Tuesday, May 1, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Social Security Officer suspended
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 30
Mr Gobind Singh Kanjhla, Social Security Minister, Punjab, said here today that the District Social Security Officer, Amritsar, had been suspended in view of complaints that some officers and employees of the Social Security Department of Amritsar district were misusing government funds, earmarked for pensions, in collaboration with middlemen.

Mr Kanjhla also said that proceedings were being initiated against the District Social Security Officer, Faridkot, in view of the identical complaints from there.

The minister, while commenting on the news item published in Punjabi Tribune today with regard to the pension camps, also said officers and employees of the Social Security Department were working with the collaboration of private agents for sanctioning the pensions.

Five flying squads under the supervision of the Director, Social Security, had been formed which would look into the irregularities and other such matters. No officer or employee would be spared if found guilty after the inquiry.

Mr Kanjhla said he had taken steps to eliminate the middleman system which was not liked. Due to this, some people were now busy in propaganda against his department.

He also said that he had asked the Director, Social Security, to inquire about the account numbers of the pensioners which were published in Punjabi Tribune.


Disabled denied pension
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 30
Blind and other handicapped persons have been going from pillar to post to get their pension sanctioned even as a number of persons have failed to get their dues despite their cases having been sanctioned for the past more than two years.

According to reliable sources, the state government has suspended the District Social Security Officer on charges of irregularities and ‘embezzlement’. Mr Ram Murti Gupta Deputy Direction of the department confirmed the suspension.

Mr Gurmakh Singh, a blind resident of Chakk Mukand village who is totally dependent, got his pension case recommended about two years ago, but money has not yet been released to him. Another blind person, Inderjit Singh (70) who can hardly walk, and Mr Ajaib Singh (71) who is blind in one eye have also been waiting for their pension. They alleged that their dues were not cleared as they had refused to bribe officials of the department.

Shakti Kumar, a resident of Dharmpura (Chheharta) who walks with crutches, has the same story to narrate. Like the others, he also showed his account number and PLA number as a proof of the sanctioning of the case.

The Punjab Government has reportedly taken a serious view of the irregularities in the Social Security Department in the wake of the forthcoming assembly election, due next year.

Mr S.P. Dang CPI leader, alleged that the ‘pension camps’ being held in various villages were a ‘political gimmick’ and intended to catch votes. He alleged that the pensions were being recommended on political basis and genuine cases ignored.

Apart from Mr Hardev Arshi, a CPI MLA, Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla, a BJP MLA had raised the issue of pensions on the floor of assembly. However, the state government failed to take corrective measures. Mr Dang alleged that a bagful of pension forms was lost from the Social Security Department for which officials were responsible.

He quoted the example of the late Gurdial Singh, son of a freedom fighter, who could not get old age pension during his lifetime. He said his case was recommended after much effort, but he died before he could get the benefit of pension.

Meanwhile, many candidates are facing a lot of problem in getting their pensions recommended due to lack of information. Many candidates alleged that they are told by the sub-divisional magistrates to approach the patwaris.

Arjun Singh (90), a resident of Sohal village alleged that his pension was abruptly stopped though it was sanctioned about two years ago. Another old man Balwant Singh (75) of Chheharta alleged that he had not been given pension for the last one-and-a-half years.

A visit to the office of the department showed the apathy of the officials concerned towards old and helpless persons. Old, handicapped and blind persons were seen requesting the officials with folded hands for getting their cases recommended.

Datti, a widow, alleged that she had not get pension for the past three years despite repeated requests.


Scheme to rehabilitate disabled from May 2
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 30
The district is going to launch a national programme for the rehabilitation of the disabled from May 2. Sangrur is one of the two districts in the state which were selected by the Union Government for the programme.

The district administration had been working on this programme for the past eight months. Nearly 15,000 disabled persons including 800 mentally challenged have been identified in the district during a survey conducted at the village-level. It is for the first time that the mentally challenged and physically disabled have been differentiated during a survey.

The main purpose of this programme is the uplift of the disabled by providing them education and vocational training and bringing them into the mainstream of the society.

The Union Government has sanctioned Rs 62 lakh for the implementation of this programme in the district. The amount will be handed over to the district administration by the Punjab Social Security Minister on May 2 at a function to be organised her to launch the programme.

The implementing agency of this programme is the Sangrur district Red Cross Society which will provide artificial limbs, hearing aids, crutches and wheelchairs etc to the disabled. In case the disability is likely to be cured by surgery, it will be got cured by making arrangements for the surgery.

The district administration will appoint two trained persons in each block to implement the programme. They will be trained by the Rehabilitation Council of India.

A spokesman for the district administration said the trained persons would take care of all problems being faced by the disabled. Under this programme handicapped certificates will also be issued. Besides, arrangements will also be made to procure concessional bus passes for the disabled.

The administration has also planned to set up a centre for the manufacturing of artificial limbs at the district Red Cross Society office here.


Explosives dumped in police stations
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, April 30
The detection of live and dead bombs from the Sirhind canal near Katani Kalan in Ludhiana district a few days ago has become a matter of concern for the district administration. It got 19 bombs removed from the canal under the bridge at Katani Kalan last week with the help of the Army. Luckily, none of bombs exploded.

Besides, a large quantity of explosive material is lying in the police stations of Punjab. This explosive material was recovered from the militants during the militancy period and has become a case property (part of the recovery made by the police from militants during anti-militancy operations).

The Ludhiana and Mandi Gobindgarh steel plants are importing iron scrap from the Gulf countries and the consignments sometimes include dead and live bombs also which are collected at the time of loading of the containers.

