Friday, March 30, 2001, Chandigarh, India
P U N J A B    S T O R I E S




Extradition process begins
Action against Jassi’s kin
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 29
The process of bringing to book all persons responsible for the sensational murder of NRI girl Jaswinder Kaur Jassi, has entered the final phase with the initiation of extradition proceedings against the mother and uncle of the deceased. The Sangrur police last week set the ball rolling for bringing to India Canadian citizens Surjit Singh Bidesha and Malkit Kaur Sidhu, uncle and mother of the deceased girl, who, as per the police investigations are the main conspirators in the crime. The duo, while in Canada had allegedly hired contract killers. Jassi was killed near Malerkotla last year.

The extradition proceedings have been sent to the state government through the state Police Department which will sent these to the Union Government.

The Sangrur, SSP Mr Jatinder Singh, said the extradition proceedings had been started. As many as 11 persons had been arrested in the case.

The case which hogged media attention last year due to the involvement of contract killers and the barbaric method of executing the crime assumed significance early this year when one of the main accused, Sub-Inspector Joginder Singh, formally posted at the CIA, wing here, in a press report threatened that if caught, he would “expose” several senior officers involved in the crime.

Jassi’s husband, Mithu, who had a miraculous escape, had accused the police of not starting the extradition proceedings. Mithu has been attacked twice after the murder. In an interview with The Tribune, Mithu had said he was under pressure for taking back the case at the behest of the duo in Canada.

The murder took place early last year. A number of persons attacked Jassi and Mithu near Malerkotla with swords and lathis.

Mithu, an autorickshaw driver, married Jassi, an NRI, after they fell in love, against the wishes of Jassi’s parents.


12 hurt in lathi charge, ADC to probe
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, March 29
Over 12 residents of local Basti Sheikh colony and a number of SAD-BJP workers, who were sitting on dharna at Football Chowk to protest against the arrest of six persons for the alleged burning of two MC vehicles on Tuesday night, were injured when the district police resorted to lathi charge to disperse them this afternoon.

After hearing the news that the district police had arrested six persons, more than 300 residents, including women and SAD-BJP workers, blocked the traffic and sat on dharna at Football Chowk on the G.T. Road this afternoon.

Those arrested persons were identified as Gurdial Singh Sandhu, Charanjit Singh, Raunaq Singh, Surjit Singh, Pankaj Midda and Bhupinder Lucky.

The residents raised anti-police slogans and demanded immediate withdrawal of false cases and release of detainees. Trouble started after Mr Rakesh Kaushal, DSP, appealed to the residents to lift the dharna but to no avail. After this he ordered the police force to cane charge the protesting residents.

As the residents ran for cover, the cops chased them using their lathis freely. Some of the retreating residents pelted stones at the police. The injured were admitted to the local Civil Hospital. Mr Vijay Marwaha, president of Geeta Mandir, who received injuries on his hand and has been admitted to the Civil Hospital, alleged that DSP Rakesh Kaushal himself lathicharged and abused him and alleged that he was the ring leader of the protesters.

Earlier, the district police had registered a case against an Akali councillor Kamaljit Singh Bhatia and his associate for their alleged involvement in burning two MC vehicles and manhandling the drivers on Tuesday night, when the MC officials were trying to dump the garbage collected from different parts of the city on the road at Basti Sheikh.

The residents had gone on rampage and damaged the vehicles. According to the residents, the dumping of garbage in their area had become a health hazard for the last seven months.

Meanwhile the leader of SAD councillors, Mr Gurcharan Singh Narula, and Chairman of local Improvement Trust Mr Sarabjeet Singh Makkar, criticised the lathi charge on the protesting residents and alleged that local administration and the police were instrumental in bringing bad repute to the SAD-BJP government by resorting to such barbaric acts. The duo demanded that DSP Rakesh Kaushal should immediately be placed under suspension and an inquiry should be made against his conduct.

While admitting that the incident had brought bad repute to the state government especially when the Assembly elections were round the corner, Mr Makkar said, “Though I had several rounds of meetings with the Deputy Commissioner and SSP in the last two days and asked them not to arrest any person since he is trying to settle the issue among civic officials and the residents. But they have failed to manage the situation.”

Meanwhile, the drivers union and Safai Sewak Union of the local Municipal Corporation went on an indefinite strike demanding immediate arrest of Mr Kamaljit Singh Bhatia, an Akali councillor, for allegedly beating the MC drivers and burning the MC vehicles on Tuesday night. All 78 drivers of garbage collection vehicles and 1000 safai sewaks participated in the dharna in front of the MC office today.

