Tuesday, May 15, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Message for Punjab in poll outcome
PPS Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
In the mandate given by the electorate in the just concluded assembly elections in four states and a Union Territory there is a clear message for Punjab.

In vote politics, elections are won or lost on the steam of the party machine, the organisation’s cohesiveness and involvement. What ultimately pays off is good governance allowing an outlet for redress of the people’s grievances, thereby reducing the anti-incumbency factor during the elections. The people may be “choice-less.” But corruption keeps weighing on their minds and remains a major issue.

The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has been quick to react. He is quoted having said the outcome will not affect the bond between the SAD and the BJP in the state. But the perception among his own colleagues in the Council of Ministers is different; so is the feedback from the field.

The general view is that the voters have shown their ‘’disenchantment’’ with the NDA vis-a-vis the BJP. It is a reflection on the Prime Minister, a Tehalka.com contribution.

In this backdrop, TNS today spoke to Akalis at different levels in the party hierarchy to get their reactions to the poll results. It is learnt that if the Congress is beset with a crisis of ‘’leadership’’ in Punjab, in the ruling SAD rank and file (the BJP is no exception) discontent simmers. There is a feeling of alienation.

In the prevailing political environment, there is audible criticism and opposition to the ‘’sangat darshan’’ programme of the Chief Minister that has consumed close to Rs 100 crore in a span of about one month. On condition of anonymity, ministers said: ‘’This is a double-edged weapon that may not pay dividends in the assembly poll, but definitely villages and other areas left out of the sangat darshan programme cannot be expected to vote for us’’.

A cross-section of the Akalis admitted that the manner of distribution of cheques at ‘’sangat darshan’’ venues had ‘’short-circuited’’ all administrative and legal norms. The rules have been ignored. A new, ‘’dangerous’’ system has been set in motion sans accountability and in built checks and balances in governance.

Over the past four years, some ministers confided, the organisational wing of the party has been side-tracked systematically rendering it dysfunctional. This has resulted in a major shift in the functioning of the Akali Dal itself. It used to pat itself on the back as a ‘’champion’’ of Punjab’s cause and ‘’protector’’ of the Sikhs’ rights. From a political movement it sustained all these decades, the party has come to a dead-end where individual vested political interests have overtaken articulation of the aspirations of party workers and the people. Corruption is rampant.

Rather than giving a new, alternative model of governance, different from that of the Congress (1992 to 1997), the ruling combine adopted the same ways and methods. Asked what would there be to write home about at the end of the five-year term, a minister sarcastically remarked: “We came, we saw, we sustained the status quo’’. He went on: ‘’We neither changed anything nor responded effectively to the aspirations of the people. We contributed significantly to the development of the state. But our good deeds got buried under our own misdeeds’’.

The single most important lesson, therefore, that the SAD has to learn quickly and act upon is to ‘’galvanise’’ the party’s organisational wing, taking jathedars into confidence and building bridges in the party hierarchy. This was the common refrain. The party functionaries were candid enought to admit that the legislative wing had ‘’ignored’’ the party apparatus so much so that due to the lack of cohesiveness at the top among the alliance ministers there was a sharp division among the workers of the two parties. ‘’I am afraid the BJP will prove to be an albatross around the neck of the Akalis’’, said a district jathedar. Party workers of the SAD and the BJP openly displayed despondency and pessimism at the way things looked today. One has seen a ‘’reactive’’ vote. This can happen in the Punjab assembly elections as well. But the SAD can make amends. As a peasants’ party it has to follow the West Bengal example where due to organisational discipline, care and cohesiveness in the functioning, the CPM has returned to Writer’s Building for the record sixth term.

The SAD has units right up to the village level. But these have been rendered ineffective over a period of time. Even now MLAs, district jathedars and prospective candidates for the next assembly elections are selectively involved in ‘’sangat darshan’’ programmes organised solely by the deputy commissioners. Even for rallies and political conferences all help is extended by the respective district administrations rather than involving the party’s rank and file. Asked why they did raise the issue at party meetings, the ministers said: ‘’Sentiments are conveyed in private to Pradhanji. What more can we do’’?

Has the ruling party got a survey done from intelligence agencies to get a feedback from the public on its performance and is it true that concentration is on selected seats.

There was a mixed response. From showing ‘’ignorance’’ to ‘’muted’’ admission that one had heard of such an exercise that has projected the government in poor light. ‘’At this juncture despite all the commotion and confusion in the Congress, the SAD may be able to romp home from 30-odd constituencies. Out of 117 constituencies, 30 are urban and 37 suburban. The rest are rural where money from the Rural Development Fund is being siphoned off at ‘sangat darshan programmes. Likewise, money from the Urban Development Fund goes into urban constituencies.

No where else does such a system operate. This, many said, would boomerang at election time because workers and the party’s organisational wing were not involved in the programme planning. The Akali Dal was now used as a vehicle for the promotion of certain vested interests alone. There was a communication gap between the worker and the “wazir.”

