Friday, May 25, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Cabinet cuts imprisonment period
Grant of benefits to ‘sangharshi yodhas’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 24
The Punjab Council of Ministers at its meeting held here today under the chairmanship of Mr Parkash Singh Badal decided to grant financial assistance and facilities to all “Sangharshi Yodhas” who had participated in various movements to safeguard the interests of the state. These agitations include the Sis Ganj Gurdwara Morcha, the morcha against the Emergency, the Dharam Yudh Morcha in 1981 (Paniwala Morcha), the Punjabi Suba Morcha-III. The period of imprisonment for eligibility for the grant of financial assistance and other facilities was reduced from six months to three. District and state-level committees will be constituted under the chairmanship of the Deputy Commissioner concerned and the Home Secretary, respectively, to verify the claims of the beneficiaries.

The council also approved the proposal for the merger of the Colonisation Department and the Punjab State Agricultural Marketing Board. All assets, property and liabilities of the Colonisation Department would become those of the board. All employees of Colonisation Department would be absorbed in the board in their own pay scale and designation.

The council also approved a policy document, “New and renewable source of energy (NRSE) policy-2001”, for giving impetus to the NRES programme by extending a package of incentives. The objectives enshrined in the policy are to meet and supplement the minimum rural energy needs through the NRSE programme to mitigate environmental pollution, create direct and indirect employment in the state, develop and commercialise new and emerging renewable energy technologies and introduce single-window clearance for the expeditious implementation of NRSE projects.

The thrust areas which can be promoted through private or public sector participation include small hydel projects, cogeneration, power generation from biomass or agro residue and waste, power generation from urban, municipal and industrial liquid or solid waste, power generation from solar energy, wind power and energy conservation.

The Council of Ministers cleared an amendment to Sub Sections (4) & (6) of Section 10 of the Punjab General Sales Tax Act, 148, through the promulgation of an ordinance which will prove a boon to honest dealers and save them from harassment besides plugging loopholes in the Act.

The council also approved the proposal of 25 per cent reduction in composite fee for multi-axle vehicles with the National Permit keeping in view the benefits from the operation of such vehicles. As per the present norms, the Transport Department of the state has prescribed a composite fee of Rs 5000 per year for other states and Rs 2500 for Union Territories. Owing to 25 per cent concession approved by the Council of Ministers, the composite fee will now be Rs 3,750 for other states and Rs 1,875 for Union Territories.

The council granted exemption from entertainment tax to award-winning films and other entertainment shows in the case of the following categories.

a) show through the exhibition of a film which has won an award:

1) at an International Films Festival recognised by the International Federation of Film Producers Association ( Federation International des Association de Producers de Films) or,

2) at a National Film Festival organised by or on behalf of the Government of India or,

3) instituted by a state government.

b) a show through the exhibition of a film which has been selected for inclusion in the India panorama section of the International Films Festival of India or Filmotsav; and

c) a show through the exhibition of films which have been categorised as “children films” by the Central Board of Film Certification.

The council also approved a proposal to allow overloading in the case of goods carriages on the Haryana pattern and by imposing an additional tax on over loaded trucks. Accordingly, the Punjab Motor Vehicles Tax Act, 1948, will be amended and a new Section 3 (G) will be inserted to levy an additional tax of Rs 300 per tonne per journey at the inter-state barriers/tax collection centres. To implement this decision, tax collection centres at all 27 entry points on the inter state borders will be set up.

The council of Ministers further approved a proposal for the re-employment of Mr P.R. Luthra, Chief Architect, for a period of one year (May 1 to April 30 next year) in the public interest.

The council accepted the interim report of the second Punjab Finance Commissioner for panchayats and municipalities and gave its nod for placing it in the Assembly for discussion.

The date of general transfers in various government departments has been extended to June 30.

The council also cleared a proposal envisaging that the financial loss on account of additional guarantee from seven to ten years in the case of covered godowns and three to five years in the case of open plinths should be underwritten.

the council approved a proposal of the Urban Local Bodies Department to raise a loan of Rs 288.21 crore from HUDCO against state government guarantee for completing various water supply and sewerage schemes in different towns of the state.

The council also granted its approval to the draft of the Advocate Welfare Bill-2000, which provides for improving the working conditions of advocates.


18 Pakistani nationals repatriated
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Wagah, May 24
As many as 18 Pakistani nationals, mostly deaf and dumb, have been repatriated to Pakistan on the directions of the Ministry of External Affairs. They were repatriated on emergency passports issued by the Pakistan High Commission.

These Pakistani nationals have already completed their sentence in various Indian jails, including the high-security jail of Amritsar.

Interestingly, the Border Security Force did not know the move of the Indian Government to repatriate the Pakistan nationals today. Before handing them over to the Pakistan officials, the BSF took some time to confirm the repatriation. However, the Punjab police and jail authorities have had information about the repatriation for many days.

Mr Nasir Ali Khan Bhatti, senior official of the Pakistan High Commission, New Delhi, Mr S.S. Mann, DSP (Rural), and Mr I.S. Rana, Second-in-Command, 19 Battalion, handed over the Pakistan national to Lieut-Col Ali Khan, Commanding Officer, Pakistani Rangers.

An official of the BSF said that India and Pakistan would exchange prisoners at the Wagah checkpost on May 28. While Pakistan would send six prisoners, India would reciprocate with five.

Those who were repatriated to Pakistan included Abdula, Yusuf, Ajiab, Mohammad Ahmed, Ali Mohammad, Azam Ali, Mohammad Ali, Abid Ali, Mohammad Zamin, Falak Sher, Ahmed Yaar, M. Khan, Hukmudin, Asam Dad, Abdul Razak, Latif, Tahir and Mustak Ahmed.

