Sunday, May 27, 2001, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Badal orders probe into immigration scam
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 26
Even as Mr Parkash Singh Badal has decided to order a party-level probe into the immigration scam, yet the assurance seems to be just an eyewash as earlier also the state government had failed to inquire into the alleged disappearance of kabbadi players, who had gone to UK at the behest of the Punjab Mandi Board in 1999.

In the fresh case of “illegal immigration” at least three persons, who had accompanied the two Punjab Ministers to Canada had “disappeared” after the Baisakhi celebrations. Mr Badal might not like to get any probe conducted, which would go against his ministers, especially at a time when assembly elections were due next year.

Though Mr Ajit Inder Singh Mofar, MLA, had filed a public interest litigation against Mr Mal Singh Ghumman, Chairman, Punjab Mandi Board, for taking some kabaddi players with “doubtful credentials” to England on September 17, 1999, who did not return to India, yet the state government did not order any probe into the matter. Mr Ghumman had denied that he had taken any players of “doubtful credentials” to England yet the news had hit the headlines. It was alleged that under the cover of sports, “illegal immigrants” were being sent to Europe.

On the other hand, the SGPC is likely to send a team to Canada to bring back the invaluable hand-written “bir”. Many eyebrows were raised on the carrying of the “bir” to Canada without the approval of any competent authority. Though Mr Balbir Singh Changiara, a Sikh missionary settled in Canada, had announced that the Guru Granth Sahib was taken to Canada with the “blessings” of Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, last year, yet no denial in this regard has been issued so far. Jathedar Vedanti is currently on a religious tour to the USA.


Amarinder wants inquiry into police excesses
From Shashi Pal Jain

Kharar, May 26
Mr Amarinder Singh, president, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, has demanded that the Punjab government should order an inquiry by the CBI into the dispute and police excesses committed in connection with land issue of Khanpur village that falls in Kharar municipal limits. He was addressing a press conference here today after visiting the affected families of village Khanpur after getting information about the factual situation in the village.

He said that he was shocked to know about the factual position and questioned whether “we were living in a democracy”. He said that whatever inquiry orders had been issued by the administration, these won’t solve the purpose, and demanded that everything should be enquired into by the CBI. He criticised the Chief Minister of Punjab for not issueing any statement about the dispute in Khanpur and was sitting as a “passive spectator”.

He demanded that all 23 persons arrested by the police, including seven minors, should be released immediately. Mr Amarinder Singh said that the villagers had shown him some empty cartridges of .12-bore gun and alleged that it proved that some other persons other than the police fired upon them. He demanded stern action against the officers responsible for the excesses committed upon the villagers.

He declared that he had appointed a fact-finding committee under the Presidentship of Mr Avtar Henry, vice-president of the party, including Mr S.S. Shergill, president, legal cell of the party, and this committee would enquire into all issues about the land.

While answering a question Mr Amarinder Singh said that it was for the Punjab and Haryana High Court to enquire into the alleged involvement of a Judge in this land as has been reported in some newspapers.

He declared that the issue of land would be raised in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha and in Parliament.



Meeting on PPCC crisis on May 29
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 26
The Congress high command has called a meeting of party MLAs, MPs and members of the AICC from Punjab in New Delhi on May 29. Besides, former presidents of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee have also been asked to attend the meeting.

Sources said the agenda of the meeting, which has been convened by Mr Moti Lal Vora, general secretary of the AICC and in charge of the party affairs in Punjab, is to resolve the organisational problems pertaining to the state unit of the party.

According to these sources some other senior leaders of the party, including some members of the five-member committee set up by the high command to gear up the party for the ensuing Assembly elections, would also attend the meeting. The party high command is under a lot of pressure to streamline the party functioning.


Governor attends martyrdom function
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 26
The fifth Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Arjan Dev, sacrificed his life in the service of humanity and protecting the true religion envisaging righteousness, equality, justice, liberty and unity.

The Haryana Governor, Babu Parmanand, made this statement while speaking as the chief guest at a Guru Arjan Dev martyrdom function held at the Sector 40 gurdwara here today.