That such sentiments pervade the ruling SAD when the state is on the threshold of elections speaks volumes of the frustration within the party. A minister said it was apparent the Congress would put its act together.


Power cut woes force people on to streets
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 14
Agitated residents of Lalawali Gali took to the streets last night after facing a severe power cut which continued from Saturday early morning. Power was restored on late Sunday night as angry residents staged a dharna outside the Chief Engineer’s office.

Posh colonies such as Basant Avenue faced an all-night power cut for the third consecutive night. Commercial areas such as Lawrence Road have been suffering from power failure throughout the day since the past seven days.

There are also reports of schoolchildren falling prey to heatstroke in schools on account of the killing heat and getting little respite from power cuts. Many schools have also reduced the school hours for study. Springdales School has cut school hours by two hours. On the other hand, many other schools continue with the gruelling hours waiting for the Deputy Commissioner’s orders in this regard.

The power cuts have led to water supply too being badly disrupted. The complaint range from unannounced power cuts to voltage fluctuations, low voltage and sweltering nights without power.

The areas most affected are not only within the walled city like Hall Bazar, Katra Sher Singh, Katra Jaimal Singh, Guru Bazar, Majitha Mandi but also Civil Lines areas, especially posh colonies like Lawrence Road, Basant Avenue, Green Avenue, Ranjit Avenue, Kennedy Avenue, Kashmir Avenue, and other areas like Kabir Park, Putlighar, Railway Link Road, Guru Teg Bahadur Nagar, Mohini Park, Golden Avenue, the Ajnala road area, Bhagatwala etc.

Power cuts have resulted in severe shortage of water supply due to limited power to supply tanks and water reserviors in addition to unchecked air and noise pollution levels created by high duty generators.

Not surprisingly, even as politicians especially the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, attribute the shortage to inadequate rain little affect of this crisis is seen on the bureaucracy or the political leaders.

Lashing out at the political masters of the state, Mrs Luxmi Kanta Chawla said, “If prudence is expected from the masses the politicians should themselves set an example and let power cuts be imposed without partiality even to Raj Bhavan, the Chief Minsiter’s office and let all other ministers follow suit.”

However, she pleaded for hospitals to be exempt from such power cuts. There are also voices of dissent for free supply of electricity to the rural sector while the rest of the consumers pay for any extra hike in the electricity charges even as the electricity board continues its age-old policies that have brought the power sector on the brink of disaster.


Punjab transfers from tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
The Punjab Government today announced its transfer policy for the current financial year. The process of transfers will begin tomorrow and to be completed by June 15.

The authorities concerned have been told to keep the number of transfers minimal. Employees due to retire within next two years should not be transferred from their present place of posting till retirement. If the husband and wife are in the government service, preference should be given to them to keep them at one station.

If the husband is doing private service, his wife should be posted at the station nearest to his place of posting. Efforts should be made to post unmarried girls and widows at stations suitable to them. Likewise, physically challenged persons and blind employees should be given stations suitable to them.

There will be a complete ban on mid-term transfers except in case the transfer becomes necessary because of administrative reasons. Chief Minister’s approval would be required to fill the post turned vacant during the mid term.

The transfers after June 15 will only be made with the approval of the Chief Minister. For such transfers, the justification would have to be given by the department concerned and the case for the transfer will have to be moved to the Personnel Department through the Administrative Secretary and the minister concerned.


Pandemonium at Cong meeting
Chander Parkash

Bathinda, May 14
Pandemonium prevailed at the Congress meeting held here today in connection with the signature campaign of people on the Tehelka issue under the party’s second phase of agitation when a section of senior leaders and workers demanded that they should be given an opportunity to raise their grievances.

Mr Bhagat Singh Dhaliwal, president of the District Congress Committee (D CC), denied any chaos in the meeting.

The workers also expressed their resentment over the fact that they were not given any opportunity to address the meeting which was presided over by the party observer for tehelka.com, Mr Ajay Singh, and Mr Bal Mukand Sharma, vice-president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC).

Mr Kewal Krishan Aggarwal, general secretary of the DCC demanded that those workers who had been appointed members of the PPCC should not be adjusted in the district units. He added that this decision was taken by the party high command and its violation would demoralise workers.

He alleged a few persons who had joined the Congress after leaving their parent parties had been trying to humiliate committed party workers.

When some workers raised the objection that the district leadership had not been informing them about its programmes in advance and only a handful of workers were running the show the supporters of those who were managing the function advanced towards them. The situation was saved from taking an ugly turn by some senior leaders.

Mr Kulwant Rai Aggarwal, vice president of the DCC, said all workers and leaders should be treated on a par by the leadership of the district. He added that things turned sour when some of the workers were denied the opportunity to speak on the occasion. He pointed out the workers were not even allowed to express their gratitude towards Congress chief Sonia Gandhi who was instrumental in bringing the party back in power in many states where the assembly elections were held in the recent past.

