Thursday, March 15, 2001,
Chandigarh, India

P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Charan Singh goes on leave in protest
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 14
Giani Charan Singh, a senior granthi of the Golden Temple, who was superseded after the controversial appointment of Giani Puran Singh as head granthi last year, has proceeded on one year’s leave even as two persons would be installed as high priests at Akal Takht tomorrow morning.

The crucial meeting of five high priests, which was postponed yesterday, would be held here tomorrow to discuss matters pertaining to the Sikh Panth. Giani Puran Singh, Head Granthi, Golden Temple, who has been absenting himself from the meeting of the Sikh clergy, is unlikely to attend the meeting.

The meeting of high priests might discuss crucial issues like the Dasam Granth, Nanakshahi calendar and ‘maryada’.

In case, Giani Puran Singh does not participate in the meeting. The high priests would like to take a final decision in this regard.

Sources said that Giani Charan Singh had applied for one-year leave in “protest” against the appointment of Giani Puran Singh as Head Granthi. Being senior, Giani Charan Singh had refused to work under Giani Puran Singh. Though Giani Charan Singh had applied for long leave immediately after the appointment of Giani Puran Singh, it could not be sanctioned due to shortage of priests in the Golden Temple.

Meanwhile, two new granthis — Bhai Jagtar Singh, Head Granthi, Fatehgarh Sahib, and Bhai Jagtar Singh — would be installed as priests of the Golden Temple at a religious ceremony at Akal Takht tomorrow.

The posts of granthis have been vacant for a long time. While Giani Puran Singh, who was also a granthi, was promoted as Head Granthi, Giani Mohan Singh, Head Granthi, had retired in December last year.

These posts have not been filled since then. Without the priests of the Golden Temple, nobody else could enter the sanctum sanctorum.

The priests of the Golden Temple are also considered high priests and are entitled to attend meetings of Akal Takht.

After the appointment of Giani Puran Singh, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, president, SGPC, succeeded in getting the approval of the executive to appoint the priests of his choice, allegedly without taking ‘religious test’.


Retirement of homoeopathic doctors sought
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, March 14
The Government Homoeopathic Medical Officers Association, Punjab, has a demanded that the state government should order the premature retirement of Dr Ramesh Rattan, Assistant Director of the Homoeopathic Department since the Health and Family Welfare Department had already rejected his review petitions.

Dr Rattan had filed two review petitions seeking deletion of “red entries” from his annual confidential report (ACR).

Mr A.S. Rai, president, and Mr Darshan Singh Khurmi, general secretary of the association, while addressing a press conference here today, alleged that several departmental inquiries had indicted Dr Rattan for “moral turpitude” and found him guilty of committing irregularities in the selection of midwives in 1986.

They presented copies of the inquiry reports submitted to the state government in 1991 by Mr H.S. Aneja, Additional Director, before newsmen. The reports state, “The charges of moral turpitude and committing irregularities by distorting the official records pertaining to the selection of midwives in 1986 had been proved against Dr Ramesh Rattan.” They immediately demanded that the employee should be retired.

Even the Supreme Court had passed strictures last year against the assistant director for opposing the appointment of Mrs Harbhajan Kaur, who had topped the selection list for midwives. The apex court had observed that assistant director had tried to mislead the court by refusing to admit that she had topped the applicant’s list. The assistant director, however, took the plea that the percentage of the petitioner was not clearly mentioned in the application form and there were three candidates by the same name, making it difficult to differentiate among them.

“Dr Rattan was suspended during his ad hoc posting to Kohara dispensary at Ludhiana in 1977, since he got arrested in a criminal case. He had also misinformed the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) that he had never been arrested,” alleged Mr Khurmi.

As per the Punjab Civil Services (premature retirement) Rules, 1975, an employee found guilty of moral turpitude and having attained the age of 50 or having completed 25 years of service should be retired immediately.

Dr Rattan, however, refuted the allegations and said that he has filed a review petition with the Health Department on Monday.” Since the matter is under the consideration of the state government there was no need of seeking premature retirement from the post of assistant director. Even if the verdict goes against me, I will approach the court to seek justice,” he said.


Chief Secy’s order ignored?
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, March 14
Can a Commissioner of a Municipal Corporation afford not to bother about the orders of the Chief Secretary and put these in cold storage on one pretext or the other? It appears to be so in case of the Jalandhar Municipal Corporation.