Ms Sudesh Kumari, wife of the Governor, was also with him on the occasion.

The Sri Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee presented a siropa to the Governor and his wife. The couple also partook of the langar along with other dignitaries.


Traffic chaos at Golden Temple
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 26
Traffic chaos was witnessed at the Sri Darbar Sahib today as devotees thronged the Golden Temple on the occasion of the martyrdom day of guru Arjun Dev. Vehicles parked at sixes and sevens, honking drivers were seen in the scorching heat.

Lakhs of devotees, including women and children, took a dip in the Darbar Sahib sarovar.

Meanwhile, people stopped for ‘sharbats’ at hundreds of ‘chabils’ around the town. Langar was also served.


Housing project for poor
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 26
An ‘innovative housing project’ was launched today. Mr Nanak Chand Aggarwal, advocate, laid the foundation stone at Dhunike village.

Mr Vivek Aggrawal, ADC(D), said on the occasion that a project for manufacturing low-cost housing/material had been started at Kaljharani village. The material produced there would be used to construct about 50 houses for people living below poverty line at Dhunike village. The project would cost about Rs 25 lakh. Mr Makhan Singh, MLA, gave cheques worth Rs 1 lakh for dharamshala for the Scheduled Castes in the village.

Chabbils were set up and langar served to mark the martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Dev.


Punjabi university removes dept head
Show-cause notice to two teachers
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 26
In a dramatic move the Punjabi University authorities today withdrew the headship of the Department of Correspondence Studies from Punjabi University Teachers Association (PUTA) president Bhupinder Singh Khaira, besides serving show-cause notices on two senior teachers, who were in the forefront of the ongoing agitation against Vice-Chancellor Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia.

According to informed sources, the university authorities today gave the charge of the Department of Correspondence Studies to Dean, Academics, Dr Kuldip Singh Dhir. The headship has been withdrawn following legal opinion sought in the case as Dr S.D. Gajrani of the same department had staked his claim to the post, claiming that he was senior to Dr Khaira.

The university authorities have served show-cause notices upon Dr U.C. Singh and Dr Suchha Singh Gill, accusing them of violating university conduct rules and asking them to submit their explanations within 10 days. The action has been taken by the disciplinary committee constituted by the syndicate to take notice of the critical statements being made by functionaries to the Press.

In yet another development, sources disclosed that the authorities had also censured Dr Khaira and secretary Balwinder Singh. Both have been asked to stop activities, which were aimed at character assassination and violate university rules and regulations. They have been asked to maintain discipline and function as office-bearers of PUTA.

According to sources, Dr Gajrani had served legal notice on the university seeking consequential benefits of professorship with seniority from April, 1995, including the appointment as Head of department.

While removing Dr Khaira the authorities have taken into account the fact that the PUTA president had been appointed to the post provisionally. According to sources, the university had made out a case that Dr Gajrani was senior to the PUTA president and as such was entitled to be appointed as the Correspondence Department Head.

However, it has “prudently” decided to give the charge of headship to the Dean, Academics, till the decision regarding the seniority of the two contenders is decided. Both Dr Khaira and Dr Gajrani have been asked to move review applications within 20 days staking their respective claims.

As regards the show-cause notices, Dr U.C. Singh of the Punjabi School of Management Studies has been served notice for a statement made in the Press by him on behalf of the Teachers United Front. Dr Suchha Singh Gill has been served a notice for a news item criticising the sangat darshan programme of the state government.

The university authorities had constituted a disciplinary committee on April 25 to go into the issue of violation of conduct rules by employees who were criticising the university management in the Press. The committee, comprising Mr Mahinder Sing Romana, Mr Surjit Singh Rakhra, Mr Harcharan Singh, Justice (retd) Iqbal Singh and a nominee of the Vice-Chancellor, was also given the power to take action against defaulters on behalf of the Syndicate. 