While Mr Gaurav Yadav, SSP, was not available for comments, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr K.Shiva Parsad, when contacted, said he had ordered a magisterial inquiry to be headed by the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr Parveen Kumar, to probe into the incident.


Shanta reluctant on Punjab officer for FCI
A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
A struggle is on in the Union Food Ministry to choose a successor to Mr D.P. Reddy, Senior Regional Manager, Food Corporation of India, Punjab region, who has been reverted to his parent state.

As a matter of fact, Mr Reddy stands relieved from his present assignment with effect from Tuesday, but he has been asked to stay on for some time more till his successor joins duty. The new incumbent, an officer of the FCI, Mr H.L. Prashad, is expected to join duty in a couple of days.

The Union Food Minister, Mr Shanta Kumar, is said to be looking for an officer who does not belong to Punjab because of the belief in some quarters that Punjab-cadre officers tend to “favour” their parent state during procurement operations due to pulls and pressures from the political government of the day. This, in turn, is reflected in less than satisfactory performance during the procurement operations.

According to another school of thought in the FCI, a Punjab-cadre officer is best suited to head the FCI in Punjab because of his wide contacts with officers and his familiarity with the agricultural scene in the state. The Punjab region of the FCI has traditionally been headed by a Punjab-cadre officer so far.

The official procurement agencies are at present saddled with lakhs of tonnes of paddy which does not meet the original specifications laid down by the Government of India. Initial attempts by the FCI to strictly follow these guidelines in September-October last year met with stiff resistance from Punjab farmers as well as the Badal government. While farmers launched a statewide agitation in the form of road and rail blocks, the Badal government mounted strong pressure on the Centre to relax the specifications.

While Mr Shanta Kumar resisted the move till the last moment, the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, succeeded in having the issue settled in his favour at the level of the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee. The Union Food Minister is reported to be keen on avoiding a similar face-off during the coming wheat procurement operations due to begin from Baisakhi. Hence, the dilemma over the selection of a successor to Mr Reddy.

The Punjab government has sent a panel containing the names of three Punjab IAS officers — Mr Anirudh Tewari, Ms Ravneet Kaur and Mr Kirpa Shankar Saroj. But none of them is said to have met with the approval of the Union Food Minister so far.


HC dismisses plea of ex-Dist judge
Our Legal Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 29
Writ petition of Mr G.S. Jhaj, former Additional District and Sessions Judge, Faridkot, challenging the adverse remarks passed against him by the Inspecting Judge of the High Court and against the order dated January 4, 1999, prematurely retiring him on the recommendations of the full court of the High Court, was dismissed today by Mr Justice S.S. Sudhalkar of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The petitioner, who had joined judicial service in Punjab in 1975 was promoted Additional District Judge. He served at Faridkot as Additional District Judge from August 1995 to October, 1997.

The case of the petitioner was that his court had been inspected by various inspecting judges who gave him good report but the inspecting judge for the year 1997-98 during inspection of Faridkot IInd Division gave adverse remarks to the petitioner including that he did not enjoy good reputation and lacked element of impartiality, that he needed regular monitoring and that his behaviour was discriminatory. Later he was transferred to Kapurthala and another judge gave him good report. The petitioner contended that when the inspection for 1997-98 was carried out at Faridkot, he was already transferred and inspection was carried out in his absence. The full Bench of the High Court considering his case also passed adverse remarks and it was recommended that he should be retired on the completion of 55 years of age.

Mr Justice Subhalkar, dismissing his writ petition observed that inspecting Judge did not form his opinion against him without any basis. The bail application of the Shamsher Singh was rejected on June 30, 1997 i.e. on the last date of the charge which the petitioner was holding.

When this is the position and the inspecting Judge learnt during his visit about the integrity of the petitioner being doubtful, it can not be said that he had formed the opinion without any basis. Replying to the question wheather the High Court had the power to retire compulsorily a member of the Superior Judiciary, the Judge observed, that if there were adverse remarks of integrity being doubtful, then power of compulsory retirement would not be there, this is absurd, said the Judge.