In 1994, nine persons were killed when a truck driver of a steel plant of Ludhiana sold a bomb to a junk dealer and tried to fiddle with it.

The then SSP, Mr Sumedh Singh Saini, had booked the owner of the steel plant on charge of murder. The kin of the deceased were paid a compensation of Rs 3 lakh each.

Another explosion took place in Sirhind canal bridge near Doraha in which four children were killed. The bombs were found in the canal and the children were playing with them when they exploded.

The police authorities in a special campaign had recovered as many as 50 bombs which were hidden by the steel plant owners in abandoned places like the Grain Market on the Ludhiana-Jalandhar bypass.

The Army authorities from Jalandhar had helped in the disposal of the bombs in the Sutlej bed near Kasabad village.

Mr S.K. Sandhu, Deputy Commissioner told The Tribune today that the question of detection of bombs and explosive materials had come up for discussion at the civil and military officers’ meeting he at Jalandhar on April 16. The Director-General of Punjab Police, Mr Sarbjeet Singh, had raised the issue and requested the Army to help defuse the bombs and other explosives.

Mr Sarbjeet Singh explained that there were two types of explosives —first dead and live bombs which are part of the iron scrap consignments that are imported. The second was the explosive material which had become a case property with the police. Almost all police stations in the state have explosives which were recovered from militants during the anti-militancy operations. The explosives include RDX and grenades. The DGP requested the Army to depute the bomb disposal squad in defusing the explosive materials.

The Deputy Commissioner said that he would request the Home Secretary, Punjab, to devise a method under which there could be some check on the receipt of explosives.

Inquiries made by The Tribune show that some steel plant owners who import the iron scrap, dump the bombs in the Sirhind canal to avoid action and escape responsibility in case of any mishap.

Mr P.D. Sharma president of the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Punjab, said it was agreed upon some years ago that there would be proper inspection of iron scrap at the time of loading of containers from the source of import.

Mr Sharma, who was the president of Northern India Induction Furnace Association at the time of the last bomb explosions in Ludhiana in which nine persons were killed, said that it was also decided that the scrap would be imported from those countries which were in the war-free zone.

Mr Sharma maintained that the Central Custom authorities could not escape the responsibility as they were supposed to inspect the goods before levying duty.

The container freight station (CFS) of the Punjab State Warehousing Corporation which is known as dry port also receives a large quantity of iron scrap which is imported through it by the steel plants.

Besides, iron scrap is also brought to Ludhiana and Mandi Gobindgarh by trucks from Kandla port.

The SSP, Ludhiana, was not available for comments.


CM ignoring Oppn MPs: Bhaura
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 30
Mr Bhan Singh Bhaura, local CPI, MP, today accused Mr Parkash Singh Badal of ignoring the members of Parliament, and alleged that the Chief Minister never took any opposition MP into confidence while formulating development plans.

Mr Bhaura, while addressing a press conference here today, said the people were fed up with the SAD-BJP misrule and rampant corruption prevalent in the state. The state government had agreed and “bowed” to the anti-farmer polices of the Union Government, but was claiming the support of farmers in the state.“Mr Badal has been claiming that the SAD-BJP combine had managed to get the minimum support price (MSP) increased, whereas the ruling alliance had kept mum when the agriculture price commission had recommended the same. Nine Lok Sabha MPs were persuaded by me to sign a letter to the Prime Minister not to lower the MSP of wheat, if a hike in the same was not possible”, he asserted.

He alleged that Mr Badal was so power hungry that he would leave no stone unturned to “capture” power. The so-called sangat darshans, financial assistance to clubs was just another mode of ‘purchasing’ votes, he alleged.

Showing the text of the budget speech of the state Finance Minister, Mr Kanwaljit Singh, he said there was no provision made for a railway overbridge at the “khooni phatak” in the city. Commenting on the statements made by local MLA and Science and Technology Minister Chiranji Lal Garg, he said the municipal council was not in a position to repay its loan of Rs 27 lakh than how can it pay for the railway overbridge, he alleged.


Samana gets 4.50 cr for development
Jangveer Singh and Jawahar Gupta
Tribune News Service

Samana (Patiala), April 30
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today distributed Rs 4.50 crore during a Sangat Darshan programme here today.

Samana, one of the backward towns in the state, can now look forward to a multi-crore water and sewerage scheme with the Chief Minister directing the Finance Ministry to give Hudco Rs 1.20 crore as part of the 20 per cent share of the local Municipal Committee. Patiala has been an declared industrially backward district.

A sum of Rs 1.44 crore is for carrying out development works in Samana town, Rs 82 lakh for link roads and the rest for village panchayats and social welfare organisations.

The Chief Minister also came down on the Congress party, saying that it should indulge in healthy criticism as it had miserably failed to do anything for the welfare of the people during its period of governance.

Special grants, including those for Harijan bastis, dharamshalas, installation of streetlights and paving streets in the villages, were released on the spot.

He announced that the Planning Commission had released Rs 5 crore for providing land to Dalits under which five-marla plots would be given to them.

Though the Chief Minister denied the Sangat Darshan had anything to do with politics, Akali leaders who are prospective candidates from this assembly segment, vied with one another to impress the Chief Minister.

Mr Surjit Singh Rakhra, who had lost the last Lok Sabha elections, SGPC member Joginder Singh Panjrath and Officer on Special Duty to the Chief Minister Kirpal Singh Badungar and his son, introduced their people to Mr Badal in a show of strength.

