Monday, May 28, 2001, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Amarinder comes to Bhattal’s rescue
Tribune News Services and agencies

Jalandhar, May 27
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief, Capt Amarinder Singh today said that the Congress would support Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, former Chief Minister and fight the case filed against her in the court.

Talking to reporters here today, he alleged that the SAD-BJP combine was trying to drive a wedge between top Congress leaders in the state by accusing him of instigating the fund misappropriation case against Mrs Bhattal.

On the recent statement of Punjab Minister Chiranji Lal Garg that he was behind the move of lodging an FIR against Mrs Bhattal, the PPCC chief refuted the allegation and said these were the signs of frustration among the ruling alliance “on the one hand, the government is persecuting senior Congress leaders, and on the other, it also wants to wash its hands off by blaming other Congressmen” he added.

Asked whether the PPCC leadership would be discussed at the proposed meeting at New Delhi on May 29, he said the meeting was called to discuss unity in the PPCC and draft manifesto of the Congress for the forthcoming Assembly elections.“A high powered five-member committee had constituted eight sub-committees to give feedback on different sections of the society for the Congress manifesto and very soon they will submit their suggestions for inclusion in the manifesto” he added.

Criticising the sangat darshan programmes of Mr Badal, Capt Amarinder Singh alleged that the government was misusing the rural development, urban development, infrastructure development and Chief Minister’s Relief Fund to gain publicity.

He ruled out differences in the Punjab Congress and said, if any, these would be sorted out much before the elections.

Bathinda: Mr Jagrup Singh, Organising Secretary of the PPCC today alleged that Mr Chiranji Lal Garg Punjab Minister for Science and Technology was responsible for the registration of a criminal case against Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal for allegedly drawing Rs 2 lakh from government exchequer during her tenure.

Mr Jagrup Singh in a press note issued here on Sunday alleged that the Akali minister was making false statements regarding the involvement of some senior Congress leaders in the matter. He further alleged that the motive behind the statements of the minister was to create differences among Congress workers and leaders.

Claiming that he had documentary proof to support his point, Mr Jagrup Singh said he could show the photocopies of the draft through which the payment was made. He further said that he had the photographs of the function which showed that Mr Garg was present at the function.

Mr Garg when contacted said he had nothing to do in the registration of the case against Mrs Bhattal. He said he had documentry proof that showed that some of the Congressmen were behind the registration of the case. He said that he did not have any relation with the advocate Mr Balwant Singh Dhillon.


Case against Bhattal politically ‘motivated’
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla May 27
Senior Congress leaders, including the District Congress Committee President, Mr Gurcharan Singh Dirba, a former Minister, Mr Abdul Gaffar, acting President of the DCC, Mr H.S. Lotay, the Block President, Mr Narinder Sood, in a joint press statement issued today alleged that a case registered against Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau was politically motivated.

They described it as a conspiracy hatched by the Badal government to defame the Congress before the Assembly elections.

They said a statewide agitation would be launched against the Badal government to protest against the fake case registered against Ms Bhattal.

MANSA: Mr Sher Singh Gagowal, a senior Congress leader, and former Punjab minister, has described the registration of a criminal case against Ms Bhattal, as an act of utter frustration of the SAD-BJP government, which was jealous of her increasing popularity.

In a joint statement issued on Sunday, Mr Gagowal, Mr Parkash Chand Badal, Vice-President, district Congress Committee, and Mr Romesh Kumar Mirpuria, President block Congress Committee said the 51-point programme launched by Ms Bhattal in 1996 for the upliftment of marginal farmers and traders, downtrodden and weaker sections of the society made her the leader of the masses in Sangrur district.

It was due to her popularity that the SAD nominees were defeated on five out of 10 seats.


BJP biting more than it can chew?
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 27
Is the BJP trying to bite more than it can chew ? This is the question being raised by none other than Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) leaders who feel upset and disappointed over the BJP’s insistence on claiming the vacant Rajya Sabha seat from Punjab.

The state BJP leaders may be trying their level best to the extent of seeking the Prime Minister’s influence over Mr Parkash Singh Badal to leave the RS seat, the sentiment within the SAD (B) seems to be quite otherwise. Given the strength of the BJP, the SAD(B) leaders argue, it is not justified on the part of the party to ask for the second Rajya Sabha seat. The BJP has already been given one seat with senior party leader Lala Lajpat Rai having been nominated to the Rajya Sabha.

Not that the BJP is not aware of its position in the state and is also convinced about the fact that asking for a second RS seat is obviously asking for too much, yet it has been persisting with its demand as it has nothing to lose in the bargain. Some state BJP leaders have gone to the extent of arguing that the inclusion of Mr Sukhbir Badal in the Union Ministry be linked with the allotment of the RS seat to the BJP.

