Tuesday, April 10, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S




Zaffarwal’s surrender not to be allowed: Mann
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 9
The Akali Dal (Amritsar) today alleged that senior leaders of every political party in Punjab had links with militants during the decade-long terrorism in the state.

Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, MP and president of the party, addressing a press conference here today alleged that senior Punjab political leaders belonging to different parties had well established links with militants.

The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Punjab Congress Committee Chief, Capt Amarinder Singh, CPM leader Harkishen Singh Surjeet and other senior political leaders and he himself had well established links with militants, Mr Mann alleged.

He criticised the Khalistan Commando Force chief, Wassan Singh Zaffarwal, for his reported moves to surrender before the state police. “Zaffarwal is responsible for the killing of hundreds of Sikh youths by the state police in the name of Khalistan and now he is trying to surrender with the connivance of Akali ministers. We will not allow the surrender of a man, who has betrayed the faith of lakhs of Sikhs,” Mr Mann said.

Zaffarwal had helped the SAD (Badal) nominee by asking the families of slain militants to cast votes in the favour of him during the recent Majitha byelection, he alleged. He was brought from Pakistan by an Akali minister, who was instrumental in arranging his surrender, he further alleged.

When asked about the reported statement of CPM general secretary Harkishen Singh Surjeet that Mr Mann was ‘not a true nationalist’ and that his party would not be included in the “third front”, the Akali leader said that he did not need a character certificate from the former.

He alleged that Mr Surjeet, who was ‘projecting’ himself as a ‘true nationalist’, had drafted the first resolution on Khalistan way back in 1944 and also that he was the man behind the preparation of the Anandpur Sahib resolution, which demanded more autonomy for states in 1978.


Punjab attracting spurious medicines
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
Punjab has turned into an important destination for the sale of spurious and substandard drugs. Twentyone cases of suspected substandard and spurious medicines have been detected by the Health Department in the past few months.

Out of these, in 17 cases it has been confirmed that the stocks seized were either substandard or spurious. Samples taken from these stocks were tested at government laboratories.

Informed sources said that in most of the 17 cases, permission for filing criminal cases had been accorded. The remaining cases were being processed for this purpose. Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Mansa are among the notorious districts as far as the sale of spurious or substandard medicines is concerned.

Those engaged in supplying substandard and spurious medicines to sale outlets mainly concentrate on antibiotics and anti-fever medicines. “These are fast-selling products”, said a senior official of the Punjab Government.

Spurious items are well packed and appear as good as the original. “It is not an easy task to detect spurious and substandard medicines at sale outlets”, said a Health Department official. Only on the basis of authentic information can one seize such items from chemists’ shops.

Delhi is the biggest supplier of substandard and spurious medicines. According to informed sources, there is big market in Delhi which deals with such medicines. There are reports that the Delhi market gets it supply of such medicines from various sources. But the main suppliers are employees of various drug manufacturing units.

Such units conduct inhouse laboratory tests before sending any medicine for sale in the market. If during the inhouse test, any medicine fails to meet the prescribed standards, the entire batch of that stock is rejected and the staff members concerned are told to dispose of the stock at some abandoned place. However, unscrupulous members of the staff, instead of disposing of the stock, take it to the Delhi market where it is received without any hesitation for sale, according to the sources.

There are 11,000 licensed sale outlets for medicines in the state. It is not possible to check the stocks of all these outlets. The office of the Controller of Drugs has a meagre staff at its disposal for enforcing the standards laid down for medicines. It has only 11 drug inspectors on its rolls against the total of 15 sanctioned posts. And this staff strength was sanctioned when Punjab had only 11 districts. The number of districts at present is 17.

The authorities concerned have urged the filling of the four vacant posts of drug inspector and the sanction of 18 more posts.

Meanwhile, the authorities concerned have directed the drug inspectors in the state to take the help of the Senior Medical Officers and Civil Surgeons for the detection of substandard and spurious medicines. They have also been told to take the help of the police. The Civil Surgeons have been directed to ensure the sale of standard medicines in the state.

To minimise the chances of the development of a nexus between drug inspectors and chemists, the former have been authorised to conduct raids and inspection anywhere in the state. Earlier, they were authorised to conduct raids in the districts where they were posted. They have been told to take along members of genuine non-government organisations while conducting raids or inspections to maintain transparency.

A proposal has also been mooted by the Health Department to the state government for setting up a mobile laboratory for checking adulteration, especially of eatables and milk. “It will be good to conduct an on-the-spot examination of eatables in the mobile laboratory. If an item is found unadulterated, the shopkeeper concerned could be issued a certificate, otherwise legal action can be initiated against him”, said a senior officer in the Health Department. At present, it takes a long time to get samples of eatables tested and for follow-up measures like the launching of legal action.

The authorities concerned have failed to ensure the supply of unadulterated milk to consumers. In fact, milk is the most adulterated commodity in the state.


Ranjit Singh to work against SAD
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, April 9
Former Akal Takht Jathedar, Bhai Ranjit Singh, still claims to be the “real” Akal Takht Jathedar and has declared that he will work openly for the panthic candidates to be fielded against SAD nominees in the next Punjab Vidhan Sabha elections.