A delegation of several panchayats alleged that State Public Works Minister Ajaib Singh Mukhmailpur was bringing a bad name to the Akali-BJP government. The family of Balwant Singh, who had been murdered some time back in a shooting incident at Bhedpura village near here, had not got justice till yet due to undue interference of the Minister whose brother was one of the accused in the crime, they alleged.


Realignments in Congress
Sarbjit Dhaliwal

Chandigarh, April 30
Political realignments are taking shape at a fast pace in the Congress in Punjab. While Capt Amarinder Singh, president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) is trying hard to win the support of senior party leaders, his opponents are lobbying at the party high command-level in Delhi against him.

Major gain for Capt Amarinder Singh these days is the softening of firebrand leader, Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar. Mr Brar is now putting all emphasis on the unity in the party.

Mr Jagmeet Brar attended the meeting of Members of Parliament convened by Capt Amarinder Singh. He addressed the press conference along with Mrs Parneet Kaur, wife of Capt Amarinder Singh in Delhi. Sources said Mrs Parneet Kaur played a crucial role for Capt Amarinder Singh’s rapprochement with certain party MPs from Punjab who had political differences with him.

Informed sources said the party high command had shown its concern over the differences among senior leaders in the party in the state. Mr Manmohan Singh, a former Union Minister, and other senior party leaders are trying hard to make the party a cohesive unit in the state. The party high command has built pressure on all senior leaders to sink differences in the larger interest of the party. The high command is taking state Assembly elections very seriously and has the feedback that the party has a chance to stage a comeback in the state and to achieve this unity in the party is the need of the hour.

Capt Amarinder Singh has lost the support of certain party MLAs, who were earlier in the camp of late Mr Beant Singh and later identified themselves with Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal. These MLAs had, about a year ago, shook hands with Capt Amarinder Singh deserting Mrs Bhattal. But according to latest developments in the party, these MLAs have again established contact with Mrs Bhattal on the condition that they would maintain their separate identity as a group within the party.

Mr Avtar Singh Brar, a Congress MLA from Faridkot district, who has serious differences with Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar, has the support of certain party MLAs, who were earlier with late Mr Beant Singh. At one time, Mr Avtar Singh Brar, had developed a political rapport with Capt Amarinder Singh. But it proved to be a short-lived affair, according to informed sources.

The tussle is for ensuring party ticket for the Assembly elections due early next year. Each group is focusing on devising strategies to garner maximum party ticket for their factions within the party.


Bhattal not to attend rally
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, a former Chief Minister, said she will not attend the May Day rally at Ludhiana tomorrow. “No one has informed me about the rally”, She said when contacted in this connection. The rally is being organised by the labour wing of the party, it is learnt.

A party spokesman said the rally was being organised by the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) and not by the PPCC and it was up to the organisers to send invitations to the party leaders.


Beopar Mandal to contest 25 seats
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, April 30
The Punjab Beopar Mandal will contest from 25 constituencies during the forthcoming Assembly elections in the state. A list of candidates in this connection will be finalised at a traders’ convention to be held at Patiala on May 13. This was stated by Mr Bimal Gupta, state patron of the mandal, here on Saturday.

He charged the Punjab Government for its failure to protect the interests of the business community in different fields. He alleged that the SAD-BJP alliance had taken no initiative to fulfill its promises, particularly regarding the abolition of octroi and relaxation in sales tax, announced in the 1996 Assembly elections in the state.


Residents’ gesture for J&K migrants
Prem Kumar Sharma

Barnala, April 30
Nearly 3,500 Kashmiri migrants who had to flee the Anantnag region of Kashmir because of terrorism and are now living in Kashmiri Relief Camp-I Shyam Giri Mandir Road, New Shastri Park, Delhi, would prefer rehabilitation in Delhi if terrorism was not eliminated from Kashmir within two years.

Mrs Ram Piari in charge of the five-member assistance team of the camp come here to garner essential edible and other commodities. Accompanied by Jyoti Sonia, Sunita and Sapna, she disclosed that though the government offered them shelter in relief camps, conditions in these camps were poor and far from satisfactory. The Rs 1,000 given for ration per migrant family was quite inadequate for their meals etc. They had to rely upon charitable associations and individuals of Punjab and Haryana for help.

She has been visiting Barnala in 1999, 2000 and 2001 to collect material help. The first time, it was Mr Vipin Kumar Bubbi, president of the Rice Shellers Association, who offered ration help to Kashmiri migrants. Now, Mr Ram Nivas Sharma, former president of the Brahmin Sabha, Barnala, who visited the relief camp in Delhi recently and was touched by the hopeless conditions of camp had decided to mobilise ration material for campers from Barnala.

Mrs Ram Piari lauded the Hind Samachar group of Newspapers for coming to their aid. She was also all praise for Mr Rajpal Sharma a former general secretary of the Barnala Brahmin Sabha, Mr Prem Chand Aggarwal, president of the Beopar Mandal, Barnala, squadron leader (retd) Nasib Chand Sharma and Mr Gian Chand Sharma, retired Headmaster, for helping collect the ration.

Sapna, then a plus-two student from the Anantnag region who lost both her father Ravi and mother Sunita at the hands of militants, informed that she had fallen on bad days in the twinkling of an eye. Her family was very prosperous, having a large number of apple and nut gardens and huge property. But now she had to pull on in the relief camp.

Jyoti, Sonia, Sunita and Sapna emphasised that they would not return to Kashmir unless normalcy was restored in the valley. They had even told this to Dr Farooq Abdullah, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, when he visited them at their relief camp in Delhi, urging them to return to Kashmir

A truckload of ration, and other commodities, including about 60 quintals of wheat, 20 quintals of rice flour, ghee, tea leaves, pulses, washing and bath soaps etc. has been donated to this Assistance Team (Punjab) by Barnala residents. It left Barnala for Delhi on Saturday night.