Mr Paramjit Singh Jaggi, an Assistant Corporation Engineer, was promoted and appointed by Mr N.K. Arora, the chief Secretary-cum- Principal Secretary, Department of Local Bodies, as Design Engineer against a newly created post through an order on March 7. But he has been unable to join the post for over a week, allegedly due the indifferent attitude of the commissioner, who is already embroiled in a number of controversies and is facing a police inquiry ordered by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

On a petition filed by the Punjab Human Rights Organisation (PHRO), the Punjab and Haryana High Court had ordered the Punjab Police to conduct a probe into a number of allegations or corruption levelled gainst Mr Bidhi Chand Thakur, Commissioner, by Mr H.S. Bhullar, an Additional Divisional Fire Officer, considered close to the Mayor, Mr Suresh Sehgal.

Mr Bhullar had alleged that he had paid bribe to commissioner to the tune of Rs 1.5 lakh for enabling the latter complete his half-built bungalow at Mukerian township in Hoshiarpur district and that the latter had been receiving kickbacks through him. The allegations had raised a lot of dust, particularly in view of the ongoing tug of war between the Mayor and the Commissioner.

The allegations have, however, been denied by the Commissioner in a reply to the Investigation Officer Mr M.F. Farooqi, SP (Operations), who will be examining a number of witnesses in the case tomorrow and the complainant, Mr Shashi Sharma, the district unit president of the PHRO.

Mr Jaggi claimed that he had gone to the Commissioner a number of times during the past week and requested him to enable him to join his new assignment, but the latter did not pay heed to him.


Stolen demand drafts cause panic
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 14
Local businessmen have been gripped by the fear of honouring stolen and fake demand drafts which have been in circulation in the city for the past week.

In separate incidents, two dealers of electronic goods, Rupinder Kumar Mishra of Mishra Electronics and Jiwan Kumar of Jiwan Electronics were duped of Rs 18,500 and Rs 16,500, respectively, by unidentified persons who posed as customers and bought electronic goods from their stores on March 9. The demand drafts submitted by them were returned by the bank authorities as they were reportedly stolen.

Inquiries and documents procured by The Tribune have revealed the modus operandi of the suspects. They go to a reputed electronic goods shop, pose as prospective customers, get the quotations, rates and settle for a bargained price.

The mode of payment in both cases was by a demand draft, as agreed to by the customer and the dealer.

Jiwan Kumar said two persons, one aged about 21 and the other 25, came to his shop and selected a colour TV and a refrigerator and agreed to pay the bill by a demand draft. The two said they were coming from Malerkotla in Sangrur district and had to give some gifts to a relative in the Railway colony of the city. They loaded the two items on a rickshaw and left.

“I take due care in my business and have never been duped. However as a demand draft is one of the most reliable mode of payments, I did not doubt that it would turn out to be fake,” lamented Jiwan Kumar.

Rupinder Mishra also narrated a similar story. He said that as the draft was given on March 9, he came to know about its being fake only on March 12 as the intervening days were holidays.

Jiwan Kumar said he enquired from the railway authorities if a TV and a refrigerator were booked for Malerkotla or another station, but the efforts proved to be futile. One of the suspects, aged about 25, was handicapped and both were very fluent in Punjabi.

“I suspect that either they run an electronic goods shop or have a tie-up with some electronic goods dealer in the state or nearby areas, as they were well-versed with the terminology of the electronics trade,” Jiwan Kumar said.

Mr G.K. Makkar, Chief Manager, State Bank of India (city branch), said the cases of fake drafts had been put up before him. He admitted that a series of drafts had been withdrawn by the bank. The series in question, 846139 to 846200, a total 61 draft security forms, was stolen from the bank’s branch at Barnala more than a year ago. These two cases and one from Patiala had been reported in this connection, he added.

Mr Makkar pointed out that there were many discrepancies in the fake demand drafts being circulated and even a common man would be able to distinguish between a genuine draft and a fake one. He said the telephone number given on the demand draft as well as the code number of the payee branch (Bathinda) were not genuine. in one of the drafts, the code was 1764 and in the other it was stated as 1634, whereas it was actually 1540.