Bhai Ranjit Singh, who was here today to address a conference organised by the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD), told this correspondent that there was no possibility of mid-term Assembly elections in the state.

He claimed that he was still the Akal Takht Jathedar and would work for the defeat of Mr Badal’s candidates.

Addressing the conference, he blamed the policies of the Union Government and the Punjab Government for the killing of innocent Sikhs in the Kashmir valley.

The SHSAD conference was organised under the presidentship of Mr Surjan Singh, acting president of the party, working under the supervision of Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra. The conference was organised by the efforts of the local MLA, Mr Prem Singh Lalpura. It was addressed by Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, Mr Maheshinder Singh Grewal, Mr Harmel Singh Tohra, Mr Hira Singh Gabria, Mr Baldev Singh Khiala and Mr Ranjit Singh Chhajalwadi, are MLAs, and Mr Major Singh Uboke, former MP, among others.


CM hopeful of early Kashmir solution
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 9
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah feels quite optimistic about an early resolution to Kashmir problem. Noting a healthy pattern in the recent developments at the domestic and international levels, he feels that the course adopted by the Government of India was the best and would ultimately lead to a positive and permanent solution to the problem.

Dr Abdullah, who was here on a private visit, talking to The Tribune said the appointment of Mr K.C. Pant as the negotiator on behalf of the Union Government, the improving relationship between India and the USA and the mellowing down of the Pakistani military ruler Gen Parvez Musharaf were healthy pointers towards a better and peaceful future for Kashmiris. Playing down the refusal by the APHC to hold talks with Mr Pant, the Chief Minister said it would not make much difference. Ultimately they would come on the negotiating table and they would have to. “What is important is that a meaningful process has been initiated which is bound to yield to positive and conclusive results”, he hoped.

Commenting on the growing interest of Americans in Kashmir, Dr Abdullah said, “the USA is interested in India and Kashmir is an important issue concerning India, so there is nothing wrong in it...and it does not amount to any interference”. Asserting that there was no reason to view the US interest with suspicion, he pointed out that the USA was coming closer to India as was evident from the warm response to the External Affairs Minister, Mr Jaswant Singh, during his recent visit to that country and the defence deal he signed there.

Reiterating his old stand that terrorism should end before India agreed to talk to Pakistan, Dr Abdullah asserted, “Ultimately India and Pakistan have to talk to each other as there is no other way out. But that is possible only when Pakistan stops abetting and exporting terrorism”. Sooner or later, he hoped, wisdom would dawn upon the Pakistani rulers and they would realise the futility of violence.

However, it was heartening to learn that General Musharaf was interested in talking to India. “It has to be seen how serious he is in his commitments and whether he is really looking ahead to peace in the subcontinent”, he remarked, expressing apprehension about its sincerity.

The Chief Minister, whose party the National Conference, was a constituent of the ruling National Democratic Alliance at the Centre, was all praise for its Kashmir policy and said he was taken into confidence before any major decision on Kashmir was taken. 


Uproot corrupt SAD-BJP govt: Amarinder
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Muktsar/Jalalabad, April 9
The PPCC leadership today appealed to the people to uproot the SAD-BJP government of the state which had failed to deliver goods and indulged in the “looting” of people at the grassroot level.

The PPCC president, Capt Amarinder Singh, while addressing the party activists who had staged a dharna in the Grain Market of Muktsar to press for the resignation of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre in view of revelations made by tehelka.com in defence deals, said that time had come when the people should not allow those who had compromised the security of nation to stay in power.

He added that the SAD-BJP alliance government in Punjab which had betrayed every section of society was a major constituent of NDA government at the Centre. Neither Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee nor Mr Parkash Singh Badal had the moral right to stay in their respective offices.

Capt Amarinder Singh, spoke at both at the Muktsar dharna, which was poorly managed and the huge rally in Jalalabad, which witnessed the unprecedented enthusiasm. He said Congress workers would not rest till Mr Badal was divested from his office. He added that the Congress party had challenged Mr Badal to hold the Assembly elections whenever he (Mr Badal) wanted.

In a significant statement, Capt Amarinder Singh said that Mr Badal should tell about the deal which he had struck with militant leader Wassan Singh Zaffarwal to the people. He added that Mr Badal would use Zaffarwal to eliminate his political opponents.

He said that Mr Badal and the Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, should tell the people about how Zaffarwal entered India and how he (Zaffarwal) had been roaming freely in Punjab. He alleged that for the past one month, Zaffarwal, who used to issue orders for killing innocent people in Punjab, had been staying in the house of ruling Akali leaders.

Senior vice-president, PPCC, and MP Jagmeet Brar, who remained absent from the Maghi conference of the party and other small rallies held in this district in the past, came for about 30 minutes and left the dharna venue before Capt Amarinder Singh arrived in the pandal.

Mr Amarinder Singh alleged that Mr Badal had also betryaed the farmers by accepting Rs 610 as the minimum support price (MSP) of wheat. He added that Mr Badal himself had said time and again that cost of production of one quintal of wheat was Rs 710 and still accepted Rs 610 as MSP of wheat.

He further alleged that in the name of ‘fake development’, Mr Badal had put a burden of Rs 36,000 crore on the state in the shape of debt on one hand and on the other hand, he was bent upon finishing the trade and industries in Punjab by adopting wrong policies.