Amidst the claims from both sides, it is Mr Badal who has to do tight-rope walking and draw a balance. Obviously he cannot afford to annoy the alliance partner, particularly at a time when he is already busy in preparing for the forthcoming Assembly elections. At the same time, he has to take note of the sentiment within his party which goes contrary to the BJP expectations, as this may amount to a simple surrender.

The BJP, SAD leaders apprehend, is not going to stop here. Given its ambitions for expanding its base in Punjab, the party is most likely to claim more seats for the forthcoming Assembly elections and has already sent feelers in this regard. The SAD leaders have been substantiating their apprehensions by quoting the Haryana example where the BJP contested 32 seats despite having a limited presence in the state. Its over ambitiousness can be judged from the fact that it could win only six seats of the 32 it contested, against 47 of the 58 contested by its alliance partner the Indian National Lok Dal. The elections were held there in February 2000.

However, the INLD chief, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, proved too shrewd to be outwitted as he fielded independent candidates in a number of constituencies which he had not wanted to give to the BJP, but had to give because of the latter’s intransigence and survival of the alliance. Eleven of such candidates won and are now supporting the government.

Interestingly, some of these candidates were INLD aspirants and had contested against the official alliance candidates. Some of them like Mr Gulshan Verma and Mr Gopichand Gahlot, contested independently from Jind and Gurgaon, respectively, against the official alliance candidates. Both seats were allotted to the BJP. Both of them were “expelled” by the INLD.

While Mr Gahlot won, Mr Verma was defeated. Both of them were subsequently rehabilitated by Mr Chautala, with Mr Gahlot appointed as the Deputy Speaker in the Haryana Assembly and Mr Verma nominated as member of the prestigious Haryana Public Service Commission. Moreover, there are other independents, like Prof Mahavir Sharma who won against the BJP candidates and were appointed as heads of various boards and corporations.

Obviously having been humiliated for biting more than it could chew, the BJP was left only to bite the dust in Haryana, winning a meagre six seats of the 32 it contested. And the INLD had played an important role in its debacle by supporting the independents and the rebel candidates.

Given its postures in Punjab, the BJP in all probability seems to over-assert itself here also, and there is every likelihood that Mr Badal may need to learn some lessons from his long-time friend and Haryana counterpart Mr Chautala. 


2.35 cr distributed at ‘sangat darshan’
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, May 27
Undeterred by the opposition’s outcry, Mr Parkash Singh Badal continued his money dolling sphere in yet another “sangat darshan” programme held here today. The officials of the district administration were present on the occasion. The Officer on Special Duty (OSD) was ready with the cheque book and the SDM with the list of demands.

The Chief Minister justifying the motive behind the “sangat darshan” programme said it was an exercise to expedite the development works and was perhaps the best way to redress the grievances at the grass root level. While emphasising on the need of reorganising the federal system he said this could only be achieved if the people have an easy access to the government as well as the bureaucracy.

He said the Akali BJP government in the state had brought an industrial revolution with the sanctioning of industrial projects worth Rs 50,000 crores. The approval of the railway lines between Ludhiana and Chandigarh, and between Abohar and Fazilka was a result of his untiring effort, he added.

The Chief Minister today distributed more than Rs 2.35 crore for the various developmental works in 25 wards of the city. He was accompanied by Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, state BJP Chief and Mr S. Janmeja Singh Sekhon, Punjab Irrigation Minister.


Badal has made Punjab bankrupt: Tohra
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, May 27
Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President, Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD), today alleged that Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister had made the state bankrupt by ruthlessly spending the money from the state exchequer. At present the state was under a debt of Rs 28,000 crore out of which a debt of Rs 12,000 crore was due to the PSEB. Talking to mediapersons Mr Tohra said the state government had taken a loan of Rs 400 crore from banks for the repair of roads. This money was now being misutlised by Mr Badal in his sangat darshan programmes only to lure voters.

Answering a question about the heavy turnout of people at SAD rallies and sangat darshan programmes Mr Tohra said right from patwaris to Deputy Commissioners had been asked to bring people to these rallies to make them a success. Referring to his differences with Mr Badal he said during the last Assembly elections the SAD had promised that it would provide clean and corruption free government to the people of Punjab. But when it failed to deliver the goods he pointed it out to Mr Badal. Instead of taking steps to remove corruption Mr Badal threw him out of the SAD. He denied any unity move with the SAD and its leaders.

Referring to the role of Jathedar Jagdev Singh Talwandi, President SGPC, Mr Tohra said at one time Jathedar Talwandi was opposed to Mr Badal but had now started dancing to the tunes of the Chief Minister for selfish motives. He said the SHSAD along with other like-minded parties, was trying to form a common platform for providing a clean government to the people of Punjab. He appealed to the electorate to give a crushing defeat to the corrupt SAD government .

Mr Tohra also visited the residence of Mr Kamal Chaudhry, a former MP and discussed with him the present political situation .