Meanwhile, a jatha of 52 Sikh pillgrims, led by Mr Harpal Singh Bhullar, Secretary, Mardana Committee, left for Pakistan via the Samjhauta Express, Mr Bhullar said that he would prevail upon the Pakistan government to release the Indians languishing in jails there.


Minister promises probe to Khanpur villagers
Our Correspondent

Kharar, May 24
The Punjab Government will soon hold an inquiry into the alleged tampering of the revenue record of the common land of Khanpur village which falls in Kharar municipal limits.

This announcement was made by Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, Punjab Agriculture Minister, during his visit to the village today on Mr Parkash Singh Badal’s directions.

Talking to mediapersons, Mr Gobind Singh Kanjla, Social Security and Development Minister and Mr Guljar Singh Ranike, Minister of State for Agriculture, also accompanied Mr Gurdev Singh Badal and listened to grievances of the villagers.

Mr Badal said action would be taken against the revenue staff responsible for making illegal entries in the record in the past many years. He directed the officers concerned that cases against the villagers be withdrawn. He said he would submit his report to the Chief Minister. He asked the SDM, Kharar, to send a report of the excesses against the villagers and of the revenue record.

Many leaders, including Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Mr Yoginder Makwana, former Union Minister, Mr Jagjit Singh, leader of the Opposition in Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Mr Santokh Singh Randhawa and Mr Jogmohan Singh Kang, former Punjab Ministers, visited the village and the local Civil Hospital.


Probe into lathi charge on lawyers sought
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 24
The joint meeting of various Bar associations of Punjab here today adopted resolutions demanding an inquiry by a judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to fix responsibility for the lathi charge on Sangrur lawyers on May 18 last, suspension and transfer of the SDM, Dr Indu Malhotra, and the DSP, Mr Surjit Singh Grewal, and registration of criminal cases against Dr Malhotra, Mr Grewal and other alleged guilty persons for the lathi charge.

A large number of lawyers from Amritsar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Patiala, Rampura Phul, Bathinda, Moga, Mansa, Chandigarh, Batala, Ropar, Fatehgarh Sahib and other places took part in the meeting. It was presided over by Mr Balraj Singh Sohi, president of the Sangrur District Bar Association.

The meeting also demanded the withdrawal of cases registered against the Sangrur lawyers, formation of a concrete policy for the construction of chambers along with judicial complexes in the state at the government’s expense acceptance of immediate construction of chambers and a hall for litigants in the newly-built Judicial Complex at Sangrur and the formation of a state-level committee to watch the interests of the lawyers with regard to construction of chambers.

The lawyers gave a call to the all Bar Associations in Punjab to observe no work on May 25. It also gave a call to all Bar Associations of the Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh to observe ‘no work’ on May 30 to express solidarity with the Sangrur lawyers.

Addressing the gathering, Mr G.K. Chatrath, president of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association, called upon the lawyers who had received injuries in the lathi charge to file suits against the ‘guilty’ officers, responsible for lathi charge on the lawyers. He also asked them to bring their cases to the association to file the same in the court so that a lesson could be taught to the guilty officers. He also said the officers who had attacked the lawyers would not be spared.

Mr Chatrath said that construction of chambers for lawyers was the duty of the state government.

Mr Amarjit Singh Jatana, vice-president of Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association, Chandigarh, described the lathi charge on the lawyers as a shameful act on the part of the administration. He also lashed out at the police for not registering the complaints of the lawyers against the police and civil officers. He said the association had decided that FIRs against the ‘guilty’ officers would be got registered by filing cases in the court.

Mr Balraj Singh Sohi, president of the Sangrur District Bar Association, said the lawyers of Sangrur would intensify their agitation with the cooperation of the bar associations of Punjab to get their demand accepted.

Mr Harish Dhand, president of Ludhiana District Bar Association (DBA) suggested that the strike by the lawyers be suspended. But his plea was opposed by the gathering.


Tarn Taran SSP to conduct probe
Tampering with police record
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 24
Directing Tarn Taran Senior Superintendent of Police to get a probe conducted against officials responsible for tampering with the police record in a culpable homicide case, Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed him to submit the report within 14 days.

Pronouncing the orders on an anticipatory bail plea filed by 65-year-old Sawinder Kaur of Chola Sahib in Amritsar district, Mr Justice Nijjar observed: “Counsel for the petitioner relies on an entry in the daily dairy report at serial number 14 by Station House Officer Bhola Singh in which it is stated that Sawinder Kaur was not present in the house at the time of fight and was falsely mentioned due to enmity”.

The Judge further observed: “On the other hand, ASI Kulwant Singh has produced investigation file in the court. In the file, at serial number 14, it is stated that at the time of fight Sawinder Kaur was present. Apparently, this entry is contrary to the entry, the photocopy of which is produced by counsel for the petitioner”.

The Judge concluded: “A photocopy of the entry produced by counsel for the petitioner is directed to be sent to the SSP in a sealed cover. He is directed to have the matter thoroughly investigated and fix the responsibility of police official involved in tampering with the police record”.



BJP workers’ meeting today
Move to remove grievances
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 24
The BJP will provide opportunities to the party’s rank and file at the districts level to give vent to their feelings about the performance and style of functioning of the elected representatives, including MLAs and ministers, of the party in Punjab.

The party will hold meetings at various places in the state to carry out this exercise. The first meeting will be held tomorrow at Gurdaspur. All elected representatives, including municipal councillors, MLAs , MPs and ministers and office-bearers of the party from Gurdaspur, Batala, Amritsar and Hoshiarpur areas have been called to attend the meeting.