Baradari Gardens should be only for walkers: residents
From Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 30
A tug-of-war has started over the new regulations forbidding entry of vehicles into roads which cut across the Baradari Gardens in the city, with residents and daily walkers coming out against the “babus” of the Rajindra Gymkhana Club who want the obstacles to be removed so that they can drive into the club situated on one end of the gardens.

The residents feel the club members, who supposedly come to the club in the early morning, can walk it a little to reach their destination after parking their vehicles a little away.

The district administration had recently decided to put up barricades on entry into the roads cutting across the historic Baradari Gardens created by the former rulers of Patiala, to ensure people could walk in them without having to tackle whizzing vehicles. The ban has been imposed from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. and is being enforced effectively.

The Citizens Council for Common Causes feels the decision is an appreciable one and congratulated Deputy Commissioner Jasbir Singh Bir for taking it. Association president and former Vice-Chancellor Gursewak Singh said those who wanted to have their morning walk peacefully without distraction and that too in a pollution-free environment would be most benefited by the decision.

Prof Gursewak said as regards the objections of the members of the Rajindra Gymkhana, residents were of the view that their membership was quite small as only the health conscious visited the club. He said even if they had to park their vehicles at a distance, which was not more than 500 meters from any one entry point a walk to the club would be in addition to the health activity to be performed at the club. He said members who did not want to walk could park their vehicles near the rear entrance of the club next to the level crossing number 21.

Prof Gursewak said it was also pertinent to find out that the roads in the Baradari Gardens were not originally meant for traffic but only for necessary movements inside the gardens. He said the council expressed satisfaction that an attempt was being made to revive the original character of the gardens and encourage more people to visit it in the morning adding the number of beneficiaries was much more than those projecting themselves as “sufferers”.

Daily walkers are also happy. Amarjit Singh, who works for a public sector undertaking, said though he loved walking in the gardens it was nerve-wrecking to cross any of the roads criss-crossing the gardens leisurely. “The mornings see young boys cars and driving recklessly in the gardens in an attempt to show off as well as test their skills as the roads are relatively free.” He said this was very dangerous as the roads crossing the gardens had a lot of blind turns and one never knew when a vehicle would come hurtling past.


New coolers for zoo animals
Bipin Bhardwaj

Chhat Bir (Patiala), April 30
As the heat wave has gripped the region, the Mohinder Chaudhary Zoological Park authorities have purchased coolers apart from cooling the ponds to bring down the temperature.

The authorities have purchased 18 desert coolers for various enclosures, including that of tigers, bears and panthers. In order to provide cool water for big cats and bears, ice-slabs are being regularly put in artificial lakes and ponds. Shaded huts have been constructed for other animals.

The Deputy Director of the zoo, Mr Gurpal Singh, disclosed that over six quintals of ice were being used daily. “We lift the inner gates of the animal enclosures so that they can move and rest freely inside to get rid of the heat. Even straw carpets are being fixed in inner walls and then water is continuously circulated over them for cooling”, claimed Mr Gurpal Singh.

At present three tubewells are working to fulfill the demand of the zoo. Even the zoo gets its quota of water from the Public Health Department. For birds, six shaded permanent huts have been constructed, while temporary straw shacks for other animals including, Manipuri deer, sambar and neel gayia. Besides this 34 exhaust fans have also been arranged. The authorities have also arranged two water-coolers for the convenience of visitors.


Educate’ people on family control
Our Correspondent

Abohar, April 30
Mr Pawan Saraf, general secretary, Anti-Corruption Board of India, has given a call to launch a campaign to educate people regarding family control.

Addressing a meeting of office-bearers of the district unit of the board here yesterday, Mr Saraf said if population growth was not checked the impact of development and achievements in other fields would be defeated.

While continuing other programmes to curb social evils, the board should step up efforts for the family welfare project, which had been abandoned by the government.

Mr Yudhishter Gakhar, district president of the board, said it had practically become impossible to weed out corruption because the ruling people had adopted it in their day to day working.

While lauding the efforts of the district police in drug deaddiction campaign by organising camps in the city and in rural areas, Mr Gakhar suggested that the camps should not be confined to poppy husk and opium addicts but youths allegedly using smack should also be included in such camps.

Mr Gakhar urged the authorities to check the alleged cricket betting in the area. Abohar, he said, was becoming a nodal centre for cricket bookies.

The district president ridiculed vested interests who propagated that funds were not being utilised properly by the board. He dared the critics to prove that the organisation had ever collected funds from the public.

SHO Nagaur Singh, who attended the function on behalf of the DSP, appreciated the efforts of the organisation to fight against lottery, dowry, corruption and drugs.

The board has decided to organise a seminar here soon to educate students and their parents against the use of drugs.


Zaffarwal’s remand extended by 2 days

Batala, April 30
Former Khalistan Commando Force chief Wassan Singh Zaffarwal was today handed over to the Hoshiarpur police by the local Judicial Magistrate here.

Zaffarwal, who was arrested on April 11, was produced before the Magistrate on the expiry of his two-day police remand. The Hoshiarpur police moved an application before the Magistrate with the request that Zaffarwal was wanted by the Dasuya police in connection with a case registered against him in 1985. The Magistrate remanded Zaffarwal to another two days in police custody. UNI


PCMSA elects new office-bearers
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 30
Dr Hardeep Singh from Ludhiana and Dr Surinder Singla from Sangrur have been unanimously elected president and general secretary, respectively, of the Punjab Civil Medical Services Association (PCMSA) for the year 2001-2002. Dr Hardeep Singh has replaced Dr Baldev Sahota while Dr D.C. Sharma has been replaced by Dr Surinder Singla.