Even the name of the branch which was stamped on the draft security form had been erased and the name and code of the Malerkotla branch had been stamped in place of the original name and code, he said.

Mr Makkar exhorted the general public to be careful in this regard. The cases had been reported to the police authorities, he added.

seeks 450 cr from Centre
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, said today in the Vidhan Sabha that the Union Government should provide Rs 450 crore to the state government in lieu of the provision of free power to the farming sector in the state.

He was speaking on the Motion of Thanks to the Governor for his Address to the Assembly. Holding the Congress responsible for all problems, including terrorism, faced by the state in the past, Mr Badal said the SAD-BJP government had done a lot for the development of the state in the past four years.

Listing development projects to be taken up in the coming months, Mr Badal said that certain state highways, measuring 685 km, had been included in the category of the National Highways and funds for their four-laning would be provided by the Union Government soon.

Besides, the Union Government had agreed to provide Rs 180 crore for the cleaning of the Upper Bari Doab Canal. Another canal in the kandi area would be extended up to Balachaur from Hoshiarpur, he said. The interest rate on cooperative loans to farmers had been reduced to 14.5 per cent, he added.

The government would soon set up a state horticulture board and a state potato board, he said. The government would also set up a food park for processing various foodgrains in the state. A knowledge park would be set up in Amritsar. A scheme had been prepared to give free education in the best educational institutions to brilliant students belonging to poor sections. A special grant of Rs 100 crore would be given for the development of urban areas. Free plots would be provided to Dalits in the rural areas for constructing houses.

The state government was not discriminating against urban areas, he added.

Talking about the law and order situation, he said it was better than that prevalent in other states. For checking crime against women and children, special police cells would be established at the state headquarters under senior police officers.

Mentioning the opposition parties’ role in the Assembly, Mr Badal said that he, as Leader of the House, had tried his best to give due weightage to the points raised by Opposition MLAs in the House. Mr Badal said that he had great respect for MLAs of the Opposition parties. Though these MLAs were saying that the government was discriminating against them as far as providing funds to them for the development of their constituencies was concerned, they had never earlier brought this matter to his notice. All constituencies had been provided with funds almost on a par for development, he asserted. He appealed to the leader of the Opposition and others concerned not resort to confrontation and cooperate in conducting the proceedings of the House according to the procedures.

Earlier, Mr Manpreet Singh Badal, Mr Balbir Singh Bath, Mr Arunesh Kumar, Mr Makhan Singh and Ms Laxmi Kanta Chalwa took part in the debate on the Motion of Thanks.


Federation rejects minister’s claim
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
Mr P.S. Sangha, general Secretary, Federation of the Association of Principals of Non-Government Affiliated Colleges of Punjab and Chandigarh, has expressed serious concern over the discontent among them over the non-implementation of the demands already accepted by the Punjab Government. He has appealed to the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to direct the bureaucracy to take immediate steps for the implementation of the pension-cum-gratuity Act (April 30, 1999) for employees of the government-aided affiliated colleges.

Although the act provides for its immediate implementation, this has been delayed on one pretext or the other by the bureaucracy, laments Mr Sangha.

Reacting to the statement made by the Education Minister, Master Mohan Lal, in the press yesterday that many colleges had not deposited the provident fund amount in the corpus fund account, Mr Sangha clarified that despite the directions of the Minister, the Education Department had not yet directed the colleges to deposit the amount with the government. 


PPCC may file writ against use of EVMs
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 14
The general secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), Mrs Ratna, yesterday threatened to file a writ petition in the Supreme Court against the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) if their demands were not conceded by the Chief Election Commissioner.

She claimed that Opposition parties were also supporting the Congress on this issue.

The EVMs in the recent byelections were used to get votes in favour of the ruling party, she alleged.

Alleging manipulation of the EVM by clever replacement of electronic chip by techno experts as recently demonstrated by the PPCC, President Capt Amarinder Singh, she said befooling the gullible public by rumour mongering and tampering of the EVMs had succeeded in giving the ruling party a handsome margin of votes over their rivals. The Congress would oppose all such manipulations, she said.


Suspended MLAs stage dharna
Tribune New Service

Chandigarh, March 14
Led by the Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Chowdhary Jagjit Singh, a number of MLAs who were suspended for the remaining part of the Budget session from the assembly, today staged a dharna at its main entrance. They were donning black robes.