Capt Amarinder Singh disclosed that the party’s programme for every section of society would be unfolded shortly. He added that Congress would try to provide an efficient and result oriented government by generating employment and making agriculture a profitable venture.

He said that campaign for the coming elections which could be held any time, had started. Corruption, betrayal of farmers and other sections of society, amassing of wealth worth Rs 1000 crore by Mr Badal, his wife Surinder Kaur and son Sukhbir Singh Badal and atrocities on the common people would be the main agenda of the Congress in the elections.

The people would be made aware of fact that a bunch of “unethical traders”, who were ruling the country had been bartering away its interests and making its defence system weak.

At Jalalabad’s rally which was organised by the DCC (I), Mr Hans Raj Joshan, former minister, showed his strength by taking Capt Amarinder Singh to his rice mill first and then to the venue of rally.

Mr Sajjan Kumar Jakhar, President, DCC (I) and MP from Madhya Pradesh, Mr Mehran Bhagat, who accompanied Capt Amarinder Singh, sat in the car while he (Capt Amarinder Singh) addressed the gathering briefly.

Those present on both the occasions included Mr Moti Lal Vora, Mr Balram Jakhar, Mr Isher Singh (former minister), Mr Jasmel Singh, former MLA, Mr Gurnam Singh Sema, former president, DCC, Mr Gurjit Lehal, general secretary, PPCC, Mr Harinder Jorkian and Mr Avatar Singh Sidhu, president, DCC, Muktsar.


Congress men burn Vajpayee’s effigy
Tribune Reporters

Gurdaspur, April 9
A number of Congressmen under the leadership of Mr Chander Pal Singh, DCC President, participated in a district-level dharna held here today in protest against the exposure of tehelka. com. Mr Avtar Henry, General Secretary, PPCC, also took part in it.

Congressmen jammed the traffic from 12 noon to 2 p.m. and an effigy of the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee was burnt on the occasion.

Those who spoke on the occasion included Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri, Mr Lakhbir Singh Randhawa, Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, Mr Raman Bhalla, all former ministers. Mr Henry said that the Badal government must dissociate itself from the BJP.

DERA BABA NANAK: A large number of Congressmen from Bokder blocks of Fatehgarh Churian and Dera Baba Nanak participated in a dharna held here on Monday in front of the office of the SDM in protest against the handling of the defence deals by the NDA government. The dharna was led by Mr Santokh Singh Randhawa, former President of the PPCC.

Effigies of Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee and Mr L.K. Advani, were burnt on the occasion.

Those who addressed the gatherings included Mr Kushhal Behl, former minister, Mr Sukhjinder Singh and Mr Raman Bahal former president of the local nagar council.

Mr Randhawa said the exposures made by tehelka.com. were serious and the Vajpayee government should resign on moral grounds.

MALERKOTLA: More than 500 Congress activists, led by Mrs Sajida Begum, general secretary, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, held a rally at Mall Road opposite the Civil Courts here today in protest against the alleged involvement of members of the NDA government in shady defence deals.

Effigies of Mr Alat Behari Vajpayee and Mr Bangaru Laxman were burnt. The Congress workers were demanding the stepping down of the NDA government at the Centre in view of the Tehelka expose.

The protesters demanded the registration of criminal cases against persons who allegedly accepted money. Earlier, the Congress activists took our a protest march through the local Sadar Bazar, and other areas, raising slogans against the Vajpayee and Badal governments.

Mrs Sajida Begum said that in the wake of the Tehelka expose, not only the Prime Minister but Home Minister L.K. Advani should also own moral responsibility and quit. She also criticised the Badal government for its failure to fulfil the promises made to the public before elections.

A memorandum was submitted to the SDM demanding the resignation of the NDA government led by Mr Vajpayee.

Prominent among those who addressed the rally were Mr Sajid Hussain, general secretary, DCC, Mr Prem Kumar Goyal, block Congress president, Mr Mohammad Saleem, secretary, and Mr Jaswinder Singh Laly, president, Ahmedgarh block.

NAWANSHAHR: Hundreds of Congress workers of the district led by Mr Parkash Singh, ITCC member, Mr Tarlochan Singh Soond, acting president of the district unit, and Mr Satvir Singh, District Youth Congress president, held a rally here today at Punjab Mata Vidhyawati Bhawan in protest against the alleged involvement of the NDA government in shady defence deals.

They took out a protest march up to the Chandigarh chowk and raised slogans against the Vajpayee and Badal governments. The Congress leaders and workers demanded the resignations of the Vajpayee government in view of the tehelka expose. However, the absence of the Dilbagh Singh loyalists — Mr Kartar Singh Sekhon and Mr Iqbal Singh transporter along with their supporters — at the district-level rally of the Congress exposed the factionalism in the party’s district unit.

Hundreds of Congress workers of Phillaur block, led by the former minister, Mr Santokh Singh, held a dharna, rally and burnt the effigies of the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, and the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, at Lasara village, about 20 km from here today.

ROPAR: Congress activists of the district today blocked traffic for about an hour in front of Kalyan cinema here to protest against the alleged corruption in government circles exposed by tehelka.com.