Giving this information here today, a spokesman of the PCMSA said a six-member committee comprising Dr Hardeep Singh, Dr Surinder Singla, Dr D.C. Sharma, Dr Baldev Sahota, Dr P.L. Garg and Dr Harcharan Singh had been formed to hold negotiations with the state government, regarding the implementation of long-pending demands of the doctors.

The spokesman said the main demands of the doctors included settling of pending cases of time-bound promotions, clearance of probation period and confirmation cases of the doctors immediately, granting of post-graduate increments, conveyance, academic and ESI allowances to the doctors as recommended by the Pay Commission. The committee would also negotiate the demand of the SMOs to grant them promotional increments and designation of Deputy Civil Surgeon.

Other newly elected office-bearers of the PCMSA are senior vice-president — Dr R.S. Sethi (Amritsar);vice-presidents — Dr Ajit Pal Singh (Bathinda) and Dr Tej Pal (Hoshiarpur); treasurer Dr Vijay Kumar (Patiala) joint-secretary — Dr Balwinder Kumar (Ludhiana), organising secretary — Dr Darshan Pal (Sangrur), and press secretary — Dr Ajay Bagga (Hoshiarpur).


Channi opposes IG’s transfer
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, April 30
Mr Charanjit Singh Channi, Congress MP from the local parliamentary constituency strongly criticised Mr Parkash Singh Badal for recently transferring Mr A.P. Pandey, IG (Border) for his statement regarding the arrest of Wassan Singh Zaffarwal. Mr Pandey had only stated that law would take its own course in the proceedings being followed by the police against the KCF chief. He said his transfer had not only sent wrong signals in the public but also demoralised the honest and dedicated officers of the state, who played a vital role in ending the terrorism and bringing peace in Punjab.

In a written press statement issued by his office here today, Mr Channi said the Punjab Government should clarify its position. He said passing of resolutions condemning of Operation Bluestar and 1984 riots by the state Assembly after 16 years and now the arrest of the KCF chief had clearly indicated the act of SAD leaders. He pointed out that no resolution regarding the killings of more than 25,000 innocent persons by the terrorists had been passed by the SAD leaders from state Assembly. He said SAD leaders could not befool the public in the name of development in Punjab. They had made the state bankrupt by spending the exchequer’s money ruthlessly.

He apprehended that they would utilise the services of terrorists to create panic among the public to get votes in the ensuing elections.

Mr Channi also criticised BJP leaders for supporting the SAD to remain in power. He cautioned the people of Punjab to remain vigilant from the evil designs of SAD-BJP leaders.


Punjab Regiment to hold recruitment rally
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 30
The Punjab Regimental Centre will organise a recruitment rally for the Sikhs (other than Mazhabi and Ramdasia Sikhs), Dogra, clerks and tradesmen candidates in the Punjab Regiment.

The desirous matriculates and those with higher qualification and within the prescribed standards may report in Ferozepore at Jyoti Stadium, said a defence press note.

The wards of serving personnel and ex-servicemen of the Punjab Regiment should report from June 3 to 5, Sikh candidates (other than Mazhabi and Ramdasia Sikhs) may report on June 6 and 7, Dogra candidates on June 8 and 9 and clerks and tradesmen should report on June 10 at 6 a.m. onwards on the prescribed dates.

All those qualifying in physical and medical test will be required to appear in a written test to be conducted at the same venue on June 24.

Preference will be given to sons of the war widows, ex-servicemen and serving personnel of the Punjab Regiment and potential sportsmen with good height, a defence press note said.


Report police excesses: Bains
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 30
The president of the Punjab Human Rights Organisation, Justice Ajit Singh Bains, said yesterday that people should step forward and report all incidents of police excesses in the state.

Addressing a press conference at the local Circuit House, he said people should testify against the accused police officials. “ A single conviction of a police official will automatically curb the tendency among policemen to flout laws,” he said.

He alleged that the state government was shielding tainted policemen. Citing the case of the then SHO of the Balachaur police station, Mr Radha Krishan, he alleged that the SHO was convicted in a case by a court four years ago, but the state government had revoked his suspension. “ We had submitted a list of police officers who had amassed wealth beyond their known sources of income, but the state government has failed to set up an inquiry into the matter,” he alleged.


Free treatment for freedom fighters
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, April 30
The Punjab Government has decided to provide medical treatment free of cost to all freedom fighters in all civil hospitals and dispensaries of the state.

A spokesman for the Health Department said yesterday that the government would reimburse the payments of all medicines purchased by the freedom fighters who were admitted to government hospitals. The spokesman said the freedom fighters would also be able to get free treatment at the PGI, Chandigarh, and the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi.


4 IAS officers retire
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
Four senior IAS officers of the Punjab cadre, including Mr Vinod Krishen Khanna, a former Chief Secretary, who was on deputation with the Union Government, retired today on attaining the age of superannuation. The others who retired were Mr G.P.S.Sahi, Principal Secretary, Education , Mr Amarjit Singh, Special Secretary, Education, and Ms Susheel Gupta, Secretary, Department of Technical Education.

They were given a warm send-off by employees of their respective departments. 