Punjab’s loss is Haryana’s gain 
Car registration revenue
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 27
While the Punjab Government is trying to fill its coffers by levying a surcharge of 1.2 per cent on all new vehicles being registered in the state it seems to be ignorant of the fact that it is losing out much more in the form of registration revenue with people preferring to register their vehicles in Haryana due to the surcharge levy.

Even while the entire region showed a negative growth of 35 per cent in the sales of vehicles in the last financial year, Haryana recorded a positive growth during the same period at the cost of Punjab, according to trade sources.

The sources said it was not only the surcharge on sales tax which was discouraging buyers from getting their vehicles registered in Haryana, but also other factors like Rs 1,000, as octroi charges and 2 per cent of the cost as registration charges. In Haryana there is no surcharge on the 12 per cent sales tax, and there is no octroi on new vehicles there is a flat registration fee of Rs 2200 irrespective of the price of the vehicle.

The sources said due to these measures, the number of residents of Punjab registering their vehicles in Haryana was increasing. They said vehicles in Haryana could be registered on the basis of temporary address also. A resident of Muktsar could register his vehicle in Haryana by giving a temporary address of the state the sources said some car companies were also duping the Punjab Government of registration revenue by billing the car in Punjab but getting it registered in Haryana. This, they said, was done by showing a branch office of the company somewhere in Haryana.

Giving a rough idea of the revenue being lost by the Punjab government, the sources said in the case of Maruti cars alone, the Haryana Government had registered a 5 per cent positive growth rate last year even though the northern region had recorded a negative growth of 35 per cent. They said if the registration revenue of the approximate vehicles lost to Haryana was taken into account it would be Rs 16 crore while the revenue generated through collection of surcharge on sales tax was only Rs 6 crore which meant that the government was losing a revenue of Rs 10 crore due to this policy.

Automobile dealers said it was the high end buyer who went in for luxury vehicles who was most affected by the state government policy of charging 2 per cent of the vehicle cost as registration charges. They said the registration charges for a Zen in Punjab worked out at Rs 7,000, of an Esteem at Rs 16,460, of Safari at Rs 17,000 and of Opel Astra at Rs 18,300. While in Haryana one had to pay only a flat registration fee of Rs 2,200.

The dealers said they were finding it difficult to sell vehicles in Punjab due to these factors and appealed to the Punjab Government to withdraw the surcharge on sales tax immediately besides taking other corrective measures to ensure dealers in the state did not get a raw deal. They also stressed that the entire policy be reviewed as the provision of entry tax was not being implemented properly with there being no clarity as to how it was to be collected from buyers who brought new vehicles in the state. 


Efforts on to extradite terrorists
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 27
The Ludhiana police has renewed its efforts to bring Ranjit Singh, alias Kuki, and Sukhwinder Singh, alias Sukhi, who were among the most dreaded terrorists of the region in the 1980s to the city for trying them in two cases of robbery and murder registered against them in 1985.

The police had failed in its first attempt last year when the terrorists were extradited in a murder case from the USA. The move had, however, generated a lot of interest in the city as the two had been involved in the biggest ever bank robbery of 6 crore that took place here. The two are presently lodged in the Tihar jail.

While the victims of the terrorists and old citizens had last year given interviews to the press allegedly about his terror in the city, especially in the Punjab Agriculture University (PAU), other people, including relatives of the terrorists, had adopted a moderate line and called for a lenient view.

The police could not bring them to the city as under the law, a person could be tried only in the case in which he had been extradited from abroad. The police had prepared the case when Dr Khem Singh Gill, father of Kuki and former Vice-Chancellor of the PAU, had moved the court against the police move citing clauses of extradition treaty.

Now after getting approval from the two terrorists against whom several cases of murder and robbery were pending and who had later become the think-tank of the movement especially the Santokh Singh Panthic, the city police had sent their extradition case in the murder of constable Harjit Singh and Rattan Singh, residents of Chandigarh, and in a robbery case of Cooperative Bank Ayali Khurd in the year 1985.

According to FIR no 243 dated May 23, 1985, under Sections 302, 307, 34 of the IPC, on the instance of Sant Singh, Inspector of the CIA staff, through Constable Hirda Singh, an alleged murderer-turned-approver Parshotam Singh, alias Kala, had stated that he, along with Ranjit Singh Kuki, Daljit Singh, alias Bittu and Kuldip Singh had killed Constable Harjit Singh and Rattan Singh of Chandigarh and buried their bodies on the bank of the Satluj river near here. While other alleged murderers were arrested, Kuki was declared proclaimed offender.

The second case was registered on December 12, 1985, on the statement of Kulwant Singh, Manager of the Central Cooperative Bank Ayali Khurd. He had alleged that three persons came on a scooter and robbed the bank of Rs 1.97 lakh. Ranjit Singh Kuki, Sukhvinder Singh Sukhi and Daljit Singh Bittu were declared proclaimed offenders in the case.

