Tuesday, March 27, 2001,
Chandigarh, India

P U N J A B    S T O R I E S




Punjab economy ‘in bad shape’
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 26
“If the old WTO accord needs modifications, the NDA Government should aggressively lobby for these changes in Geneva,” says Dr Manmohan Singh, former Union Finance Minister, maintaining that neither the Central Government nor the State Governments like, Punjab, have prepared the people fully to face the challenges of the new economic environment.

Dr Manmohan Singh was here to preside over an interactive session with Dr Wolfgang Franz Danspeckgruber, a distinguished scholar from Princeton University in the United States of America on the issue of self-determination at the Sector 19 Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development here.

In an informal chat with The Tribune after the session, Dr Manmohan Singh said that Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, by a bilateral agreement with the USA has agreed to advancement in the application of the WTO regime. “This can be renegotiated,” he said holding that “personally I feel that the controversy over the WTO was exaggerated. There is a failure of both, the central and the state governments to take full advantage of the safeguards provided for in the earlier agreement.”

Dr Manmohan Singh said that Indian economy was slowing down. The growth of the agricultural sector was stagnant. The industrial sector , too, was the same. The only positive aspect was growth in exports.

Expressing concern over un-availability of funds and resources for research and development, he said that he was surprised that Punjab Agricultural University at Ludhiana had 90 per cent of its Budget eaten up by salaries alone.

“How can we modernise agriculture or make advances in extension education or research? We cannot sustain the present feel-good sector,” he said wondering at how Punjab would react to certain budgetary proposals which would have deep impact on the agro-economy of the State.

“Punjab must look at these proposals carefully. All components and elements of the proposals are to be gone through carefully and one should not rush through them. Both Punjab and Haryana must ask for details on the proposals relating to national food security as how the new system would work out. Both the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Indian National Lok Dal are partners in the NDA government at the Centre. We have worries both for Punjab and Haryana,” Dr Manmohan Singh said.

“Punjab,” he says, “needs strong dose of labour intensive environment friendly industrialisation. It has to improve the standard of its elementary and vocational education. I wonder why Punjab is lagging behind in Information Technology.

“It is not question of party politics. Aa far as growth or economic strategy for Punjab is concerned, we are prepared to work together,” declared Dr Manmohan Singh maintaining that he had never been approached by the present SAD-BJP government on restructuring the State economy or its future economic strategies. The present day world is harsh competitive world. For survival, Punjab will have to reorganise its education system. I wonder why Punjab is not doing well in textile industry. In hosiery other States have started doing well. The entire automobile industry, which should have been in and around Ludhiana, has gone to Tamil Nadu.”

Talking about tehelka tapes, Dr Manmohan Singh said that it had raised a fundamental issue of what type of “governance” we need in the country. Ordering an inquiry by a retired Supreme Court Judge is like sidetracking the issue. “When there is impeachable evidence against public servants for taking bribes, why not, straightway, register criminal cases against them.

Some time ago when the whole issue of flaws in defence deals was discussed in the Rajya Sabha, Mr George Fernandes had maintained that there was nothing wrong in the system and everything was above board. But within six months, the whole situation has take a different turn.

Assailing secretiveness, he advocated the need for much greater transparency in such sensitive matters.

Earlier, Dr Wolfgang Franz Danspeckgruber, who is travelling by road from New Delhi to Islamabad in Pakistan to interact with influential thinkers, from all possible walks of life on issues like self-determination, the role of integration, and the experience of partition-separation versus regional cohabilitation and interaction among various communities, not only talked about self-determination but also answered questions from participants on Indo-US, Sino-Indian and Sino-US relations in the changing global scenario.

Dr Danspeckgruber said that his particular interests concern regional security issues, with Kashmir in the primary education but security concerns on a larger extent as well, as they related to issues of nuclear dimensions, fundamentalism and organised criminal activity.

He is also credited with developing a hypothetical model of “self- governance plus integration” which he says he developed in view of his European experience, both in the Balkans and in the Caucasus, and as it concerns the EU and the OSCE. Dr Rashpal Malhotra, Director, CRRID, presided.


SAD-BJP alliance to stay: Badal
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, March 26
Mr Parkash Singh Badal said the facts behind the Tehelka expose would come to light within three-four months after the report of the inquiry headed by Justice K. Venkataswami, a retired Supreme Court Judge, which was constituted to probe into the allegations. He was talking to the correspondent at the Canal Rest House here today. He said the Tehelka episode would ‘not affect the constituents of the NDA government in the coming elections of five state assemblies.

Referring to the formation of a third front in the state, Mr Badal said the people of the state had already given their verdict in favour of the SAD-BJP candidates in Malwa, Majha and Doaba regions during the recent byelections of three segments of the state Assembly. Such fronts would not attract electorates as they know the reality.

Replying to a question he said that SAD-BJP alliance was for ever. The SAD alliance with the BSP was not possible under the prevailing conditions at the time of state assembly elections.

When asked about the passing of a condemnation resolution regarding the 1984 riots and Operation Bluestar at the recent session of the state assembly after four years of their coming to power, Mr Badal said the condemnation of wrong things could be done at any time. Replying to another question he supported the decision of the SGPC for sending Sikh jathas to Pakistan. It is worth mentioning here that Bibi Jagir Kaur is still opposing the sending of jathas to Pakistan in protest against the constitution of the Pakistan Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.

When asked whether he was satisfied with the recent support price of wheat announced by the Central Government he said the NDA government was pro-farmer.

Referring to the recent allegation of corruption levelled by Mr Kamal Chaudhry, former BJP MP against his wife, Mr Badal said a legal notice had been served on Mr Chaudhry in this regard. Either he would have to prove the allegation or tender an apology for his utterances against his wife.

Referring to the drought like situation in Kandi area of Hoshiarpur, Mr Badal said he had instructed the Deputy Commissioner to make assessment of losses occurred to the standing crops. Due compensation would be given to the affected farmers, he added.


House condemns Sonia’s remarks
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 26
The Punjab Vidhan Sabha today unanimously passed the Budget for 2001-02.

With only Treasury Bench members in attendance, as the Opposition stands suspended, only one member, Mrs Lakshmi Kanta Chawla, BJP, insisted on speaking after the Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, moved the Appropriation Bill.