Those present at the meeting included Mr Surinder Kapoor, former minister, Mr Jagroop Singh Gill, DCC organising secretary, Mr Jasmel Singh, former MLA, Mr Anil Bhola, president of the city unit of the Congress, Mr Inderjit Singh Shani, Mr Krishan Kumar Sharma and Mr Gurmeet Singh (all senior leaders).

Mr Kapoor said Mr Ajay Singh was showing hurry in leaving Bathinda for some other station when the meeting was going on. He asked Mr Ajay Singh that if he did not want to listen to the grievances of the workers then why had he come here.

He said he came out of meeting hall after saying that he would report the matter to Mrs Gandhi and PPCC President Amarinder Singh.

He added that if the Congress party wanted to organise a rally on the Tehelka issue senior leaders of the party should address the people in the state.


Cong launches signature campaign
Our Correspondent

Ropar, May 14
On the directions of the national leadership of the party, the district Congress has started a signature campaign seeking the removal of the NDA government over the Tehelka issue. The AICC secretary, Mr Darinder Tyagi, launched the campaign here today. He held a meeting of the office-bearers of the District Congress Committee and urged them to get as many signatures as possible.

Later, while talking to newspersons at the residence of a local Congress leader, Mr K.P.S. Rana, Mr Tyagi said the Congress would collect signatures of people from all parts of the country seeking action against the accused in the Tehelka expose. He said the Congress President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, would then submit the signatures in the form of a memorandum to the President on May 23. On the basis of the memorandum, the Congress would urge the President to dismiss the NDA government, he said.

Mr Tyagi alleged that the NDA government was “afraid” of initiating a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the allegations levelled in the Tehelka expose. It had retracted on the promise made to Mrs Gandhi on the issue, he said. The Centre had ordered only a judicial probe into the allegations to influence the findings, he alleged.

Commenting on the results of the recently held Assembly elections, Mr Tyagi said it was a referendum on the working and policies of the NDA government. He said the people had rejected the “anti-employee” and ‘pro-capitalist” policies of the government.

Denying that there was factionalism in the Punjab Congress, he said whatever minor differences remained would be resolved through mutual discussions.


Kohar- Phillaur row “resolved”
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, May 14
The two-member committee of the SAD including the Revenue Minister Sewa Singh Sekhwan and Education Minister Tota Singh heard factions led by Jail Minister Ajit Singh Kohar and Welfare Minister Sarwan Singh Phillaur here today.

After four hours of interaction with Akali leaders, circle presidents and workers, the committee announced that misunderstandings between the two ministers were removed.

Earlier, Mr Kohar had blamed that a Welfare Minister Sarwan Singh was thrice with the Congress and indulged in anti party activities.

He had accused Mr Phillaur of disrupting party meeting to be addressed by Punjab Chief Minister on May 19, with the help of Congress activists.

Mr Phillaur alleged that the district president had been ignoring party workers.


Residents get panicky over rise in crime
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, May 14
The rising crime graph here and the reported failure of the police to nab criminals has sent panic waves among residents of town and surrounding villages. It has also raised questions on the functioning of the police. The sensational broad daylight shootout of a commission agent and robbing him of Rs 5 lakh on the Fazilka-Abohar road on Tuesday has enhanced the feeling of insecurity among the people. Last week three youths had looted a petrol station of Rs 22,000 near Ghallu village. Another petrol station on the same road was looted about two months back of Rs 33,000. Employees of the petrol station were also beaten up.

Some time back Kewal Krishan Verma, brother of Mr Ramesh Verma, President, BJP Fazilka unit, was robbed of cash and jewellery worth Rs 1.5 lakh on the Fazilka-Ferozepore road, about 8 km from here.

Surprisingly, no clue of the crimes committed has been found so far. Moreover, the people are perturbed over the style of investigation of the police.

The residents feel that the police takes such incidents of crime as “routine matter” and in many cases the persons rounded up for interrogation are let off due to alleged political pressure from the ruling parties.


Beating heat dangerously
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 14
To beat the scorching heat, children of some localities of the city who can not afford air conditioners and going to swimming pools have adopted a new way to remain cool although it might be dangerous for their lives.

The canal that passes near the city serves as the swimming pool for the poor children. The rail track that passes over the canal serve as the jumping board for these ‘swimmers’.

The children mainly belong to the Janta Nagar, Gurukul Road, Parasram Nagar, Gopal Nagar and Jogi Nagar localities of the city.

Some adventurous children even board the slow moving goods train that brings coal for the nearby thermal plant. They board the train from a distance and when it comes on the bridge jump into the canal.

In the last few years many children received injuries but no step has been taken to check this. The children while diving into the canal which they think is not very deep get stuck in the quickstand at the bottom of the canal.

The iron bridge on which the children run before jumping into the canal which is about 12 feet high. While running over the bridge which becomes hot due to the scorching sun, the children get their feet burnt. They sometimes fell down on the rail track and get bruises.