According to police sources, the case was likely to be approved by the US Embassy. The case was forwarded to the embassy through the State Home Department and the Central Government.


Implement Delhi pact: Peerzada
Ashok Kaura

Phillaur, May 27
Jammu Kashmir Forest Minister Peerzada Gulam Ahmed Shah has described Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee’s invitation to Pakistan’s military ruler Pervej Musharraf for talks as a positive step towards the normalisation of relations between two neighbouring countries.

He urged the Union Government to implement the Delhi agreement of 1952 for all-round development of the valley. In an exclusive interview with this correspondent at the Punjab Police Academy, here today, he said the first round of talks should be held between the two countries, the Hurriyat Conference leaders could be invited later.

Commenting upon the end of ceasefire, the minister described it a right step. He said that the National Conference was for united India, including Pakistan occupied Kashmir. Twentyfive seats were still lying vacant in the state Assembly.

About the Jammu Kashmir Forest Protection Force, he said that about 2250 jawans of the force were safeguarding the forests of the valley. He said under the Jammu Kashmir Forest Protection Act the force could get modern weapons, communication systems. A comprehensive forest policy was being formulated and a committee of all senior officers of the Forests Department had been constituted. He said the committee had prepared a draft forest policy which was being considered by a committee of Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council members. He said a grazing policy was being formulated.

The minister said that he along with the Commissioner-cum-Secretary and Principal Chief Conservator of Forests would approach Delhi for financial aid. A team has gone to Norway to seek help for the project.

Peerzada said at present only one integrated watershed development project was being run in the valley with the financial support of the World Bank.

Earlier, Peerzada took salute from 216 forest protection guards of Jammu and Kashmir who passed out from the Punjab Police Academy. The academy Director, Mr D.R. Bhatti, presented the training report. The minister gave away prizes to Ravi Dutt, first all round, Shakti Dutt, first in out door, Kartar Singh, first in shooting Hans Raj — best in drill & P.T., Mohamad Ashraf — best in Law, etc.

Mr B.S. Jaswal, Commissioner, Forests, J & K, Mr P. Patnaik, Principal Chief Conservator, Forests, Mr R.M. Saxsena, Director, Forest Protection Force, Chander Shekhar, Inspector-General, Dr D.J. Singh, Deputy Director, Parveen Sinha, Mrs Anita Punj were also present on the occasion.


PPCC chief’s decision on committees hailed
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 27
A large number of Congress workers who had gathered in the city observed the death anniversary of Pt Jawaharlal Nehru, today took an oath that they will make every possible effort to bring peace and equality in the country.

The Congress workers also welcomed the decision of Capt Amarinder Singh, President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, for forming eight committees that will look after the interests of various sections of the society.

Mr Sewak Ram Bhola, Congress leader and municipal councillor, said the decision taken by the PPCC President would be beneficial to all sections of society. He said these committees would highlight the problems faced by various groups.

He said the committees formed would be for traders, urban residents, the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, government and private sector employees, rural people and ex-servicemen.

Mr Jasmail Singh, former MLA and chairman of the Punjab unit of the SC and ST cell of the party, said the committee made for the weaker sections would help them in getting social justice. He added that it would also create awareness among the socially backward sections to fight for their rights.

He further said efforts would be made for getting the issues related to the SCs and STs included in the manifesto of the Congress. He said a rally would be held in this regard at Jalandhar on June 3.

Mr Yashpal Bansal, general secretary of the city Congress, said the committees would be helpful for the employees of all classes. He urged the authorities concerned that the benefit of increase in salary of the employees after specific years of services should be given to all employees to minimise the anomalies in the pay scales of employees of different departments.

He further said no discrimination should be made while giving credit cards to farmers. He alleged that the farmers belonging to the Congress committee were being ignored while giving the credit cards. He said the farmers were under heavy debt because of the wrong policies of the government.


Left parties losing mass base: Dang
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 27
In view of the recent alliances by the communist parties, Mr Satya Pal Dang, veteran CPI leader, has raised a moot question regarding the growth of corruption in the communist parties.

The electoral alliance with the AIADMK for the Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu has raised question about the eroding identity of the communists that are seen to forge all such alliances for short-term electoral gains, he said.

Mr Dang said the justification offered for such alliances was that the party would rather align with the corrupt but secular parties since communalism was more dangerous than corruption.

Terming it a fallicious argument to facilitate opportunistic politics, Mr Dang said corruption was a moral question. Hence it could be seen in the siphoning off huge amounts of money meant for poverty alleviation, health care and education.

Besides, corruption had led to rickety buildings and bridges, even going to the extent of endangering the security of the country.

He added that the alignments of communist parties lately had only become a tool to win Assembly seats which had only served to erode the mass base of the Left parties. 


SAD (A) meeting on June 5
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, May 27
Addressing a series of party meetings today, Mr Anoop Singh Minhas, General Secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) said the Badal government did not work for public interests.