Led by the PPCC general secretary Mrs Satwinder Kaur Nabha, Congressmen initially took out a procession from the Vishkarma Bhavan, raising slogans against the NDA government before sitting on dharna in front of the cinema hall.

Addressing the gathering Mrs Nabha accused the NDA government of compromising national security. The government should own moral responsibility and resign, she said.

Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, former minister, demanded that criminal cases be registered against those involved in the “scam”.

He also welcomed the court decision on the Anandgarh issue. The court judgement had exposed the “nefarious” designs of the Badal government of earning profits by displacing the villagers, he alleged.

Mr K. Budhiraja, former district congress president, said even though the Defence Minister and a few others had resigned after the Tehelka expose, many others were still being protected.

Mr Ramesh Dutt and Mr Ram Prakash Bali, former MLAs, Mr Harnek Singh Gharuan, former minister, Mr Bhupesh Sharma, former Youth Congress president, Mr Harminder Singh Saini, district Congress president, and Mr K.P.S. Rana were also present on the occasion.


Cong men block traffic
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 9
A massive rally was organised by the District Congress Committee here today. It was attended by a large number of Congress workers, supporters and activists of the Youth Congress and led by Mr Harmander Singh Jassi, General Secretary, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC).

The activists blocked the traffic at the old bus stand of the city for about an hour and raised slogans against the NDA government at the Centre.

Mr Jassi while addressing the rally alleged that the corruption was rampant right from the top to the bottom in all public and government offices. He demanded registration of criminal cases against those who took bribe in the tehelka case.

Many senior Congress leaders, including Mr K.K. Aggarwal, Mr K.K. Sharma, both general secretaries, Dr B.S. Dhaliwal, District President, Congress Committee, Mr Anil Bhola, city President, addressed the rally. The activists burnt the effigies of Mr Bangaru Laxman, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee and Mr George Fernandes.

Mr K.K. Aggarwal, demanded resignation of the NDA government in the wake of tehelka expose in which leaders of the NDA alliance have been shown accepting bribes. He criticised the SAD-BJP government of the state for its failure to fulfil its promises made to the public.


Lathi charge at Cong rally
Our Correspondent

Jalalabad, April 9
Today’s Congress rally here was viewed more as to clip the wings of Mr Hans Raj Josan than to make people aware about tehelka.com expose. This was also evident in advertisement posters and other publicity campaigns wherein Mr Josan’s name was conspicuously missing.

The situation turned worse when Mr Josan arrived with his supporters at the venue. A scuffle took place in front of the senior leaders between Mr Josan and the organisers. The police resorted to a mild lathi charge on the Congress workers of both factions to control the situation.

Later, Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar came to the rescue and by his balanced speech, calmed down both the sides.


CM should recall Dhindsa, says Jagjit
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, April 9
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal should withdraw Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa from the Union Cabinet and its support to the NDA Government on moral grounds following the Tehelka expose. This was stated by Mr Jagjit Singh, Leader of the Congress Legislature Party, while talking to mediapersons here today. He said there was no need for any inquiry as everything was clear in the video tapes. He alleged Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee was trying to protect his corrupt associates.

Mr Jagjit Singh condemned the passing of a resolution against Operation Bluestar in state Assembly during its recent session and said the Opposition was intentionally kept out from the Assembly to pass this resolution.

Referring to the lifting of the recent ban on the recruitment for government offices, he said this was only to befool the public and earn “money” from unemployed youths. Prior sanction was required from the Chief Minister to undertake recruitment in any of the government department. This would further encourage corruption, he said.

He alleged that all schemes relating to Dalits had become ineffective due to lack of funds. More than 5,000 small-scale industrial units had been closed due to the policies of the SAD-BJP government, he said. There was an acute shortage of electricity and no arrangements had been made to provide power for the sowing of paddy, he added.

The inauguration of Thein Dam was merely a “stunt” as it had not generated even a single KV of electricity. The required capacity of water in the dam reservoir could only be stored after the completion of the Shahpur Kandi project.

He said the state government had failed to provide civic amenities in most of the towns in the urban areas. The government had demanded Rs 5,000 crore from the Finance Commission for urban development but it had only provided Rs 5 crore for this purpose last year. The urban development fund had been constituted for which Rs 30 crore had been earmarked for the current financial year. He said the government had to pay loans worth Rs 28,000 crore to the Centre and Rs 800 crore to other agencies, he added.


Sikh jatha leaves for Pakistan
Rashmi Talwar

Attari (Amritsar), April 9
A 3000-strong Sikh jatha left for Pakistan in three special trains today. The trains were flagged off in the morning by the SGPC President, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, for Panja Sahib in Pakistan.

The SGPC-sponsored jatha was resumed after two years. It was banned by former SGPC President Bibi Jagir Kaur.

The jatha is being headed by SGPC executive member Shingara Singh Lohian and the other deputies are Mr Kirpal Singh Khirnian and Mr Gurbachan Singh Bachan, Secretary of the SGPC as many as 1,576 devotees under the SGPC banner, including 120 sewadars, boarded the train along with Mr Bachan Singh Cheema, MLA, Mr Sadhu Singh, PA to the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Mr Sarmukh Singh Khalsa, SGPC member.