He gave a brief reply to some of the issues raised by Mrs Chawla and announced a hike in the daily wages of Home Guards and SPOs from Rs 70 to Rs 90 per day.

The Leader of the House, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, moved a resolution condemning the utterances of the Congress President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, at the party’s Bangalore session, wherein she had called the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, a ‘’traitor’’.

The resolution was passed unanimously. It said calling Mr Vajpayee, who is a known patriot and a tall leader who lent strength to the country on becoming the Prime Minister creating a special niche and identity for Indians in the comity of nations and under whose leadership the countries of the world were keen on extending a hand of friendship, “gaddar” was an ‘’irresponsible’’ act. This was also proof of her being a foreign national since she had used such a word for a ‘’desh bhagat’’.

By such utterances she had not only displayed her political immaturity but also insulted all Indians. Such a comment had never been made against any Prime Minister. The House unanimously condemned the irresponsible act.

Earlier, during question hour, in a written reply it was revealed by the Punjab Health and Civil Aviation Minister, Raja Narinder Singh, that Rs 11,66,55,094 had been spent on airtravel by the Chief Minister within the country between 1997-98 and 2000-01.

The breakdown showed that the expenditure on a helicopter taken on lease from Pawan Hans Helicopter Ltd was Rs 11,17,82,177, on KingAir C-90 state aircraft, Rs 32,45,965, on aircraft/helicopter taken on rent from the BSF and the IAF Rs 14,12,370 and on Saraya Aviation Pvt Ltd Rs 2,14,582.

During zero hour, Mrs Chawla raised the issue of a girl who, along with her finance, had been killed and her widow mother’s FIR was registered only after the Punjab and Haryana High Court intervened. Despite her being taken to the Director-General of Police, no action was being taken due to ‘’political’’ interference by those who were out to grab 27 acres of land. Already 15 acres had been grabbed.

The Chief Minister stood up to assure that the Inspector-General of Police, Border Range, would inquire and report in the matter. The case belongs to Tarn Taran police district.

Mr Makhan Singh raised the issue of a dharna by the Punjabi Lekhak Sabha at Matka Chowk here today where well-known writers were objecting to “discrimination” against the Punjabi language by the Chandigarh Administration and non-release of money for the purchase of Punjabi books despite the annual allocation in the state Budget .

Mr Badal said the Education Minister, Mr Tota Singh was deputed to receive a memorandum from the writers. Capt Kanwaljit Singh said every year a Rs 1 crore grant was being released for the purchase of books. This was through the Rural Development Department.

Some members, including Mr Sohan Singh Bodal, raised the issue of drought that had affected wheat in the kandi belt of the state, demanding a special survey. 


PSEB to buy power from central pool
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 26
Though the summer season is yet to set in. Punjab has already started facing power crisis due to low generation of power at all hydroelectric projects in the state.

Due to low level of water in the reservoirs of various hydro-electric projects, caused by inadequate rain and snowfall in the past few months, the PSEB authorities had started imposing unscheduled power cuts in the state leaving people in the lurch.

Official sources said the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) authorities had decided to buy power from the central pool.

The sources added that the PSEB authorities had sent its requisition to the Ministry of Power to buy power from May 15. The PSEB authorities has asked the Ministry of Power to make arrangements to supply power which it would require in the state during the paddy and peak load season.

For this, the PSEB authorities had also been contemplating to buy power from the nuclear power plant situated in Narora (UP) and Kota (Rajasthan). The PSEB authorities would also get power from Himachal Pradesh in lieu of the power which it had been giving to that state during winter season.

According to information gathered by TNS, the PSEB authorities had asked the managements of all three thermal power stations of Punjab, including Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant (GNDTP). Guru Hargobind Thermal Plant (GHTP) and Ropar Thermal Plant (RTP) to carry out the annual repairs of all their units before April 29.

The managements had also been urged to carry out the annual repairs in turns so that power cuts during the non-paddy season could also be minimised. This had been done to run the units of every thermal plant effectively during peak season.

The sources said power generation at Ranjit Sagar Dam had been stopped while it had come down drastically at Bhakra Dam. There was plan to shut down the Mukerian Hydle Power Project for about three weeks due to low level of water in the Pong reservoir.

Senior PSEB officials revealed that power position would ease to some extent after the last irrigation of wheat fields was over. They added that they were also hoping that rain would hit the catchment areas of reservoirs of various hydro-electric projects in May.

At present annual maintenance was going on at one unit of the Ropar Thermal Plant and one unit of the Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant. After the unit of Ropar Thermal Plant started generating power again, one unit of GHTP would be shut for annual repair.

A senior official of the PSEB said in the coming paddy season, the PSEB would have to buy power at very high rates from various government agencies which would put extra financial burden on the PSEB which was already facing a resource crunch. 


Scheme will abet suicide, say legal experts
Pushpesh Kumar

Bathinda, March 26
The announcement made by the Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, that Rs 2.5 lakh each would be paid as compensation to families whose earning members have committed suicide seems to have snowballed into a major controversy as legal experts term the scheme as equivalent to abetment of suicide.

The state government has made a provision for Rs 2 crore in the annual plan. The government said the suicide cases would be identified and only after thorough investigations would the amount be given.

The scheme will come into effect from April and does not take into account previous cases of suicides.

Several rebel Akali leaders and social activists have criticised the scheme. Mr Vasudev Aggrawal, President, Peoples Law Forum, said in a written statement that the Indian Penal Code stated that the abetment of suicide was punishable under Section 306. “Whoever, either prior to or at the time of the commission of an act, does anything in order to facilitate the commission of that act and thereby facilitates the commission thereof, is said to aid the doing of that act,” Mr Aggrawal said, quoting the relevant Section.

Mr Chander Mohan Ruby, Vice-President of the forum, said it was clear from the documents that the provisions made by the state government amounted to abetment. Not every debt-ridden person committed suicide and in certain cases the amount of debt was less than Rs 2.5 lakh, so there was no need to give a compensation. It would be better if the amount of loan was waived, Mr Ruby said.

He said rather than giving compensation after the death of a family member, provisions should be made that such a situation did not arise.

Mr Aggrawal said if a person was unsuccessful in committing suicide, he was punishable under Section 309, IPC. But if he was successful, his family was to be awarded a compensation of Rs 2.5 lakh, which was a contradiction and amounted to abetment.