Many children have been hospitalised but these incidents have not dampened their spirit.

Some school children bunk their classes to reach the canal in the afternoons. They come in groups and even hold competitions to add more adventure and thrill to their “sport”. Those who have some experience of diving into the canal work as “coaches” for the newcomers.

The children who receive injuries at the “swimming pool” have to be rushed to the city for the first aid as there is not a hospital nearby. In serious cases children die of the injuries.

Despite the frequent incidents of injuries and deaths and a prohibition notice displayed near the site, the children continue use the canal to escape from the high temperature in the city.


Lawyers want Balian to quit
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 14
Firm on laying the foundation stone for the construction of chambers as per new site plan in the new Judicial Complex on May 18 here, members of the District Bar Association today appealed to Mr Ranjit Singh Balian, MLA from Sangrur and Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development, Punjab, to quit as Minister for the sake of lawyers.

They also appealed to him to accompany them in laying the foundation stone, being a representative of them as the government so far had failed to build the chambers.

Mr B.K. Goyal, a spokesman for the association, made this appeal at a meeting held in the local Bar Room. The appeal was endorsed by the lawyers. Besides lawyers, Mr Balian was also present.

Members of the association have been observing ‘no work’ since April 9 here besides staging a protest dharna daily from April 10 and observing relay fast since April 16 in the judicial complex demanding construction of chambers for lawyers. On May 11, the lawyers held a protest rally here where it was announced that if the government did not approve new site plan for chambers till May 17, the lawyers would lay the foundation stone on May 18 for the construction of chambers.

Mr Goyal addressing the meeting asked Mr Balian not to make false promises to them with regard to the construction of chambers. He said there was unity among lawyers irrespective of their party affiliations.

Mr Sat Pal Sharma, secretary of the association, also asked the minister to stand by them if he really wanted to help the lawyers on this issue. He said no force could stop the lawyers on May 18 from laying the stone of the chambers.

Mr Balraj Singh Sohi, president of the association, also said lawyers were firm on the laying of stone on May 18 if the government’s approval did not come till May 17. He asked the minister to talk to Mr Parkash Singh Badal, at his own level on behalf of the lawyers.

Mr Kiranjit Singh Sekhon, a leader of the lawyers, asked the minister to work with sincerity for the cause of lawyers. He also said Mr Balian to put pressure on Mr Badal to release funds for the chambers.

Mr Ranjit Singh Balian assured the lawyers that he was sincere to the lawyers. He also said that the laying of stone for the chambers only could not serve any purpose, for this funds were also required. He also said efforts would be made to receive Rs 50 lakh from the government for chambers.


Bonded labourer freed
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 14
A teenaged Bengali bonded labourer and her Kashmiri husband, who went through the ordeal of working against their wishes at the “dera” of Siraj, a Gujjar, in Bilga village, have finally obtained freedom thanks to the efforts made by a Phillaur-based NGO and administration.

Fifteen-year-old Jaitun, a migrant from Bengal, had been working as a maid at the “dera” of Siraj. The latter came into contact with Ghulam Mohammad, a young Gujjar from Udhampur district of Jammu and Kashmir. He brought him to his “dera” and married him to Jaitun about a year back. Since Jaitun was still a teenager, Ghulam Mohammad resolved not to touch her till she attained adulthood.

Siraj, however, allegedly tried to coax her to have physical relations. When he failed to persuade her, he beat her up and even tried to rape her. Objecting to Siraj’s behaviour her husband said he and his wife did not want to continue working for him anymore. Siraj refused to allow them to go on the pretext that he had spent Rs 10,000 on the marriage of Jaitun.

The couple then contacted the People’s Vigilance Committee on bonded children and migrant labour. The NGO rescued the couple with the help of the Naib Tehsildar based at Nurmahal.

According to Mr Jai Singh, the chairman of the NGO, when the couple was being brought to Phillaur by Manjit and Sunita, two volunteers of the NGO, a group of Gujjar youths led by Siraj chased their van and allegedly tried to abduct Jaitun. However, due to the resistance put up by the volunteers, Siraj and his two accomplices Sokhi and Kundu were nabbed by the people and were handed over to the Phillaur police. A case has been registered.


Rly station sans potable water
Raj Sadosh

Abohar, May 14
The Railway Passengers Association (North Zone) has lamented the failure of the railway authorities in providing potable water to voluntary organisations who had been serving cold water to passengers for the past two decades.

The association has drawn the attention of the authorities to conditions prevailing at the Malout railway station, 30 km from here. Mr Ramesh Goyal, general secretary of the association, in a memorandum to the Railway Minister, yesterday alleged that officials at Malout were not providing basic amenities to the passengers. The Railways and a Voluntary organisation had installed a water cooler each at the railway station but none of these was working now. It was learnt that the water connection meant for the coolers had reportedly been shifted to the housing colony of the railway employees. The authorities were repeatedly requested to install taps but to no avail.