Demolition of DC office begins
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 26
The magnificent Deputy Commissioner and Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) offices complex, situated in the Civil Lines area, which reflected the dignity of town will disappear in few days as it would be reduced to rubbles to pave the way for a modern district administrative complex at the cost of Rs 15 crore.

Ignoring the protest lodged by voluntary and other social organisation against the government’s move to demolish the architectural building, an army of labourers has been pressed into service to pull it down.

Earlier, the green cover of the offices complex was also axed.

Interestingly, some of the buildings which were constructed in the recent past at the cost of lakhs of rupees in the DC-SSP offices complex would also face the hammer.

In the recent past, the roofs of some portion of the complex were repaired by spending lakhs of rupees.

The number of government offices which were housed in the complex which was inaugurated by the then Chief Minister of PEPSU, Mr Brish Bhan, have been shifted to various places dotting the city.

The Deputy Commissioner’s Office has been shifted to old general and children hospital, located in the heart of city while the SSP Office has been shifted to one of the buildings belonging to the Mandi Board.

The 100-bedded general and children hospital has been shifted to the nowly constructed OPD wind of the civil hospital. The people living in the trans-railway colonies have now been finding it difficult to get medical care in emergency situations as civil hospital is far away.

The old general and children hospital has been providing all types of treatment to patients as about 17 medical specialists were posted in it. The hospital was also dealing with the medico-legal cases.

Not only the newly constructed buildings but even the hundred of trees in the complex have been axed.

Residents of the district and even some government officials expressed ignorance about the offices likely to be housed in the new DAC.

It has been alleged by various NGOs and political parties that the state government was bent upon selling the government properties at throwaway prices. Now the old general and children hospital would be sold to finance the DAC complex in the district, they alleged.


Ministers gearing up for elections
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 26
It is hard to find ministers in their offices at the Punjab Civil Secretariat here these days. Most of them spend maximum time in their constituencies.

A feeling has gone down their minds that the Assembly elections may be held well before the due date, notwithstanding the often repeated claims of the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, the elections to the state Assembly will be held in February next year.

Not only ministers but also leaders of all major political parties in the state have already enhanced their political activity in view of the elections. In fact, Mr Badal himself is, responsible for putting all political organisations in the election mode. He has been holding the “sangat darshans” in the urban and rural areas and disbursing funds against various development schemes.

His actions have proved enough for his opponents to conclude that Mr Badal has been preparing for the Assembly elections in a big way.

Besides, Mr Badal has put senior leaders of the party on duty in each district to streamline the party functioning and activate the party machinery at grassroots level. During the last meeting of the Political Affairs Committee of the party, Mr Badal specifically told the participants that the time had come for the party to concentrate on the Assembly elections in a planned manner.

According to the Chief Ministers, without mobilising party workers at lower level, the party will not be able to do much in the elections. Mr Badal is so mcuh busy holding ‘sangat darshans’ and political conferences that he rarely comes to his office in the Civil Secretariat.

Interestingly, Mr Badal and other political parties in the state have been copying Left Front’s West Bengal model of party machinery for the elections. Political parties in Punjab believe that the main reason for the landslide victory of the Left Front six times in a row in West Bengal has been a well-oiled party machinery which has worked in a very professional manner in villages during the elections to ensure that Front’s support vote for the party enbloc.

But case of West Bengal, the Left Front’s provides full patronage to its political activists in villages and implements all important decisions through them while there is no such practice in Punjab where party activists are given importance only during elections.

The BJP has started holding party meetings at various levels to put party machinery in the election mode. It is appointing wholetimers in the constituencies in the state. The concept of wholetimers is usually practised by Left parties in the country. Mr O.P. Kohli, general secretary and in charge of the party affairs in Punjab, has been spending most of his time in the state.

He has been instrumental in bringing the party chief, Mr Jana Krishnamurthi, to Chandigarh recently to address not only party’s MLAs, MPs, ministers and office-bearers but also party activists operating at the districts level. The BJP has become active following “sangat darshan” programmes being organised by Mr Badal in urban areas. The BJP has also put senior leaders on duty to activate party workers.