The jatha includes 1,190 devotees from the Delhi Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. Bhai Mardana Yaadgaar Society has sent 550 persons while the Khalra Action Committee has sent 44 and the Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle 180.

Talking to The Tribune at the Attari railway station, Mr Harpal Singh Bhullar, President of the Bhai Mardana Yaadgaar Society, said the Sikh jathas would be welcomed by Pakistan Chief Executive Gen Pervez Musharaff and Pakistan Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee chief Nassar Javed on Baisakhi at Panja Sahib.

The Governor of Punjab in Pakistan, Mr Fakhur Zaman, who is also the chairman of the World Punjabi Conference to commence shortly, would honour Bhai Lal Ji, the 17th descendent of Bhai Mardana, a “raagi” of Guru Nanak Dev’s time.

Mr Bhullar said besides other demands the Pakistan Government would be approached for easing visa conditions by road. Incidentally, 354 visa applications were rejected this time.

More than 8000 Sikh devotees are expected to reach Pakistan to pay obeisance at Panja Sahib, Nankana Sahib, Dera Sahib and Sacha Sauda.

Meanwhile, Sikh circles feel that the moot differences between the two gurdwara committees — Pakistan’s SGPC and the SGPC — will remain unsolved due to the “absence” of Mr Talwandi. Mr Talwandi had applied for the passport under the “tatkal” scheme to head the jatha this time. Mr Talwandi had found the stand of the Indian Government objectionable regarding the corridor offer made by Pakistan for Kartarpur Gurdwara that would require no visa.

He also said the SGPC jatha heads would also make a survey of repairs needed in Pakistani gurdwaras and proposed to despatch Bhai Harbans Singh Karsewawale to undertake a kar sewa of gurdwaras with the approval of the PGPC.


Sukhbir fails to keep date
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 9
The SAD General Secretary and MP, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, today failed to keep his date with the people of Balluana village, near here as he was to lay the foundation stone of a 66 kv grid sub-station. In his absence the foundation stone was laid by Mr Manpreet Singh Badal, MLA, though Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, Minister of Law and Justice, was also present on the occasion.

While addressing the gathering Mr Manpreet Singh Badal said the state government had spent about 45 per cent of the total budget on the production of electricity and supply of irrigation water to the people. The yearly consumption of electricity in the state stood at about 5,000 megawatts and it was increasing day-by-day, with an annual increase of about 10 per cent. Many new projects had been launched by the state government to generate more power, he added.

Mr Chiranji Lal Garg said the Punjab Energy Development Agency (FEDA) had been distributing solar lighting instruments, streetlights, solar tubelights and other household instruments on subsidised rates. Last year 500 tubewells being run by solar energy were sunk and this year the figure had been doubled and 1,000 tubewells run by solar energy would be sunk, he added.

Mr Garg said a grid sub-station of 132 kv would be established in the district and another of 66 kv at Teona focal point very soon. He assured farmers that all arrangements for wheat procurement had been made.


Use new study tools: Doctors
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, April 9
A national-level medicine update-2001 conference, organised by the local Government Guru Gobind Singh Medical College here yesterday, underlined the need for introducing new techniques of teaching and learning besides holding seminars, symposiums and providing continuous medical education through tutorials.

The conference also stressed the need for making the doctors well-versed with the latest knowledge and allied specialities.

Dr S.K. Jindal, Head of the Chest Department, PGI, Chandigarh, emphasised the need for adopting new modalities for the treatment of asthama and other chest diseases. He blamed environmental pollution for the spread of these diseases. Dr S. L. Verma of the PGI advocated preventive measures to check clotting in the lower limbs to stop sudden deaths.

An expert from the PGI, Rohtak, Dr S.N. Chugh, urged the Centre to ban sulphos or replace it with other safe pesticides to curtail suicide cases.

Dr S.K. Gupta, a neurologist from Medical College, Jammu and Kashmir, said the recent trends in the management of epilepsy call for the use of Gabha-Pentin and allied medicines.

To check coronary artery disease, which was particularly afflicting the younger generation, Dr H.S. Rysim, Senior Cardiologist, Escorts Hospital and Research Institute, New Delhi, emphasised on lifestyle modifications like stopping smoking, control on diabetes and high blood pressure. Dr Ramesh Arora from Appolo Hospital, New Delhi, advised the people not to fall prey to quacks but seek the help of specialists for even common ailments like arthrities.

Presiding over the function, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, Member of the Rajya Sabha, assured to provide the latest equipment to the local Medical College to provide better health services on a par with Dayanand Medical Hospital, Ludhiana.

In his concluding address, Dr T. L. Parmar, Principal of the G.G.S Medical College, apprised the participants about the various problems faced by the institution in delivering medical aid. Dr Nachhatar Singh, Head of the Medicine Department of the college, and Dr C.P. Singh, organising secretary, also spoke.


Protest against closure of TB hospital
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 9
On the call of the Ghabdan Hospital Bachao Action Committee, Sangrur, employees of various wings of the Health Department today staged a dharna in the complex of Civil Surgeon’s office here and took out a protest march through the town against the state government’s decision to close TB Hospital Hermitage, Ghabdan.