The association pointed out that at night miscreants enter the platform and tease female passengers. The volunteers are threatened if they try to check them.

Mr Goyal regretted that the Station Superintendent and the GRP was informed of the activities of the anti-social elements but no action was taken.

The Jan Sevak Sabha, which had been providing cold water, free of cost, to the passengers for last 20 years here has also many problems to narrate. The sabha in a letter to Assistant Commercial Manager at the DRM office, Ambala, said the second platform was without a shed. The passengers had to wait for the trains in open, facing hardship in summers and rainy season. Neither benches nor toilets were available. The old had to take the risk of their life while crossing railway track from first to second platform, as no steps were provided on either side. In such circumstances the volunteers had been carrying on their service at Abohar.

The Railway Passengers Association had inspired other social organisations to provide drinking water even at rural railway stations in between Abohar and Bathinda. None of the orgainsation had aspired for financial assistance from the government so far.


Doctors go on leave en masse
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 14
Responding to a call given by the PCMS Association, doctors went on leave en masse today. However, some of them were found attending to patients who thronged Nehru Memorial Civil Hospital because they were unaware of the protest.

Dr J.C. Garg, SMO, told newspersons that sanitation had already been given on contract in the hospital to ensure basic amenities. The government had taken up a Rs 80 lakh project for the expansion of the hospital. He said the authorities were bound to charge fee for certain services which were being provided free of cost.

Dr Rakesh Arora, secretary of the PCMS Association, Ferozepore district, said yesterday that doctors at a meeting at the civil hospital had condemned the “irresponsible and rude behavior and use of derogatory and abusive language against doctors by the president of the Citizens Hospital Reforms Committee.” However, not only emergency services were being maintained, but also patients were being attended to unofficially.

A meeting of the Citizens Hospital Reforms Committee was held under the chairmanship of Mr Rakesh Dhuria yesterday. Members alleged that some of the doctors had been resorting to wilful absenteeism in order to practice privately at their homes.

The PCMS Association denied the allegations and said instead of apprising the SMO, the committee members reportedly chose to visit doctors’ rooms and created an unpleasant situation by issuing threats.


Martyr cremated
Our Correspondent

Ropar, May 14
Lance Naik Surmukh Singh of the 10 Sikh Light Infantry, who died in a landmine blast in the Uri sector of Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday, was cremated with full military honours in his native Amrali village near here today. His body was brought here from Chandimandir today. The cremation was attended, among others, by Bibi Satwant Kaur Sandhu, Minister for Printing and Stationery, the SDM, Ropar, Mr Daljit Singh, a former MLA, Mr Shamsher Rai, and the DSP, Morinda, Mr Sant Singh Dhaliwal.


PWD employee killed in mishap
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, May 14
One person was killed and two injured in an accident which took place on the Kapurthala-Sultanpur Lodhi road. According to police reports, the accident occurred when a truck belonging to the PWD turned turtle while crossing another truck, resulting in the death of Surinder Kumar, a PWD employee.

In another incident, Janaki, a married woman of Bhagwanpur village, died after consuming a poisonous substance.

In yet another incident nine persons were injured in a clash between two neighbouring families in Wadala Kalan village last evening. 


Remand for Zaffarwal

Batala (Punjab), May 14
Dreaded terrorist Wassan Singh Zaffarwal, arrested by the Punjab Police last month, was today remanded in judicial custody till May 28 by a local court.

Zaffarwal was brought here in connection with the killing of four persons in a shootout in the Bara Bazar area here on February 18, 1986.

He was named in an FIR registered at city police station. PTI


Youth Cong to be revamped
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 14
The All-India Youth Congress has planned to revamp its state unit by downsizing its executive within one month.

The top-heavy 82-member executive of the Punjab Youth Congress had been dissolved by the party high command last year and since then the state unit was like a rudderless ship and its affairs were being run by its president, Mr Davinder Singh Babbu.

Mr Krishna Veer Maina, who has been recently appointed observer for Punjab and Uttar Pradesh by the All-India Youth Congress president, Mr Randip Singh Surjewala, held a series of meetings with district presidents of the Punjab Youth Congress. He said here today that keeping in view the forthcoming elections in the state the foremost task in the minds of the Youth Congress leadership was a revamp of the state executive. He said the results of poll in five states had clearly indicated people had made up their minds in favour of the Congress.

Mr Babbu, said the number of the executive would be reduced to 50.


CRRID-LIP organises special health camps
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
The Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID) as part of the local initiative plan(LIP) organised special health camps under its Reproductive and Child Health Programme (RCH) in Saupur Badiwal village and Kahanpur Khui village in Noorpur Bedi Block, Ropar district on May 9 and 12.

More than 500 patients were examined by specialists and medicines distributed free of cost. The camps were organised in association with panchayat members, local NGOs and state government functionaries.