The Congress, which is facing some problems within the party, has also started holding rallies and political conferences at various places in the state. The party high command is attaching a special importance to the Assembly elections in Punjab as it is of the opinion that an impressive performance in Punjab can help the party to stage a come back in the northern states.

According to information, Capt Amarinder Singh has already put top brains on the job to prepare party’s agenda for the state elections to defeat the SAD- BJP combine. In this connection, help of a former Chief Secretary, is also being taken. The Congress is focusing on urban voters who will play a major role in deciding which political alliance will rule for the next five years in the state.

The Congress is in touch with like-minded parties, especially with the CPI, to form a political alliance.

The CPI, which held a meeting of its executive here, has also directed its cadres to prepare for the Assembly elections. Party’s leaders at district levels have been told to identify the constituencies where party’s is in a position to give a fight to its opponents. Likewise, the CPM is also busy holding meetings with its workers in village. As its leadership at the national-level is trying to form a third front, the CPM’s election strategy will become clear after such a front comes into existence.

BSP leader Babu Kanshi Ram has also spent a lot of time in the past weeks in the state to address party rallies and meetings. Various political parties are trying to enter into alliance with the BSP in the state. However, he has not given his mind to any party so far in this connection. The leaders of the Bahujan Samaj Morcha have also become active.


SGPC to set up schools
J.S. Malhotra

Jalandhar, May 26
The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has advised the President of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandhak Committee (SGPC) not to open new colleges in the state, but go in for schools.

Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, president of the SGPC, revealed here today that during a recent meeting with Mr Badal, he was told not to open new colleges. Instead, efforts should be made to set up public schools in the state.

Mr Talwandi criticised the role of former SGPC chiefs Gurcharan Singh Tohra and Bibi Jagir Kaur, who had spent huge funds to set up a chain of medical, engineering and other educational institutions in the past 30 years. He said, “Why should the SGPC open schools and colleges? It is the duty of the state government to impart education to its people. The money collected from the devotees should be utilised only for religious activities.”

He added, “Mr Tohra has set a wrong precedent by setting up scores of medical, engineering and other educational institutions. He had virtually wasted gurdwara money. Moreover, Bibi Jagir Kaur also sanctioned huge grants to these institutions, without any proper check during her tenure. This left little funds for religious activities.”

The Akali leader was of the view that the SGPC should limit its role only to spreading the messages of Sikh gurus among the masses. It should take concrete steps to save the Sikh youth from use of drugs by organising religious-cum-deaddiction camps throughout the state.

The committee has already set up seven public schools in Sangrur and Ludhiana. They are self-reliant and no SGPC funds were being allocated to these schools.

The SGPC members interested in setting up such schools in their respective areas, have been asked to arrange land and buildings with a condition that these schools would be constructed adjoining to the gurdwaras.

“Apart from routine education, the students at these public schools will be imparted religious education by using modern computer technology. This will enable them to adopt the preachings of the Gurus in their life at an early stage,” Mr Talwandi added.


Baba Bedi sees signs of Akali Dal unity
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 26
There are signs of unity between the four Akali Dal factions and past experience is being taken into consideration as “hasty unity” had failed. These observations were made by Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi, President, Gurmat Sidhant Pracharak Sant Samaj who is acting as arbitrator in bringing about unity of the Akali factions. The meeting was addressed by Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President, SHSAD, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President, Akali Dal (Amritsar), Mr Kuldip Singh Wadala, President, Akali Dal (Democratic) and Bhai Jasbir Singh, President, Akali Dal (Panthic).

Baba Bedi said here today that politics was mainly responsible for the erosion of Sikh institutions. “Party that speaks of the Sikh Panth is responsible for these misgivings. The question is not that the Akali Dal is removed from power. The question is that the corrupt leadership which is responsible for the present plight of the Panth should be changed,” he said.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal had time and again said his was a Punjabi party as per the Moga convention and it was for the Sikh Panth to decide whether it wanted to revive the age old Akali Dal which was formed in 1925. He said well-wishers of the Panth must take steps to revive it.

