six others including Ibrahim Athar, Sunny Ahmed Kazi, Shakir Alias R.G. Verma, Abdul Rauf, Sayyad Akhtar and Zahoor Ibrahim as proclaimed offenders.

The seven accused were declared proclaimed offenders today following an application filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation under Section 209 CrPC. The CBI in its application had claimed that the seven accused who had played a pivotal role in the hijacking of the Indian Airlines aircraft could not be traced. 


Warrants against SI, Constable
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 13
The special CBI court today issued non-bailable warrants against two police personnel in a case involving the disappearance of a Sangrur resident after he was kept in illegal custody in 1993.

Special CBI Magistrate Jaspinder Singh Heyer today issued non-bailable warrants against Sub-Inspector Rajinder Singh Sohal and Constable Ganda Singh for their alleged role in the disappearance of Tejinder Singh.


Modern colonies lack facilities
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 13
This historic city, known as the ‘city of lakes’, ‘city of sand dunes’, ‘heartland of Malwa’, etc has grown in the past few years but there has been no proportionate development. Residents even allege that the city had always been given a step-motherly treatment by the authorities concerned.

The authorities have a ready reply to this allegation. “The area was developed without any plan in the past, but the new colonies and sites would be free from these problems,”.

These claims notwithstanding, even the newly developed areas and colonies are facing the problems being faced by residents of the old city.

Mr Rajesh Kumar name changed, a resident of PUDA flat, lamented that although the development schemes were well formulated they were poorly maintained.

“When these schemes were launched, we were very happy that due care had been taken to provide basic facilities, parking facilities, street lighting, open spaces, but due to official neglect and lack of responsibility, the open areas had been turned into dumping grounds of garbage”, he lamented.

The streetlights have not been functional for the past many months, if not years. Even repeated complaints to the authorities have been in vain, he added.

Mrs Anita Pal (name changed), another resident of the PUDA flats, said that due to poor streetlighting in the area, petty thefts, like those of petrol and household items, have been on the increase.

The owner of an MIG flat of PUDA claimed that the plans and designs of the complex that were shown to them initially did not present a true picture of the area. “Instead of open spaces and parks, we have been given the ‘facility’ of garbage dumps, stray animals, encroachments, choked sewers and poor water supply,” he said, alleging that PUDA had cheated the allottees.

A senior official of PUDA admitted, on condition of anonymity, that several flats had been encroached upon.

When the PUDA officials tried to get the flats vacated there was a clash. Of the total 128 LIG flats, not more than 20 had been occupied by the legal allottees, he added.


VDS for water, sewer connections launched
Pushpesh Kumar

Bathinda, March 13
The municipal council (MC) of the city has launched a Voluntary Disclosure Scheme (VDS) for the regularisation of unauthorised water and sewerage connections in the city under which about 4000 connections would be regularised.

Mr Bhupinder Singh Bhullar, President of the Municipal Council, while talking to The Tribune said that with the regularisation of these unauthorised connections the consumer base of the civic body would increase, the income would increase and also the consumers would be able to lodge complaints in this connection. The number of unauthorised connections in the city could not be ascertained, but about 4000 (25 per cent of the total) connections were unauthorised, he added.

Mr Bhullar added that if unauthorised consumers faced problems with the water supply or sewerage connections they were not entitled to lodge complaints. However, with the regularisation of their connections they would enjoy all facilities given by the civic body. “We have given special incentives for those who apply for the regularisation of their connections and no penalty or surcharge would be charged. Even the condition of three years’ arrears which we impose when regularisation of any unauthorised connection is done had been waived during the VDS period, which shall continue uptill March 31,” he added.

To improve the water supply in the city the council was arranging a loan of Rs 38 crore and another Rs 20 crore for the improvement of sewerage facilities. Water storage tanks for the supply of drinking water would be set up in various parts of the city in the next financial year.

Commenting on the garbage problem in the Mahabir Gole Market, he said that the council’s shops would be sold in an open auction and then it would be up to the shopkeepers to resolve the matter.