Mr Minhas said the next meeting of the Dal would be held at Kapurthala on June 5 and at Noormahal on June 10.


SGPC member raises ‘path bodh’ issue
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 27
An SGPC member, Mr Jaswinder Singh Advocate, has strongly opposed the granting of permission to Jatha Bhinderan for holding ‘path bodh’ (understanding the recitation of Gurbani) at the Takht Damdama Sahib (Bathinda) tomorrow.

Though Mr Jaswinder Singh Advocate, who is also chief of the Akal Purkh ki Fauj — a panthic organisation of Sikh youth has urged Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, president SGPC, to withdraw the permission for the programme. Mr Dayal Singh, additional manager and personal assistant to the SGPC chief, said the programme would be held as per schedule. He, however, hoped that Jatha Bhinderan won’t do anything which would complicate the ‘maryada issue’. He said he had handed over the representation of Mr Jaswinder Singh to Mr Talwandi.

Giani Kewal Singh, Jathedar Takht Damdama Sahib who is away to Nagpur is expected at Damdama Sahib tomorrow. There is a lot of difference between the maryada of Jatha Bhinderan and the one established by Akal Takht and the SGPC. Both differ on ‘mul mantar’ of Japuji Sahib and ‘Rehras’

Mr Jaswinder Singh alleged that granting of permission to some ‘taksal’ for organising function on Gurbani recitation — that too at a takht would add confusion on the maryada issue.

The SGPC and Akal Takht had virtually given recognition to the grammar of Gurbani, authored by Bhai Sahib Singh. However, the same grammar on Gurbani was not being accepted by other ‘deras’ and sects which is against the Sikh code of conduct.

Mr Jaswinder Singh said that holding of the ‘path bodh’ programme tomorrow at Damdama Sahib would also become a cause of confrontation between the students of Sikh Missionary College and other Sikh organisations which had been following the ‘maryada’ of Akal Takht and the SGPC.

The three-page representation, sent to Jathedar Talwandi, the SGPC member posed a question whether the jatha member would honour the ‘maryada’ of Akal Takht?


Dental wing of eye hospital inaugurated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 27
The Punjab Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, today inaugurated the dental wing of Sri Guru Harkrishan Sahib (C) Eye Hospital at Sohana, near here, today. Mrs Satwant Kaur Sandhu, Printing and Stationery Minister, presided.

Bhai Jasbir Singh Khannewale, chairman of the Sri Guru Harkrishan Sahib Charitable Trust, said that reputed doctors and qualified paramedical staff had been appointed to serve the poor without any discrimination of caste, creed or religion.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh lauded the role of the trust and Bhai Jasbir Singh in the service of suffering humanity. Mrs Sandhu also complimented the trust and Bhai Jasbir Singh on providing quality treatment by establishing ultramodern facilities with a motive to serve the poor.

Bhai Jasbir Singh said that the wing would have six doctors and all types of dental care would be provided there. He said the hospital had carved a niche for itself in the minds of the people for quality eye treatment at affordable rates.

He further said that the SGHS phaco centre had already trained more than 50 doctors from different parts of the country.

A two-day live eye surgery workshop was organised which was attended among others, by Dr Allan Socks and Dr Harinderjit Singh of the USA. A day-long workshop on the mini-nuc technique was conducted by Dr Itzahk Isakov early this month.

A special kirtan darbar was also organised. Bhai Onkar Singh, Bhai Jasbir Singh and other prominent ragis participated in it.


Red cross in aid of needy girls
Romesh Gupta

Keeping in view, the International Year for the Empowerment of Women, the district Red Cross society, has launched a special programme for imparting vocational training to girls of the needy and weaker sections of the society, to make them self supportive. To mobilise the plan, the society has set up a computer centre at the mini secretariat, here, for imparting training in computer applications free of cost.

The duration of the courses will be for one year and each trainee will get a stipend of Rs 250 per month. To start with, 60 girls have been admitted to the centre and they will undergo training in various advanced courses like the desktop publishing, accountancy, Internet, MS Office and other subjects related to the computer education. The progress in training will be reviewed each month to access their efficiency and maintain the level of the training programme.

A well qualified staff has been engaged for the effective functioning of the institution, the Central Government has already sanctioned a grant of Rs 3.55 lakh for this purpose. Of the total amount Rs 1.80 lakh will be disbursed as stipend among the trainees and the remaining amount will be utilised for the maintenance of the centre.

Mr A. Venu Prasad, Deputy Commissioner and Chairman of the society, said efforts would be made for the placement of the trainees after completion of their studies. A special request had been sent to the Union Government for allocating more funds to create additional infrastructure and to accelerate the plan. The Chairman elaborated that after the receipt of additional funds the strength of the trainees would be raised.

The Deputy Commissioner further disclosed, that, a specific project for starting a production centre in dress designing would be started in the near future to provide jobs to the needy. Under the project, garments and embroidery items will also be prepared. A plan had also been finalised to add, a training course in cookery, stitching and sewing.