Faux pas by Punjabi University dons
Seminar cancelled at last movement
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 29
The authority exercised by the top management of Punjabi University when its Vice-Chancellor is not present on the campus apparently does not hold any weight with the same dons giving permission to the institutions’ School of Business Studies Head of Department, Dr K.C. Singhal, to organise a lecture as part of the multi faculty millennium series and then cancelling the same at the last moment claiming it was being held without the approval of Vice-Chancellor Dr J.S. Ahluwalia.

The School of Business Studies had invited former Planning Commission member Dr S.P. Shukla to give a lecture on “Impact of WTO on the Indian Economy’’ today and invitations had been distributed by the university. The School of Business Studies is headed by Dr K.C. Singhal, who was removed from headship some time ago by the Syndicate but was reinstated by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

According to documents available with TNS, the Dean, Academics and the Registrar, who gave permission to Dr Singhal to hold the lecture besides giving him permission to use the Arts Auditorium and even approving the menu which would be served to the participants, disassociated themselves from their earlier actions yesterday and charged Dr Singhal with holding the function without the approval of the Vice-Chancellor and cancelled the same.

Consequently Dr S.P. Shukla was informed that the seminar had been cancelled by the University authorities who also directed Dr Singhal to inform the visiting dignitary of the cancellation. University Registrar Dr B.S. Bhatia directed Dr Singhal to send a compliance report after due cancellation of the lecture.

According to the documents Dr Singhal, in a letter on March 27, informed the Vice-Chancellor that the School of Business Management had been given Rs 20,000 out of the unassigned grant to organise a lecture. The letter said as per the decision of the Academic Council of the Department, Dr Shukla, a former Planning Commission member, had been invited to deliver a lecture on “Impact of WTO on Indian Economy”.

The letter said as the grant was to be utilised before March 31 it was worth mentioning that Dr Shukla was available on March 29 only. It said the Vice-Chancellor was requested to sanction the TA/DA and an honorarium of Rs 2,000 for the speaker. The Dean Academics, Dr Kuldeep Singh Dhir and the Registrar appended their signatures to the letter.

Following this in another request on the same day, Dr Singhal requested that he be accorded sanction to present a set of Encyclopaedia of Sikhism to the visiting dignitary which was also permitted by the Registrar following which the books were taken from the Publication Department. Through a third letter to the Registrar, the Business Management Department head was also given permission to organise a lunch for 30 persons and a vegetarian menu for the same was also approved.

In two more significant letters, the Business Management Head got permission from the Registrar to use the Arts auditorium for the lecture besides a sound system and got written confirmation from the Dean, Academics that he would preside over the function.

However, in a complete turnaround today, the Dean, Academics, wrote to Dr Singhal that the Vice-Chancellor had directed that the lecture be cancelled and that Dr Singhal should contact the Vice-Chancellor to discuss further programme in this regard. 


CM starts sangat darshan for SCs
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, March 29
In a significant step, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has started holding separate Sangat Darshan programmes for Scheduled Castes.

According to sources in the Public Relations Department and other agencies of the state government, Mr Badal introduced the system of “caste-based” sangat darshan in the Lambi Assembly segment about a month ago.

The sangat darshan was first held for people belonging to the general category in their locality and later for Scheduled Castes of the village.

According to a press note issued here today by the District Public Relations Officer, Mr Badal decided to do so because he felt the common sangat darshan was not benefiting Scheduled Castes.

He said that for redressing the grievances of the Scheduled Castes on priority, separate sangat darshan programmes would be held.

Mr Badal, who today visited the villages of Chotian, Kot Bhai, Chhetaana, Sukhna Ablu, Mudhir, Sheikh and Samagh in the district, held separate sangat darshan programmes for people belonging to the scheduled castes.

While addressing a sangat darshan, Mr Badal said that under a special component scheme, the Punjab Government would spent Rs 543 crore on various welfare schemes to raise the social and economic levels of Scheduled Castes in the state during the next financial year. He said the Punjab Government had spent Rs 382 crore for the same purpose during the current financial year.

Mr Badal said that under another scheme, houses for people belonging to poor sections of society in the rural areas would be built with the help of panchayats and Rs 25,000 would be given for each unit. Plots for building the house would also be provided, he said.

He claimed that Rs 75.41 crore had been given to beneficiaries under the “shagun” scheme so far and Rs 27 crore would be spent on the same scheme in the next financial year.

Mr Badal distributed copies of letters sanctioning old-age pensions to 483 persons. He also distributed cheques for Rs 5,100 each to 103 beneficiaries at a sangat darshan held in Sahib Chand village today.