According to Mr Rashpal Malhotra, Director, CRRID, the RCH intervention projects are proving beneficial for the rural women and children as they do not have an easy accessibility to health care services. The CRRID-LIP provides health services at their doorstep by holding satellite and mobile clinics and regular camps, he said.

At the camps, project coordinator Alka Gupta, said the CRRID-LIP were being implemented in two states and covered two blocks in Punjab and one block in Himachal Pradesh. For this 535 women community health volunteers have been deployed, who would be promoted as health volunteers and social workers for sustaining the project in future. Mr Charan Singh , Block Development Officer, who was present on the occasion, appreciated the efforts of the CRRID-LIP project.

Mr Sunil Agnihotri, Field Organiser, highlighted the objectives and activities of the project, while Ms Jaswinder Kaur and Ms Baljit Kaur delivered lectures on the “Care of Newborn and Anaemia”. Others who attended the camp included Mr Avtar Singh Challa, Mr Hardev Singh, Mr Tarsem Lal, Mr Brahma Nand and Mr Mohan Singh Rai and other social workers.


‘It’s a conspiracy’
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 14
Dr D.S. Bhullar, Joint Secretary, Indian Academy of Forensic Medicine, said the allegations made by some NGOs which have demanded a CBI inquiry into the matter regarding the sale of human organs and limbs by a particular doctor ‘a deep-rooted conspiracy to defame the medical profession in general and the doctors dealing with post-mortem cases in particular’.


Licences of 34 arhtiyas suspended
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 14
The licences of 34 arthiyas of various grain markets in the district have been suspended by the authorities concerned for wheat procurement during current season due to different irregularities.

Meanwhile, the Sangrur district topped in wheat procurement in the state by procuring 13, 32, 466 metric tonnes of wheat till May 13. Last year, the district had procured 12,07,644 metric tonnes of wheat during the entire season.

Talking to The Tribune this evening, Mr G.K. Singh, officiating Deputy Commissioner, said during the current rabi season 45 checkings had been done and licences of 34 arthiyas suspended and Rs 7,000 as fine imposed on arthiyas for different lapses.

Mr G.K. Singh said 12 licences had been suspended in the Sangrur subdivision while seven licences had been suspended in Sunam and Barnala subdivisions each. Eight licences have been suspended in Malerkotla and Dhuri subdivisions. These licences had been suspended due to underweight bags of wheat, filling of uncleaned wheat in bags and poor visibility of markings on the wheat bags etc, he added.

The officiating Deputy Commissioner added six procurement agencies procured wheat in the district.

He said the FCI had topped in wheat procurement in the district by procuring 4,02,431 metric tonnes followed by Markfed 2,44,568 metric tonnes, Punsup 2,27,874 MT, Punjab Agro 1,68,645 MT, the Food Supplies department 1,45,814 MT, the Warehouse Corporation 1,41,175 MT and traders 2,759 MT.

Mr G.K. Singh was hopeful that the district would touch the figure of 13.50 lakh MT of wheat procurement in the next couple of days.


Centre asked to move wheat stocks
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
While Punjab has set a record in the procurement of wheat, the state government has urged the Centre to make arrangements for the movement of fresh wheat stocks to the deficit states.

Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, Food and Supplies Minister, said today that over one crore tonnes of wheat had been procured in the state till date. Last year’s total wheat procurement figure was 96.97 lakh tonnes. About 10 lakh tonnes of more wheat was expected in the markets till the close of the procurement season.

Mr Mittal, who held a meeting with the Union Minister, Mr Shanta Kumar, pertaining to the movement of wheat from Punjab to other states, said that he had also urged the Centre to make wheat storage arrangements in the deficit states. Punjab could not afford to provide more space for the storage of wheat and paddy. The existing wheat and paddy stocks in the state had touched 2.5 crore tonnes. Mr Mittal said the state government had made additional arrangements to store 60 lakh tonnes of fresh wheat this year.

He said the Union Government had also been requested to enhance the export of wheat from Punjab. He said the government should give further relaxations to the exporters of wheat in the country. Mr Shanta Kumar’s response was positive, Mr Mittal claimed.

He had also asked the Centre to extend the date for the milling of paddy. The Centre had allowed the state government to shell the entire procured stocks of paddy till June 30. But this would not be possible. About 60 per cent of the paddy had been shelled so far. The milling of the remaining stocks might take three or four months. 


Woman killed in quarrel
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, May 14
A woman was killed and two persons injured in a quarrel near Loharan village on the Nakodar road here late last night. According to the police, Raj Kumar of Ravidaspura in Loharan village used to abuse villagers under the influence of liquor. Last night, when he started abusing some women of the village after consuming liquor, the residents tried to pacify him and asked him to go to his house.

According to some residents of the village, thereafter Raj Kumar, alongwith his brother Master Pal, Babu Lal and Billy, started throwing bricks in the street from the top of his house. One of the bricks allegedly hit Desh Kaur causing serious head injury.