Mr O.P. Kohli, general secretary of the BJP and in charge of the party affairs in Punjab, will preside over the meeting. The state president, Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, will also be present. On May 26, a meeting of the party MLAs will be held at Amritsar under the chairmanship of Mr Kohli to take the stock of political situation in the state.

Sources said party workers would be allowed to express their grievances, complaints and grudges, if there were any, against the party ministers, MLAs and other functionaries who matter in the government at the Gurdaspur meeting. It is the first time that a political party is providing such an opportunity to its workers.

Obviously, the objective behind the exercise is to read the minds of the party activists at the lower level and to remove their grievances well before the Assembly elections so as to prepare them to work in the elections wholeheartedly. It is a common phenomenon when a majority of activists at the lower level turn against their own party ministers and MLAs because they fail to get due attention from them.

The BJP is engaged seriously in preparing for the Assembly election. It has divided the state into four zones and decided to place party wholetimers in all 23 Assembly constituencies contested last time by the BJP as an alliance partner of the SAD in the state. The BJP had won 17 seats. The wholetimers will work in tandem with other party office-bearers in the constituencies.

In another significant decision, the party has divided all these 23 constituencies among three BJP ministers to gear up the party rank and file for the election purpose. The sources said the Local Bodies Minister, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, has been made in charge of nine constituencies — Gurdaspur 5, Mukerian 1, Hoshiarpur 1 and Jalandhar 2. The Food and Supplies Minister, Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, has been made in charge of seven constituencies — Ludhiana 2, Ropar 1, Jalandhar 3, Hoshiarpur 2. The Health Minister, Dr Baldev Raj Chawla, has also been made in charge of seven constituencies — Amritsar 3, Ferozepore 1, Fazilka 1, Abohar 1.

The sources said the top brass of the BJP and its frontal organisations, including the students wing, state unit of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, today held a meeting at Ludhiana with the state coordinator of the RSS. Mr Rinwa, Mr Tandon, Mr Mittal and Mr Avinash Jaiswal attended the meeting on behalf of the BJP. The party strategy vis-a-vis Assembly election was discussed at the meeting. Mr Rinwa reportedly briefed the coordinator about his meetings with the Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, and the party chief, Mr Jana Krishnamurthi, about the Rajya Sabha seat. Mr Rinwa is hopeful that the central leadership of the BJP will make the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, agree to allot the Rajya Sabha seat to the state unit of the BJP.


Bhattal: case part of conspiracy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 24
Alleging that the registration of a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act against her was part of a deep political conspiracy, the former Chief Minister, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, said today that she was prepared to face arrest and would not seek bail in the case.

Putting the blame on the Badal government, Ms Bhattal said at a press conference that the case had been registered without conducting any inquiry and providing her a chance to explain her position. The frustrated Badal government, which was facing the wrath of people on all fronts, had made an attempt to tarnish her 32-year political career by resorting to such an action, she said.

Ms Bhattal, who was accompanied by a former president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Mr Santokh Singh Randhawa, and Vice-President of the PPCC, Mr C.D. Singh, said a writ petition had been filed against her and another former Chief Minister in the Punjab and Haryana High Court with regard to the allocation of money from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund. The petition was dismissed on July 20, 2000, by a Division Bench of the court.

“I have no knowledge of the case in the Bathinda court as I did not receive any notice from the court in this connection. I have also not got a copy of the decision of the court from Bathinda.

Without naming anyone, she said that the registration of the case was part of a wider conspiracy . Many important persons were involved in this game. “I have documentary evidence of their involvement,” she claimed. It would be made public at the appropriate time.

She also alleged that certain Punjab Government officers were also involved in this action.

When pressed to elaborate on what she called a “wider conspiracy”, she gave enough hint to indicate that certain opponents within her own party had also played a role in the registration of the case. “You can make out who benefits the most politically,” she said. It appears that she has taken up this issue separately with the party high command. She returned from Delhi last night after meeting senior party leaders.

“I will continue the campaign against the Badal government and such cases will not stop me from performing my duty of exposing the misdeeds of the government,” she asserted. The undue haste shown by the Badal government in getting the case registered had given enough proof that it wanted to gain political mileage from the case. Feeling hurt , she said that she would fight with her all might to prove politically as well as legally that the case registered against her was false and politically motivated.


No move to replace Amarinder: Makwana
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, May 24
Mr Joginder Makwana, member of the high-powered committee for Punjab Congress Affairs and former Union Home Minister, today asserted that there was no move to replace Capt Amarinder Singh as president of the Congress’ Punjab unit.

Mr Makwana, while talking to reporters at the local Circuit House, said there could be a difference of opinion among Punjab Congress leaders and it was a sign of democracy in the party.

When asked about the reported statement of Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar, rebel Congress leader and MP, that Capt Amarinder Singh should be replaced as Punjab Congress chief if the party was interested in winning the coming Assembly elections, Mr Makwana said he was not aware of any such statement.

“The rebels will be dealt strictly with and no Congress leader will be allowed to publicly criticise the Congress leadership and its programmes.

The differences, if any, should be discussed at party fora, instead of approaching the media”, Mr Makwana said.

The Congress high command had recently formed a five-member high-powered committee comprising Dr Manmohan Singh, Mr Virbhadra Singh, Mr Ashok Gehlot, Mrs Nirmala Sashwat and Mr Joginder Makwana to gear up its cadre for the coming Assembly elections.

The former minister also criticised Mr Parkash Singh Badal for “falsely” implicating former Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal in a corruption case.

“The SAD is out to settle political scores with Congress leaders by registering cases against them.

The Congress will stand by Mrs Bhattal and senior Supreme Court lawyers will be appointed to fight the case,” he added.