Dharna against youth’s murder
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, March 29
Hundreds of students of Government Senior Secondary School, Tibber, 5 km from here, held a dharna in front of the school and blocked traffic for about an hour to protest against the killing of Navneet Kumar (17) who was a student of 10+1. They demanded arrest of the accused.

The victim was kidnapped by unknown persons on March 25. His body was found floating in a nullah yesterday.

Mr Shiv Kumar, uncle of the deceased, said he received a ransom note on March 25 with a demand of Rs 40,000 for the release of the youth. The kidnappers had threatened to kill the boy against non-compliance and against informing the police and the public.

The kidnappers allegedly dropped another ransom note the next day in a grocery shop at Tibber demanding Rs 1.5 lakh. The police found the dead body while searching for kidnappers.

Mr Mohan Lal, Minister of Higher Education, visited the bereaved family, expressed condolences and assured early arrest of the killers.

Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP, today said the motive of the killing did not appear to be money. 


MC budget passed amid uproar
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 29
The municipal corporation’s budget for 2001-2002 was passed today amid uproarious scenes; as opposition councillors staged a walkout over the demand for the adjournment of today’s meeting due to a condolence resolution on the demise of senior Congress leader Inderjit Gupta.

The Opposition, comprising the Congress, the CPI and the CPM, unmindful of the two minute’s silence observed during the condolence call by the Mayor, continued to noise slogans against the ruling coalition, particularly targeting senior BJP leader Bangaru Laxman involved in the Tehelka expose.

Later, Mayor Brij Mohan Kapoor while talking to mediapersons condemned the Opposition for trying to stall House proceedings on various pretexts. He favoured a resolution to be passed at the next house meeting calling for all condolence meetings to be observed only after the house business was conducted for the day.

Meanwhile, a deputation of councilors led by the Mayor and the trust chairman, Mr Bakshi Ram Arora, met the SSP in connection with the manhandling of Dr Renu Goel, a councillor, last night.

The Mayor also informed newspersons that a computerised grievances cell (phone number 545538) would become operational from April 2.


Residents complain against increasing pollution
Anita Tayal

Patiala, March 29
The residents of the Preet Nagar and Tripuri township have alleged that certain people were violating norms and creating pollution in these heavily populated twin colonies.

In a written complaint sent to the Principal Secretary, Science, Technology and Environment Department, Government of Punjab, the residents alleged that for the last several years certain kabaris were polluting the colony by spreading various types of waste material on the main roads of the colony.

They added that the cars and scooters often get punctured due to the nails scattered along the roads.

In the strongly worded complaint, copies of which have been sent to the Chairman, Punjab Pollution Control Board, Chairman Central Pollution Control Board and the Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, the residents also alleged that due to the burning of electricity cables, poisonous gases, engulfed the entire area.

The residents also said that the sewerage water of the residential quarters in the Government Press Colony (Number 2) overflowed and this problem of dirty and stagnant water accumulating on roads had become a big menace for them.

The residents claimed that they had sent numerous letters to the authorities concerned but to no avail.

They also said that the Sun Flower Model School where about 500 study, was located near the vicinity of the kabaris due to which the health of the children was endangered.

hey alleged that letters to the Commissioner of the local Municipal Corporation has born no fruit..

The residents have urged the Pollution Control Board authorities to intervene and take immediate steps to improve the vitiated atmosphere of the colonies.


Rain hits 2 units of Ropar plant
Tribune News Service

Patiala, Mach 29
Two units of the Ropar thermal plant remained inoperational today, even as power was disrupted due to rain and hail in some parts of the state. However, the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) claimed that the power situation had stabilised substantially.

A PSEB spokesman here said the third and fourth units of the Ropar thermal plant remained inoperational today. He said the power situation had now improved.

The PSEB has also lifted the total blackout imposed on arc and induction furnaces, which operate on alternate days from today till April 10. While no weekly cut will be imposed on the furnaces and others consuming more than 1 MW of power, the PSEB has now decided to impose a two-day cut on power to the industrial sector.

The spokesman said industries would now have to close down for another day following the one on which they were scheduled to observe a shutdown.

Meanwhile, the PSEB has directed its field staff to give an assessment of the water needed for irrigation purposes in the state.

The spokesman said all rural feeders were being run presently and three-phase power was being provided the rural sector. Cuts in the rural sector has also been done away with, he added.