Two killed in mishaps
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 14
Jagga Singh of Bhagwangarh village today accidentally consumed some poisonous substance. He was brought to the local Civil Hospital by volunteers of the Sahara Jan Seva in a serious condition.

He died in the hospital later and his body was handed over to the family members after a post-mortem examination. A case has been registered in this regard at Sangat police station.

In other incident, Ramesh Kumar (21) allegedly committed suicide by jumping in front of a moving train on the Bathinda-Dabwali rail line near Ghunsar Sehna village. His body was brought to the Civil Hospital where a post-mortem examination was done. A case was registered by the GRP police here in this connection.


Man held for kidnap bid
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 14
Ajay Kumar was arrested by the district police for allegedly attempting to kidnap a young girl in the colony of Guru Hargobind Thermal Plant (GHTP), along with an associate, on May 12. A 12 bore pistol and two cartridges were also seized from his possession.

In a press note issued here today, Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, SSP, said Ajay and his associate, Sukha fled from the scene when the victim raised in alarm.

He added that a case in this connection was registered with the Nathana police station. Another case under Section 25 of the Arms Act was also registered.

Dr Jain said in two cases relating to the NDPS Act, Darshan Singh was arrested with 1 kg of opium while in another case Guljar Singh was arrested for being in possession of 25.2 kg of poppy husk.


One held for posing as magistrate
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 14
Tension gripped the Ragunath Enclave in Aggar Nagar area on the Ferozepore road after gunshots were fired during a scuffle between two groups of people.

The police said a resident had opened up a gate towards a street, which was objected by his neighbourer. Late in the evening they entered into an argument which led to an altercation. Following this the supporters of the respective neighbours converged on the spot leading to a scuffle.

A person from one of the groups reportedly fired some shots. However, no one was injured in the firing. As the people started rushing for safety after hearing the gun shots, two persons suffered minor injuries in the melee. Policemen from Sarabha Nagar police station rushed to the spot. The situation is under control.

In another incident a gang of four persons attesting fake affidavits was today busted by the police station (Division No. 6). One of them who was posing as a magistrate used to sign the affidavits.

According to police sources they have been identified as Kamaljeet, Stnam Rai, Sawan and Tejinder Singh Happy. A few rubber stamps and fake affidavits have also been seized from them. The police has registered an FIR.


Meena Bansal murder case solved, 3 held
Vikrant Jindal

Malerkotla, May 14
The local police claims to have solved the murder case of Meena Bansal (30), wife of Alkesh Bansal, who was murdered in her hosue at Mahavir Shastri Nagar on April 7, last year with sharpedged weapon by certain persons while she was working in her house. Her body was found on the ground in front of the house.

The police has arrested three persons Javed Mohammed (23), son of Mushtaq Ahmed, Sazi Mohammed (24), son of Taz Mohammed and Jassan Mohammed (25), son of Dilshad Mohammed, in this connection.

According to the police these suspects were arrested on a tip-off from their residence. During preliminary interrogation, the arrested persons revealed that they used a long knife to commit the murder.

While Sazi Mohammed stayed outside the house, Javed Mohammed and Jassan Mohammed went in side and killed his Meena. Nothing was stolen from the house.

The police had recovered the knife used for the murder from the house of the deceased on the day of the murder. A case under Section 302, IPC, has been registered.

These suspects were produced in the court of the Subdivisional Judicial Magistrate, Mr S.K. Sachdeva, here today where the Additional Public Prosecutor, Mr D.K. Dhir, requested for a police remand of two days which was granted.


Implement UGC scales, colleges told
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh May 14
Colleges affiliated to Panjab University will be asked to pay salaries to their duly selected teachers in accordance with the UGC scales within two months. This was decided at the second meeting of a high-powered committee constituted by the Vice-Chancellor to sort out problems of these colleges held here today.

A notice in this regard will be sent to all affiliated colleges in Punjab and Chandigarh. This decision will be binding on the colleges. In the case of non-compliance, the university will be forced to take punitive action against the college concerned which may include disaffiliation.

This decision comes in the wake of a large number of complaints made by teachers of various colleges in Punjab regarding the non payment of full salaries.

Regarding the inclusion of the Vice Chancellor’s nominees in the management committees of private colleges, it was decided that the university would send the names of the persons to the committees. The nominee would be a part of the governing body of the college and attend various meetings of the managing committee.

It was stated that the case of the teachers of DAV Centenary College, Jalalabad, had been sorted out as they had been given a hike in the DA and the provident fund deductions were being made as per norms.

Although the general agenda of the meeting included problems pertaining to the payment of less salary to duly selected teachers, lack of infrastructure in colleges for the starting of new courses, presence of teachers’ representatives and academicians on the college managing committees and non-implementation of the recommendations of inspection committee reports, only two decisions could be taken today.