Cheques under shagun scheme distributed
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 30
Mr Ranjit Singh Balian, Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development, Punjab, here today distributed 58 cheques for Rs 5,100 each among the beneficiaries under the “shagun scheme”.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Balian said the state government had now decided to spend Rs 70 crore annually for the welfare of the Scheduled Castes.

He added that the state government had also implemented a “component plan” for the welfare of the Scheduled Castes. A sum of Rs 312 crore would be spent under the plan, he added.


Chemical plant gutted
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 30
Panic gripped the congested masjid area when a fire broke out in rubber-cum-chemical plant this evening. No loss of life was reported. The reason behind the fire, however, could not be ascertained so far.

Two fire tenders rushed to the spot and had to fight the fire for about half an hour. People also helped to put out the fire.

Meanwhile, a fire destroyed about 12 acres of standing wheat crop at Kurala village near Bhogpur township this afternoon.

In another incident, nearly 15 acres of crop was destroyed in a fire at Arjanwal village. In yet another incident, 10-11 acres of the crop was destroyed at Bulanda village near Mehatpur township in Nakodar sub-division today.


Row over statue ends
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 30
The controversy over the installation of a statue of Sahibjada Ajit Singh at the 100 feet road of the city was put to rest by the Akal Takht in a letter issued to the Manager of Gurdwara Sahib Bibi Mahatama.

According to a copy of the letter procured today, the Akal Takht has directed the management of the gurdwara not to install any statue. The letter stated that the installation, worshipping, and fabrication of a statue was strictly banned in the Sikh religion and so the statue should not be installed anywhere.


Wheat crop worth 2.25 lakh burnt
Our Correspondents

Fazilka, April 30
Standing wheat crop worth about Rs 2.25 lakh has been reduced to ashes due to fire in nearby Rana village, 7 km from here yesterday.

According to information, wheat crop in 5 acres of land belonging to Kishan Singh, sarpanch, along with his thresher machine were burnt. Wheat in another 5 acres of Balwinder Singh, 2 acres each of Hira Ram and Lakhwinder Singh, 3 acres of Wadhawa Ram in adjoining area of Ganjuana, 3 acres of Bagh Chand and 2 acres of Milkh Raj was also reduced to ashes. About 450 quintals of wheat were destroyed.

The crop caught fire from the adjacent fields when residual straw was being burnt. Puran Chand Bhatti, former Chairman of the Panchayat Samiti, Fazilka, has urged the Punjab Government to compensate the affected farmers.

MANSA: Standing wheat crop over 17 acres was burnt in different incidents at Khokhar Kalan, Mansa Khurd and Gurne Kalan villages in the district yesterday.

Mr Krishan Chand Chowdhry, SDM, and Mr Hakam Singh, DSP, Mansa, rushed to the spot. The SDM estimated the loss at Rs 2.5 lakh.


Wheat destroyed by fire
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, April 30
More cases of burning of wheat are coming to light in this area. Standing wheat over 10 acres was gutted at nearby Palahi village yesterday.

The crop was owned by Piara Singh Sangatpur and others. Villagers and the local fire brigade fought with flames for hours.

Crop over six acres was destroyed in fire at Rampur Sunra village earlier. It belonged to Harbans Singh, Sarwan Singh and Paramjit Singh. The fire was started off by sparks.


Held for cheating jobless youths
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, April 30
The police has busted a gang which used to lure youths of Punjab in the name of providing them employment abroad and charging huge amount of money from them. The gang used to make them cross borders of various countries. Several of them were caught by the security forces and tortured. Many of them are in Pakistani jails.

Mr Sanjiv Kalra, SSP, told mediapersons here today that a member of this gang and a so-called travel agent, Chatinder Singh of Mangat village had been arrested in this connection and a case under Sections 406 and 420, IPC registered against him.

He said Chatinder Singh and his accomplices used to lure unemployed youths and charge huge amount of money from them. Instead of sending them to an agreed-upon country, they were sent to other countries where most of them were arrested and had to face torture and imprisonment.

The SSP said Chatinder Singh along with Budh Singh of local Model Town and Jaswant Singh of Miani charged Rs 2,75,000 from Davider Singh of Bainstani village for sending to Greece. Instead of sending him to Greece, they took him to Labanon. They made him and some others cross the border of Turkey. They faced a lot of difficulties and tried to come back to India via Baluchistan through Iran.

While crossing the border at Baluchistan, they were caught by the security forces in Pakistan. Presently, all of them were at Banaul jail of Baluchistan, the SSP said.


False FIR lands man in police net
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 30
When Buta Singh, a resident of Raman in the district, lodged a false complaint with the police on April 26 that he was kidnapped by some unidentified persons and deprived of Rs 2.35 lakh, little did he realise that he would fall into the police net.

In his FIR lodged at the Raman police station on April 26, he stated that while he was going on the Gaushala road in the town on that day he was kidnapped by four unidentified persons, made unconscious and deprived of Rs 2.35 lakh which he was carrying with himself.

Buta Singh said when he regained consciousness he found that he was lying on the bank of a canal with his hands and feet tied. On inquiry from residents, he found that he was in a remote village of Haryana named Desu.

Buta Singh said villagers helped him with money so that he could reach his home.

The Raman police had registered a case on his complaint under Sections 365, 379, 324 and 24 of the IPC.

Police sources said during investigation it was found that Buta Singh had narrated a false story to the police. He had done so in order to save himself from humiliation for not being able to arrange the money he had to pay to Jasveer Singh of Laleana village from whom he had purchased a piece of land.

According to information, Buta Singh had decided to purchase 8 acres from Jasveer Singh and both of them agreed to get the sale deal registered in a phased manner.