Dowry case: protesters lathi-charged
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 27
Relatives and family friends of Sneh Lata, who died on May 12, due to the alleged poisoning by her in-laws, were lathi-charged by the police at Mandi Dabwali, today.

They had staged a dharna at Dabwali police station and were demanding the arrest of the mother-in-law of the deceased. The name figured in the FIR, lodged at the police station.

Police sources said that the deceased had died at a hospital due to poisoning and her brother had registered a complaint. The husband of the deceased has been arrested by the police but her mother in-law was yet to be arrested the sources added.

The relatives of the deceased, blocked the traffic at National Highway, number 10, in front of the police station. The crowd raised slogans against the police.

As many as five persons, including an ASI were injured in the lathi charge, today. Those who got injured today, include, Mr Bimal Kumar, his wife Seema Devi (brother and sister-in-law of the deceased), Mr Bhagwan Dass, Mr Lovely Kumar and Mr Rattan Singh, ASI, Haryana Police.

Sources said the in-laws of the deceased allegedly demanded Rs 2 lakh as dowry from the deceased. The deceased is survived by a two-and-a-half year daughter (Mehak) and a one-and-a-half year son (Jatin).

The injured were admitted to the Bathinda Civil Hospital, Bathinda after preliminary treatment at the civil hospital, Dabwali.

Police officials at Dabwali said that certain persons may have been hurt, when the police tried to remove relatives of the deceased who were jamming the highway.


417 benefit from Rozgar Yojana
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 27
About 417 persons received benefits under the Prime Minister’s Rozgar Yojana in the district during the financial year 2000-2001.

Mr Vivek Aggarwal, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Development, while presiding over a meeting of the Bankers’ Standing Committee here on Thursday said a target of 400 was set for the district for the last financial year.

He said the target could be met with joint efforts of employees of different banks. A request would be made to the government that the target for the current financial year was set at 800 cases.

Mr Aggarwal further said under the rural industries programme, Nabard would give finances to the banks which would, in turn, give the loans to youths who wanted to start their own business.

He said during the last financial year, Rs 30 crore was spent on the development of various small-scale industries in the district. He said under the urban development scheme, Rs 7.42 lakh would be given to 326 persons.

He further said under the margin money scheme, Rs 198.49 lakh had been sanctioned, to be given to 34 persons, for various purposes.

Mr Aggarwal further said in the last financial year, cooperative banks in the district had issued 2,9054 kisan credit cards which was the highest in the district as compared to other banks. 


Harassment by cable operators alleged
Anita Tayal

Patiala, May 27
Monopoly system exercised by the cable operators is the prime cause of resentment among residents of various colonies in the city. Apart from the poor service provided by these operators, the demand for increased rentals almost every month is another grouse the residents have against cable operators.

Residents of various colonies, including New Lal Bagh Colony, Officers Colony and DLF Colony, feel that the operators’ demand for increase in the cable rentals after every two months is not justified. They said even the service provided by the operators was of poor quality and the number of channels never exceeded 45.

Residents of Urban Estate said cable operators often tried to threaten the consumers with disconnection if they ‘dared’ to complain against them. Residents alleged that since there was usually only one operator in every colony, no one ‘dared’ to go against the demands of these operators.

Residents have also complained that the rates charged by different operators were neither same nor fixed and may vary from Rs 80 to 200. They said there was usually an increase of Rs 25 in the rates every two months. Mr R.K. Sharma, president of the Welfare Association, Urban Estate, Phase II, alleged that they had filed a case earlier in the Consumer Court whereby they had presented an affidavit to the operators and the residents decided to give 100 per cent profit to the operators but all in vain.

In view of residents’ complaint, regarding monopoly, the SP city said the step had been taken keeping the law and order condition in the city in mind.

Mr Mohinder Singh Walia, president of the Forum for Common Cause, said the Centre should regulate the rates of channels and remove the police support provided to the operators. He added that the operators were usually provided 70 channels from the mains but up-to-date amplifiers were required for their installation. He said “such amplifiers cost around Rs 20,000 which the cable operators cannot afford and thus they install cheaper and low quality amplifiers which are unable to provide all channels.”

Residents have asked the government to regulate the rates and added that these rates too should be further minimised as the government and various pay channels were already earning good profit from screening commercials. They also said the monopoly of cable operators should be done away with for the benefit of viewers.


FCI asked to send escorts with trains
Our Correspondent

Mansa, May 27
The Director, Traffic Control (RAKES) of the Railway Board, has asked the Food Corporation of India (FCI) to arrange their escort to accompany special goods trains carrying rice and wheat to other states. The step has been taken to avoid pilferage of stocks during transit.