Dr Anuradha Kumar, the consultant psychologist, said if a person was in a state of depression, in addition to debt, the chances that he would commit suicide were very high. “When a depressed person will come to know that money given to his family as compensation will take care of them, he will be tempted to commit suicide. The suicide rate will surely increase,” she added.


Tohra’s conditions for Akali unity
K. S. Chawla

Ludhiana, March 26
The Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal chief, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, has adopted a rigid stand on the question of having unity with the ruling Akali Dal Chief, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and has categorically stated there cannot be any unity with the latter unless he appears at Akal Takht and seeks forgiveness for the violation of the hukamnama and reinstate Bhai Ranjit Singh as Jathedar of Akal Takht.

In an interview with The Tribune here today, Mr Tohra maintained that Mr Badal had got punished Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi and Mr Surjit Singh Barnala from Akal Takht and why was he not ready to appear before the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs when he had committed bigger sins than Mr Talwandi.

Mr Tohra reminded Mr Badal that during the 1980 election to the Lok Sabha a seven-member committee was formed by the five high priests to allot ticket to Akali candidates for the Lok Sabha election Mr Talwandi changed the ticket for the Ludhiana Lok Sabha seat and gave it to Mr Balbir Singh son of Sikh saint and revolutionary Bhai Randhir Singh. Mr Badal, he alleged, could not tolerate this and complained to Giani Sadhu Singh Bhaura then Akal Takht Jathedar Mr Badal complained to Akal Takht that Mr Talwandi had accompanied Mr Charan Singh the then Prime Minister on a tour of Punjab. The Takht Jathedar summoned Mr Talwandi to Akal Takht and punished him.

Similarly when Mr Surjit Singh Barnala sent the police into Golden Temple Mr Badal complained to the Akal Takht and Mr Barnala was summoned and punished. Later again Mr Barnala was given punishment by Akal Takht Jathedar Prof Darshan Singh when he (Barnala) did not wind up his Akali Dal on the direction of Akal Takht

Mr Tohra asserted that what was the fault of Bhai Ranjit Singh that he was first suspended by the executive and then removed by the general house of the SGPC. His only fault was that he had issued a hukamnama along with four other high priests for a truce till April 15, 1999 and celebrate the tercentenary of the birth of Khalsa unitedly.

The former SGPC chief said no jathedar of the Akal Takht had been removed in 396 years history. The jathedar of the Akal Takht could not be suspended or removed by the SGPC as he was not an employee of the SGPC.

Mr Tohra claimed that he had not removed any Jathedar during his tenure as president of the SGPC. Prof Darshan Singh submitted his resignation and his resignation was not accepted for two months. Bhai Jasbir Singh Rode was removed when he was in the jail. Giani Sadhu Singh Bhaura resigned as he became old.

Mr Tohra said under these circumstances there was no possibility of any unity with the Akali Dal led by Mr Badal. Mr Badal should first seek forgiveness by appearing before Akal Takht and reinstate Bhai Ranjit Singh as Jathedar of Akal Takht.

He charged that activists of the Sarb Hind Akali Dal were being tortured by the police and gave the example of Gursev Singh of Harpalpur village in Patiala district. He said there was a clash between two groups of workers of a factory at Bahadurgarh in Patiala district and one worker was injured badly. The police instead of taking action against the culprits helped them. Gursev Singh, who was going in a bus, was made to get down and beaten up mercilessly. The police had not arrested the culprits due to political pressure.


Commission on Tehelka farce: Joginder
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, March 26
Discarding the appointment of a commission to probe the corruption charges against political leaders and bureaucrats involved in the recent Tehelka expose, the former CBI chief Joginder Singh has favoured the registration of cases against all those whose names figure in it.

“The appointment of a commission is nothing but an effort to befool the people,” Mr Joginder Singh told The Tribune at DAV College here where he had come to participate in the college prize distribution function yesterday.

He said there was no need for a probe by a commission since it was clear from the video footing that certain people had accepted money. “What is the relevance of a commission when everything is happening before our eyes. In my view, in such matters a case should be registered straightway and the government agencies could initiate legal action against the accused under Section 311, IPC, Mr Joginder Singh said.

Speaking about commissions and the output given by such bodies, he said the country had witnessed constitution of as many as 215 commissions but none of these yielded any tangible result.

“The CBI has been investigating cases of corruption on court orders but no government is usually interested in proper investigation of corruption cases,” Mr Joginder Singh observed.

He further said the intricate election process had encouraged corruption and one solution to the problem could be making party funds free from any taxes.


Cong burns effigies of PM, Badal
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, March 26
More than 1,000 Congress activists led by former Punjab minister Santokh Singh held a demonstration and took out a protest march here today.

A rally was also organised in front of the SDM’s office.

Demonstrators burnt the effigies of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal after the rally.

Mr Santokh Singh demanded the resignation of the Union and Punjab Governments on moral grounds. He said people were disappointmented with the BJP government.

He said SAD-BJP government had failed on all fronts.

Commenting upon the move against encroachments by railway staff, he demanded compensation and rehabilitation of victims.


Badal not behind increase in MSP: Tohra
Our Correspondent

Patiala, March 26
The SHSAD President and former SGPC chief, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, today accused the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal of taking undue political mileage out of the recent hike in the minimum support price (MSP) of wheat.

Addressing a rally at Nabha, near here, he said an increase of Rs 30 in the MSP was an outcome of farmer’s consistent struggle and Mr Badal should not take any credit in this regard. He said it was the effort of various kisan unions and the recent dharna by the farmers in Chandigarh that had led to the hike.

Talking of the Tehelka expose, he said it had exposed the corruption in the NDA government. He said Mr Badal’s dream to turn Punjab into California had gone sour as there was a lot of resentment among the farmers. 


SAD-BJP govt ‘under attack’
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 26
Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, senior Akali leader and Member of Parliament, today said that opposition parties were provoking the general public against the BJP-SAD government in the state in order to disturb the peaceful atmosphere of Punjab.

Mr Bhunder, who was at Maisar Khana village of this district, to lay the foundation stone of the surrounding wall of the grain market and the animal hospital, said the public should remain alert against those parties which were making efforts to create communal tensions and to break Hindu-Sikh unity in the state.

He added that the business treaties signed at the international level would have a negative effect on the Indian economy and in order to overcome such problems, the farmers would have to make efforts to improve the agriculture produce. He added that the farmers should adopt scientific methods so that they could compete in the international market.