“For us it is a matter of pride that we (sant samaj) have been acting as arbitrators to bring about the unity,” he said.

He made it clear that he had no intention to head the new combination.

Asked to comment on the controversy that Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale should be declared a martyr, Baba Bedi said: “Damdami Taksal can only reply to this controversy. We will accept the verdict of the Sikh Panth.”

In an answer to a question, he said if politically the Akali factions did not unite, the sant samaj would launch a Sikh “jagriti lehar”.

He assailed the Akali Dal headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal and the SGPC for their failure to provide any platform to spread the message of Guru Nanak Dev.


Youth wing projects Sukhbir
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 26
The SAD youth wing yesterday projected former Union Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal as the only youth leader who was capable of taking everyone in the party along with him.

In a show of strength by Kulwinder Lovely, who claims to be leader of a faction of the youth wing in the city, his supporters hailed the work being done by Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal and said the role played by him as the union minister of state should be emulated.

The function was attended by party youth wing general secretary Sharanjit Singh Dhillon.

Talking to newspersons, he, however, denied that there was any move to install Mr Sukhbir Badal as president of the youth wing of the party.

He appreciated the move to reserve Assembly seats for youth leaders in the forthcoming elections.


Husk for Gujarat lying at rly station
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 26
A large quantity of wheat husk which was collected by the district administration for sending to the quake-hit Gujarat is lying at the local railway station as the authorities have not been able to arrange the transportation for the same.

The farmers of the nearby villages donated a large quantity of wheat husk for animal fodder in Gujarat.

But due to the indifferent attitude of the authorities, some farmers returned without unloading their vehicles of husk while others refused to return without unloading the husk, which had been sought by local officials for Gujarat. Although the district authorities had deposited the required fee with the Railways for getting some coaches for sending the wheat husk to Gujarat, they failed to confirm the date on which they would be available. Lack of coordination between various officers allegedly created the problem.

The wheat husk which is lying in open in the local railway station could create problem. The dryness of fodder is an open invitation to fire. A storm could scatter it and it would not be possible to collect it afterwards. It has also become a feast for stray animals. A senior official of the Railways said they had to get permission from the New Delhi office and it could take one or two days.

Mr Jaspal Singh, Deputy Commissioner, said that he was not aware that of any wheat husk consignments arriving at the railway station. According to the plan, the wheat husk was to be collected after the arrangement for transportation was made.


Uttaranchal Sikhs face discrimination’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 26
A deputation of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD) will soon call on the Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, to take up the problems faced by Sikhs and other minorities in Uttaranchal.

Addressing a press conference here today, the General Secretary of the party, Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, who returned from Uttaranchal yesterday, said people living in the terai belt of that state were being discriminated against by the government authorities concerned.

Giving instances in this connection, he said during a recent recruitment in the police force, boys from the terai area were told in clear words by the authorities concerned that they should go back home. Even in other government jobs, boys there were being ignored, he said.

Mr Chandumajra said Sikhs living in the terai belt were feeling deceived by the Akali leadership of Punjab. They had depended on the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to get their area excluded from Uttaranchal. However, Mr Badal failed to do so.

He said people told him that they were receiving threats from various quarters. The government had not transferred to them the right of ownership of the land which they had been cultivating for the past 50 years. Sikh farmers in the terai belt had the apprehension that they might be asked to vacate their land. Their wheat was purchased at throwaway prices and no minimum support price was ensured to them, he claimed.

He said the BJP government at the Centre as well as in the states was not any different from the Congress.


Sohana hospital to open dental wing today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 26
The Sohana-based Sri Guru Harkrishan Sahib (C) Eye Hospital Trust will formally inaugurate its dental wing tomorrow. The Punjab Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, will be the chief guest, while Ms Satwant Kaur Sandhu, Printing and Stationery Minister, will preside over the function.

The ceremonies include the recitation of the Gurbani by eminent ragis, including Bhai Onkar Singh of the Darbar Sahib and Bhai Jasbir Singh Khannewale (Chairman of the trust).