Mr Swaranjit Singh, general secretary of the Punjab State Pharmacists Association, while condemning the closure of the Ghabdan TB hospital, at the dharna site said the action committee would force the state government to withdraw its decision.

He said instead of closing the hospital, the government should renovate the TB hospital building and appoint specialist doctors there.

He also said the government should make residential quarters for the doctors and other staff and provide medicines and other things in sufficient quantity to run the hospital.

Addressing the dharna, the speakers condemned the state government for its policies to sell government properties.

The dharna was addressed among others by Dr Darshan Pal, district president of the PCMS Association, Ms Paramjit Kaur, president of the ANM Union; Mr Suraj Parkash, president of the Para-Medical and Sehat Karamchari Front, Mr Sat Pal Maur, a leader of the Class IV employees’ union, Mr Lal Singh, chairman of the Coordination Committee of the Para-Medical Staff, and Mr Siri Ram Garg, a leader of the Para-Medical and Sehat Karamchari union.

Later, the employees marched in a procession to the office of the Deputy Commissioner, raising slogans against the Punjab Government. They also held a ‘siapa’ and raised slogans against Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

A deputation of the Action Committee also submitted a memorandum to the Assistant Commissioner (General), Mr Rajesh Dhiman, against the closure of the Ghabdan TB hospital.

The employee leaders stated that they would continue their agitation till the government ensured the smooth functioning of the hospital.


Village tank water unhygienic
Raj Sadosh

Residents of Sayyedwala village with a population of over 2,000 have been facing a serious drinking water problem for three years. Water stored at Public Health waterworks has been found to be unhygienic.

During a visit to the village this reporter was shown that the side walls of the drinking water tank had collapsed and the floors of both the clear water and canal water tanks had been damaged. Underground water was mixed with canal water in the storage tanks. The villagers said the Public Health Department had not been able to use bleaching agents to purify the water due to paucity of funds. Pumping sets had been repaired by collecting donations from consumers in the village. Official sources confessed that there had been no efforts to repair the damaged portion of the waterworks at the initial stage, the condition was now out of control.

Some persons on the condition of anonymity said the officials had told the pump operator reportedly to stop supplying drinking water to the residents but no alternate arrangement was suggested even when summer was approaching. The Health Department representatives agreed that the water was not potable and its use would lead to water-borne diseases. The financial year had started but the department was still reluctant to earmark funds for complete overhauling of the waterworks because some one would have to be axed for the total failure in its functioning, which nobody was prepared to do. There was a proposal that water on one side of the village should be supplied on the condition that the same would not be used for drinking. In that case one does not know from where drinking water would come.

Some sarpanches and panches claimed that condition of other rural waterworks was generally poor. The government would have to prepare a pilot project for renovating all the waterworks over 10 years’ old. Water, they said, was their basic requirement and part of human rights also. If the government failed in taking serious and sincere steps in the coming few days, people would have to approach the Human Rights Commission to get their grievances redressed. 


Medical camp organised
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 9
The S.G.L. Charitable Trust in collaboration with the Punjab Health care, an England-based NGO, organised a free medical and eye operation camp at Bajwa Kalan village in Shahkot, 30 km from here, today.

More than 1,150 residents of Bajwa Kalan and nearby villages were examined and provided with medicines. At least-40 patients were admitted to S.G.L. Charitable Hospital where free eye operations would be conducted tomorrow.

Mr Kashmira Singh, Chairman of the trust, said that the patients would be provided with free spectacles, food, boarding and lodging. “We are organising free eye operation and dental check-up camp at our hospital on every first Sunday of the month. We also provide free transport facility for the patients coming from rural areas, he added. 


Foreign-breed pups auctioned
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, April 9
It was an entirely different auction at the Customs office today. Residents bid for foreign puppies instead of the normal Customs-seized goods.

Among the bidders was Vice-Chancellor H.S. Soch who bought a puppy for Rs 4600.

The puppies were seized by the Customs at Rajasansi airport on April 6 from an Uzbekistan national Umir (35) who was carrying the puppies in three wooden boxes with holes.

The Customs garnered Rs 1.32 lakh from the sale of 14 puppies. One was just a month old.

The breeds were Pecanese (9 puppies), poodles (2), St Bernard (2) and Neopolitan mastif (1). The highest bid was for the Neopolitan mastif at Rs 27,000 while the lowest was a poodle that was sold for Rs 3100.

A dhaba owner paid Rs 12,000 for a brown colour Pekinese while a jeweller bought the St Bernard pair for Rs 33,000.

The pups were handed over to the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) for care and safe keeping before the final dates of the auction were announced through the various newspapers.

The auction was conducted by a five-member panel comprising the Commissioner, Customs, Mr M.S. Arora, the Deputy Commissioner Customs (Airport), Mr Mahindra Ranga, and the Deputy Commissioner Customs (II) Mr S.J.S. Kahlon.


Lawyers start ‘no work’ campaign
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 9
Members of the District Bar Association here started “no work” campaign from today for three days in protest against the non-construction of the chamber block for the lawyers.