Mr Bhunder also announced a grant of Rs 5 lakh for development works in Maisar Khana village.


No factionalism in Punjab Cong: Vora
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, March 26
The AICC in charge for Punjab, Mr Moti Lal Vora, today said that the party would launch a countrywide agitation from March 31 following the tehlka.com expose demanding that the government should stepdown and the guilty be proceeded against. The first phase of the agitation would cover blocks and the district headquarters, lasting till April 11, whereafter, till April 14, it would be at the state level in the form of demonstrations and public meetings.

Mr Vora denied factionalism in the Punjab Pradesh Congress and said his party was prepared for the general election. He also denied the AICC President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, had used any “abusive” language as stated by the Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, the PPCC president, Capt Amarinder Singh, reiterated his stand on the WTO that Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Mr Om Prakash Chautala should meet the Prime Minister seeking India’s pullout from the WTO. On the wheat price, he said the cost of cultivation was higher than the procurement price. It was now for the Chief Minister to pay bonus to the farmers equal to the difference between what he and Mr Chautala were demanding, Rs 735 per quintal, and what the Centre had announced, Rs 610 per quintal.

On the “programming” of electronic voting machines, Capt Amarinder Singh said a writ petition would be shortly filed in the Delhi High Court.


HC issues notices on fly ash problem
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 26
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued notices of motion to the National Thermal Corporation, New Delhi, the Punjab Government, the Chairman, Punjab State Electricity Board, Patiala, the Punjab Pollution Control Board, Patiala, and Chief Engineer, Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant, Bathinda, to appear before the court on May 31, 2001, in connection with a public interest litigation (PIL) filed to tackle the problem of the raining of fly ash from the chimneys of the local thermal plant.

The PIL was filed by the Public Grievances Association (PGA), a social organisation fighting for the people’s cause.

Mr Sadhu Kushla, general secretary of the association, said here today that the fly ash was creating problems for the residents of the city.

He said according to a report of the medical experts, the ash was the cause of many eye ailments and breathing problems.

Mr Kushla said earlier their association had requested to the officials concerned of the thermal plant to find a solution to the problem, but they did not pay any heed to the request.

He said a report of the local office of the Punjab Pollution Control Board had stated that the quantity of the suspended particulate matter (SPM) was in excess of the prescribed limit in the ash.

He said when all their efforts proved futile, they had seek help from the court.


State unable to check social violence: experts
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, March 26
Dr Ashwani K. Ray, Senior Professor, Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, said today that the state was unable to counter social violence. He was inaugurating a seminar on “Ethnic politics in north-west India” organised by the Department of Political Science, Guru Nanak Dev University, here.

He said extremist politics in West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh could be ascribed to relative economic deprivation. But ethnic and social violence in Punjab was definitely an exception as Punjab, in comparison, was not a poor state.

In Punjab, the democratic aspirations of the people had transformed into “extremist position” following the 1984 riots in Delhi and other places in the wake of Indira Gandhi’s assassination.

Dr Gurpreet Mahajan, Professor, Centre for Political Studies, JNU, New Delhi, was of the view that the majority-minority syndrome did not involve the Indian State. She said perceived identity was not always identical. “We should recognise the space for difference. Democracy should contextualise the facts of ethnic conflicts. Multi-culturalism will facilitate accommodation of religious identities”.

Dr Gurnam Singh, Professor, Department of Political Science, Guru Nanak Dev University and convener of the seminar, said Guru Nanak was the founder of a distinct Sikh faith. Gurus, Guru Granth Sahib, martyrdom and pilgrim centres became distinct components of the Sikh identity”.

Dr S.S. Narang, Professor, Political Science, Guru Nanak Dev University, highlighted the fact that Sikh leadership as also the Sikh masses had a moderate disposition. Violence and extremism were unnatural to them. Yet the state reaction had always been negative.

Dr Kuldip Singh, Head, Department of Political Science, criticised from the methodological viewpoint, the studies done on extremist politics. He said poor understanding of methodology had introduced damaging biases in these studies, amounting to deliberate discounting of the ideological component of the militant movement.

Mr Ashutosh Kumar, Reader, Political Science, Panjab University, Chandigarh, in his paper “Towards an understanding of the Kashmir movement”, argued that the Kashmir imbroglio spoke of the insensitivity of the Indian State and the broken promises made by it. Dr Vidya Bhushan, Jammu University, talked of the Hindu perception of the Kashmir problem.

Prof Ranbir Singh, Kurukshetra University, highlighted casteism in Haryana politics Dr S.S. Tiwana, Punjabi University, Patiala enlisted the facts on discrimination which, when accumulated, assumed dangerously conflicting proportions.

Prof K.S. Sidhu, Punjabi University, Patiala, dwelt on the security considerations in the wake of ethnic conflicts.

Prof P.S. Verma, Panjab University, Chandigarh, underlined the fact that Akali politics was operating on the surface level with no understanding of the ground realities. Dr R.S. Sandhu, Dr Baljit Singh, Mr Raminderbir Singh and Miss Rupinder Kaur also presented their papers on different themes.

Dr H.K. Puri, former Professor of Political Science in the University here, participated in the deliberations.

The seminarians were of the considered opinion that there was an urgent need to establish a centre for Punjab studies in the Department of Political Science, Guru Nanak Dev University, for an in-depth study of various facets of Punjab politics. 


Discretionary grant for houses of SCs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 26
The Punjab Council of Ministers today passed a resolution condemning the utterances of the All-India Congress Committee President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, who had called the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, a ‘’traitor’’.

The council took exception to the use of such a word for a nationalist who had spent his life in the service of the country. The resolution regretted the immaturity and impetuous nature of the Leader of the Opposition who was unable to sift and analyse the facts before making a political statement.

The council, according to a press note, allowed the use of discretionary grants by ministers for enabling the purchase of land wherever required for manure pits, up to one marla, and houses, up to five marlas, for the Scheduled Castes. The ministers can also now give money to yellow card holders enabling them to construct houses. Some ground rules were made for that.

The council thanked the Prime Minister for the Rs 30 per quintal price hike in the case of wheat, for which procurement starts on April 1.