The new wing will have six dental doctors. The centre is being equipped with dental chairs with the latest technologies. Oral radiology, conservative dentistry, endodontics, prosthodontics, periodontology, paediatric dentistry, cosmetic and aesthetic dentistry and alternative dentistry will also be available at the centre.



Cops foil bid to hold Cong rally
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, May 26
The police today foiled the attempt of Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, general secretary, PPCC, and Mr Kanwal Bakshi, President, United Christian Front, to hold a joint Rally at Kot Todarmal near here, today.

The Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, held a sangat darshan today at Mainakot, 5 km from Kot Todarmal.

The police allegedly forced Congress sarpanches and panches not to participate in the rally. A large number of policemen and policewomen were deployed at Kot Todarmal. Tractor-trailers carrying Congress supporters who reached Kot Todarmal were allegedly whisked away.

When Mr Bajwa realised that the police would not allow the rally, he shifted the venue to Nanaksar Gurdwara. The police was deployed round the gurdwara also and it again stalled the rally.

Meanwhile about 500 supporters of the Congress held a rally on the road between Kot Todarmal and Gurdwara Nanaksar. The speakers accused the Badal government of killing democracy by not allowing them to hold a peaceful rally. Sangat darshans, they said were squandering public money to boost the image of Mr Badal.

Mr Raghunath Shaipuri, general secretary, PPCC, condemned the government for denying democratic right of Mr Bajwa to hold a peaceful rally.


Prisoners’ fast enters second day
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, May 26
The indefinite fast by undertrials lodged in the local district jail continued for the second day today. They are protesting against the death of an undertrial Gurnam Singh yesterday in absence of medical aid and alleged negligence on the part of the jail authorities.

According to information majority of the undertrials skipped meals today. They were demanding rhe suspension of the jail Superintendent, jail doctor and jail guards.

However, the jail Superintendent claimed that the inmates had called off their fast and took their meals. But when his claim was contested he claimed that majority of the inmates had taken their meals and only 10 inmates were on fast.

When contacted, Mr V.K. Singh, Deputy Commissioner confirmed that some undertrials were observing fast.

He said action would be taken against the delinquent officers if they were indicted by the enquiry report being conducted by Mr N.S. Baath, SDM. He said the SDM, would submit the report by tomorrow.

Mr Gurdev Singh, District and Sessions Judge, along with the Deputy Commissioner, the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.S. Bains, the SSP Mrs Gurpreet Deo visited the district jail yesterday and heard the grievances of the undertrials.

Gurnam Singh, an undertrial, had died under mysterious circumstances in the district jail yesterday in Barrack No. 3, allegedly because of lack of medical aid.

The cause of the death could not be ascertained because of the non-availability of three doctors, who conducted the post mortem examination because of a holiday today. 


Big hospital that no one visits
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 26
Government Ayurveda Hospital here presents a well-scrubbed look. It ought to — it is virtually empty.

Once a premier institution, the hospital seems to have fallen on bad days. This 106-bed hospital has an average occupancy of only 30. The hospital’s emergency ward is practically non-functional as no one visits it. The OPD also has few visitors.

The hospital seems to have become an old-age home with most patients in several wards being above the age of 60. They have been virtually left to the care of the hospital by their families. Most of these patients suffer from joint pain and have been in the hospital since long. They get food two times a day and milk at Rs 5 a day.

There are also some patients who come here and go according to their convenience. Gurwinder Singh of Deep Nagar locality, who has spondalitis and spinal problems, said he had been in the hospital for about a year. He was seen going for a stroll in a nearby market soon after his afternoon meal. Some other patients were also not in their beds.

While patients welcome the regular food, they have not eaten vegetables for more than two months. Sources said this was because the contract for the supply of vegetables had not been given to any party for this financial year. They said the food and milk were being given to the patients from various funds.