Cong bid to woo SCs, BCs
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 24
In an apparent bid to woo the Scheduled Castes (SC) and the Backward Classes (BC), the Pradesh Congress Committee has constituted a special committee to study their problems and to highlight and resolve these. The party is organising an SC-BC rally in Jalandhar on June 3. The rally will be presided over by the Rajasthan Chief Minister, Mr Ashok Gehlot.

Stating this here yesterday the leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Legislative Assembly, Mr Jagjit Singh said the party felt that the interests of this section of society were not being served by the government. He alleged that they were being made victims of atrocities and several of them had been killed in custody.

He claimed that most of the persons killed in custody in Ludhiana recently were Dalits.

While ruling out any alliance or agreement with the Bahujan Samaj Party, he lashed out at the BSP leader and alleged that he had exploited the Dalit masses for vested interests.

He claimed that the BSP graph had gone down to a great extent and the party may not be able to retain its position in the next elections.

He observed that the Congress would get no benefit from the an alliance with the BSP.

Mr Jagjit Singh was of the opinion that there was no chance of a third front coming up in Punjab and the contest in the next elections would be directly between the Congress and the ruling SAD-BJP alliance. However, he hinted at a tactful agreement with the Left parties.

Earlier, he presided over a meeting of senior party leaders and workers to finalise arrangements for the June 3 rally at Jalandhar. Prominent among those who attended the meeting were Mr Joginder Singh Maan, Mr Gulzar Singh and Mr Pawan Dewan, president of the Indian Youth Congress (Urban development cell). 

SAD conference put off
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 24
The secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, said today that the political conference, which was to be held at Ropar on May 29, had been postponed due to unavoidable reasons. The new date would be announced soon.


Waiting for relief, they’ve aged
Payment denied despite SC order in 1986
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 24
Some residents of Phoos Mandi village situated on the outskirts of the city have been running from pillar to post for 15 years to get the enhanced compensation for the land acquired by the Central government.

The villagers, most of whom are now in the evening of their life, still hope to get the amount in their lifetime. At least three of them have died waiting for their dues.

The villagers have been waiting since 1986 when the Supreme Court gave a decision in their favour.

The land in Phoos Mandi was acquired by the Central government in 1976 and some compensation was paid to the owners in lieu of it. But since it was less than the rate at that time, the residents had gone to the court to get the right price.

The villagers appealed in the Supreme Court after they were not satisfied with the enhanced compensation recommended by the Sessions Court and later by the high court.

When the Supreme Court in 19986 announced the awarding of enhanced compensation for the land, the villagers were happy that at last their efforts had borne fruit.

But their dreams were shattered as they did no get anything even after the decision of the Supreme Court. In 1991, they moved an application with the Additional Sessions Judge in this matter.

The villagers alleged that the other party, on one plea or the other, always delayed the payment. They had to come to the court every now and then which was difficult for them as they were very old.

Mr Bikar Singh, who generally comes to the court on behalf of all the residents who were waiting for the compensation, said three of the claimants — Nar Singh, Kikar Singh and Kapoor Kaur — died before they could get the enhanced compensation.

Amongst the others, Mr Ajmer Singh is about 85 years old. It is very difficult for him to come to the court to attend the hearings. He has to send some of his relatives for the purpose.

Mr Lakhwinder Singh, grandson of another claimant of Mr Kikar, also attends the court proceedings as neither his grandfather nor his father is alive.

He said that it was strange that he was waiting for the compensation which was due to his grandfather.


Encroaching with impunity
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, May 24
Even as the number of encroachments in the city are increasing at an alarming level, little is being done to check the menace.

The provisions of ‘‘change-of-land use’’, compounding and regularising have become easy tools to convert residences into commerical centres. Later, the owners of these centres resort to encroachments.

Their modus operandi is to carry out illegal construction and later regularise it.

Parks, which are an ideal place to spend some time, especially for children, have been encroached upon with impunity.

Individuals are not the only culprits, but even religious places have resorted to the unauthorised activity.

At least two encroachments in parks were made one year ago while a majority of them have been made since the past 20 years.

Of the total 56 encroachments in parks, according to a recent survey, the highest number, numbering 18, in a single area is at Kishan Kot in the Islamabad Abadi area. A whopping 41 areas, demarcated by the Town and Country Planning wing of the corporation, show complete occupation of parks by establishments.

Interestingly, a police chowki and a bathroom find place in a park at the Chabal road while a guard room has been constructed at Basant Avenue Park and an animal shed and a shop find shelter in PWD Shiv Nagar Colony.

Four gurdwaras, three temples and a Christian institute have allegedly encroached upon parks. As many as 500 sq yards of a park located in the Majitha road area was occupied for cremations a year ago.

The public is irked over the ‘‘failure’’ of the corporation to check the menace.

Incidentally, a market selling imported goods in the Railway Link Road area has not only encroached upon a park but has grabbed surrounding areas. The issue of encroachments was raised in the Assembly recently by Mr Hardev Singh Arshi, MLA.

Meanwhile, hundreds of kanals of prime agricultural and other land, owned by the corporation, also known as ‘‘nazul’’ land, worth crores have been encroached upon.

Not only has the corporation delayed action to reclaim the lost land but precious time has been lost as encroachers in at least half such areas have approached the courts and the matter is under litigation.

The encroachers have been quick to take to the legal recourse even as the legal cell of the corporation has been found wanting in its task.

After Mr Arshi raised the matter in the Assembly, 795 such encroached areas were identified in and around the district.

As many as 342 cases are still pending in the courts of the Collector under the Punjab Public Premises Act, 1973, for eviction of the unauthorised occupants as well as for the recovery of damages from them for the nazul land.

According to the survey, 755 of the encroached areas are in abadis and colonies, a majority of them being used for residential purposes.