The council decided to take out of the purview of the Punjab Government Employees Conduct Rules, 1966, the following posts: Officer on Special Duty and Private Secretary (Political) to the Chief Minister, special assistant to minister, Chief Parliamentary Secretary and the Leader of the Opposition, cook and telephone attendant with minister and Chief Parliamentary Secretary.

The council released a grant of Rs 1 crore for the Hussainiwala memorial and Rs 25 lakh for a waterworks project in Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s native village (Khatkar Kalan).

All eligible persons would get new yellow cards within two months and during that period the old ones would also be renewed. The council extended greetings to the people on the occasion of New Year (Bikrami Samvat).


Official fears threat to family members
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 26
Mr Mohinder Singh, District Development Officer (Class I), has apprehended threat to his family members as rest of the culprits, involved in the sensational robbery, committed at his house in Vishal Nagar in Ludhiana had not so far been arrested by the police.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Mohinder Singh said though the district police chief, Mr Kuldip Singh, himself investigated the matter and got the main accused (a police cat) arrested but the low-ranking police officials were shielding the rest of the accused.

He denied that he had beaten up his maid, who was in the crime and was released on bail recently. He alleged that the maid was produced before mediapersons at behest of her alleged ‘accomplices’ who were roaming freely and were threatening his family on the telephone. He said he was posted at Amritsar while his family members were living in Ludhiana under constant threat to their lives.

Parmjeet Singh, father of Manpreet Kaur (maid), had alleged that Mohinder Singh had tortured his daughter and falsely implicated her in a robbery case.

Mr Mohinder Singh, alleged that Manpreet Kaur had, in the presence of residents of Vishal Nagar (Ludhiana) on January 24, a day after the robbery admitted that she along with six others had planned the robbery at his house. Later she was handed over to SHO, Sarabha Nagar. But the police had failed to take proper action against the accused so far. He said he had met the Chief Minister twice in this connection and he (Mr Badal) had spoken to the Ludhiana police, yet no action had been taken against the rest of the culprits.

He alleged that the maid had levelled serious charges against him so that he should not pursue the case.


Plea to set up Addl Dist Judge’s court

Fazilka, March 26
Thousands of poor litigants of this subdivision feel harassed as their long-standing demand of setting up a Court of Additional District Judge at here has not been met despite several pleas by lawyers and the people of the area.

According to figures available from reliable sources, there are about 100 legal cases every month which go for appeal to the Court of District and Sessions Judge, Ferozepore. Since more than a 1,000 cases are filed in a year at Ferozepore from this subdivision, an estimated 200 litgants and about two dozen lawyers have to commute to Ferozepore for these cases daily.

Mr Rajesh Kumar Angi, former President of the local Bar Association, has in a statement here today urged the Punjab and Haryana High Court to set up a Court of Additional District Judge here soon in view of the grievances of the lawyers and litigants who are compelled to perform a tardy journey of 90 km to Ferozepore.

The Punjab Roadways bus service is poor on this monopoly route as no private buses ply, alleged Mr Angi. Besides this, he said many a time the lawyers in the Ferozepore court are on strike. Therefore, their visits go futile. Hence the process of delivering justice to litigants becomes costlier and administration of justice is delayed to them. Mr Angi said the Supreme Court of India had laid clear guidelines to impart justice to the people of India at their doorsteps. For this purpose, Lok Adalats had been set up and a practical shape could be given to these guidelines with the setting up of a Court of Additional District Judge here, observed Mr Angi.


Inter-caste marriage: rights panel takes cognisance
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 26
Taking cognisance of a complaint of Mr Ajay Kumar Sharma in a case of harassment due to an inter-caste marriage the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) has registered a case under the provisions of the Protection of Human Rights Act 1993.

The PSHRC, on the orders of Justice V.K. Khanna, has directed that a copy of the order and complaint be sent to Principal Secretary, Home, and Inspector General Police, litigation, to report its findings within four weeks of receiving this report.

In addition, a similar copy should be sent to the SSP, Amritsar, and his report too was directed to be submitted to the commission within four weeks.

Ajay Kumar Sharma, a resident of Green Avenue, complained that he was married to Manven Narula in an inter-caste marriage on October 25, 1998.

His wife was detained by her father and was released only after orders of Mr Justice R.L. Anand of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. In January this year, when the complainant was blessed with a boy it is alleged that the girl’s (Manveen’s) father along with two others tried to kill him and his family.

Thereafter his father-in-law, Ajay Sharma allegedly in the complaint started harassing him. Apprehending threat to his and his family’s life, Ajay Sharma has sought help from the PSHRC. 


Probe misuse of SGPC vehicle: Mann
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 26
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President of the Akali Dal (Amritsar) and member of the SGPC, has asked Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, president of the Shiromani Committee, to order a probe into the alleged misuse of the official (SGPC’s) vehicle, which met with an accident near Bareily killing Balbir Singh Pannu, former senior vice-president of the committee, and four others travelling along with him.

Mr Mann urged the SGPC to probe that on whose orders the vehicle was sent to Bareily without the official driver. He alleged that liquor was being carried in the vehicle.

The SGPC must disclose the identity of the persons, who were killed along with Pannu in the accident. “The Sikh sangat has been asking these questions, which need to be answered immediately”, he said.


Employees hold rally against disinvestment
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 26
The activists of the National Fertilisers Employees Union (NFLEU) held a rally here today in the city to protest against the proposed disinvestment in the profit-making public sector undertakings (PSUs).

Mr Naib Singh, president of the union, said the decision of the Union Government to disinvest its stake in the profit making PSUs was “unfortunate” and “uncalled for”. The NFL had earned a profit of Rs 2282.35 crore, had paid a dividend of Rs 250 crore and paid taxes worth Rs 286 crore to the Central Government. This was despite the fact that the total equity of the Union Government was only Rs 490.58 crore, added Mr Naib Singh.

Mr Labh Singh, general secretary of the union, said the company had established the Vijaypur plant-II and extended the Nangal plant without any aid from the Central Government and had managed the finances of its own. The NFL had played a key role in the green revolution and had earned many awards for its performance and quality from various agencies.

The union would observe a one-day strike in association with the employees’ unions of Nangal, Sonepat, Vijaypur and Noida, added the leaders. The decision of the government would affect about 7,000 workers of the PSU. The total worth of the plant, machinery, land, equipment etc stood at more than Rs 7,000 crore, but the leaders alleged that it would be sold off at a price below the actual worth of the company as was done with BALCO and the Modern Foods Limited.

The rally was started from the Hanuman Chowk of the city and after passing through the markets concluded at the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Chowk. The activists were carrying banners, posters, handouts, and pamphlets against the NDA alliance at the Centre.


Bashir Badar, Hina steal show
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, March 26
Eminent Urdu poet Dr Bashir Badar and Hina Taimoori virtually stole the show in the All-India Urdu Mushaira organised here last night by the local Rotary Club and Adeeb International in the memory of the late B.K. Sardana, former Managing Director of Sukhjit Starch and Chemicals Ltd.

The dichotomy of urban life, the uprooting from rural moorings, degeneration in politics, social disaffection, deprivations of poverty, evils of consumerism, degradation of human value, stress in man-woman relations, commercialisation of relations, need to respect elders and preserve our cultural heritage, requirement to properly understand younger generation in the age of a yawning generation gap and various religio-socio-economic issues related to masses dominated the thematic concern of various ghazals, poems and nazams read out at the mushaira which concluded around 1 a.m. last night.

Winners of half a dozen awards, including the Padam Shree, Dr Badar was lustily cheered for his couplet epitomising the burning desire for a change:

“Mai tamam tarey utha utha ke gharib logon mein baant doon,

Kahin ik raat woh asman ka nizam dey mere haath mein”.

All of his couplets earned repeated “wah wah”, but the following bowled over the audience completely: — "Isi shahr mein kai saal se merey kuch karibi aziz hain, unhey meri koi khabar nahin, mujhe unka koi pata nahin”.

Hina Taimoori from Agra mesmerised the audience with her melodious voice and ghazals sung in tarannum:

“Ham se adab jine ke sikho, ham buzurgon mein baithey bahut hain,

Naujawano ki majboorian hain, sochtey kam samjhatey bahut hain.”

Prof Azad Gulati from Gurgaon also caught the attention of the audience with his ghazals recited in a powerful style. Young Sohail Lucknavi’s advice to devisive forces drew a loud and a long applause. Malikjada Javed imparted a new colour to “mahaul” when he exhorted the elders: — “Buzurgon se kaho ab raham kar den, hamari nasal par karza bahut hai”. Humorous and popular satirist Meruti made the audience laugh with his “Hasyarasi” poems.


Brick-kiln workers stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 26
Nearly 200 members of the district unit of the Lal Jhanda Punjab Bhatha Mazdoor Union, led by Comrade Dev Raj Verma, Joint Secretary of the Punjab unit of the CITU, today took out a protest march through the town and staged a dharna in front of the office of the Assistant Labour Commissioner (ALC) here to get their demands accepted and implemented.

They were demanding wages according to the rate fixed by the government plus bonus, provident fund facility for the workers, eight hours’ duty, attendance of the workers at the brick-kilns, and implementation of the Factory Act on the brick-kilns.

Addressing the dharna, Comrade Verma said the union had submitted a demand notice, comprising demands of the brick-kiln workers, to the ALC on January 15 last, but to no avail so far.

He also criticised the functioning of the ALC saying that he did not visit the brick-kilns to check the conditions of the workers and the brick-kilns.

Comrade Verma also announced if the owners of the brick-kilns did not turn up to have talks on the demand notice at the ALC’s office, they would stage a dharna in front of the residence of the President of the District Brick-Kiln Owners Association.

He also called upon the workers to unite on a platform to fight for the success of their agitation and get the demands accepted.

Among others who also addressed the dharna were Mr Bant Singh Namol, a leader of the Kisan Sabha, Mr Ram Singh and Mr Balbir Singh, president and general secretary of the district unit of the Bhatha Mazdoor Union, respectively. 


Convention on human rights held
Our Correspondent

Barnala, March 26
In order to bring awareness among rural people, the Human Rights Wing of the district Sangrur unit of the Congress organised a convention on human rights and duties at Sherpur village, about 20 km from here, yesterday. Mr Umrao Singh, former minister, was the chief guest.

Addressing people Mr Umrao Singh said because of a nexus among criminals, politicians and bureaucrats in the state the violation of human rights had acquired alarming proportions. The crime against women and children was on the rise, he added. He said custodial deaths were also increasing in the state.

Mr Manish Sehgal, secretary of the Punjab Congress Human Rights Wing, urged the rural people to be conscious of the human rights. He said the wing had sought amendments in the Indian Evidence Act as the police was violating norms pertaining to the arrest of a person in the state.


Josh seeks action against Vedanti
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 26
In a hard-hitting statement Mr Puran Singh Josh, member, SGPC, said either the book “Guru Bilas Pathshahi 6” edited by Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti, Akal Takht Jathedar, be recognised and deemed “correct” or exemplary action be initiated against Jathedar Vedanti and others who had showered praises on the book in its foreword. They included Bhai Ranjit Singh, a former Jathedar, Akal Takht, Mr Gurcharn Singh Tohra, the then president of the SGPC, Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar Kesgarh Sahib, Giani Kewal Singh, Jathedar, Takht Damdama Sahib, Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, the then acting SGPC president, and Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, the then SGPC secretary and others.

Mr Puran Singh threatened that if the SGPC failed to bring to task the persons connected with “the book” or those who had praised it in glowing terms, he would bring the objectionable portions of the book to Akal Takht and any situation arising thereafter would be the responsibility of the SGPC.


Private parties to maintain monuments
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 26
Maintenance of monuments of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s time will be handed over to private parties.

Mr Inderjit Singh Sandhu, Director, Punjab Tourism, Cultural Affairs, Archaeology and Museums, yesterday expressed the government’s inability to carry on their maintenance expressed the government’s inability to carry on their maintenance due to financial crisis. As a result 59 such monuments were likely to be adopted by the private parties who would be allowed to advertise in lieu of maintenance.

The Director said private parties had already been invited to undertake maintenance of the monuments.


2 killed in mishaps
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 26
Two persons were killed and one was injured seriously in different accidents in the district today.

In the first incident Mr Harbans Singh was killed and Mr Dalbir Singh injured when a truck hit their scooter near Bhuchu Khurd village on the Bathinda-Barnala road.

The injured was admitted to the Civil Hospital by the Sahara Jan Seva Club volunteers.

In the other incident, Mr Malkit Singh (60) of Ganiana village was run over by a train and killed near Rampura while he was crossing the railway track. 


Date for industrial plots extended
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 26
The Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC) has extended the last date for the receipt of applications for the allotment of industrial plots at the Focal Point, Amritsar (New). Applications can now be submitted till April 5. The Focal Point is being developed on around 325 acres.


Former Air Vice-Marshal bereaved
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 26
Mrs Tej Kaur, mother of Air Vice-Marshal (retd), Manjit Singh Dhillon, Vir Chakra awardee, died here last morning after a prolonged illness. She was 82 and was undergoing treatment in the local Military Hospital.

She is survived by three sons and husband. Her funeral was largely attended.


No bonus on wheat: Dhindsa
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 26
Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers, yesterday said that the Punjab Government was not in a position to pay bonus on wheat to the farmers as it was already providing power and water free of cost for irrigation purposes to farmers in the state.

On whether the Punjab Government would announce bonus on wheat after a meagre hike in minimum support price of wheat by Rs 30 per quintal, Mr Dhindsa told mediapersons that the hike in minimum support price for wheat by Rs 30 per quintal, despite the recommendations of the Commission of Agriculture Costs and Prices to reduce the support price up to Rs 60 per quintal, showed that the Vajpayee and Badal governments were ‘pro-farmers’.

In the ensuing wheat season there would be no problem of storage of wheat as the Punjab Government had already made it clear to the procurement agencies to keep the godowns and plinths ready for storage.

He also said all arrangements had been made to purchase wheat crop.


Strawberry seminar draws farmers
Raj Sadosh

The IFFCO Chairman, Mr Surender Kumar Jakhar, was delighted to see a good number of young educated farmers attending the two-day seminar on strawberry cultivation which concluded at the Central Institute of Post-Harvest Engineering and Technology (CIPHET) here recently. A woman was also present. Another woman Mrs Karamjit Kaur had been honoured at the state-level citrus show recently for best care of the kinnow orchard. This speaks volumes of changing scenario in farming in this subdivision which had been known widely as a desert with adversities. The guest of honour at the opening session, Dr G.S. Chauhan, a former Director of the Regional Fruit Research Station here, said the credit for the change went to Mr Bal Ram Jakhar who was instrumental in getting CIPHET project sanctioned for this area in his capacity of Union Agriculture Minister.

Dr Chauhan said Abohar now boasted of contributing 70 per cent in fruit production in the state. Kinnows grown here were considered the best in the country and could compete with the produce of Layalpur (Pakistan) if adequate irrigation facilities were provided.

Dr Chauhan regretted that farmers who opted for the drip irrigation system to save water and ensure effective irrigation had not been provided post-installation care service by the companies.

Mr Jakhar said 70 per cent population of our country was involved in agriculture, yet agriculture had not been introduced as a complete subject at the school or college levels. The farmers needed educated sons to keep computerised records of inputs used in cultivation, produce and sale, besides latest information on advanced techniques to make agriculture/horticulture fully viable.

He said that strawberry was one of the most important soft fruits of France which India and China too adopted in a big way.

Ten years back, the Himachal hills were considered most suitable for strawberry cultivation but now plains in Haryana and Mansa, Kapurthala, Abohar areas too cultivated the fruit. But Maharashtra farmers were better awakened and efficient in its cultivation and marketing than Punjab. Strawberry needed better marketing facilities as well as air conditioned vans for transporting this highly perishable fruit which did not have a good market in Punjab.

Dr Rajbir Singh and Dr Ram Asrey advised the participants to grow plants in September after thoroughly ploughing the soil. Irrigation is one of the most crucial factors for success.

Tubewell water should never be used for irrigation, flooding of field with canal water was equally risky and microsprinklers should be avoided during flowering as it hampers flowering and may cause rotting of the fruits. Strawberry is a labour-intensive crop. If the farmer failed to visit the field for three days, he may not find anything there on the fourth day.

Dr Rajiv Kumar Jain, in charge of CIPHET, said the centre had Rs 12 crore for three projects under a World Bank-funding scheme.

In the next financial year, activities related to research and extensive education/training would be held for farmers.

Dr V.K. Bhagwat, in charge, Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Dr Dinesh Singh and Dr Ashwani Kumar also addressed the seminar. 


Council opposes govt directive
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, March 26
In an interesting case, the local Nagar Council today unanimously opposed the directive of its own department for allocating sites to the Excise Department for seven liquor vends. In what can be an embarrassing situation for the Local Bodies Department of the state, the house of the council asserted that the government directive of March 21 for leasing out sites for vends was violative of the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and that the council could not be a party to this violation and thus invite contempt of court.

Mr K.L. Gabha, President, Mr Gurbachan Singh Walia, Senior Vice-President and Mr Ram Saroop Arora, Vice-President of the council, told a joint press conference that the directions even violated the government’s own rules that no liquor vend be allocated at sites less than 300 metres from any religious place or a school. Since many such places were situated on G.T. Road, the allocation could not be done, asserted the council office-bearers. Even public opinion was opposed to such allocation and the constituents were against opening of vends on G.T. Road, they said.

On the one hand, the council had been obliged to refund an amount of Rs 13.50 lakh in deference to the court’s directions not to permit display of hoardings on the National Highway, how can the municipality allot sites for liquor vends on the same highway, asked the council trio. The vends could distract the attention of drivers and thus cause accidents, they added.


PUDA to construct dist admn complexes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 26
The Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) has decided to construct district administrative complexes ( DAC) in the state.

The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had announced some time ago the construction of ultramodern DACs at important stations like Patiala, Hoshiarpur, Bathinda, Moga, Gurdaspur and Kapurthala. The construction of these complexes is to be undertaken by PUDA and funded exclusively out of the sale proceeds of properties transferred to PUDA under the Optimum Utilisation of Vacant Government Lands (OUVGL) scheme.

Giving details, an official spokesman of PUDA stated that a meeting today decided to allot the work in respect of the DAC Patiala to Nagariuna Construction Co., a Hyderabad-based company. The work was expected to be completed at a cost of Rs 20.06 crore. Similarly, work on the DAC Hoshiarpur was decided to be allotted to ERA Construction Co., New Delhi, for an amount of Rs 18.87 crores.

The Committee of the Chief Secretary also approved the conceptual design in respect of the DACs at Moga and Gurdaspur prepared under the supervision of the Chief Architect, Punjab, Mr R.P. Luthra, The architectural design in respect of the DAC, Bathinda, which has been prepared by PUDA under the supervision of its Senior Architect, Mr S.L. Kaushal, was also approved. Work in respect of these three DACs is likely to be allotted soon after competitive tendering.

In order to take care of any eventuality on account of earthquakes, the committee also decided to approve the adoption of the structural design of all multistoreyed buildings one zone higher than prescribed in the ISI code. Those who attended the meeting included Mrs Shyama Mann, Financial Commissioner (Revenue) Mr A.K. Dubey, Principal Secretary, Housing and Urban Development, Mr R.I. Singh, Secretary, Industries, Mr Mohinder Singh, Secretary PWD (B&R), Mr K.B.S. Sidhu, Chief Administrator, PUDA, Mr C. Roul, Special Secretary, Finance and Mr N.S. Sodhi, Technical Adviser PUDA.


14 held, 92 kg poppy seized
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 26
The district police has arrested 14 persons and seized more than 92 kg poppy husk, 28 litres wine, 40 kg lahan, and Rs 6,260 from them during a campaign launched against the illegal use of drugs.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Jatinder Kumar Jain, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) said the police had also discovered an illegal distillery from Pacca Kalan and had registered 13 cases against the accused.

Mr Jain pointed out that the police had seized 60 kg poppy husk from Kikkar Singh, a resident of Dyalpur village of this district, and registered a case under the NDPS Act. He added that the police had seized 10 kg poppy husk from Darshan Singh, a resident of Mansa Kalan, 10 kg poppy husk from Santa Singh, a resident of Mansa Kalan and 12 kg poppy husk from Gamdoor Singh, a resident of Jassi Pau Wali.

The SSP said Charna Singh, a resident of Phoolo village, Tara Singh, a resident of Bir Talab village, Leela Singh and Sri Chand, both from Pacca Kalan, had been arrested and the police had recovered 27 litre wine from them. He added that Rajpal, a resident of Hans Nagar, Kulbhushan, a resident of Poojan wala mohalla, Vishava Mittal of Poojan wala mohalla, Baldev Raj, a resident of Hargobind Singh Nagar and Tek Chand had been arrested under the Satta Transaction Act and Rs 6,280 had been seized from them.


1 kg explosive, fake currency seized

Amritsar, March 26
The BSF foiled Pakistan’s attempt to escalate violence in this border district with the recovery of 1 kg plastic explosive along with fake currency worth Rs 70,000 in the Khalra sector of the Tran Taran police district last night.

This was disclosed by the SP (Detective), Mr Surinder Kalia, while talking to newspersons at Tarn Taran, 24 km from here, today. Faquir Singh of Padhari village has been rounded up in this connection, he said.

A BSF jawan noticed some movement during midnight and opened fire. However, no one was injured. But a search revealed a packet which was thrown from across the fence into the fileds of Narli village.

The BSF authorities handed over the packet to the police which contained the explosive and fake currency. Faquir Singh who was moving there in suspicious circumstances has been arrested.

A case has been registered. UNI


Sacrilege: main accused held
Our Correspondent

Patiala, March 26
Sanjeev Bhardwaj, president of the All-India Hindu Suraksha Samiti and main accused in the burning of religious scriptures, was arrested by the police here today.

The district police Chief, Mr Harpreet Singh Sidhu, confirmed the arrest. He said the police acting on a tip-off, laid a trap near the Rajpura octroi post today and nabbed Sanjeev. The other accused, Sanjeev Babla, was still at large.


Brothel unearthed, 4 arrested
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, March 26
The police has unearthed a brothel in Pathankot city and arrested two men and two women under the Immoral Traffic in Women Prevention Act.

Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP, said today that the police on a specific information conducted raid on a house in the Bank Colony at Pathankot on March 24 and arrested two men and two women.

The arrested persons had been to identified as Dimpal Sharma of Ghiala, Sushma of Sujanpur, Paramjit Kaur of the Bank Colony and Khem Singh of Salowal, all in the district.


Bangladesh agent evading arrest
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, March 26
Kalu, an agent and native of Bangladesh, has been eluding arrest for the past three years for bringing persons from Bangladesh and West Bengal on the assurance of helping them to cross over to Pakistan from border districts of Punjab. A number of cases have been registered against him in this connection.

According to sources, the accused allured innocent persons to help them cross over to Pakistan on the assurance of getting them goods jobs. He accompanied them up to the border and showed them way to Pakistan border from where they were carried to Pakistan by his contact man. The innocent persons were, however, often invariably arrested by the vigilant BSF officials.


Truck Union chief, 10 others booked
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 26
The local police today registered a case against the president of the local Truck Union and 10 others under Sections 290, 352, 355, 379 and 341 of the IPC. They have reportedly been booked in connection with the man-handling of Mr Hem Raj Bansal, a local mill owner, and for some other offences related to the incident.

Members of the local Rice Millers Association and the Sangrur Industry Chamber have been agitating for the past few days alleging that the president of the Truck Union and some others had beaten up and threatened to kill Mr Hem Raj Bansal on March 22 on the Ubhawal road, near here.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Jagdish Raj Bansal, president of the Sangrur block of the District Industrial Chamber, said in view of the registeration of the case they had postponed their agitation.


Sec 144 imposed near exam centres
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 26
Mr Jaspal Singh, District Magistrate-cum-Deputy Commissioner, has imposed Section 144 near the examination centres in the district, where the students of class X and XII are taking examinations.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Jaspal Singh said Section 144 had been imposed so that the students could take their examinations peacefully and without any problem. He added that all officials concerned had been given instructions to ensure that no person could go near the centres.

Mr Japsal Singh pointed out that the Subdivisional Magistrate and the Tehsildar, would check the examination centres and if anyone was found standing near it, disciplinary action would be taken against the officials concerned.

He said the orders would remain effective from March 22 till the date of the last paper.


PCCTU strike today
Tribune News Service

Teaching staff of 165 colleges of Punjab and seven in UT will observe “total cease-work” tomorrow to protest against the non-implementation of the pension and gratuity scheme.

An official press statement of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union here said today that teachers would reach the Parade Ground, Sector 17, from where they would march towards the Punjab Assembly.

The PCCTU has urged the Chief Minister to honour his commitments and those made by Master Mohan Lal, Minister for Higher Education, Punjab.

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