Patriotic theatre festival concludes
Our Correspondent

Patiala, March 29
A patriotic theatre festival, dedicated to the World Theatre Day, and launched by the National Theatre Arts Society (NTAS), Patiala, from March 22, 2001, concluded at Sunam last evening.

During the week-long programme, a Punjabi musical, ‘Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh’, sponsored by the Punjab Government’s Department of Cultural Affairs and adapted by Ms Sunita Sabharwal from various scripts and directed by theatre couple Pran Sabharwal and Sunita Sabharwal was presented at Patiala, Majri Akalian, Sirhind and Sunam successfully covering three districts of Patiala, Fatehgarh Sahib and Sangrur.

The modern light and sound system by Agha Shahi and Charan Dass, stage setting by Gopal Sharma, make up by Mohan Kamboj and music by Akhilesh Happy, were well received at all the places by the large gatherings. The thirty-member actors team, including Bhaskar Shahi, Davinder Mann, Sunita Sabharwal and Kirandeep Kaur, who performed the roles of Bhagat Singh as a child, the revolutionary Bhagat Singh, grand mother and mother of Bhagat Singh respectively as well as Davinder Singh as Simon, Sandras as judge, Vishal Laroya as Rai Bhadur and Bhagat Singh’s father, Harjit as Chander Shekar Azad and B.K. Dutt and Asit as Sukhdev and Juggal, Sunny Shahi as Raj Guru, Lakhwinder Lucky as Government Attorney, Kesar Singh as jailor and Tarun Goyal as constable, captivated the audiences and got repeated applause.

A documentary film, ‘Ranglok Di Gatha’ produced and directed by Pran Sabharwal on the history of World Punjabi Theatre movement was also shown on Patiala Cable System to mark the World Theatre Day celebrations on March 26 and 27, 2001. Besides, a group discussion on “Theatre to promote patriotism and universal brother-hood” was also organised at NTAS Mandir during the celebration.


PSEB directed to refund 9,735
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, March 29
Acting on a complaint by Mr Pritam Dass of Dadwan village in Gurdaspur district, the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has been directed by the District Consumer Redressal Forum, Gurdaspur, to refund Rs 9,735 charged as penalty, Rs 500 as compensation for mental and physical harassment and Rs 200 as cost of litigation to the complainant.

The forum further sent a copy of the order to the Superintending Engineer of the board and directed him to hold an inquiry into the case and take suitable action against the delinquent officials.

According to the judgement, an electric meter was installed at the residence of the complainant which falls under Jaura subdivision.

On October 24, last year, Mr Bhushan Kumar, Junior Engineer-2, along with some other officials of the board visited complainant’s premises and demanded Rs 1,000 from him as ‘Divali gift’.

On his refusal to oblige them, the officials threatened to register a case of power theft against him. Mr Dass paid them Rs 600 with a promise to pay the balance amount of Rs 400 later.

However, Mr Dass did not pay them the balance amount. On November 14, 2000, the board passed an order for disconnecting his power meter and imposing a penalty of Rs 9,735 for power theft.

The amount of Rs 600 taken by the board officials earlier was shown as being adjusted against the fine. He later filed a case against the board.


ADC conducts sangat darshan
Our Correspondent

Patiala, March 29
Mr Rameshwar Das Puri, former sarpanch of Ram Singh Nao, Bhadson village at Nabha subdivision, has filed a complaint against a panch and sarpanch of the village, for illegally taking control over 235 bighas of panchayati land and alleged that the land could not be vacated, despite orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

This was alleged during the Sangat Darshan programme conducted by Mr Vikas Pratap, Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC), here today. He also alleged that the sarpanches had illegally transferred the land worth Rs 50 lakh in exchange with the land amounting to Rs 1 lakh at Chanswaal village. The ADC asked the Development and Panchayat Officer to look into the matter.


Union seeks probe into forest project
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, March 29
The Janglat Workers Union, Punjab, has demanded a high-level probe into a Rs 406-crore project sponsored by Japan and approved by the Forest Department in 1997 to make Punjab green. The projects was to be implemented within seven years beginning from 1998.

According to the project, a large number of trees were to be planted in the Shivalik belt in Hoshiarpur, Gurdaspur and Ropar districts. The areas included near railway lines roads, canals, drains and Dhusi bandh strip in Punjab, where trees were to be planted.