As per the agreement, the registration for 2 acres was done on April 24 when Buta Singh had paid Rs 6 lakh to Jasveer Singh. The registration for some more land was to be done on April 26 for which Buta Singh had to pay Rs 3.5 lakh to Jasveer. But since he was not able to arrange the money in order to save himself from humiliation and some penalty for not obeying the agreement he made a false story.

For lodging a false complaint with the police, Buta Singh has been booked under Sections 420 and 182 of the IPC.

Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, SSP, said the police acted efficiently on the complaint as the case was suspicious.


One arrested for selling banned drugs
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 30
Three persons have been arrested allegedly for selling banned medicines, illicit liquor and indulging in satta transactions in the district.

Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, SSP, in a press note issued here today said Amandeep Singh, a local, was arrested for allegedly selling banned medicines. A case has been registered against him under Sections 420 of the IPC, 15 Medical Act and 26 Drug and Cosmetics Act, 1940.

Dr Jain said Amandeep Singh used to bring banned medicines from Dabwali in Haryana and sell these to the youths in and around the city. He ran a spare parts shop in the city, the SSP said. Another arrest had been made under the Excise Act. Bittu Singh, resident of Tungwali village in the district, was arrested allegedly for possessing five bottles of illicit liquor. A case under Sections 61,1 and 14 of the Excise Act has been registered.

Sukhwinder Singh of Talwandi Sabo was arrested for his alleged involvement in gambling and a case registered against him under Sections 13A, 3 and 67 of the Gambling Act.


Case against 3 councillors
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, April 30
A case against three councillors has been registered on a complaint lodged by Naib Tehsildar Jaspal Kaur.

Ms Jaspal Kaur alleged the three councillors — Mr Kewal Krishan Jindal, Mr Darshan Pal Rikhi, Mr Faquir Mohammad — entered her office, assaulted her and misbehaved with her.

She said her work was disrupted while she was on duty. The police has registered a case under Sections 353, 506, 186 and 34, IPC.

However, the councillors denied the charges saying that the Naib Tehsildar was demanding bribe for land registration. Following which they had protested against her in the court premises. So she had lodged a false complaint against them, they said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner Sarbjit Singh has appointed DSP (D) to investigate the case.


Man injures widowed daughter
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, April 30
Mr Avtar Chand, resident of the Mohalla Laroyia, locality, injured his daughter Poonam (55), widow of Vinod Kumar, with a sharp-edged weapon and surrendered before the police.

Poonam was admitted to the local civil hospital. According to information, Poonam had allegedly developed relationship with another man after her husband’s death two months ago and wanted to marry him but her parents opposed her.

In another case, Rachhpal Kaur, her sons Amrik Singh and Amrit Pal Singh and son-in-law Rashwinder Singh have been arrested for allegedly murdering her husband Kewal Singh (52) and later on hanging his dead body from a fan to make it look like a suicide.

It is learnt that Kewal Singh, resident of Ward 9 of nearby Balachaur town, had been working at Ghaziabad and was staying alone. His wife had allegedly developed liaison with her son-in-law Rashwinder Singh, which was the main cause of quarrel between the husband and wife.


3 held for murdering migrant labourer
Our Correspondent

Abohar, April 30
All three persons wanted in connection with the murder of Kahna Ram, a migrant labourer from Swan village of Jodhpur district in Rajasthan, have been arrested at Haripura village, police sources said today.

The sources said a large number of families from drought affected areas had come here early this month for harvesting wheat crop on contract basis. Kahna Ram, Dunger Ram, Madan Lal and Kalla Ram were engaged by a farmer of Haripura village, 15 km from here. A dispute over the distribution of their shares in the contract led to the scuffle. Kahna Ram was allegedly hit with bricks and lathis. The three assailants escaped after the incidents. Kahna Ram was admitted to the local Civil Hospital but as his condition continued to be serious, he was advised to be taken to Jodhpur. Kahna Ram succumbed to his injuries on his way to Jodhpur.

A case was registered at Khuyiansarwer police station against Dunger Ram, Madan Lal and Kalla Ram. Dunger Ram was arrested last week, other two were arrested on Saturday. The incident had taken place on April 16. The accused have been remanded in judicial custody, official sources said.


SI booked for kidnapping film personality
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
A Punjab Police Sub-Inspector, also a national level wrestler, was booked by the Chandigarh Police late in the evening today on the allegation of kidnapping a film personality. A dispute over money is being cited as the reason behind the crime.

According to sources, SI Avtar Singh along with five accomplices, forcibly took away 27-year-old P. Kakkar of Sirsa in a Tata Sumo after thrashing him. The incident occurred at about 5 a.m.

Kakkar, sources added, was working as a travel agent. The dispute between the two was a result of a business transaction, as per information available. The sources claimed that the two were involved in sending persons abroad through illegal means.

A senior police officer, when contacted, confirmed the incident. He said a case of kidnapping had been registered under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code. A team had also been sent to Jalandhar in search of the victim, he added.


Imposter case: rally against Principal
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, April 30
The Punjab and Chandigarh College, Teachers Union organised a rally here today in front of the office of the Principal of a local college in protest against her alleged high-handedness and dictatorial attitude.

The rally was attended by lecturers from various colleges of the district. The protesting teachers alleged that the Principal had got recorded the conversation between the imposter posing as SP, Vigilance, and the members of the teachers union, and that she was in possession of an audio-cassette containing the same.

Prof S.S. Hundal, former president PCCTU, while addressing the rally said as the issue was very serious, it would be taken up at the state body meeting to be held on May 6 in Ludhiana, where the future course of action would be decided.