Drive against TB launched
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 13
To make Muktsar district free from tuberculosis (TB), a special drive has been launched by the Health Department.

This was stated by Mr Kanwaljeet Singh Cheema, Deputy Commissioner, Muktsar, while presiding over a function organised to mark adoption of TB patients by various social service organisations, youth clubs and panchayats of different villages.

Mr Cheema said with the help of these organisations as many as 631 patients had been identified so far in the district. He further said among these, about 250 patients were too poor to bear expenses of treatment of the disease. He said out of these patients, 150 had been adopted by various organisations who would provide them medicines and other necessary items. He added that the other 100 patients would be looked after by the Health Department.

Mr Cheema further said for maintaining records of expenses on such patients and for purchasing medicines for them, a seven-member committee had been formed under the name ‘TB helpline’.

Mr Cheema further said the NGOs should organise camps in different parts of the district to create awareness among people about the possible causes of the disease and its cure. 


Traffic park for Sangrur soon
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 13
The district administration has planned to set up a children traffic park at Banasar Bagh here soon.

Talking to this reporter here today, Mr Anirudh Tiwari, Deputy Commissioner, said the park would have zebra crossings and traffic signs besides, other traffic-related material to impart the knowledge of traffic rules to children.

Mr Tiwari said the administration had invited experts from Ludhiana to draw up the plan of the traffic park and set up the same soon.

He said the park would be set up at an estimated cost of about Rs 2 lakh.


CM reviews work on PIDB projects
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
The Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today reviewed the progress of projects under the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB).

Stating this here today, a spokesman of the Punjab Government said that bids had been invited for nine major projects related to roads and bridges with a total estimated cost of Rs 210 crore from reputed pre-qualified contractors. These works were the widening of the road from Zirakpur to Rajpura, including four-laning in Banur town, widening of the road from Rajpura to Patiala, construction of Morinda bypass on the Ludhiana-Chandigarh road, widening and strengthening of the Khanna-Machhiwara road up to the Sutlej bridge, widening and strengthening of the Sutlej bridge to Nawanshahr, construction of a high-level bridge over the Sutlej on Jagraon-Nakodar road, construction of a high-level bridge over the Beas on the Gurdaspur-Mukerian road, construction of a rail overbridge at Khanna and construction of a rail overbridge on the Rajpura bypass.

Work on the construction of a bridge over the Sutlej between Rahon and Machhiwara had already been allotted at an estimated cost of Rs 32 crore. The work was to be completed before June, 2002. Similarly, construction work on three rail overbridges at Rajpura, Sunam and Bathinda had been awarded. These were to be completed within one year. The executive committee also approved the construction of rail overbridges at Kurali and Ropar with PIDB funds.


Panel on waste management constituted
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 13
Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, Minister for Science and Technology, Punjab, yesterday said the state government had constituted a committee of experts to advise the government on the implementation of bio-medical waste (management and handling) rules 1998, formulated by the Union Government.

Mr Garg said the bio-medical waste, if disposed in an unscientific and unhygienic way, could cause epidemics and create sanitation problems. The advisory committee would help the state government in the implementation of various laws.

Principal Secretary of the Department of Science, Technology, Environment and Non-Conventional, Energy is the Chairman of the committee.

Members of the committee are: Principal Secretaries of Departments of Local Government, Health and Family Welfare, Secretaries, Departments of Rural Development, Medical Education and Research and Departments of Animal Husbandry and Special Secretary, Department of Science and Technology. The commissioners of Municipal Corporations of Patiala, Jalandhar, Amritsar and Ludhiana, Chairman, Punjab Pollution Control Board; Executive Director, State Council for Science and Technology, Principals of the Government Medical College of Patiala and CMC, Ludhiana and three other members, one each from Bathinda, Phagwara and Ludhiana have been nominated as the members.


Murder suspect held after 3 years
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 13
The district police has made a major breakthrough in a murder case by arresting Vijay Kumar of Vanwala in Rajasthan after more than three years.

According to information, Manjeet Kaur mother of Vijay Kumar, allegedly had an extra marital affair with Gurdeep Singh of Lehra Saundha village, who was a bachelor. She used to often visit the home of the later. She reportedly wanted to grab his land and to kill him.