Raising slogans against the Badal government, they said that the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, was behaving like a dictator. Holding him responsible for their suspension, they said that the CM was out to finish democracy in the state. Taking advantage of the majority in the House, Mr Badal was not allowing the Opposition to raise its voice. They said that they had not violated the decorum of the House.

Among those who staged the dharna were Mr Hira Singh Gabarian, Mr Inderjit Singh Zira, Mr Baldev Singh Khaiala, Mr Jagtar Singh Ranjla, Mr Tej Partap Singh, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Mr Gurcharan Singh, Mr Harminder Singh Jassi, Mr Hardev Arshi, Mr Ajaib Singh Raunta, Mr Harbans Lal, Mr Avtar Singh Brar, Mr Amarjit Singh Samra and Mr Ajit Inder Singh Mofar.

Later, they were joined briefly by Mr Ravi Inder Singh, who walked out from the House in protest against the suspension of the rebel Akali, the CPI and Congress MLAs. Mr Prem Singh Lalpura, Mr Ranjit Singh Chajalwadi, Mr Bikramjit Singh Khalsa, Mrs Daljit Kaur also walked out along with him.

Earlier, speaking in the House, Mr Ravi Inder Singh requested the Speaker to protect the rights of MLAs and said they should be allowed to express their opinion. He said that the suspension of certain MLAs from the House was an extreme step and it should have been avoided.

He requested the Speaker to review the decision. The Speaker assured him to talk to all concerned, including Mr Badal and Mr Chowdhary Jagjit Singh, to resolve the issue.

Meanwhile, Mrs Laxmi Kanta Chawla, BJP MLA, lambasted the Badal government on the issue of crime. She said that the law and order situation in the state had worsened in the past few months and several hundred murders had been committed. Besides, several cases of kidnapping of children and rapes had been reported. She claimed that over 300 children were missing. She urged Mr Badal to post competent police officers in the districts.

Suspended MLAs of the Congress and CPI stage a demonstration in front of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha on Wednesday. Mr Ravi Inder Singh (second from right), a rebel MLA of Shiromani Akali Dal, is also seen with them in the picture. — Tribune photo by Manoj Mahajan


Jhuggis mushroom on govt land
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 14
Is Bathinda going the Chandigarh way? The answer is yes, if the profileration of colonies in the city and its outskirts is any indication.

The ‘powerhouse’ of Punjab may be a distant cousin to City Beautiful in terms of cleanliness, but it seems to share the same fate as far as encroachers are concerned. Most of the prime areas have been turned into shanties and despite assertions from the authorities that they are being vigilant about the matter, the ground realities show otherwise.

A round of the city reveals that jhuggis abound on vacant land belonging to the local improvement trust, property owned by the municipal council and the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA).

Sources said the problem can be gauged from the fact that the authorities have had to shelve the ambitious Town Hall building project when the land on the main road of the city was encroached by migrants. The foundation stone of the project was laid amid fanfare by former Chief Minister Beant Singh.

Presently clusters of jhuggis can be found along the Bathinda-Mansa bypass, Model Town area, Goniana road besides other localities in the city.

Most of the encroachers are migrants from Bihar and claim to be living here for the past many years and possess all requisite legal documents. Organised in petty trades, they are the nightmare of those who live nearby.

Residents allege that ever since jhuggis mushroomed there has been an increase in the incidents of petty crime. Small items left outside are stolen and even a complaint cannot be lodged about them with the police.

The unhygienic conditions due to the rearing of cattle and disposal of waste by them are a sorry reminder of the state of affairs today, rues an irate housewife of Model Town.

Police authorities, on the other hand, maintain that after the involvement of scores of dwellers was established in a kale kacchewale gang some months ago, they have stepped up vigil. “We have asked the officers, in whose areas jhuggi dwellers reside, to carry out periodical checks,” revealed an official.

Officials, however, said though the incidence of petty theft had gone up, but they were helpless.

An official said the demolition of a colony some time ago was an indicator of the lifestyle the dwellers enjoyed. Most of the houses had colour television sets, refrigerators, room heaters, coolers besides other electrical appliances. A majority of the estimated 3,000 families had monthly income in excess of Rs 10,000, which is “tax free” since they live on government land and draw power illegally.