When contacted, the Principal, while brushing off the allegations, said it was nothing but a sheer conspiracy by certain elements that were out to settle personal scores with her and malign the image of the institution.

While denying the charges of getting the conversation recorded, she asserted that she was ready to face any sort of inquiry pertaining to the charges levelled against her. She said if anybody from the college campus was proved guilty of the charges levelled by the union, the management would not hesitate in taking suitable action.


PUTA accuses PFUTA of playing politics
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 30
The newly-formed Punjabi University Teachers Association (PUTA), which has “replaced’’ the elected PUTA after a meeting of teachers recently, today accused the Punjab Federation of University Teachers Association (PFUTA) of playing a partisan role by aligning itself with a small group of teachers of the “outvoted’’ association.

In a statement here, the Association president, Dr Manjit Singh, and Secretary Dr D.P. Goyal, asked PFUTA to desist from playing factional politics and work for the betterment of the teaching community, by raising the demands of the teachers, including release of arrears and implementation of the Career Advancement Scheme (CAS).

The Association leaders said the PUTA Executive had unanimously condemned the stand taken by PFUTA and urged it to join hands with the larger body of teachers in order to act in unison for the welfare of teachers.

Meanwhile, a “Sarvdharma Prarthana Divas” was organised on the Punjabi University campus to mark its fortieth anniversary. Earlier, the newly formed PUTA had given out an invitation for the prayer meeting, and it was informed by the varsity Public Relations Officer that the function was “enthusiastically’’ attended by teachers, students, employees and top University functionaries.

Sources however disclosed that teachers aligned with the elected PUTA body did not attend the prayer meeting.

The University press note said Vice-Chancellor, Dr J.S. Ahluwalia, unfolded the year long celebration programme for the fortieth anniversary, which was to be held in India and abroad, particularly at Espanola, California where the University had set up a global centre for teaching Punjabi as a foreign language to non-Punjabi students. The note said spiritual and religious leaders recited from Sikh, Hindu, Islam, Christian and Budhist religious scriptures. It said a hundred-page booklet on cultural history of the Punjabi people from Mohenjodaro to the present times would also be prepared and published in major of the languages world.

In a separate note, Prof Joginder Kaushal, five-time elected president of PUTA, and a former Professor and Director, Correspondence Courses, today urged the University Chancellor Lt Gen J.F.R. Jacob, to save the Punjabi University from further degeneration.

In the statement, Prof Kaushal said the VC, being the Chairman of all administrative and academic bodies, knew that the Higher Education Minister, Master Mohan Lal, was not eligible to register for a Ph.D under the rules, but violated the same to register the Minister and also became his guide. Prof Kaushal said questioning the credentials of the minister now, amounted to blackmailing him.

He urged the Punjab government to immediately recall Dr Ahluwalia and appoint some top grade academician with administrative experience so that the prestige of the University as a seat of excellence could be maintained.


Students get taste of meditation
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 30
The importance of meditation in today’s world could be well known from the fact that Saint Joseph Convent School has introduced regular practice of meditation so that the students could get the peace of mind and could enjoy their lives peacefully.

This is the first school in the region where meditation has been introduced and the students too have shown great interest in this new activity.

“Vipassana” meditation a technique, which literally means’ to see things as they really are, has been adopted under which “Anapana course of meditation” is being run at the school. More than 3000 students of the school meditate for 10 minutes.

Manish, a students of class X, says that meditation is the best way to get peace of mind and enables one to bear the burden of modern studies. Meditation brings all students closer and helps to understand each other in a better way”, he adds.

Sister Innocentia, Principal of the school, says that the children are active and enthusiastic and it is the most appropriate age when the hidden capabilities of the students could be explored fully. The motive behind introducing meditation in school is to increase the concentration power of the students, she added.

A three-day meditation camp was organised in the school before adopting it as a regular practice to check the response of the students in which the meditation techniques were taught and the students took interest. Dr S.C. Sethi, meditation expert from Maharashtra was invited at the camp.

The teachers of the school are of the opinion that the regular practice of meditation has improved the study skill of the students.

Ms Satbir Brar, English teacher, when contacted, said the students of her class were showing improvement in their behaviour. “The way students enter and sit into the class has also changed,” she added.


Student seeks compensation from school
Our Correspondent

Mansa, April 30
One local school charged Rs 6,000 from each student of the medical and non-medical categories of 10+1 class for providing 15 weekly tuition lectures. But the school held only one lecture in August, 2000. Following protests by the parents of the students, the school authorities returned Rs 900 and retained Rs 5100.

Feeling dissatisfied with the school, a student, Deepak Bansal, has moved the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Mansa, for damages and return of his fee and for the loss of his one year. He has demanded Rs 2.08 lakh as damages along with interest.

Meanwhile, students of the Government Girls Senior Secondary School here have been forced to take tuitions in physics as there is no lecturer of this subject in the school since the last academic session.


Course for KV teachers from May 10
Our Correspondent

Barnala, April 30
Kendriya Vidyalaya, Air Force Station, Barnala, will host an in-service course for primary teachers of Kendriya Vidyalayas of the Chandigarh region.

Giving details of this project, Mr H.P. Trar, Principal, said here yesterday that the course would be organised in the school from May 10 to 30.

Mr Trar said during this 21-day course, primary teachers of Kendriya Vidyalayas would interact with one another on various topics of academic interest as a part of their training.

Experts in various disciplines, including psychology, English language teaching, public administration, journalism and infotech, would deliver lectures during the course.

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