Under enrichment of forests as part of the project, gaps in reserve forests were to be filled and obsolete trees were to be replaced. Reserve forests are mostly located in Phillaur, Patiala, Kapurthala, Sangrur and Ferozepore.

The average cost of planting per tree was Rs 27. More than Rs 150 crore had been released so far for implementation of the project, according to official sources.

Mr Bodh Singh Ghoman, chief adviser of the union, accused that whenever officials came for inspection of the plantation area under the project, they were shown the area already under plantation under other schemes. He demanded high-level independent probe into the irregularities.


Eunuchs force passengers to give money
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, March 29
Passengers travelling by the Shan-e-Punjab were allegedly so much pestered by a group of eunuchs yesterday that they had to seek intervention of railway police twice on the Amritsar-Ludhiana section.

Mrs Rashi Arora, a passenger going to Phagwara from Amritsar with her family, told reporters here last night that the eunuchs forced passengers to give them money and hurled abuses at those who refused to oblige. They resorted to black mailing tactics by threatening to undress themselves before the passengers, including women, if they were not given money, alleged Mrs Arora.

Harassment by eunuchs on the Amritsar-Ludhiana section is a common practice in trains and passengers are bullied into parting with money, added Mrs Arora, a regular commuter.


Mock drill shows fire-fighters’ alert
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 29
A mock drill to check preparedness, in case of a fire, was conducted by the local depot authorities of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), here on Tuesday.

Mr D.D. Kaushal, depot in charge, while talking to The Tribune said it was a routine exercise, conducted once a month.

The fire-fighting authorities, health authorities and district administration were given a message of fire in the depot to check and fine tune coordination amongst the various departments, he said.

They reached the depot in less than 10 minutes, and took control of the situation, although they had to travel a distance more than 10 km and cross two railway level crossings, he said.


RSS distorting Sikh history: Kaura
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 29
Mr Jagmohan Singh Kaura, president of the Bhartiya Janata Party (Democratic), today said the RSS was distorting facts of Sikh history. Books containing distorted facts were being taught in 174 Sarv Hitkari Schools run by the RSS.

Mr Kaura, said the SGPC should take action against this and demanded that a committee be formed to look into the matter.

He pointed out that Mr Davinder Gupta, president of the state unit of the RSS, was making efforts to create differences among Hindus and Sikhs.


Doctors against NPA withdrawal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 29
The Punjab unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has condemned the decision of the Himachal Pradesh Government to withdraw non-practising allowance (NPA) of the government doctors from April 1, 2001.

Dr Surinder Singla, Secretary, Press and Public Relations of the association, expressed solidarity with the agitating doctors here yesterday and appealed to the Himachal Pradesh Government to withdraw this hasty decision immediately.

Dr Singla also urged the Union Health Minister to force the government to withdraw its decision. He had also suggested to continue an Indian Medical Services (IMS) on line with the IAS to have a policy of uniform wages (pay scales, promotions and NPA) and service conditions in the country.


5 MBBS students asked to deposit Rs 80 lakh
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 29
In a significant decision, the Guru Ram Dass Charitable Trust has asked five MBBS students, who had got admission under the NRI quota, to deposit about Rs 80 lakh. This decision was taken at a meeting held under the chairmanship of Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, President of the SGPC.

The beneficiaries under the quota include kin of a minister, MP, and SGPC members.

The SGPC-run trust has also decided to start degree course in nursing and diploma in medical technology at Medical College.


Duty proposed on farm imports
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, March 29
Mr C.L. Bains, Financial Commissioner, while addressing a large gathering of farmers after inaugurating the kisan mela organised by the PAU at the Regional Research Station here on Tuesday said the Punjab Government had impressed upon the central government to impose maximum market duty on agricultural products imported from other countries.

He added that under the provision of the WTO, 100 per cent duty can be imposed on raw agricultural products like wheat and rice and 150 per cent duty on processed goods like sugarcane.

The imposition of maximum possible duty has been advocated to safeguard the interests of Punjab farmers so that their produce competed favourably in the national market.

He cautioned that in view of the changing scenario emphasis will have to change from quantity to quality and productivity.

Dr Gurcharan Singh Kalkat, Vice-Chancellor, advised the farmers to shift at least one-third area under paddy to other crops like maize, pulse, oilseed, sugarcane, fruit and vegetables.

This shift was neccessary to conserve soil and water-resources which have been greatly damaged due to the continuous wheat-paddy rotation.