The local Improvement Trust authorities and the municipal council maintain that they have regular squads for dismantling new encroachments, but added that political will was required for a permanent solution. Many of the dwellers are voters and had links with many political parties in the state.

Recently, a posse of policemen were severely beaten up by irate jhuggi dwellers, who pelted stones and bricks at a demolition team which had gone to get PUDA land vacated. Many cops had to be hospitalised in the attack, the sources said.

Interestingly, many multi-storeyed flats built by PUDA have been illegally occupied by enroachers who too claim political patronage and dare the authorities to evict them. Here too the authorities have expressed their helplessness.

PUDA authorities maintain they have tackled the problem and are constructing 1,200 units for rehabilitation of these dwellers.

Even as the authorities do their bit to tackle the menace, migrants are having a field day. As one official put it succintly, “for every jhuggi pulled down, two more come up in other parts of the town.”


Probe paper leakage, says telecom staff
Our Correspondent

Nabha, March 14
The National Union of Telecom Employees (class III) demanded a high level probe in the alleged leakage of question paper for the JTO’s screening test held on May 14, 2001 the Punjab Telecom circle which was conducted by BSNL (earlier known as DoT).

In a representation to Mr Ram Vilas Paswan, Minister of Communication, the union alleged that though Mr K.K. Chopra, Officer at the Vigilance Department, Chandigarh office of the BSNL, had started an enquiry into the paper leak yet during the course of inquiry, the result was declared on September 19, 2000 and thereafter the candidates had been sent for training. It was not known whether the inquiry was completed and report submitted to the Chief General Manager of Telecom (CGMT) or not before the declaration of the result (The union also questioned that Mr Chopra had completed the inquiry, then why the same inquiry was handed again over to Mr. A.S. Hundal, D.E. Vigilance Chandigarh in February this year. After the completion of the second inquiry, its report was submitted to the CGMT but no action had been taken so far.

The union requested the minister that the inquiry report submitted by Mr Hundel D.E. (Vigilance) might be called from CGMT, Punjab his (the minister’s) perusal and if he was not satisfied with that report then the inquiry should again be got done through some reliable agency.

The Department of Telecom (DoT) conducted a test for JTO’s at various centers of the Punjab circle i.e. Amritsar, Patiala, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Chandigarh. 


Agonising wait for power connection
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 14
Tej Ram of the local Balla Ram Nagar has been running from pillar to post for more than five months to get an electricity connection despite fulfilling all requirements as set by the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB).

Tej Ram has alleged that though the PSEB authorities make claims that they provide new power connections within three months of receiving applications, he has not got a connection so far.

He said he had written a number of applications to the officials concerned in this regard but in vain. “There is no electricity in my house for the past many months. It has become very inconvenient for my family, especially my children, whose examinations are going on,” he said.

The complainant has also written to the SDO concerned in this regard. He applied for a power connection on May 3, 2000, and deposited Rs 480 as connection fee. “I received a demand notice issued by the PSEB in August and deposited Rs 300 on September 5, 2000, as per the rules, he said.

He alleged that when he visited the PSEB office to enquire about his case, he was not entertained. A junior officer of the PSEB said that normally an electricity connection was provided in about two months and was unaware of any case which had been delayed.


Illegal shopping complex unearthed
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, March 14
Operation of a commercial complex secretly undertaken in a former bank building was unearthed today. A part of the building area was reportedly subdivided to construct a multi-storey shopping plaza while the front of the building was deliberately closed to passersby.

Nearly 40 shops are reportedly being carved from the godown of the complex. It is alleged that lakhs of Rs were exchanged between powerful political persons and corporation officials to turn a blind eye to the construction which started a month back in February.

The sanction plan of the building was not submitted, for the area of nearly 3000 square feet in the heart of the city commercial area.

The building was reportedly bought at more than Rs 2.5 crore by the present owner.

The shopping complex underway would garner an additional income in crores on completion.

Mayor Brij Mohan Kapoor when contacted was ignorant about the said construction. However, he later admitted that no sanction plan for the building was submitted by the owners in violation of building byelaws.

The Mayor issued a statement saying that a notice had been served on the owners today to stall further construction of the said complex unless an application for compounding the change of land use of the said godown was duly approved by the corporation.