Officials said a lack of funds was responsible for the poor state of the hospital. They said, even if funds were released, the purchasing system was so complicated that purchases could not be made in time and the funds lapsed. They said funds were released at the end of the year due to which, even essential items could not be bought when needed.

The hospital is also facing a shortage of medicines. The sources said this was because medicines were not being supplied to the hospital from the pharmacy. They said only some common medicines were available in the hospital now and the staff was trying to produce some medicines on its own.

Sources said, while 11 teachers of the Ayurveda College were on duty in the hospital in morning, the hospital also had four resident physicians on its rolls. It has a strength of 112 employees, but there is virtually no work in the OPD due to low patient turnout.

Mr Amarjit Singh, who lives near the hospital, said, even if 50 patients visited the hospital daily as claimed by the authorities, it was still nothing if the infrastructure worth crores of rupees was taken into consideration. He said some persons were admitted in the hospital for long spells to show a good occupancy and some were even brought from outside at times of inspection.



Power supply erratic
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 26
Due to a major fault in the 66 kv/11kv transformer at the Ablowal 220kv station near here, power supply in the city remained erratic since yesterday evening.

According to Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) sources, the transformer had been badly damaged and attempts to repair it were continuing. Due to this there was a constant voltage fluctuation during the day today.

Residents of Rattan Nagar, Anand Nagar, Tripri, Deshmesh Nagar and Guru Nanak Nagar besides several other localities in the city had a sleepless night with power supply remaining cut off for nearly six to seven hours during the night. Today also the power supply remained erratic.

Sources of the PSEB, however, said the power position in the state was likely to improve further with the Bathinda thermal station starting generation. However, the sources said the Ropar station was still lying closed. The board had decided not to implement weekly off provision for the industry in the state till May 30.



Derailment halts traffic
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 26
The rail traffic on the Bathinda-Bikaner section came to halt for four hours when the goods train with POL tanks, coming from Suratgarh, got derailed at 4.15 p.m.

The traffic was disrupted as two tanks could not be put on the track. The two trains namely 4RB, coming from Riwari, and 2 BSL coming from Bikaner could not reach Bathinda.

The Railway senior officials who reached the site said that the matter was under investigation.

Rinwa calls on Vajpayee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 26
The President of the Punjab unit of the BJP, Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, and the state Local Bodies Minister, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, late this evening called on the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, at Manali where the PM is holidaying for the past few days, to discuss political situation in the state.


2.75 cr grant for 91 panchayats
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, May 26
The Chief Minister, at a sangat darshan programme at Jainakot, 20 km from here, today said the government had allocated Rs 100 crore for drainage system in the village. The departments concerned had been directed to prepare estimates for residents of Kahnuwan Assembly constituency. He also distributed grants amounting to Rs 2.75 crore among 91 panchayats.


Dardi to fight for scribes’ safety
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 26
Mr Jagjit Singh Dardi, managing editor, Chardi Kala, and the newly appointed member of Press Council of India (PCI) said he would fight for the safety of journalists, who were receiving threats from criminal elements. Talking to the Press here yesterday, Mr Dardi said he would endeavour to get more powers for the PCI.


Carnage: 1 victim was unwed, pregnant
Tribune News Service

Burj Sidhwa (Muktsar), May 26
The police investigations into the killing of seven members of a family in the fields located near this village on the night of May 24 has taken a new turn.

The post-mortem examination showed that one of the deceased, Rekha, who was allegedly subjected to rape by one of the main accused before killing her, was three-month pregnant.

The police sources said Rekha was unmarried. Earlier she had undergone an abortion and was pregnant at the time of her murder.

On the night of May 24, Nathu Ram, a labourer hailing from UP, and six members of his family were hacked to death in his one-room dwelling located in the fields of a farmer by identified assailants with sharp-edged weapons.

Police parties have been dispatched to UP to nab the culprits, including Balbir Singh, the son-in-law of Nathu Ram, whose involvement in the crime is suspected.

A son and daughter of Balbir Singh were also done to death.

The SSP, Mr Kultar Singh, said initially it was suspected the main accused was the man interested in marrying Rekha and that he had killed all members of her family after being spurned her father. Now the line of investigation had been changed.