A meeting of the association held under the leadership of Mr Balraj Singh Sohi, president of the association, here today took serious note of the silence of the state government over their demand for constructing chambers in the newly-built District Judicial Complex. Mr Sat Pal Sharma, secretary of the association, said in the absence of chambers or other alternative sitting sites for the lawyers in the new complex, it would be difficult for the lawyers to work in a smooth manner.

Mr Sharma further said the courts working now in the old courts complex were expected to shift to the newly built District Judicial Complex shortly. He also stated that besides starting “no work” campaign the lawyers would also stage a dharna in the judicial complex from tomorrow to air their grievances.


Rally against MC officials held
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 9
A large number of shopkeepers of the city today held a rally and sat on a dharna near the municipal council’s office in protest against the alleged harassment by its officials in the name of implementing the government decision of selling the shops to the tenents.

Earlier they took out a procession through various markets of the city. It was led by Mr Krishan Garg, Mr Basant Bhatia and Mr Sewak Ram Bhola, all Municipal Councillors. The shops of the Mall Road, Subhash market and the Bhagat Singh market remained closed till 1 pm, as a mark of protest.

Mr Garg while addressing the rally said that the decision of the Punjab Government that the shops owned by the civic bodies should be sold to the tenents after taking 40 per cent of the market price from them, was in favour of the shopkeepers. He alleged that the decision was not properly implemented by the local authorities concerned. He alleged that the prices of such shops were falsely increased by the authorities.

He said that in some cases the shopkeepers were asked to pay the price for the shop which was equal to the market price. If they had to pay such a huge amount then what was the benefit of the policy framed by the government, he added.

Mr Sewak Ram Bhola said the authorities were also discriminating against the sale of the varandhas in front of the shops. He said these were not the parts of the shops rather they were to be used as thorough fare.

They were not paying the rent for the same, he added. He alleged that the authorities were asking the tenents to pay for the space covered by such varandhas while making the payment for the shop.

The agitating shopkeepers alleged that while they went to the office of the president of the Municipal Council to present their memorandum nobody met them.

They said that they would forward representation to the Minister for Local Bodies soon.


Team of Punjabi papers’ body to meet PM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
A delegation of the All-India Punjabi Newspapers Association, led by Mr Jagjit Singh Dardi, will shortly meet the Prime Minister against the ‘’discriminatory attitude’’ of the Punjab Government against them in the matter of release of advertisements.

Mr Dardi today said the association had decided to request the Prime Minister to intervene in the matter so that Punjabi newspapers got justice.

Mr Dardi said till date the policy had been that out of the total advertisements released by the government 62 per cent went to Punjabi newspapers. This decision was taken in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha. But after the present government came to power the percentage of advertisements released to Punjabi newspapers was a mere 28 of the total.


‘Give amnesty to migrant terrorists’
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 9
Former head of the World Sikh Council and USA-based millionaire Didar Singh Bains said all terrorists who had migrated to the Western countries under the alleged threat from Indian security forces during the days of terrorism in Punjab, should be granted general amnesty and brought into the mainstream.

Attending a function in his honour at Singha village, near here, he said that the black list of Sikh NRIs, which debar them from entering the country, should be abolished to bring all these terrorists into the mainstream as there was no threat to the peace of the state from them.


Regiment celebrates golden jubilee
Our Correspondent

Somewhere In The Western Sector, April 9
The 128 Air Defence Regiment, one of the finest air defence artillery unit of the Indian Army, which was raised on April 1, 1951, as 128 Light Ack-Ack Regiment (TA) at Arkonam near Chennai, under the command of Lieut Col Atma Singh Punnu as its first Commanding Officer completed 50 glorious years of its existence. The Regiment which performed superbly during the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pakistan wars won gallantry awards, including Vir Chakra. The Regiment was reorganised and regularised as 128 Air Defence Regiment on September 15, 1973.

Lieut Gen Naresh Chand, Director General of the Air Defence Artillery, released a special first day cover.


Bank manager run over by train
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 9
Three persons, including a bank manager, died in separate incidents here today.

Hospital sources said Inderjit Singh, who was working as a manager at a branch of the Punjab and Sind Bank, was crushed to death by a train as a railway crossing. The body of the deceased was handed over to his relatives after conducting a post-mortem examination at the local Civil Hospital. A case under Section 174 of the IPC had been registered by the GRP authorities.

In another incident, Parmeshwari Devi (70) of Sanguana basti reportedly committed suicide by self-immolation. Hospital sources said she succumbed to her injuries at the local Civil Hospital. She was brought to the hospital by volunteers of the Sahara Jan Sewa.

In yet another incident, Jarnail Singh (68), died at the Civil Hospital due to sickness. He was admitted to the hospital a few days ago with diarrhoea. A case has been registered in this connection. His body was consigned to flames by volunteers of the Sahara Jan Sewa after a post-mortem examination. 


Woman booked for killing mother-in-law
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, April 9
On the direction of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the Garhshanker police has registered a case of murder under Section 302, IPC, after 10 months of the crime, against Surinder Kaur and her husband Nirmal Singh, residents of Saila Khurd, for reportedly setting afire her mother-in-law Baldev Kaur.

According to an FIR, Surinder Kaur poured kerosene on her mother-in-law at her house on June 5, 2000, and later set her on fire.

Their servant informed Amrit Kaur, daughter of Baldev Kaur who was staying close to the house.