The Joint Commissioner, Corporation, Mr Gurwaryam Singh also expressed ignorance of the ongoing construction activity in the said complex.

It is learnt that a former Minister of the ruling coalition, a Corporation high official and officials of the Town Planning wing had reached a monetary understanding to carry out the construction in a subdued and secret manner. An official of the Town Planning wing on conditions of anonymity said there were reasons to believe that many of the large operations were being carried out with the connivance of Corporation officials and this was just a tipof the iceberg.

Meanwhile, Mr Satish Kumar Vohra one of the owners of the area claimed that after being served notice by the corporation in February he had submitted the application of compromise to the corporation. However, he could not give acknowledgement of the application submitted by him and said that he had been misguided by some corporation officials.


Board scraps stadium project
K.K. Goyal

Mansa, March 14
The indecisiveness of the Planning Board, Mansa, over the construction of a sports stadium in the district has led to uncalled-for wastage of public money. The board has reportedly scrapped the project after spending over Rs 5 lakh on it.

In 1993, the then Deputy Commissioner had drawn up a scheme to build a stadium at an estimated cost of Rs 60.87 lakh on Khokhar road adjoining the local FCI godown. The construction of a shopping complex and a park was also planned in its vicinity. The Public Works Department started the construction following the release of Rs 5 lakh by the district Planning and Development Board, but the board took back the second instalment of Rs 2 lakh released by it earlier as the scheme was cancelled and the department was directed to stop work. At present the municipal council is using the project site for dumping garbage.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mrs Raji P. Srivastava, told this correspondent that the Planning Board had dropped the idea of building a stadium at the site.

Moreover, the site selected is near a burial ground for animals. The local Environment Society has demanded that the municipal council as well as the district administration take steps to clean the area.


BKI activist surrenders
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, March 14
Harpal Singh a resident of Teja Singhwala under Chabal police station, an activist of the Babbar Khalsa International has surrendered before the press. The SSP Tarn Taran told newsmen today here that the alleged activist was absent from area for the past nine years. During this period he managed to reach England illegally and married there. He has two daughters. He is running business in the UK. Now he has surrendered after long persuasion. He has been assured that he will be dealt with as per law.

The police officer said that during interrogation the alleged activist told that a rifle was snatched from his house in 1988 and terrorists group has fired upon his house. These circumstances had forced him to leave his house. So all these facts are being verified. All districts, police chiefs have been informed and asked, if he is wanted in any case by them. The SSP has appealed to the remaining absconding terrorists to surrender so that they could lead a peaceful family life, who are hiding themselves in foreign countries. 


Protest over move to beautify temple area
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 14
Protesting against the beautification plan of Durgiana Mandir, to be undertaken by the Improvement Trust, the Durgiana Sangharsh Samiti today took the streets, alleging that the trust was being non-committal about the compensation to be given to those who would be displaced in the process.

The president of the samiti, Mr Rajinder Bhalla, and the general secretary, Mr Vipan Sachdeva, while addressing the protesters decried the trust for serving them notices to vacate their premises without deciding on a reasonable compensation.

At least 300 business establishments are operational around the Durgiana Mandir. These mostly comprise photographers, halwais, religious book stores, garland makers, makers of ‘juttis’, prasad manufacturers, cloth merchants, etc.

A week ago, owners of all commercial units and residential premises in the area were served notices to vacate their buildings in view of the beautification plan.

Office-bearers of the samiti alleged that the trust chairman had been dilly-dallying on the compensation issue at the several meetings he held with samiti members. They threatened to go on fast if their land was forcibly occupied without a reasonable compensation.

At least 200 families will be affected by the move, either by losing their means of livelihood or their living quarters. They said the families in the residential or commercial premises were paying just Rs 50 to Rs 70 per month as rent to owners. Their earnings too were low.

In such circumstances, uprooting them was unjustified. They demanded negotiations with a public panel to decide the issue.

PSHRC for inquiry into ‘false’ cases
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 14
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) has taken cognizance of the complaint by the chairman of the Punjab Human Rights Organisation, Mr Ajit Singh Bains, regarding “false” cases instituted against Mr Narain Singh, president of the Akal Federation, and his family members.

Justice J.S. Sekhon of the PSHRC has ordered a stay on the submission of challan in the cases against the “aggrieved party” till the complaint is enquired into. The commission has also approached the Home Ministry, Punjab, to conduct an inquiry and submit a report to the PSHRC regarding the cases by April 26.