The Railway authorities claimed that no pilferage took place during transit as most of the time the trains kept on moving and only stopped at certain stations due to technical reasons. They claimed that the embezzlement was done at the time of loading and the FCI was responsible for the same.

Meanwhile, the FCI employees had expressed resentment over the deployment of an escort on the goods trains. On the receipt of a letter from the Railway Board, the FCI had already written to their area managers for arranging the escort. District Manager of the FCI, Bathinda, had also issued directions to Area Manager, Mansa, to arrange an escort for the purpose.


Child killed, 5 injured in fire
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 27
A two-year-old boy was feared killed and five persons, including women and children, suffered serious burn injuries when a devastating fire broke out in a dera of Gujjars at Jaspal Banger village, about 20 km from here, today.

Fire tenders from Ludhiana and other places were pressed into service and managed to control the rapidly spreading fire within an hour. However, by that time, a two-year-old unidentified boy was charred beyond recognition while at least five persons were injured when they tried to save their valuables.

According to the police, the cause of the fire could not be ascertained. The dera mainly comprised of thatched huts, due to which the fire spread rapidly, giving a little time for the inmates to take safety measures. The loss of property was being assessed.


Importance of yoga highlighted
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 27
A summer camp is being organised by DAV Public School, Patiala, to lay emphasis upon yoga and havans which purify not only the environment but also the human mind.

About 150 girls accompanied by 30 teachers from 10 schools are participating in the camp named as ‘Vedic Chetna Shivir’.

The DAV school Principal, Mr S.M. Devgun, said the purpose of the workshop was to highlight the importance of vedic philosophy, culture, heritage and moral values. He said the workshop aimed at generating self-confidence among children.

Mr Devgun said through the workshop, the girls would come to know the importance of Indian women in society. He said by introducing such camps, the school wanted to exploit the hidden talent among students.

He said, “Imparting education through other’s culture is like planting the children in pots rather than allowing them to grow and expand in soil. The government schools are also good but we plant children in our own soil so that they can serve the society as well as their families.”

Principals of other schools attending the workshop praised the efforts initiated by the school and added that yoga helped to channelise cosmic energy in one’s body. Pranayama enables the human body to maintain a link with the entire universe. Havans on the other hand purify human soul.

Mr Mohan Lal Sharma, Principal of Kakrala DAV Public School, said more of such workshops should be organised to dig out the hidden talent in girls.

Swami Brahmavesh from Mumbai spoke about the importance of meditation in life. He called upon students to adopt yoga as a part of their curriculum to remain stress free. He encouraged reading of healthy literature for a healthy society. He added that the Vedas and the Upanishads carry both the scientific as well as logical answers to various problems faced by us.


Fee for clinical training opposed
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, May 27
Resentment prevails among General Nursing and Midwife diploma students of government recognised private institutions against the state government’s decision to charge Rs 10,000 annual for providing clinical training at Civil Hospitals in the state.

A spokesman for the students told this correspondent here yesterday that clinical training was being provided at civil hospital free of cost previously. He said generally young girls of poor families did this three-year diploma course. A majority of the students of the district were from the Kandi area and it was impossible for them to pay such a huge fee, he added.

The parents of the students had made a representation to the Chief Minister in this regard. If the fee was not withdrawn about 10,000 students would have to abandon their studies, he said.


Civil Lines club office-bearers
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 27
Mr Mohinder Singh Sidhu, advocate, has been elected vice-president of the local Civil Lines Club today. Mr Sidhu polled 272 votes while his opponent, Mr Ashwani Malhotra managed to get 126 votes. Mr Gangeshwer Bansal has been elected treasurer. He polled 243 votes. He defeated Mr Vinish Katia, who polled 154 votes. Mr Jaideep, who managed to get 328 votes was elected as Secretary Cultural Affairs. He defeated Mr Bajaj who polled 68 votes.


Health awareness fortnight from June 1
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 27
A family health awareness fortnight will be observed in the district from June 1. Awareness camps on prevention of AIDS and other contagious diseases will be held during the period.

A meeting was held here yesterday in this regard. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Jaspal Singh, presided and officials of the Health Department and members of a non-government organisation participated in it. Dr Bawa Ram Gupta, Civil Surgeon, said residents of villages in the district would be informed about diseases. Audio cassettes prepared on prevention of AIDS would be distributed free of cost.


Body found near railway track
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 27
The body was found at the railway track near Katar Singhwala village by volunteers of the Sahara Jan Sewa. The deceased has been identified as Gurdev Singh of Tungwali village in the district.

The body was handed over to the family members after a post-mortem.

The body of Mangal, a resident of Sanjay Nagar, was taken out from the canal flowing near the city. Sanjay had reportedly jumped into the canal yesterday. The body was handed over to the relatives after a post-mortem.


Man posing as Sukhbir Badal arrested
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 27
Deepak Kumar, a resident of Kotkapura town, who has been working in a bank, fell into the police net while trying to secure the release of one of the accused arrested by the district police in connection with the evasion of market fee and rural development fund (RDF) by posing himself as Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal.