He said that two persons had been rounded up in this case and they were being questioned.

Man convicted for smuggling opium
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, May 26
Naginderjit Singh, Special Judge, Gurdaspur, has convicted Sham Lal of Sai Phagla camp at R.s. Pura in Jammu & Kashmir for 10 years, and also imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on him in a case registered against the accused under Section 18 of the NDPS Act.

The police received information that a man was bringing opium from Jammu to Jalandhar by bus.

The bus was intercepted and a search let to the recovery of over 5 kg of opium, which the accused was carrying in a bag.


Two killed in mishap
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, May 26
Ram Paul and his mother Agya Wanti were killed on the spot, while three persons were injured, when their Maruti car dahsed against a tree near Bhattian village on the Goraya-Phillaur road yesterday.

The accident occurred when the driver of the car lost control, when one of the tyres got punctured. The car rolled into a ditch.


House robbed of cash, jewellery
Tribune News Service

Hoshiarpur, May 26
Ten to 12 unidentified persons looted gold jewellery worth Rs 30,000 and Rs 6,000 cash from the house of Lakhbir Singh last night at Singhriwala village on the Hoshiarpur-Jalandhar road. According to police sources, three persons apparently labourers from UP, approached the house of Lakhbir Singh and got the door opened saying that one of their companions was missing and they were looking for him.

Meanwhile, eight to nine more persons joined them. They locked up all member of the family in a room and decamped with the jewellery and cash. A case under Sections 392, 342 and 506 of the IPC has been registered.


3.5 kg opium seized, 2 held
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 26
The district police has arrested Bhupinder Singh and Buta Singh under the Nathana police station and recovered 3.5 kg of opium from them.

In a press note issued here today, Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, SSP, said a Jeep was signalled to stop at a naka in the Nathana police station area by a police party yesterday. Two persons were sitting in the Jeep and on searching Buta Singh 3.5 kg of opium was seized from him. The opium was in a polythene bag and then wrapped in a cloth tied to his waist.

The Jeep, which was used by the accused, had been impounded and a case registered in this connection under the NDPS Act.


House looted
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, May 26
About six armed robbers looted cash and jewellery from the house of a cloth merchant, Naresh Kumar, on the Post Office road, Goraya, yesterday.

The members of the family were not able to raise any alarm out of fear of firearms, but some neighbours, who were sleeping on the roofs of their houses, threw stones at the robbers. The robbers fired in the air and managed to escape. A case has been registered under varios Sections of the Arms Act.


Govt to start IT courses at ITI
Our Correspondent

Ropar, May 26
The Department of Technical Education, Punjab, has decided to introduce information technology related courses at the Institute of Industrial Training (ITI) in Nangal. A grant of Rs 5 lakh for purchasing computers has been provided by Punjab Food and Civil Supplies Minister, Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, from his discretionary quota. This was stated by Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, Minister for Technical Education, while addressing a public function yesterday at the ITI.

He said the Opposition parties were trying to spread rumours that some of the institutions of technology were being shifted or closed. There were no plans to shift any of the institutions in the state. Only a few courses which have lost relevance in the job market were being closed. Instead modern courses were being started, he said.

Later, talking to this correspondent the Director, Technical Education, Mr N.S. Kalsi, said the government had introduced computer courses in 14 ITIs across the state. These ITIs now offered the assistant programmer or the desktop publishing courses. The MLAs from the respective areas were being urged to give grants from their discretionary quotas for purchase of computers in other ITIs.

Mr Kalsi said the department was trying to establish a link between the industry and the technical training institutes. For this 139 memorandums of understanding had been signed with the managements of various industries. Under these agreements an industrial unit could send their employees to government institutes for training and in turn students could have practical training at the unit.

Besides this, on experimental basis, management of 10 ITI institutes has been handed over to the local industrialists. They can now specify the type of training that should be given to students so that they get the on campus placements.

Mr Mittal said job-oriented courses should be started in the institutes.

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