Dr Kalkat said that Gurdaspur is a traditional area for growing Basmati and maize because of its peculiar agro-climatic conditions. The area under these crops also needs to be increased.

Being small holders, the farmers should concentrate on meeting their family requirements from their farms by producing their own vegetables, fruits, pulses and oilseeds.


45 centres set up for wheat procurement
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, March 29
All arrangements have been completed to ensure smooth procurement of wheat from April 1 in the district. As many as 45 purchase centres, including four grain markets at Faridkot, Kotkapura, Jaitu and Sadiq, have been set up to procure four lakh tonnes of produce, a target fixed by the Punjab government for this district.

Disclosing this here today, Mr A. Venu Prasad, Deputy Commissioner, said 35 per cent of the total wheat produce would be procured by the FCI and the remaining by the Food and Supply Department, Markfed, Punsup and Warehousing Corporation.

Tenders regarding the lifting of the produce had also been finalised.

The Deputy Commissioner said the payments for the purchases would be made within 72 hours after the receipt of the bills. Mr Jaspal Singh, Executive Magistrate, Mr Mohan Lal, SDM, Mr Sumer Singh, SDM, and Mr Hussan Lal, ADC, had been deputed as nodal officers to supervise the entire work at Sadiq, Faridkot, Jaitu and Kotkapura, respectively.

Mr Ashwini Kumar Sharma, GA to the Deputy Commissioner, and Mr Mahesh Garg, DTO, would look after the lifting process of the crop in all centres and mandis.


Tubewells to be sunk at Sardulgarh
Our Correspondent

Mansa, March 29
The Central Minister of State for Water Resources, Ms Bijoy Chakravarty, has said steps will be taken to protect the Sardulgarh area from havoc caused by the over flooding of the Ghaggar every year. This was stated by her while addressing the Bharatiya Janata Party Kisan Morcha rally at Sardulgarh in the district.

The water will be supplied to the farmers continuously after sinking the tubewells, Ms Chakravarty added.

She said the farmers would not have to face the shortage of potable and irrigation water and soon lift irrigation scheme would be introduced. She agreed that still in some areas the farmers are facing shortage of canal water for irrigation purpose. She announced a grant of Rs 1 crore for providing tubewell water to four villages of the district.

Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, state BJP Chief, who was also present said the interests of the farmers are safe in the hands of the SAD-BJP government.

Mr Harvant Singh Grewal, a senior leader of the BJP Kisan Morcha expressed satisfaction over the increase of a minimum support price of wheat. Among others who addressed the gathering were state president of BJP Mahila Morcha Gurcharan Kaur, BJP district president Madan Lal, Mr Anoop Singh and Mr Dhantar Singh.


Link MSP to price index: BKU
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 29
The minimum support price (MSP) of wheat should be linked to consumer price index and the years 1966-67 be used as base years in the calculations. Mr Ram Karan Singh, president of the BKU (Lakhowal), said in a press note issued here yesterday that the Chief Minister had forgotten his promise of linking the MSP of wheat to consumer price index. The increase in the MSP of wheat at Rs 30 per quintal was done keeping in mind the coming Assembly elections in the state. The Chief Minister had made repeated announcements that the MSP of wheat would be linked to the consumer price index but the BJP-alliance had not done so to protect the interest of traders, he alleged.

Mr Ram Karan Singh demanded that the MSP of wheat should be declared as Rs 912 per quintal.


Disease hits rapeseed crop
Our Correspondent

Moga, March 29
Farmers of various villages in this district today complained that their rapeseed crop which is almost ready for harvesting had been considerably damaged following a disease, tela, that struck it and they would suffer huge losses if no arrangements were taken to save it from the disease.

They told mediapersons here that the leaves of the crop had turned pale and dry. 


IT receipt centres to remain open
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 29
The receipt counters of income-tax offices at Bathinda, Ferozepore, Faridkot, Muktsar, Mansa and Abohar will remain opened on March 31 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Harbhajan Singh, Additional Commissioner of Income Tax (Bathinda range), said in case of any difficulty, the local administrative officer would be contacted at telephone numbers 211850 (O) 216044 (R).


18 sales tax advisory panels set up
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
In response to a long-pending demand of business and trade, the Punjab Government today announced the setting up of 18 district-level sales tax advisory committees.