Sources said the Bathinda district police chief yesterday received a trunk call, caller introducing himself as former Union Minister and MP Sukhbir Singh Badal. The caller asked the SSP to release Gopal Sharma, who was arrested by the police in connection with the evasion of market fee and RDF.

The SSP, Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain told TNS here today that he asked the operator to trace the number from which the call was made. Dr Jain said that caller said: “I am Sukhbir Badal, release Gopal Sharma, who is in police custody in connection with a racket.”

He said the call was traced to a Kotkapura number. He informed the SSP Faridkot, Dr Arun Oraon. After verifying the fact the accused Deepak Kumar had been arrested and a case registered against him, Dr Jain said.

Insulted husband commits suicide
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, May 27
Sukhjinder Singh of Kamanwali village allegedly committed suicide when his wife got a case registered against him.

According to police sources his wife, Ms Simarjit Kaur, got a case registered under Sections 498A and 506 of the IPC against her husband at the Dasuya police station. She alleged that her husband used to torture her for bringing only Rs 2 lakh from her parents. On this, Sukhjinder, who felt insulted, consumed poison on May 24. He died the next day.

A case under Sections 306 and 34 of the IPC has been registered against Simarjit Kaur, her father Nishan Singh, and Kashmira Singh.


One held for offering bribe
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, May 27
The district police has registered a case against Jassa Singh, a resident of Sarhali village in Amritsar district, on the charge of offering a bribe of Rs 20,000 to Mr Rav Charan Singh, DSP, Sultanpur Lodhi.

According to a press note issued today, Mrs Gurpreet Deo, SSP, said Jassa Singh offered the bribe to the DSP for taking possession of 20 acres of land from Bachitter Singh who was in possession of the land for the past many years. The SSP said Hakam Singh of Sarholi village got the Khasra girdawari changed in his name for the crop of year 2000-2001 and sent Jassa Singh as his agent who offered a bribe of Rs 20,000 to the DSP. This was brought to the notice of the SSP.

Jassa Singh was arrested on the spot and an amount of Rs 20,000 was seized from him. A police party has been sent to Sarholi to arrest Baba Hakam Singh.


Promotions against UGC rules: PCMSA
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 27
In a departure from procedure, the Punjab Government has promoted two non-medical lecturers as Assistant Professor as a single time “personal” case limited to them.

The issue has snowballed into a major controversy with the PCMS Association demanding a high-level inquiry into the matter. In a statement here, association leaders Dr D.C. Sharma and Dr Vijay Kumar Goyal alleged that the government had promoted Dr Daljit Kaur and Dr Sanjiv Pal Singh, lecturers in statistics and demography at Government Medical College here and Faridkot, respectively, as Assistant Professors.

The association leaders said the government while giving both doctors a pre-revised scale of Rs 3,700 - Rs 5,300, had ordered that the posts would be downgraded as soon as they reached superannuation and that the measure was personal to them.

Dr Sharma and Dr Goyal alleged that the candidates did not even possess the requisite qualifications for the post. Terming the promotions as a case of extreme favouritism, they said it took 20 years for a lecturer to become an Assistant Professor and that even the UGC stipulated 13 year’s of service as the eligibility for promoting a person to the post. Dr Daljit Kaur had been appointed a lecturer for six months in 1991 and was not qualified to hold the new responsibility, they added.

The association leaders said the decision would cost the government Rs 3 lakh per year. The government had shown undue haste in making these promotions even as more than 50 posts of medical teacher, including those of Professor and Lecturer, were still lying vacant, they added.


Dalit Sena for uniform education policy
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 27
A joint meeting of the Dalit Sena and the Dalit Students’ Federation was held here today at Teachers Home. Mr Gurtej Singh Kandara, district president of the Sena, presided over the meeting.

Mr Kiranjeet Singh Gehri, state president of the Sena, was the chief guest.

Mr Harbans Singh, general secretary of the Punjab unit of Sena in a press note issued here today said the meeting was organised to discuss various issues.

He said the Sena would fight for the equality of the Scheduled Castes and Backward castes.

The education policy of the state should be made uniform and the state expenditure on education should be increased.

The fee structure should be realistic and affordable for all. The report of the Mandal Commission should be implemented, he demanded.


More funds for Punjab schools
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 27
An estimated amount of Rs 259 crore would be spent on furniture, the drinking water facility and other basic needs of schools as compared to last year’s expenditure of Rs 154.55 crore.

This was stated by Mr Balramji Das Tandon, Local Bodies and Employment Minister, Punjab, at the inaugural function of the meeting organised to discuss the conversion. of primary schools into middle schools at Samood village, near Rajpura, yesterday.

As many as 1404 schools of the state would be upgraded from the primary level to the middle level, from the middle level to the high school level and from the high school level to the +2 level, he said.

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