Vedanti condemns incident
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 14
Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, has taken a serious note of the burning of a portion of Tirlokpur (Kangra) gurdwara, by some miscreants.

According to Mr Prithipal Singh Sandhu, personal assistant, to the Jathedar Akal Takht, a fact-finding team had been despatched to Tirlokpuri.

The portion of the gurdwara was set ablaze after altercation between granthi Narinder Singh and an employee of the Irrigation and Public Health.

The Tirlokpuri police has reportedly arrested the granthi and Jasbir Singh, a sewadar of the gurdwara on charges of causing injuries to the Irrigation employee, Mr Sandhu alleged.


Labour Lok Adalat on March 17
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 14
In a move to speedily dispose of thousands of cases pending before the Patiala Labour Court, it has been decided to hold a Lok Adalat in this regard on March 17.

Disclosing this here yesterday, the Punjab Labour and Employment Secretary, Dr B.C. Gupta, said around 5,000 pending cases of the district would be taken up in the Lok Adalat which would be attended by the Punjab Legal Authority Chairman, Justice H.S. Bedi and the Union Minister for Labour and Employment, Mr Satyanarayan Jatiya.

He said a medical camp would also be organised on the same day at Rajpura which would target the labour in an unorganised sector.

Dr Gupta said this would be the second Lok Adalat being held in the state with the first already held at Ludhiana on January 19.

He said around 2,300 cases had been resolved in the Lok Adalat.

He also said it was expected that in the coming Lok Adalat a large number of cases would be resolved and a plea had been issued in this regard to government departments like the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) and the Municipal Council, both of which had a large number of cases pending in the Labour Court.

2 cops rewarded
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 14
The police has rewarded two officers, namely, Mr Barjinder Kumar, Sub Inspector, who is the in charge of Rampura police station and Mr Joga Singh, Sub Inspector, in charge of Bhuchu police chowki for exemplary service.

The SSP said while SI of Bhuchu police chowki helped save the lives of two labourers, who were trapped beneath sand, at the Lehra Mohhabat village last year, the SI of Rampura police station showed exemplary courage by extinguishing the fire which had gutted a shop in the main bazar a few days ago. Both officers have been given Class III appreciation certificates. Dr Jain, added.


2 killed in road mishaps
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, March 14
Parwinder Singh of Amargarh died on the spot when a truck (HP-12-2154) collided with his Maruti car (CHO12-3690) near the octroi post at Garhshanker, 40 km from here, last evening.

In another incident, Harbans Singh of Kang Mahi village was killed when a four-wheeler hit his cycle near Kakon last evening. 


New wheat policy ‘a gimmick’
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 14
The new wheat procurement policy, to be implemented by the state government appears to have few takers.

Under the proposed scheme, commission agents will place their demands for bags with the government following which they will distribute the bags among farmers. According to the scheme, the cleaning of the produce, its weighing and the stitching of bags will be done in the fields. Only then will the produce be allowed to enter the mandis and checked for quality by representatives of procurement agencies.

Mr Harnek Singh, state Vice-President, Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta), commenting on the scheme said it was not more than an election stunt and had been drafted keeping in mind the forthcoming Assembly elections in the state. Even the minimum support price (MSP) had not been disclosed by the government.

Though Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said he would be able to get on MSP of wheat at Rs 780, he knew it was not possible, Mr Harnek Singh alleged.

The Haryana Chief Minister had announced that if the produce was sold below the MSP, the state government would give bonus to farmers, but Badal had not bothered to do so.

He said instead of “creating” new schemes, the existing system should be made more functional.

Mr Lachman Dass Bansal, district president of the Arhtiya Association, said the scheme would not be successful. He said it was feasible for the farmers to get the produce cleaned and put in bags. The scheme would also create problems in credit rotation.

He said such experiments were done in the past also but they had failed. He suggested that as in the case of farmers, the arhtiyas should also be allowed to sell and transport wheat whereever they wanted to as this would maintain an balance between the produce and payment.

Rather than doing away with the arhtiyas, the market fee should be abolished.

“How can a farmer be supposed to do all tasks, from harvesting to cleaning to weighing to bagging etc on his own. It will be impractical as the process involves many persons and agencies,” he said.