These include 188 encroached areas in Indira Colony alone, 111 in Bahrunlogarh Basti Hindustani and 147 encroachments in the Ganda Nullah area of Bahrun Khazana Gate Hakima measuring 42 kanals.

Besides, people in Amrik Singh Colony and outside Behrul Gilwali Gate in the corporation area have made 82 and 80 encroachments, respectively.

The illegal occupation is not confined to the city areas alone. Hundreds of kanals of agricultural land in villages under the corporation have been encroached upon.

More than 15 kanals of agricultural land have been encroached upon at Rakh Shikargah village.

Even religious institutions have not been shy in occupying land that does not belong to them.

As many as 21 encroached areas were demarcated at Bhariariwal village even as a factory premises and a shrine continue to occupy nazul land. All these have been occupied for more than 20 years.

At Fatehpur village, 18 such occupations on land measuring 147 kanals has been reported.

Gumtala village also finds a mention where Tara Singh occupied nazul land some six years ago while a case pertaining to a park is still under litigation.

Meanwhile, the Mayor, Mr Brij Mohan Kapoor, while admitting that the corporation’s legal cell was weak said efforts were afoot to revamp it.


Hotline power supply eludes Civil Hospital
Harjeet Singh

Bathinda, May 24
Even as the local Civil Hospital has been catering to the needs of patients of this town and its surrounding areas, the hotline power connection system has been eluding it for the past 22 years.

Interestingly, the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) authorities had claimed that the Civil Hospital had been provided with the hotline power supply system. The Civil Hospital authorities, however, are still fighting to get it. According to a letter written to the Civil Surgeon on July 14, 1992 by the Executive Engineer, the hotline power supply had been started from July 12, 1992. The Civil Hospital authorities have been making efforts to get the hotline supply since 1979 despite the fact that Rs 19.50 lakh (Rs 4 lakh in 1985 and Rs 15.50 lakh in 1991-92) has been deposited. Hospital sources said the amount was deposited by the authorities after the PSEB asked for it in order to get the hotline power supply. However, the PSEB has not given the hotline supply to the Civil Hospital.

The Civil Hospital, which has a capacity of more than 100 beds, has to face various problems due to power cuts which have become routine in the city where electricity is generated from two thermal plants. Almost all surrounding major commercial firms have been provided with the hotline power supply by the PSEB. Even the radio and TV stations have been provided with the hotline power supply.

Mr Vijay Goyal, president, Sahara Jan Sena a social organisation, blamed the PSEB for not providing the hotline power supply to the Civil Hospital despite the fact that all necessary formalities had been completed.

He added that uninterrupted power supply to the Civil Hospital was necessary and the PSEB should provide the hotline power supply to the Civil Hospital on a priority basis.


Fire Brigade staff dharna today
J.S. Malhotra

Jalandhar, May 24
Even as the commissioner of the local Municipal Corporation, has recommended to the Local Bodies Department that a Vigilance probe be ordered to look into the allegations of mass irregularities in purchase of fire-fighting equipment by the Additional Divisional Fire Office (ADFO), Mr H.S. Bhullar, last year, the Fire Brigade Employees Union today decided to stage a dharna in front of the Commissioner’s office on Friday, seeking the transfer of the ADFO.

The union has submitted a memorandum along with proof to the Commissioner 15 days back, alleging that the ADFO had committed mass irregularities in the purchase of fire-fighting equipment last year. They alleged that B.A. sets fitted with oxygen cylinders and masks were purchased for Rs 2.8 lakh against the market price of Rs 80,000.

The Commissioner had ordered the Additional Commissioner, Mr Harjit Singh, to conduct an inquiry and submit his report within two days. The inquiry officer after recording the statements of the union leader and the ADFO had submitted his report last Friday.

According to civic body sources, the Additional Commissioner had recommended that all powers of the ADFO pertaining to the purchase of the fire-fighting equipment and establishment, should be withdrawn and the same should be delegated to the Station Fire Officer, Mr C.D. Sidhu.

The ADFO, Mr Bhallar, in his deposition before the inquiry officer, denied the allegations and said that the equipment had been purchased with the approval of the then Commissioner, Mr B.C. Thakur.

The order for the purchase of B.A. sets was placed with a Delhi-based firm after scrutiny of the bids of the respective parties, he contended.

However, the Fire Brigade Employees Union criticised the Commissioner, Dr Roshan Sunkaria, for using delaying tactics in the matter Mr Gurdev Singh Saini, general secretary of the union, alleged that the Commissioner in connivance with the Mayor, Mr Suresh Sehgal, was trying to shield corrupt officials.

“There is immense political pressure on the Commissioner not to take any direct action against Mr Bhullar”, Mr Saini alleged. 


Villagers oppose liquor shop
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 24
Residents of Phulewala village have been sitting on a dharna in front of the newly opened liquor shop in the village since May 21 to press for its closure.

The authorities on the other hand said the shop was approved by the Department of Excise and was auctioned this year.

The villagers say there had been no liquor shop in their village previously. They say the consumption of liquor was less due to the non-availability of the liquor. They further say that everybody in the village has opposed the opening of the shop.

Mr Amarjeet Singh, general secretary, of Phul unit of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) said without the knowledge of the villagers a liquor shop was put up in the village on May 13. He said none of the residents of the village provided the land for the vend which was put up on the roadside.

Mr Amarjeet Singh said residents met the SDM, Phul on May 14 and gave him a memorandum asking him not to start the sale of liquor in the village. He alleged that no action was taken on their request. He said that they would sit on the dharna till the vend was not shifted from the village. Ms Sukhminder Kaur, general secretary, Aurat Mukti Morcha said women of the village would also participate in the agitation.