Those present at the meeting included Mr Ashok Sahni, DUI, who chaired the meeting, Mr R.S. Verma, Dr Deepak Manmohan Singh, Mr Charanjit Chawla, Mr Satish Sharma, Mr S.S. Hundal, Mr Tarsem Bahia, Mr P. S. Sangha, Mr H.R. Gandhar and Dr A.C. Vaid. The Director, Public Instructions (Colleges), Chandigarh, Ms Madhavi Kataria also attended the meeting.

The next meeting of the committee has been tentatively scheduled for the first week of June.


Varsity centre set up at Nainakot
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, May 14
Nainakot, 20 km from here in the Kahnuwan block, will be the first village in Punjab to have regional centre of Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar. Mr Sewa Singh Sekhwan, Revenue and Rehabilitation Minister, Punjab in whose constituency this village falls, told this correspondent that the ITI building completed in the village at a cost of Rs 5 crore four years ago would be inaugurated by the Chief Minister on May 26 when he would be visiting Kahnuwan for sangat darshan”. The building would be handed over the Vice-Chancellor for starting professional courses by the university.

As many as 14 ITIs were ordered to be built by the previous Congress government to admit students to ITI courses in various parts of the state. The buildings were completed in the beginning of the rule of the SAD-BJP government in Punjab. The charge of the buildings was not handed over to the Industries Department because the government dropped the idea of starting ITI courses in these buildings.

The ITI building at Nainakot was vacant and the Revenue Minister noticed it, decided to make use of it for imparting technical education to students.

He contacted the Minister of Higher Education and the Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University in this respect. His efforts succeeded in the first week of May when the Minister for Higher Education took charge of the building and forwarded his recommendations to the Vice-Chancellor to start regional centre of the university in the building. The proposal had the consent of the Vice-Chancellor.

Mr Sekhwan said admission in the Nainakot regional centre would start during the current academic session. Courses in computer education and Information Technology would be started initially. New courses on agro-farming and job-oriented courses would be added with the passage of time.

The building is located on the Kahnuwan-Shri Hargobindpur road. The building has more than 12 quarters for employees.


NCI team visits Faridkot
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, May 14
A two-member inspection team, including Ms Asha Sharma and Ms Surekha Sharma, the Nursing Council of India (NCI), visited the city to find out the feasibility for upgrading the local Government School of Nursing to a college of nursing, to be run by the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences.

During the visit the team visited two public health centres at Jand Sahib and Sadiq besides Guru Singh Medical College and Hospital in this connection. The team also had a meeting with the higher authorities of the university and discussed the matter with them.

Talking to this reporter yesterday they said it might not be possible for the NCI to grant recognition to the institution due to lack of proper infrastructure like library, trained teaching staff, laboratories, and various other facilities.

When contacted Dr P.S. Sandhu, Registrar of the university, said the institution had got sufficient funds to provide the entire infrastructure in the next four to six months. He expressed hope that the NCI would adopt a sympathetic attitude in resolving the issue.


Ajnala’s son indicted for ragging
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 14
Minister for Animal Husbandry Rattan Singh Ajnala’s son Amarpal Singh was today indicted by the seven-member Disciplinary Committee for ragging second year boys of Guru Ram Dass Medical College and Research Institute run by the SGPC here last month.

The Director-Principal of the college, Dr U.S. Dhaliwal, confirmed the report of the committee. It has levied a fine of Rs 25,000 on Amarpal Singh and Rs 1,000 each on his classfellows for ragging the college mates while in a drunken state and for trespassing into the college hostel late in the night.

Dr Dhaliwal added that the committee headed by the former DRME and Principal of Government Medical College, Dr Sudesh Khanna, along with six other members found prima facie evidence which had confirmed that Amarpal along with his friends had ragged the students of second year.

The punishment was awarded to Amarpal and his friends as per the rules framed by Baba Farid Medical University for ragging.


Tough time for students, boon for teachers
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 14
With dates of various competitive examinations fast approaching, students are preparing hard for these tests and seem prepared to dole out huge amounts to the college teachers who give tuitions for these competitive examinations.

However, despite all the hard work being put in by students, only some of them actually achieve their goal. But one thing is sure that the coaching institutes and the college teachers giving tuitions are on their way to pocket a lot of money.

Students generally attend coaching classes for physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics. Anubhav, a student preparing for CET, said, “I have to attend tuition classes in order to complete my syllabus otherwise I will not be able to take CET exam.” College teachers take such students for a ride and the parents also seem ready to pay anything for their children’s education.

Teachers generally charge Rs 600 per month for regular classes which amounts to about Rs 7,000 for the completion of course. For crash courses they charge around Rs 5,000 for 40 days.

The situation has taken an ugly turn as students are sometimes forced by their parents to select a particular field as they think this will have better career options for their children. Neelam, a student of Modi College and preparing for PMT examinations scheduled to take place in June, said, “I have to take tuitions in all subjects because my parents want me to be a doctor and they are ready to pay any cost for it.” 

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