She took the help of Vijay Kumar and one of her associates, Paramjeet Singh, of Arjan Dev Nagar of Ganganagar. They made elaborate plans and allegedly committed the murder on the intervening night of August 13 and August 14 in 1997.

A case had been registered in this connection at the Nathana police station against the accused on August 14, 1997. The police had arrested Paramjeet Singh and Manjeet Kaur on August 24. However, Vijay Kumar absconded. He was declared a proclaimed offender in December 1997. The police had been in his search for more than three years and had succeeded in doing so yesterday.

Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, SSP, in a press note issued here today said the police had also arrested Jagsir Singh of Taruana village under the Kalianawali police station for allegedly possessing 10 kg of poppy husk. A case had been registered against him.

A case had been registered under the Arms Act against Manjinder Singh of Ghamana Singhwala village in Sangrur district for possessing a pistol and two cartridges. A case had been registered.

The police had registered three cases of “satta” transactions and recovered Rs 920 from the culprits. They have been identified as Sewak Singh of Bagha, Bhupinder Singh of Rampura Mandi and Satpal Singh of Rampura.

The police had also registered two cases under the Excise Act and had arrested Makhan Singh of Kotshamir and Varinder Obai of Guru Teg Bahadur nagar in this regard.

The police had arrested Mithu Singh, Nachhatar Singh and Rajinder Kumar for allegedly storing kerosene meant to be distributed through the public distribution system. A case had been registered against him.


Probe into hawala case ordered
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, March 13
The March 7 hawala case here, involving an amount of Rs 7 lakh, has taken a new turn with the ordering of an inquiry into it in view of the contradictory stands taken by the police and the persons/kin of those accused of hawala transactions.

Mohinderpal Shukla, his son, Amit Shukla, and Avtar Singh were arrested on March 7 with Rs 7 lakh, suspected to be hawala money. However, the Shuklas claim that they are licensed money changers and had withdrawn the amount from a local bank that day. They claim to have documentary proof to support their contention.


GND varsity exams from March 31
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 13
The annual examinations of Guru Nanak Dev University will commence from March 31. This was stated by Dr R.S. Bawa, Registrar of Guru Nanak Dev University.

Dr Bawa said roll numbers of eligible candidates were sent and if a candidate did not receive his/her roll number by March 15, he/she was required to contact Mr Chanchal Singh, Deputy Registrar (Exams) of the university.

The person should bring along two attested passport size photographs and original documents relating to passing the lower examination.


Research project sanctioned
Our Correspondent

Patiala, March 13
The Department of Forests, Punjab Government, has sanctioned a major research project entitled, “Fungal-Insect Diseases of Forest Trees of Punjab and their Management Strategies” for a period of five years with a grant of Rs 25.26 lakh to Dr J. S. Dargan, a forest scientist and Head, Department of Botany, Punjabi University.

Dr Dargan, who is monitoring several international projects, is scientific advisor (Forestry) to the International Foundation for Sciences (IFS), which is a 95-nation research organisation with its headquarters at Stockholm, Sweden.

This project has added significance, as large scale mortality of indegenous tree species of Punjab, including Acacia farabica (Kikkar) and Dalbergia sissoo (shisham) have been noticed in the various districts of Punjab over the last few years.

The work will be carried out in collaboration with the Forest Department of Punjab.


Rs 50,000 grant for Bikram College
Our Correspondent

Patiala, March 13
A special grant of Rs 50,000 was announced by Mr Madan Mohan Lal, Cabinet Minister for Higher Education, Punjab who presided over the 56th Annual prize distribution function of the Government Bikram College of Commerce held here today. He announced another reward of Rs 5000 to honour Ms Rasan Billing, an outstanding sportsperson of the college.

The Principal of the college, Dr Raj Kumar Sharma, presented the annual report, highlighting the achievements of the college, including the construction of the PTA Block. Mr Mittal gave away prizes to the outstanding students in the field of academics, sports, NSS, NCC and extra curricular activities.


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