However, official sources said the main motive of opening the liquor shop in the village was to curb the smuggling of the liquor. They added that the opening of the new vend would in a way help the villagers as they would get good quality liquor at fair rates.

Mr Prem Kumar Garg, ETO (Excise) when contacted said there was no irregularity in opening the liquor shop in village.


Demand for more parking areas
Harjeet Singh

Bathinda, May 24
Tell us where to park? This is the question the citizens ask after reading the “no parking” board placed at main bazars of the city, by the district administration.

The citizens are ready to follow the instructions of the district authorities but they ask for the alternative areas where they could park their vehicles. So far the administration has not earmarked parking areas near or around the main bazars of the city. This has compelled the citizens to use the roads and footpaths of main bazars to park their vehicles.

The number of vehicles has increased manifold in the city. Almost all main bazars of the city do not have earmarked parking areas and most of the citizens come on their vehicles in main bazars such as Dhobi Bazar, Sirki Bazar, Kikkar Bazar, Post Office Bazar, Arya Samaj Chowk Bazar.

Even the Bank Bazar where most of the banks are situated and people have to go these places for some work everyday, do not have the parking areas and people park their vehicles here and there, ignoring the “no parking” sign.

Mr Anil Goyal, a resident of Model Town and an employee of the government office, who come to the bazar with his family once in a week in his car, is of the opinion that parking areas should be earmarked near the main bazars so that the people could park the vehicles there without creating problems for others.

He pointed out that if the district administration constructed the parking places then it would solve the traffic problems as people use footpaths and both sides of the road to park their vehicles. Mr Vijay Goyal, President, Sahara Jan Seva, a social organisation, when contacted said that it was the major problem being faced by the people. He pointed out that there was proper public parking areas in the city. He said there was a parking place near the Arya Samaj chowk which had very limited capacity.

Mr Shiv Kumar Mittal, Executive Officer (EO), municipal committee (MC), when contacted on phone said there were several public parking areas in the city but the people were not using them. He pointed out that parking places had been constructed near Aggarsain Chowk, Amrik Singh road, near water tank which is situated near Gol Diggi and opposite the water tank.

He added that the shopkeepers used to park their cars in front of their shops which was the main cause of the traffic problem in the bazars.


MLA wants trained staff for computers
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 24
The teaching of computer courses at high and senior secondary levels in government schools has been criticised by the BJP MLA, Mrs Laxmi Kanta Chawla.

Mrs Chawla has said instead of charging fee for the courses and paying its 90 per cent to the company conducting the course, should be taught as a subject by trained government staff.

Commenting on the computer courses being conducted by private companies, the district education officer said that the charges for the courses in government schools were reasonable as compared to private schools. Defending the move of the government she said the fee had been decided after a good deal of negotiations.

It has been proposed that the companies would hand over the computers to the schools after three to four years.


Rail project by year-end

Ferozepore, May 24
The work on the Rs 408-crore Jammu-Udhampur rail project is likely to be completed by the year-end, Railway officials said here yesterday.

Nearly 80 per cent of the work on the project, covering a distance of 53.2 km through a difficult hilly terrain with as many as 21 tunnels and 158 bridges, had been completed, the sources said.

It included 12-km rail track between Jammu and Bajalta, which would be opened for the traffic soon.

The project, which was started in 1982, is proposed to be extended up to Srinagar via Qazigund. UNI


HC orders SSP to probe allegations
Our Correspondent

Barnala, May 24
Mr Justice V.M. Jain of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the local SSP to personally inquire into the allegations levelled against the Sub-Registrar, Joint Sub-Registrar and a registration clerk at the office of Sub-Registrar by Mr Inderjit Kumar, petitioner in Inderjit Kumar versus the state of Punjab and another case. Disposing of the petition, Mr Justice Jain directed the SSP to look into the complaint by Mr Inderjit Kumar and take necessary action.

Mr Inderjit Kumar in his complaint to the SSP as well as in the petition alleged that on March 13, 2001 he went to the office of the Joint Sub-Registrar for getting a sale deed executed in his wife’s name. He had affixed required stamps for an amount of Rs 65,000, being the purchase price of seven marlas of land in Khasra No 389 here.

Referring to a ratelist the Joint Sub-Registrar allegedly said he had reassessed the value of land at the rate of Rs 900-Rs 1,000 per square yard. He allegedly asked Mr Inderjit Kumar to pay Rs 2,000 to get the sale deed executed at previous rates or affix more stamps, as mentioned in the list, for Rs 2 lakh.


Truck gutted by fire
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, May 24
Goods valued at a few lakhs of rupees were destroyed in a fire which broke out in a truck number (PB-10-AA-9877) of Bharat Motors Transport company near Islamia High School here today evening. The truck was reduced to ashes in fire. The reason of the fire is said to be a short circuit in electric wires.

According to information, the truck was going to Dhuri after loading goods from the godown of the transport company and due to short circuit in electric wires the truck caught fire. The shopkeepers of the area raised the alarm immediately, the fire brigade of Sangrur was informed but they got no response from them.

People with the help of dirty water from a nearby drain controlled the fire. It took two hour to extinguish the fire.

“The fire could have been easily controlled if the brigade had come on time” said Mohinder Kumar, a transporter.


CM announces grants
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, May 24
The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, during a sangat darshan at Dera Baba Nanak, 40 km from here, yesterday announced a grant of Rs 2.5 crore for 129 panchayats of the Fatehgarh Churian Assembly segment, Rs 45 lakh for Dera Baba Nanak Municipality and Rs 28 lakh for Fatehgarh Churian Municipality. The grants were also announced for streets drains, cremation grounds and Harijan dharamshalas and youth clubs.

of Ambedkar
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 24
The Punjab Government has decided to install statues of Dr B.R. Ambedkar in all Ambedkar bhavans to be constructed henceforth in the state and will bear the cost of these statues, according to Punjab Tourism Minister Swarna Ram. He said this while addressing a function to commemmorate the 110th birth anniversary of Dr Ambedkar at Nangal Majha village yesterday.