Amrit Kaur came to her mother’s rescue but Suruinder Kaur reportedly bolted the doors.

Later, people of the locality came and rescued Baldev Kaur.

She was taken to the PGI in Chandigarh but she succumbed to her burns.

The police station concerned did proceedings only under Section 174, IPC, and did not register any case.

Meanwhile, on the complaint of Mann Singh of Pathankot, the police yesterday registered a case under Sections 304-B and 34,IPC, against Ashwani Kumar and his mother Radha Rani, residents of Mukerian for allegedly compelling his daughter Rajni to consume poison due to which she died.

He alleged they were compelling her to get Rs 5,00,000 as more dowry.

In another incident, Mohkan Din of Kalewal and Sher Ali Khan of Bora have been arrested under Sections 379 and 427, IPC, for illegal felling 26 trees of the government.


Two children killed in road mishap
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, April 9
Two children were killed while one person was injured when a truck hit a scooter near a traffic light chowk here today.

The third child travelling on the scooter escaped with minor injuries.

The children were being dropped home after school by Harmohinder Singh, the father of one of the children.

A loaded truck No. PB-13C-8535 hit the scooter. The injured scooterist was admitted in the local Civil Hospital.

The police has impounded the truck. Its driver has managed evade arrest.

The police has registered a case under Section 304 A.


‘Clarify’ age relaxation rules
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 9
The candidates, who have applied for various posts advertised by the Departmental Selection Committee (Teaching) of the Department of Education, Punjab, in 1997, have demanded that the rules regarding the age relaxation should be clarified. Mrs Maninder Kaur (name changed), who had applied for the post of arts and crafts teacher in reference to an advertisement issued by the department on April 10, 1997, lamented that when she applied for the post she was eligible and fulfilled all conditions, including that of age.

In the advertisement issued by the committee on April 10, 1997, it was stated that those who had applied for the same posts in 1996 need not to apply again.

The department issued another advertisement on March 28, 2001 for the same posts but did not clearly mention whether the candidates, who had applied earlier, needed to apply again or not.


PUTA welcomes inquiry against VC
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 9
The executive committee of the Punjabi University Teachers Association (PUTA) led by Prof Bhupinder Singh Khaira, President, and Dr Balwinder Singh, Secretary, met Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, here today and apprised him of the irregularities being committed by the Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor, Dr J.S. Ahluwalia.

The PUTA leaders told the Chief Minister about the serious situation prevailing on the Punjabi University campus. In a memorandum they demanded his immediate intervention. Mr Badal invited the PUTA leaders to Chandigarh for discussions on the various issues relating to the situation on the campus.

PUTA welcomed the inquiry setup against the Vice-Chancellor by the Minister of Higher Education, Master Mohan Lal. They demanded that the VC be sent on long leave till the completion of the inquiry.

In the memorandum submitted to the Chief Minister, PUTA has raised the issues of implementation of the career advancement scheme (CAS), non-allotment of houses to teachers, appointing most of the university functionaries on “till further” order basis, violation of university Calendar by allowing a private IT company to exploit university property and resource for private profits, violation of university acts, statutes and ordinances in admissions and appointment.

The Forum for Educational Reforms (FEAR) at its meeting here welcomed the inquiry into the acts of omission and commission of the VC and urged the Chancellor, and the Punjab Government to send Dr Ahluwalia on leave during inquiry.

Meanwhile, the United Teachers Front, sought an inquiry by a High Court judge into the manner and means in which the Minister for Higher Education pressurised the university management to get himself registered for Ph D degree some time back.


Punjab memo to Labour Commission
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
The Punjab Minister of Labour, Mr Balramji Das Tandon, today presented a memorandum to the Second Commission on Labour, headed by former Union Minister Ravindra Verma.

A government press note said the memorandum covered issues like migrant labour, child labour, employees’ provident fund and contract labour etc. Mr Tandon also explained the steps taken by the government in respect of mitigating the suffering of the labour class through labour lok adalats and medical check-up camps. Mr Verma explained the objectives of the commission.

Meanwhile, the Punjab State Karamchari Dal President, Mr Hari Singh Tohra, also submitted a detailed five-paged memorandum to the commission, suggesting that an ‘’umbrella’’ legislation be framed.


Resentment over waiver of interest
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 9
Waiver of Penal interest on the loans taken by industrialists has created resentment among a group of them, who have paid principal amounts before the publication of a notification regarding waiver of penal interest.

Mr M.R. Madan, district press secretary, Counsumer Welfare Council, said that the state government had issued a notification on November, 8, 2000 stating that the penal interest on interest-free loans utilised under the Punjab Industrial Incentive Code, under the industrial policy statement, 1978, would be waived if the units re-paid the entire principal amount due towards them. The last date for availing the facility was fixed at February 7, 2001. But the notification was silent in the case of industrial units which had paid the due principal amount prior to the announcement made by the state government.

The notification did not describe the status of these industrial units, which had paid the due amount before the notification and thus resentment prevails amongst those who had paid the amount before the notification was made, added Mr Madan. If the penal interest was not waived for those who had paid the due principal amount before the notification, it would amount to discrimination against those who paid the due amounts honestly, he added.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
121 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |