Friday, April 27, 2001, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Fire renders 500 labourers homeless
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Sangowal (Jalandhar), April 26
More than 500 persons, mostly migrant labourers, were rendered homeless when a fire engulfed about 100 jhuggis and reduced their belongings to ashes here last evening.

The fire, the cause of which is yet to be ascertained, spread so fast that even rescue operation by the Nakodar subdivisional authorities could not be initiated.

Everything was destroyed before fire tenders from Jalandhar could reach the spot.

No loss of life, except the death of eight milch cattle, has been reported. The labourers were not at home at the time of the incident and their children were rescued by a group of labourers working in the nearby grain market.

Cash amounting to Rs 1.5 lakh, reported to have been kept by residents in their houses for the purchase of wheat, were also destroyed in some cases.

It is for the third time since 1981 that fire damaged this particular settlement spread on about two acres of the village land.

The impact of the fire, which is said to have been broken out in a nearby wheat field, was so powerful that some utensils even melted. About 150 families had to spend the night in the open. Residents of the village came forward and offered food to the labourers. They organised a langar on the spot to help the victims.

Most of the labourers worked in fields of farmers of Sangowal and Mehatpur villages.

Latur, Arjan Dass and Taari lost their jhuggis to fire for the second time. Their jhuggis had been badly damaged by a fire about six months ago.

Anita Devi said Rs 15,000 which she had kept for her daughter’s marriage had been destroyed in the fire. A cow which had been rescued jumped again in the fire to save her calf but was also killed.

Balesar, a labour contractor, said Rs 50,000 which he had kept for the payment to labourers had been destroyed.

A flour mill and a grocery shop was also gutted.

The labourers said though the SDM, Nakodar, reached the spot after the incident, no aid had come from any quarter. Sarpanch Baldev Singh said the Deputy Commissioner was scheduled to visit the village this evening and would distribute about 18 quintals of wheat and the same quantity of rice among the victims.

Mr Tarsem Peter of the Pendu Mazdoor Union demanded that monetary relief should be given to the victims by the government so as to enable them to construct their dwellings.

“To avoid such incidents in future, asbestos sheets should be given to them for making their huts,” he said.


Wheat in 45 acres destroyed
Tribune News Service

Samao (Mansa), April 26
Samao village located near Bhikhi town of this district was saved from a major disaster when five fire tenders succeeded in controlling a fire in wheat fields here today.

Sources said the fire tenders fought for several hours before the fire was controlled.

According to information the fire started from a field where remnants of harvested wheat were present. As a strong wind was blowing, it spread to the adjoining fields in no time.

The fire which started at about 12.15. p.m. engulfed several fields in a short time.

Official sources said standing wheat crop in about 45 acres destroyed in the fire. In other fields the crop had already been cut.

Deputy Commissioner Raji P. Srivastva said as per the preliminary investigations, the fire started when one of the farmers tried to burn the remnants of the harvested wheat.

The remnants were burnt by a farmer at Atla Khurd village.

She said a detailed probe would be held, adding that some of the district administration officials had been sent to the spot.

Mr B.S. Romana, DSP (D), who supervised the fire-fighting operation, said if the fire had not been extinguished, the whole village would have reduced to ashes.

Dhana Singh, one of the farmers whose standing crop was destroyed, said district revenue officials who visited the spot were told about the losses.

He said villagers also pressed their tractors into service to put off the fire by uprooting the remnants of the crop so that the fire would not spread.


Fire destroys jhuggis, wheat crop
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, April 26
Around 90 jhuggis and over 20 acres of wheat crop was reduced to ashes in a major fire that broke out near Mehatpur on Tuesday.

The cause of the fire was not known, but sparking in high tension wires is thought to have caused it.

Three fire tenders from Jalandhar managed to control the fire. Civil and police officials from Nakodar and Noormahal rushed to the spot. Currency notes worth thousands of rupees were also destroyed along with other articles in this fire. Villagers organised langar to provide food to the affected families who have been rendered homeless due to the fire.


Centre asked to create space
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 26
Even as the state has been facing a problem of plenty, the Punjab Government has suggested to the Central Government to create additional storage capacity in the consuming states.

After visiting a number of grain markets in the border belt of Amritsar and Gurdaspur districts today, Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, Minister, Food Supplies, told the press that large stocks of wheat and paddy could not be moved to the consuming states. He, however, said the state had made elaborate arrangements for proper stocking of fresh wheat arrivals by creating sufficient storage capacity.

During his visit to various grain markets, Mr Mittal was informed that the Food Corporation of India was not coming forward to lift the wheat stocks on the pretext that the produce was discoloured or damaged due to untimely rains. Mr Mittal directed the officials of the FCI to procure the wheat stocks immediately so that farmers were not harassed. The meeting was attended by senior officials of various procurement agencies, including Deputy Commissioner Narinderjit Singh.

Mr Mittal informed that the state had fixed a target of procuring more than one crore metric tonnes of wheat during the current season as compared to the 97 lakh metric tonnes last year.

The minister claimed that the farmers were satisfied with the arrangements made by the Punjab Government to procure wheat. He said the state government had already sent gunny bags in sufficient quantity to various grain markets. Mr Mittal said 2,57,27,711 metric tonnes of wheat had already arrived in different grain markets so far and the arrival was likely to pick up in the coming days. He said he had directed the officials concerned to procure the produce at the earliest, failing which the state government would take strict action against them.

To a question, Mr Mittal said more than 90 lakh metric tonnes of wheat and about 40 tonnes of paddy was still in Punjab godowns and the state government was making arrangements for their early movement.

The state government would forward the case of Punsup for exporting foodgrains. The case of Markfed for exporting food items had already been cleared.

To a question, Mr Mittal said the alliance between the Shiromani Akali Dal and the BJP was permanent and both parties would contest the forthcoming General Election jointly. He said the elections would be contested under the leadership of Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

On the stage-managed arrest of Wassan Singh Zaffarwal, self-styled chief of the Khalistan Commando Force, Mr Mittal said instead of criticising the government on flimsy grounds, credit should be given to the state as the person who had been fighting against the Constitution of the country, had now accepted the rule of the law. Zaffarwal had not only accepted the Constitution of the country, but also discarded his ideology.


SAD factionalism spreads to electricity board
Our Correspondent

Barnala, April 26
Factions of the Shiromani Akali Dal one owing allegiance to Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, former Union Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister and represented by Mr Baldev Singh Mann, Administrative Member, Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), and the anti-Barnala faction led by Mr Malkit Singh Keetu, MLA, Barnala, continue their squabbling for supremacy in the ruling SAD whereas the PSEB unions and employees have intensified their agitation to get revoked the “victimisation” of 12 PSEB employees of Shehna subdivision.

Twelve employees of the Shehna subdivision of the PSEB became a victim of the wrath of the PSEB authorities in the tug of war between the Barnala and Keetu factions for supremacy among the rural folk over the controversial 24-hour power supply inauguration episode at Tallewal village, about 20 km from here, by Mr Keetu on April 7 evening.

On getting information about Mr Mann’s programme to inaugurate the 24-hour power supply to Tallewal village at a function on April 8 along with Mr Tota Singh, Punjab Secondary Education Minister, and Mr Gaganjit Singh, son of Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, Uttaranchal Governor, a prospective candidate for the Barnala assembly seat, to woo the rural masses, Mr Keetu outsmarted the Barnala faction by inaugurating 24-hour power supply scheme at Tallewal on April 7 evening, taking his associate Balraj Singh, sarpanch of Tallewal, into confidence with the help of PSEB employees.

Infuriated at this development and at the instance of Mr Baldev Mann the PSEB authorities suspended Harjinder Singh (junior engineer), Amarjit Singh and Darshan Singh (linemen). Six assistant linemen and three work-charged staff were transferred out of zone on administrative grounds.

Very reliable sources in the PSEB disclosed here both factions of SAD in a bid to garner public support threw norms to the wind for the purpose of inauguration of the 24-hour power supply scheme in Tallewal village.

Not learning any lesson from this controversial incident factions still have not been leaving any stone unturned to settle old scores with each other.

Mr Mann is bent on getting 24-hour power supply line in Tallewal village disconnected. As the line cannot be disconnected straightway from the power grid as other villages of area too are connected, on April 17 certain senior officials from Barnala at the instance of the PSEB authorities went to Tallewal to get 24-hour power supply line to Tallewal disconnected.

Hundreds of people of Tallewal assembled at once, giving stiff resistance to this move.

On the other hand Mr Keetu and Tallewal sarpanch assert that they would not allow disconnection of 24-hour power supply line to Tallewal in public interest.

Meanwhile, PSEB Employees Federation Barnala Division president Mela Singh and Mr Shinder Singh, president of the Technical services Union of Barnala informed this reporter here yesterday a joint action committee comprising of the Employees Federation technical Services Union, JE Council (PSEB) and the Ministerial Staff Clerical Union had been constituted to get revoked the transfers and suspension of 12 employees of Shehna.

These leaders informed the joint action committee after staging dharnas at Shehna April 24, Tapa April 26 and Barnala (rural) April 27 would hold a massive division-level protest on May 4 at Barnala, to further intensify the stir.

Mr Shinder Singh president of the Technical Services Union of Barnala, intimated the union would stage a protest at the PSEB head office in Patiala in the first week of May to protest against the victimisation of the PSEB employees of Patiala, Bathinda and Sangrur circles.


Talwandi denies rift with Badal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 26
The SGPC chief, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, today denied that he had any differences with the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, claiming that they enjoyed very cordial relationship.

Reacting to a report published in this newspaper today, he observed “The report is baseless and aimed at creating a rift between the two leaders”. He alleged, “some of our opponents who were not happy with the performance of the Akali-BJP government wanted to create confusion among people”.

On the other hand, sources in the Akali Dal disclosed that, some leaders loyal to Mr Tohra had started sending feelers to Mr Talwandi, much to the chagrin of the Chief Minister.


DEO, admn officer booked
Our Correspondent

Mansa, April 26
The police here has registered a case against Ms Bhupinder Kaur, District Education Officer (Secondary) Mansa and Gurparshad, Administrative Officer of her office and others under Section 3 of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 on a complaint filed by Mr Darbara Singh Jatana, Lecturer in Political Science and ex-Principal Government Senior Secondary School, Nangal Kalan in the district.

The FIR (No. 38 of 25.4.2001) has been lodged on the complaint sent to the National Commission of SC/ST, New Delhi, which advised the complainant to lodge an FIR with the police.

An inquiry was conducted by Mr Manmohan Singh, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) (D) Mansa and he recommended the registration of the case.

On such recommendation, the Senior Superintendent of Police, Mansa ordered the registration of case on which FIR No. 38 of April 25, 2001 was registered by the police. No arrest has been made so far.


Lawyers submit memo to HC judge
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 26
Advocates of the District Courts here today alleged that the Punjab Government had made a change in the construction plan of the judicial complex coming up adjacent to the District Courts by shifting the administrative block of the complex to a new site on the outskirts of the city.

Presenting a memorandum to the Punjab and Haryana High Court judge, Mr Justice K. S. Kumaran, the District Bar Association claimed that the proposed change in the original plan would create inconvenience to litigants and the general public as well as advocates who had to attend to both judicial as well as revenue courts.

The association president, Mr Balbir Singh Billing, and the secretary, Mr Wirsa Singh Waraich, said according to the original plan the construction of the mini-secretariat and the administrative complex was to start at the same site following construction of the judicial complex, the work on which was underway presently.

The lawyers said it had now come to light that the government had changed the original plan and decided to shift the administrative block to a new site near the Central Jail, Patiala. They said the new site was at a distance of 3 km from the judicial complex. They said it had also been learnt that the government wanted to hand over the area meant for the administrative block to PUDA for the construction of a shopping-cum-commercial complex.

The association appealed in the memorandum that under the given circumstances the proposed change in the original composite complex plan should not be allowed to be carried out. It also complained that even as work on the judicial complex had been speeded up following orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in this regard, yet no steps had been taken so far for the construction of chambers in the new complex.


Beard case: Chandumajra meets Governor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
A deputation of Akali led by Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, general secretary of the Sarab Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, today met the Punjab Governor. They also presented before him, Mr Paramjit Singh, who had alleged that his beard was cut off by a Sangrur police party.

In a statement, Akali leaders said that the Governor assured them that he would take up the matter with the authorities concerned.

Meanwhile, Mr Paramjit Singh said that the Sangrur police had made a wrong statement against him. He said that he had got a corruption case registered against certain persons in Sangrur.

Meanwhile, Mr Ranjit Singh Balian, Minister of State for Urban Development, Punjab, said here today that he was not aware of any complaint submitted against him by the President of the Sangrur district unit of the Samajwadi Janata Party, Mr Paramjit Singh.

Addressing a press conference at his office here, Mr Balian said that he did not pressurise any police officer to make Paramjit Singh withdraw the complaint.

“The story narrated by Paramjit Singh with regard to police pressure was made up. As I do not know about the complaint, how I can be involved in putting pressure on Paramjit Singh”, Mr Balian asserted.

It may mentioned here that addressing a press conference on behalf of Paramjit Singh, the Sarab Hind Shiromani Akali Dal’s General Secretary, Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra alleged yesterday that certain police officials cut off the beard of Paramjit Singh at Sangrur. Police officials were forcing Paramjit Singh to withdraw the complaint against an Akali Minister, but he refused to do so.

Mr Balian said that there were a number of complaints and cases against Paramjit Singh which were being investigated by the police.


4-year-long wait for pension
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 26
The tall claims of the state government notwithstanding, more than 400 residents of 11 villages are running from pillar to post to get their pensions sanctioned for the past four years.

The SAD had declared in its election manifesto before the 1997 Assembly elections that all eligible persons would be provided pensions as soon as it came to power. After assuming power, the SAD-BJP government organised special pension camps in different parts of the state, in which formalities regarding the grant of pension were completed.

The camps were also organised at Adgaman, Udhowal, Bir Baloki, Pabwan, Mehatpur, Sunnarkalan, Pharwala, Dyalpur, Lamba Pind, Bara Pind, Chota Pind and Bakhu Nangal villages in the district in 1997, but these camps had been of no use to around 400 pension seekers of these villages, mainly belonging to the poor families.

Despite their repeated visits to the District Social Security Office and Deputy Commissioner’s office for the past four years their pensions have not so far been sanctioned.

It proved to be a futile exercise for Karnail Singh Karma and Naginder Singh of Pharwala village and Surjit Kaur and Tarsem Lal of Sunnarkalan village, who died last year, waiting for their pensions.

Though Jagtar Parkashi, Karam Kaur and Parkash of Mehatpur were sanctioned old-age pensions in March 1998, they did not receive a single rupee from the state government. All of them died during the past three years.

Hundreds of residents of these villages, led by the Punjab Pendu Mazdoor Union, had organised a dharna in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner on May 29 last year to register their protest. The then Deputy Commissioner has asked them to apply afresh for pensions since several files were missing from the official records of the department concerned.

More than 400 residents of 11 villages, who had filed fresh applications last year, have alleged that the officials were intentionally delaying the sanctioning of their pensions.

Mrs Prem Kaur of Sunnarkalan village alleged that she had approached the District Social Security Officer several times during the past four years but the latter had only assured her that her pension would be released soon after getting a verification report from the SDM concerned.

Similarly, Ms Kanta, a handicapped woman of Lamba Pind, said she had lost all hope of getting any monetary aid from the government.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr K. Shiva Parsad, was not available for comments.

Mr Kashmir Singh, secretary of the Pendu Mazdoor Union, Punjab, said the union had raised the issue during a “sangat darshan” programme of the Deputy Commissioner on December 12 last year and he had ordered Executive Magistrate Munish Kumar to get these pensions sanctioned immediately. But, nothing concrete has so far been done in this regard, he alleged.


Minister’s assurance to pensioners
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 26
Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Finance Minister, Punjab, while addressing a state-level convention of the Punjab Government Pensioners Association here yesterday, conceded the pensioners demand of giving old-age allowance of 5 per cent to persons above the age of 65 and 10 per cent to those above the age of 75. Earlier, the allowance was for persons above 70 and 80 years, respectively.

He also promised to increase the medical allowance as per the recommendations of the Fourth Pay Commission. He assured the pensioners that their other genuine demands which had been accepted would also be implemented.

Mrs Satwant Kaur Sandhu urged the Finance Minister to concede all demands of the pensioners. Earlier, Mr O.P. Gaba, state president, Punjab Pensioners Association, highlighted various problems and demands of the association.

The convention was attended by thousands of pensioners from all over the state. Mr Balwant Singh Sodhi, district president, and Mr Hari Singh Tohra, state president, Punjab State Karamchari Dal, also addressed the gathering.


Catch a monkey, get Rs 500
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
If you are unemployed and have no source of income, then here is an opportunity to earn money. It is official, duly approved by the Punjab Government. In fact, the payment will be made by the government.

Before you try your hand, it will be proper to caution you that the task will be risky. Ponder over the offer seriously, before you accept the challenge.

The state Wildlife Department is ready to pay Rs 500 for each monkey trapped. A proposal to this effect has been cleared by the Wildlife Advisory Board, which held a meeting recently. In fact, the proceedings have been approved by all concerned.

The meeting was attended by top officials of the Wildlife Department and unofficial members of the board.

Officials say that there are now a large number of monkeys in the state. Only last week, the Deputy Commissioner of Faridkot and the Subdivisional Magistrate concerned sent an SoS to the department authorities to tame a monkey which had made life hell for schoolchildren in Faridkot town. Official sources said the monkey had attacked some students and bitten them. They had to be vaccinated.

The sources said that a monkey had entered the Motibagh Palace of Capt Amarinder Singh in Patiala and he had to seek the help of wildlife experts to drive the primate away.

Owing to the shrinking forest cover in the state and the unprecedented increase in the population of monkeys, the problem has become acute. People do not kill monkeys due to religious reasons. Earlier, monkeys used to be exported to international laboratories. But this was banned a few years ago.

From various forest areas of Hoshiarpur, Nabha, Patiala, Pathankot, etc, monkeys move to towns and villages. Wildlife experts say that usually monkeys attack children to snatch eatables from them and women carrying purses or handbags.

A pair of monkeys is enough to put an entire town to inconvenience, say wildlife officials. It is a tough job to capture hostile monkeys. They are fast moving and cunning and have the capacity to attack ferociously.

A number of monkeys have been captured from various parts of the state and put in an enclosure, unofficially called a “monkey jail”, in the Motibagh zoo at Patiala. Many of these monkeys had often attacked human beings.

A senior official of the Wildlife Department said the department had planned to set up rescue homes for monkeys captured by people against payment.

The monkey menace has even reached the corridors of power — the Punjab Civil Secretariat in Chandigarh. A hefty monkey moves about in the Secretariat building creating terror not only among employees but also Ministers. “I am very scared of the monkey, which often enters my private enclosure adjacent to my official room”, says Mr Tikshan Sud, a BJP Minister. Whenever anybody wants to talk to him in his private enclosure, the Minister has to call his peon to ensure that the monkey is not there. A few days ago the monkey took away the tiffin of a Deputy Director of Public Relations Department. 


Wife’s suicide: Dalit youth seeks justice
From Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Barnala, April 26
Mr Krishan Singh a dalit youth resident of Awa Basti here, whose wife, Kamaljeet Kaur (25), committed suicide by burning herself last month, has been in search of justice because none of the eight alleged accused named in the dying declaration by the deceased has been arrested even after the death of his wife on March 13 last.

The police registered a case against four persons under Sections 306 and 511 of the IPC on March 4 on the statement of Kamaljeet Kaur who had alleged that she burnt herself by pouring kerosene on herself as she could not tolerate insulting and derogatory remarks used against her family by the these persons.

Later, the police added four names to the same FIR on the basis of statement made by Kamaljeet Kaur on March 11 in the presence of Dr Bhalinder Singh Gill at the local Civil Hospital.

In this statement, she had alleged that the accused had gheraoed their house on March 4 and used derogatory remarks against her and her husband. Dr Bhalinder Singh, Medical Officer on duty sent her statement to the Duty Magistrate, Barnala.

Kamaljeet Kaur died on March 13. Before her death she gave birth to a dead female baby on March 10 during the seventh month of pregnancy.

She has left behind her two sons, Kulwinder (3) and Kuljit (2).

Talking to The Tribune at his residence here yesterday, Mr Krishan Singh said his wife was admitted into the local Civil Hospital with 90 per cent burns where she had died.

But all accused were still roaming in the town even after about one and half month of the death of her wife.

Mr Krishan Singh alleged that all accused named in the dying declaration of his wife were angry with his family for not obliging them in some other case.

Mr Krishan Singh also alleged that despite requests the dying declaration of her wife had not been got recorded by the police.

The hospital authorities had also written to the police for recording dying declaration, but to no avail till her death.

Talking to The Tribune here yesterday, Mr Ajaib Singh Kaleka, SSP, Barnala, said the police had booked eight persons under Section 306 of the IPC but no one had been arrested so far as the police investigations were likely to be completed in a week, whereafter necessary action would be taken.

Mr Kaleka said there was no need to record the dying declaration of the deceased again as the FIR had been lodged on the statement of the deceased, Kamaljeet Kaur.


Youths hooked on Internet
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 26
If there is anything which interests young people more than movies, fast food, fashion, music and television, it is the Internet. When the Internet was launched in the city in 1998, nobody could have imagined the enormous response and success of cyber cafes in the city. The number of people visiting the cyber cafes speaks volumes about the spell cast by the Internet.

While some people are using the Internet as a source of information and knowledge, for others it is all about sending e-mails and chatting. The city is witnessing a rapid growth of cyber cafes after the opening of several computer coaching centres. Bathinda has already emerged as a popular centre of education.

There are about 25 cyber cafes in the city and the number of people visiting these is also increasing. The majority of them are in the age group of 15 to 25. Some middle-aged persons also use the Internet for business purposes but their number is very less.

A random survey conducted by this correspondent revealed that some youths in the city were not using the Internet in a positive manner and lack of awareness prevailed among them in this regard.

The number of regular Internet users in the city is said to be about 1,500. A few persons have Internet connections in their houses. These include doctors, lawyers, chartered accountants and professors who use it to know the latest developments in their respective field.

Parents of students who spend hours sitting at cyber cafes are of the opinion that their children should spend more time on their studies. According to them, net chatting or surfing for hours together not only distracts them from their studies but also causes wastage of time and money. It would be better if they use the Internet constructively, the parents say.

Mr Naveen Singla of Cyber Break said there were a number of websites exclusively for the youth. Thanks to the Internet, youngsters could make friends with people belonging to different parts of the world.

Mr Rakesh Jaidka, who teaches at a computer coaching centre in the city, said that although awareness about computer education had increased in the area, a majority of youngsters visiting cyber cafes were not fully aware of the benefits of the Internet. They used it for the purpose of recreation although it could be helpful in research work and for keeping in touch with the latest developments in various fields.

Some students of the local engineering college said they were Internet addicts but they used it as a source of entertainment. They used it to download songs, music, games, programmes and posters.

A leading psychiatrist of the city said that due to the Internet, the interaction of youngsters with their parents and friends was decreasing because they preferred to chat on the net. “It would be good if teachers and parents educate their children to use the Internet for their benefit and not just as a source of recreation,” she said.


Army man cremated
Our Correspondent

Patti (Amritsar), April 26
Army man Harjinder Singh of 22 Rashtriya Rifles was cremated today with full military honours at his native village Mandi Khalra this morning. The deputy director, Sainik Welfare Board, Mr J.S. Mann, told newspersons that Harjinder Singh died fighting militants in Baramula in Jammu and Kashmir on Monday.

Mr Mann said his body was brought here last night. He leaves behind his aged father Gurbachan Singh, wife and children.

Col A.K. Sharma, along with his staff officers, placed wreaths on behalf of the Defence Ministry on his body. The deputy director announced that the Punjab Government would provide an ex gratia grant of Rs 2 lakh, besides a housing loan of Rs 5 lakh.


Probe into tattoo charge ends

Ludhiana, April 26
The magisterial inquiry into the alleged merciless beating up of and tattooing the word “Qatil” by two jail officials on the back of an undertrial at Central Jail here ended today.

The SDM, Mr Kuldip Singh, submitted his report after conducting the inquiry as ordered by the Deputy Commissioner. Undertrial Raman Kumar, alias Nikka, had submitted a written complaint before the First Class Judicial Magistrate yesterday that he was beaten up by two jail officials when he requested for a medical check-up.

He alleged that Assistant Superintendent Mool Raj and Havaldar Jarnail Singh caught hold of him and took iron rods and tattooed ‘Qatil’ in the Punjabi language on his back.

Meanwhile, the jail authorities refuted the allegations saying that it is a ploy by the undertrial to blackmail the officials. The Judge, Mr Rajiv Beri, had ordered medical examination of the undertrial and directed the Superintendent of Central Jail, Tajpur road, to submit his report soon. PTI 


Residents allege discrimination by MC
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 26
Residents of Kamla Nehru Nagar in the city have alleged that the municipal authorities is discriminating against their locality with regard to the development of the area despite repeated requests and representations.

In a letter written to the president of the municipal council Mr Jagnandan Singh, president, Kamla Nehru Nagar Welfare Society, alleged that despite repeated assurances by the municipal authorities, pot-holes, blocked sewers and heaps of garbage greeted the visitors to the colony.

Mr Jagnandan Singh alleged that despite the claim of the authorities that about Rs 65 lakh had been spent on the development of the locality it still remained underdeveloped. The municipal authorities had promised that water supply, sewerage and other civic amenities would be improved in the area but nothing had been done so far, he alleged.

Although sanitation work in the area had been given on contract the results were not satisfactory, he alleged.

Mr S.K. Mittal, executive officer, municipal council, said the probems of the area would be solved shortly and claimed that the council was working towards the same. The council had asked residents to deploy men for sanitation work in the area, he said.


Free medical treatment for freedom fighters
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
The Punjab Government has decided to provide free medical treatment to freedom fighters at all government hospitals and dispensaries in the state.

A spokesman of the government said the freedom fighters would also be eligible to get reimbursement for medicines purchased from outside during their indoor treatment, provided these were not available at the hospitals and dispensaries where they were undergoing treatment.

It had also been decided to provide them with the facility of treatment at the AIIMS, New Delhi, the PGI, Chandigarh, and other medical institutes or hospitals.


GOC pays obeisance at Golden Temple
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 26
On assuming the command of Vajra Corps, Jalandhar, Lieut-Gen Shantonu Choudhry, General Officer Commanding, visited the Golden Temple and Durgiana Mandir here today. He was accompanied by Mrs Choudhry.

They also paid obeisance at the sanctum sanctorum. The couple prayed for the well being of soldiers, their families and for the prosperity of the people of Punjab and the country.


B. C. Gupta bereaved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
Mrs Kamla Gupta (72), mother of Mr B.C. Gupta, Secretary, Labour and Employment, Punjab, died at the DMC, Ludhiana, today. Her cremation was well attended. She leaves behind two sons and a daughter. 


Canal irrigation plan for kharif season
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
The Punjab Government has announced a rotational programme for canal irrigation for the kharif season from April 24 to May 1.

The Sirhind canal system will run on a priority basis from the Patiala feeder, the Abohar branch, the Bathinda branch, the Bist Doab canal and the Sidhwan branch.

A spokesman of the Irrigation Department said that direct distributaries of the Bhakra Main Line, the Ghaggar link and its off-taking channels, ie the Ghaggar branch and the Patiala minor, being channels of first preference, would run to their “indent”.

The balance surplus water available would be utilised in direct distributaries of the Bhakra Main Line.

He further said the Punjab channels off-taking from Harike and the Ferozepore headworks branches, ie the Abohar branch off-taking from the Sirhind feeder and its distributaries of group “B”, would run on first preference to their “indent”. The balance water supplies available would be utilised in direct distributaries of the Sirhind feeder in group “C”.

The Upper Bari Doab Canal and its Lahore branch with its distributaries, being in first preference, would run to their “indent”. The balance surplus water would be utilised in the main branch Lower, the Kasur branch Lower and the Sabhraon branch with its distributaries.


Case against MC men for demolition
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 26
The district police has registered a case against the officials of the local municipal council for demolishing the wall of the government senior secondary school for girls located on the Mall Road in the town.

Official sources said a case was registered under Sections 447 and 427 of the IPC against the municipal council officials on the complaint of Mr Inder Singh, Sub-Divisional Engineer, PWD. Mr Inder Singh alleged the municipal council officials had demolished an about 190-feet-long wall of the school which belonged both PWD.

He alleged after demolishing the wall the municipal council officials carried out construction there after making a new wall without taking a no-objection certificate from the PWD (B and R) authorities. In this way the municipal council officials had acted illegally and facilitated the encroachments on government land.

According to information gathered by TNS, the municipal council authorities auctioned the site of Milky Bazaar, adjoining the school, for constructing shops.

A writ in connection with the wrong sale of that piece of land was filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court by a local resident. The high court directed the Deputy Commissioner to take necessary action against those who were found guilty in this case.

Following the directive of the high court the Deputy Commissioner wrote to the SSP, Bathinda, to register the case against those persons named by PWD officials who demolished the wall.

The district police chief, Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, accordingly ordered the registration of a case against those who would be named by the PWD officials.

Mr Bhupinder Singh Bhullar, municipal council president when contacted said a case was registered against the municipal council officials. He said neither had the municipal council officials demolished the wall nor they had facilitated encroachment on the land belonging to the PWD.

He pointed out that according to revenue record Milky Bazaar where the shopping complex had been set up belonged to the municipal council and land of the PWD had not been sold by the municipal council authorities.

Mr Jaspal Singh, Deputy Commissioner, when contacted said he never gave instructions to the police for registering a case against municipal council officials.

He added that the wall of the government school was demolished by some other individuals who were allotted plots for their shops and hence the case should be registered against them. He said he had instructed that a case should be registered only on the statement of PWD officials.

He pointed out that in the investigations made by the police in this case it would become clear who was at fault.


One held for forgery
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, April 26
The police has arrested Ashok Kumar of Pathankot for preparing fake government documents like registration certificates of vehicles and driving licences by using fake-stamps of different authorities. Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP said today that Sudesh Kumar of Pathankot gave RC of his truck for the deposit of tax for the period from March 7, 1995 to June 30, 2000 and later gave his driving licence for the renewal to Ashok Kumar. The accused prepared fake documents in both cases and gave these to Sudesh Kumar as real documents.

Cheating came to light when Sudesh Kumar with the documents received from the accused applied for depositing tax for the period April 1 to June 30, 2000. The previous tax had not been deposited and documents were found forged.

A case under Sections 465/466/ 458/471/420 of the IPC was registered today.


CM has assured to hold probe: PUTA
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 26
In a further twist to the ongoing controversy between the elected Punjabi University Teachers Association (PUTA), which has recently been “denotified” by the university management, and the Vice-Chancellor the former today claimed that Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had said that a high-level inquiry would be conducted into the charges submitted by the organisation against the VC.

In a statement here, PUTA president Dr Bhupinder Singh Khaira and secretary Dr Balwinder Singh said representatives of the association had met the Chief Minister at Chandigarh yesterday. The Chief Minister, while assuring them that an inquiry would be held against the VC, had said the government would write to the Chancellor in this regard.

The leaders said the Chief Minister had described the “denotification” of the PUTA by the university as a “ridiculous” step and was of the opinion that the crisis created in the university would ultimately go against his government.

The PUTA had taken serious note of the formation of a committee by the Syndicate yesterday. The leaders said this was a blatant attempt by the VC to curb the freedom of teachers to exercise their democratic rights.

The committee formed yesterday could not be delegated powers of the Syndicate as claimed by the university management. This was an illegal act and that the issue had already been decided by the apex court of the country. Urging the VC to desist from such “illegal and provocative” activities, the leaders said PUTA had decided to approach the Human Rights Commission against the decision.

The Punjabi University Employees Association (non-teaching), in a separate press note, condemned the Syndicate’s decision banning anyone from going to the press. The press note said an emergency meeting held under the presidentship of Malkit Singh was of the view that the Syndicate’s decision was “undemocratic and against the fundamental rights of an individual.”

Meanwhile the Progressive Teachers Front, welcoming the decision of the Syndicate condemning the activities of the “outvoted” PUTA executive, said the latter was bent upon spoiling the image of the varsity and was playing with the careers of teachers to meet its own political aspirations. It appealed to the Chancellor and the Chief Minister to ignore the memoranda submitted to them by the “denotified” PUTA executive.


PUTA, VC urged to settle differences
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 26
Master Mohal Lal, Minister for Higher Education, Punjab, has urged the Central Government to take stern action against Bangladesh for brutally killing 16 BSF soldiers. The minister was here yesterday to preside over the convocation of the local Mata Gujri College.

Answering a query about the ongoing tussle between the Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, Patiala, and PUTA, he said an inquiry had been ordered. He said the complaints, anonymous letters and representations against the Vice-Chancellor had been handed over to the Principal Secretary, Higher Education. He said that after receiving the inquiry report, appropriate action would be taken.

He urged both parties to sort out the differences amicably for the benefit of the students as well as the institution. He said there was no controversy regarding his registration for Ph.D. He said he had no knowledge whether the Vice-Chancellor had been asked to go on leave and stated that he had apprised the Chief Minister of the situation.

Later, addressing the convocation, he said the government was spending Rs 407 crore on education in the state. Responding to the demands of the privately-managed College Teachers Union, he said the government would soon decide on giving pension and gratuity to teachers in privately-managed government-aided colleges. On the occasion, he gave away degrees to 221 graduates and postgraduates. 


Board to hold exams in 8 subjects
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, April 26
Mr Harbhajan Singh Dhindsa, the state president of the Government Classical and Vernacular Union, Punjab, said in a press conference here yesterday that the Secretary, Punjab School Education Board, in accordance with the accepted demands of the union, had issued a circular letter to all heads of middle, secondary and senior secondary schools in the state, stating that the school board would now conduct examinations at middle and matric levels in health and physical education and one elective subject out of drawing, Sanskrit, Urdu, Persian, agriculture, sewing and needle work, home science, music, dance, subjects of AVM scheme, vocational subjects and computer education from this academic year.

Hence, the board will conduct examination in eight subjects now instead of the previous six subjects with the total marks now being 800 at middle and 850 at matric level.

He said the school board would form a committee of experts for modification in the syllabus of drawing subject.


Children teach their village counterparts
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 26
For the children of Chhoti Rauni here a visit by students and teachers of a big English School in the city is welcome. Five-year-old Arjun and many others like him, all of whom belong to the parents who earn their livelihood through labour, usually await the goodies like biscuits, which the city children bring with them, than being eager about their lessons.

But all of them have got down to doing their lessons through the “each-one-teach-one” scheme launched by Blossoms School here under which students of Classes IX and X each adopt one child whose academic progress is monitored by them on a regular basis.

The children of labourers do not just wait for children of Blossoms School to visit them to teach them but also have a permanent teacher who takes their classes on a daily basis in the village. This has been made possible due to the funds from the Sant Trust which is managed by Blossoms School Principal Ravi Singh. The trust has been formed in memory of Ms Singh’s mother, Dr Sant Kaur, who was a recipient of the Padamshri award for her contribution to the family planning.

It is the combination of teaching provided by the trust and the additional effort put in by the school children which is making this experiment a success, says Ms Singh during a visit to the village. She said only children from deprived sections of society, particularly those of labourers who usually did not send them for schooling otherwise, were enrolled for study.

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