Give RS seat to ex-serviceman’
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 24
The Rashtriya Raksha Dal (R.R.D) has demanded that the Rajya Sabha seat be given to an ex-serviceman this time. Stating that more than 1.25 lakh ex-servicemen were present in the border city of Amritsar, Col J.S. Bal (retd.), president of the R.R.D, in a statement, said history was witness to the fact that ex-servicemen were thoroughly professional, patriotic and had leadership qualities to provide effective governance. 



Industry weekly off put on hold
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 24
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has decided to do away with the weekly off regulation for all industrial units till May 27 in view of the improved power position in the state. A PSEB spokesman said here yesterday that weekly offs, which had been put on hold till May 24, would not be implemented till May 27. 


2 minor brothers drowned
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, May 24
Two minor brothers of Mundi Maur village were drowned in a pond last evening. They have been identified as Balbir Singh (9), a Class V student of Primary School, Mundi Maur village, and Navdeep Singh (12), Class VIII student of Government High School, Fathudingha village.
According to reports reaching here today, both boys were taking bath in the pond when they were drowned. Though villagers noticed them and fished them out of the pond but could not save them. They were taken to a local private hospital where they were declared dead by doctors.


Farmers asked to diversify
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 24
Experts from Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, today called upon farmers to bring diversification in the farming sector in the wake of implementation of WTO’s policies. They also stressed upon the need of quality improvement in the agriculture produce, besides minimising the cost of production.

These experts were delivering lectures at a seminar on the topic “changing preface of agriculture with WTO”, organised by the PAU Farm Advisory Services here at Government Senior Secondary School for boys here. The function was presided over by Mr Gurpreet Singh Toor, local SP (D), and former PAU scientist.

Dr H.S. Dhaliwal, farm economist at the PAU, describing the WTO policies as a challenge for the farmers said it was at the same time an opportunity to earn more by way of adopting labour-intensive enterprises like floriculture, mushroom growing and agro and food processing. Dr Dhaliwal said there was no need to reduce the subsidies being given to farmers because the country was providing the same in the permissible limit.

Dr J.S. Arora, Head, Department of Floriculture, PAU, highlighted the scope of cultivation of roses, marigold and gladiolus in Punjab. He asked the farmers to follow Mr Avtar Singh of Langrian village, a renowned floriculturist of the district, who had been earning lakhs of rupees by exporting seed flowers to many European countries.

Dr Avtar Singh, Agronomist (Sugarcane), Dr Buta Singh Ramana, District Extension Specialist (vegetable); Dr Vijay Kumar, District Extension Specialist (Entomology); Dr Jagpal Singh Sidhu, District Extension Specialist (Plant diseases); and Dr Mandeep Singh, District Extension specialist (Farm Management), Sangrur, also addressed the seminar.

Mr Avtar Singh Ratol, President, PAU Kisan Club, and the Punjab Naujawan Kisan Sanstha proposed vote of thanks.


Vigilance raid on Ropar MC
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, May 24
On the orders of the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, local Vigilance Department officials today raided the office of the Ropar Municipal Council.

Under the stewardship of the DSP, Vigilance, Ropar, Mr Malvinder Singh, the officials descended on the council office at about 4 p.m. The sleuths seized the office and locked the main gates.

Sources, on the condition of anonymity, said the Chief Minister ordered the vigilance inquiry into the alleged misappropriation of funds in the council on a complaint of certain councillors. The councillors, including senior vice-president Gurvinder Singh Mattu and member Anju Jain, in the complaint had alleged that there was gross misappropriation in the deposit of provident fund of the council employees.

According to the council rules, if payment to the contractors is to be made, the cheque is first prepared by the accountant, then signed by the executive officer and finally by the council president. However, in many of the cases, the council president prepares the cheques himself and then sends it to other officials allegedly due to ulterior motives. The council president also makes selective payments to certain contractors and avoids making payments to others, the councilors alleged.

They also alleged that many development works had taken place only on papers and payments have been made against them. Funds marked for one purpose were used for other purposes in violation of rules.

The Chief Minister has also ordered the vigilance officials to inquire into the allegations and submit a report within five days. The DSP, Vigilance, said six cheques signed by the council president but not by the other officials and the council cheque book had been seized from the house of the president. Besides, all records of funds received by the council and their expenditure had also been seized The president, could not be located for comments.



Transferred thrice in three days
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 24
Mr P.S. Gill, a PCS officer, is in a quandary. He has been getting fresh orders on his posting everyday for the past three days.

Awaiting a posting in his parent state of Punjab on his return from deputation to the Chandigarh Administration, he was appointed Secretary, Backfinco, on May 22, District Transport Officer, Ropar, on May 23 and today his last posting order has been stayed.


2 held for evading market fee
Chander Parkash and Jaswinder Paul Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 24
The police has unearthed a unit manufacturing spurious fertiliser.

Tarsem Singh, accused, who have been arrested, have been making fake fertiliser under the brand name of ‘Bico’. The address given on the fertiliser bag was of New Delhi and it was found that it was of a polular company Besto.

Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, SSP, when contracted, said Tarsem Singh was an employee of the Besto company. At least 84 bags of fake fertilisers were recovered from him.

He was running his unit on the Bathinda-Goniana road behind the back side of a Thermal Plant Colony.

A case in this connection had been registered under Section 420 of, IPC, in police station, Thermal Plant.