Jojoba to be grown on barren lands
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 14
Under the “Barren Land Development Project” new saplings of Jojoba would be planted in various parts of the district to increase the forest cover.

This was stated by Mr Jaspal Singh, Deputy Commissioner, in a meeting of development committee. He said these plants had been brought from Mexico for their plantation in Rajasthan. These plants are of immense economical and commercial value. Its oil was used for manufacturing cosmetics and lubricants.


MC demolishes shopping complex

Kapurthala, March 14
The municipal authorities today demolished on unauthorised two-storeyed shopping complex situated in front of the bus stand here.

Municipal council executive officer Gurbinder Kaur who was supervising the demolition work in the presence of Executive Magistrate V.P. Singh Bajwa had to face tough resistance from the owners of the commercial complex who were threatening with dire concequences for demolishing the building.

Mrs Gurbinder Kaur told mediapersons that the municipal council had imposed a fine of Rs 32 lakh for the unauthorised construction which the owners failed to deposit despite reminders. She further told that the council gave a notice of demolition but the owners did not respond. PTI


15 kg poppy husk seized
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 14
The district police has arrested two culprits and recovered 15 kg of poppy husk from the accused.

Dr Jatinder Jain, SSP, a written note issued here today said that Nachttar Singh of Phul was found in possession of the poppy husk and in another case Shivjant Singh was arrested for possessions of 5 kg of poppy husk.

Cases under the NDPS Act has been registered against the accused.


Man hurt in attack dies
Our Correspondent

Barnala, March 14
Dalip Singh, 80, who had sustained head injuries in an attack on March 3, died at DMC, Ludhiana, on March 12.

Dalip Singh, his son Beant Singh, Gurnam Singh and Rajinderpal Singh were hurt when they were attacked by persons with swords and sticks in the local courts complex.

Dalip Singh, Beant Singh and Rajinderpal Singh are related to Harkanwal and Jagraj, who were allegedly involved in the abduction, rape and murder of Kiranjit.

Mr Ajaib Singh Kaleka, SSP, informed The Tribune that the case registered against the alleged culprits under Sections 307, 120-B, 148 and 149 of the IPC had now been converted into a case under Section 302.


Vet officer held for taking bribe
Our Correspondent

Mansa, March 14
Mr Gurmail Singh Neor, DSP (Vigilance Bureau) yesterday caught red-handed Dr Amrit Pal Singh, Veterinary Officer, Fatta Maloka village in the district, while accepting Rs 300 as illegal gratification from Mr Gulab Singh, son of Bachan Singh of Alike village.

The complainant had approached the officer to obtain a post-morterm report for his goats. The officer demanded Rs 300 from Gulab Singh, who approached the Vigilance Bureau. A case under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, has been registered against the accused.


Date for PCCTU poll extended
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, March 14
The last date for enrolment of members, elections of unit-level office-bearers and delegates of colleges has been extended from March 15 to March 31 by the executive committee of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union, it was learnt from PCCTU sources today. 

However, the PCCTU district-level and state-level elections would be held on April 22 and May 6, respectively, as per previous timetable, added sources.


250 players to be honoured
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 14
More than 250 outstanding players who brought laurels to the university at the international and national level will be honoured at the 31st annual sports prize distribution function of Guru Nanak Dev University to be held on March 17 at the Dasmesh auditorium of the university. 


Industrial units pulled up
Our Correspondent

Lalru (Patiala), March 14
A three-member committee, which was chaired by Mr A.K Mahajan, Chairman of Punjab Pollution Control Board heard public objections against local industrial units for polluting the environment of the area, here today.

The public meeting was organised to obtain ‘‘Environment Clearance Certificate’’ by a leather brake manufacturing factory and to take up public objections for issuance of the certificate. Keeping in view the public’s positive response, the factory was given a permit to run.

While addressing the public, Mr Mahajan disclosed that the state had over 14,000 industries and despite of shortage of staff, the board had been inspecting all the units at least once, after a gap of three months.

He disclosed that taking a serious view of some public complaints, the board had already issued notices to five industrial units located in the vicinity of Lalru for discharging their waste in the Ghaggar and the Jharmal rivers.

He also appealed the industrialists and residents of this area to plant more trees in the vacant land to make the environment pollution-free.

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