This has been done in Sangrur, Patiala, Ropar, Ludhiana I, II and III, Fatehgarh Sahib, Amritsar I and II, Jalandhar I and II, Gurdaspur, Nawanshahr, Kapurthala, Mansa, Bathinda and Ferozepore.

According to the Minister of Excise and Taxation, Mr Adesh Partap Singh Kairon, and his Minister of State, Mr Tikshan Sood, similar committees for the remaining districts will be established soon.


Illegal arms: Inspector booked
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 29
Inspector Budh Singh of Punjab Police, who had been involved in number of cases of violation of human rights, has been again booked for possessing illegal arms by the Bathinda district police.

Budh Singh reportedly wields influence among a section of ruling politicians. He has been escaping action against him by the authorities concerned despite the fact that he has been involved in some serious crimes. He was booked along with Sucha Singh, Junior Engineer, Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) for possessing illegal arms.

Police sources said on a tip off, a raid was conducted at the house of Sucha Singh and a country-made pistol and a double barrel gun was seized from his possession. These two weapons belonged to Budh Singh, who was posted with the IRB.

Budh Singh, who came under heavy criticism from various social and human rights organisation when he allegedly stripped a 50-year-old Dalit woman in front of her son in the CIA police station at Bathinda, had been facing various criminal cases throughout the state.

In the recent past, Additional Sessions Judge, Mansa, had sentenced Budh Singh to three years’ rigorous imprisonment and Rs 1000 as fine in a corruption case. Budh Singh had allegedly violated human rights on large scale during the days of terrorism in Punjab and had allegedly amassed wealth disproportionate to his known source of income. He had been facing departmental inquiries into a number of cases.

According to sources action against Budh Singh could not be taken by the authorities concerned as he hails from a village falling in the prestigious Parliamentary constituency of Faridkot.

Official sources said that he was placed under suspension for stripping the Dalit woman before her son which happened in 1997 but he was reinstated few days before the last general Lok Sabha elections.

Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, SSP, when contacted, said that Sucha Singh had been arrested while the efforts were on to arrest Budh Singh. Both the accused had been booked under Section 25 of the Arms Act.


Farmer killed in clash over water
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, March 29
In a group clash over watering fields, one person was killed while five others including a woman, were injured in the border village of Churiwala Chisti, near here.

According to the FIR lodged with the Sadar Police, Fazilka, Kahan Singh was watering his fields on Wednesday and some water reportedly flew into the adjacent fields of Managal Singh, Kala singh and Preeto Bai, upon which they were enraged as they felt that undue water flow had damaged their standing wheat crop.

In the evening, they were engaged in a wordy duel with Kalan and his son Kashmir Singh. They allegedly attacked Kahan Singh and Kashmir Singh with sharp-edged weapons. Jagir Singh (30), another son of Kahan Singh, rushed to their rescue, but he was also injured in the clash and died on spot. Five others sustained injuries in the clash and have been admitted to the local Civil Hospital.

The police has registered a case under Section 302, IPC, against Mangal Singh, Kala Singh and Preeto Bai.


Truck hits bike, claims 3 lives
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, March 29
Three persons were killed yesterday evening near Jammu-Jalandhar bypass, about 7 km from here, when a truck hit a motor cycle. The victims were identified as Lekh Raj, Kewal Krishan and Ashwani Kumar, all hailing from Himachal Pradesh.

According to police sources, the victims were returning after attending a marriage party, when the accident took place. The police has registered a case and impounded the truck. Bodies were handed over to relatives after a postmortem.


Transfer of teachers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
The Punjab Minister of Education, Mr Tota Singh, today said that requests for the transfer of teachers in government schools have been invited from April 5 to 30. These are to be sent to the district education officers through the heads of schools on last year’s pattern.

Those teachers who were transferred within a year need not send these requests but cases of an important nature could be considered. For effecting a transfer, the academic result of the teacher concerned would be taken into account, but transfer cases of handicapped persons, widows, unmarried girls and the wives of defence personnel would be dealt with on priority.


IT raids on stock brokers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 29
The income tax officials today conducted surprise raids at the Ludhiana Stock Exchange (LSE). The raids started at around 3 p.m. and were continuing till late in the evening. The raids are being conducted in the aftermath of the crash in stock prices in Mumbai and Kolkota.

A team of about 50 officials led by Assistant Commissioner, Dr Harmeet Singh, conducted a surprise check on the office premises of about 30 brokers. The raids were reportedly part of the nationwide campaign.

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