Police sources said two other persons, who were involved in the racket involving the evasion of market fee and rural development fund (RDF) on the transactions of food grains by making fake business transaction papers had also been arrested.

These two persons, Surinder Monga and Gopal were basically producing the fake bills and consignment papers relating to the food grain transactions. These accused had also floated fake business firms.

Police sources added two accused namely Om Pal and Atul Kumar who were owner of Mittal Rice Mills, Maur Mandi, had already been arrested in the same case. The accused had evaded the market fee and the RDF in large scale.

Sources said the accused had shown the transportation of paddy and other items relating with the agriculture produce on scooters and motor cycles. It came to light when the vehicles numbers shown by the accused in connection with the transportation of food grain items from one place to other place were verified by the police.

The government can earn lakhs of rupees in the shape of penalties from those persons who had been evading the market fee and the RDF by carrying out transactions in the name of fake business firms or in the name of those firms whose sale tax licences had been cancelled.

The accused had also floated fake transportation companies and had been indulging in the preparation of some other official documents relating with the record of market committee, Bathinda and Maur Mandi.


Woman’s death: in-laws booked
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, May 24
The Kotwali police yesterday registered a case under Sections 306 and 34 of the IPC against Harbans Singh, Jito and Lakhi/father-in-law, mother-in-law and brother-in-law, respectively, of Balbir Kaur (25), who died yesterday.

According to reports lodged with the police, Karnail Singh, resident of Dandupur and father of Balbir Kaur, said his daughter was married to Baljit Singh three years ago and after six months of the marriage, her husband went to Dubai. He alleged that Jito used to harass and beat her for not bearing any child.

He said that yesterday afternoon, he received a telephone call from the neighbour of his daughter that she had consumed a poisonous substance and her in-laws had taken her to a hospital in Jalandhar.

Karnail Singh along with his wife, rushed to the hospital, where doctors told him that Balbir Kaur had died after consuming a poisoning substance. The doctors told him that her-in-laws had taken her body back to Gopipur village. On reaching the village, the girl’s parents found that the in-laws were making preparations for her cremation without informing them. They informed the police, which stopped the cremation and took the body into custody. The suspects are absconding. 


One killed in mishap, 2 hurt
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 24
Three persons were injured, including one seriously, when the two scooters they were riding met with an accident on the Thandi Sadak here late last night.

The injured have been identified as Mr Vijay Kumar and Mr Satnam Singh. Mr Vijay Sharma, who was seriously injured, later succumbed to his injuries as the injured could not be taken to hospital in time because the Sahara Jan Sewa ambulance got stuck at ‘khooni phatak’ at Paras Ram Nagar.


Varsity derecognises parallel PUTA
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 24
The order recognising the parallel Punjabi University Teachers Association (PUTA), issued by the university authorities on April 20 following an “election” organised by a group of teachers, has now been withdrawn.

According to documents presented by the officially elected which had approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court claiming that the order recognising a new body without holding elections in a proper manner was illegal, the high court had stayed the operation of the order. The selected PUTA claimed that the university Registrar yesterday informed the high court that the order had been withdrawn.

On April 20, the university authorities had given recognition to a parallel PUTA outfit and derecognised the officially elected PUTA. According to the notification released by the Registrar, Dr B.S. Bhatia, the new PUTA was recognised after its newly elected president, Dr Manjit Singh, informed the authorities that a general body meeting of the association had passed a vote of no confidence against the elected PUTA except for three executive members of the old body who were also given prominent positions in the new set-up.

Dr Bhatia, while recognising the new body as the official PUTA, said the other body could present its case to the authorities if they could get support from a larger number of teachers.

The PUTA president, Dr Bhupinder Singh Khaira, and the secretary, Dr Balwinder Singh, said meeting of the association, while reviewing the latest developments, felt that the Vice-Chancellor, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, had lost the moral right to govern the institution and should resign immediate.

The official PUTA also demanded the immediate removal of Dr Bhatia from his post. Leaders of the association claimed that a preliminary inquiry had already indicted the Vice-Chencellor on several counts and that the Government should take action on the basis of these findings. They said the Vice-Chencellor could be sent on a long leave till a through inquiry into the wrongdoings” was conducted.


Allot 6 pc of GDP to education: ABVP
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 24
The National President of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarathi Parishad, Mr Dineshanand Goswami, today expressed his concern over the increase in the activities of Islamic fundamentalists operating on Uttar Pradesh and Bihar border with Nepal. The ABVP has conducted a survey into the opening of various madrasas in the close proximity of the international border and the copy of the report was submitted to the Union Home Minister, Mr Lal Krishan Advani, last year. He urged the youths of these areas to be beware of these anti-national activities sponsored by the ISI.

Mr Goswami who is here for the four-day national convention of their executive council which opens here tomorrow was addressing a press conference, today pointed that the ABVP would recommend to the Central Government for allocating minimum 6 per cent of the gross domestic product for the education. He felt that education system require major revamping and it was the only means to help the country facing the challenges posed by illiteracy and poverty. Mr Goswami also emphasised the need for the involvement of the corporate sector in education.

The ABVP felt strongly about the setting up of an educational development bank with help from various financial institutions of trade and industry, which could provide easy finance for the school and colleges.

The four-day annual meet will deliberate on various issues, including education and corruption.

The ABVP will also seek civil defence course in the colleges for the student to prepare for crisis due to war, floods, earthquakes and other natural calamities.


Education cess imposed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 24
The Punjab Government has imposed an education cess on the sale of liquor in the state.

The government will collect about Rs 20 crore from the cess during the current financial year, according to an official press note. The money will be used to provide infrastructural facilities in government educational institutions. Meanwhile, the government has decided to meet 40 per cent of the total expenditure of the Regional Centre of Panjab University at Muktsar.

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