Wednesday, June 27, 2001, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Badal denies promoting Zaffarwal
Punjab now has surplus funds
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 26
Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister Punjab organised a political conference here today. He said such conferences would be held in every part of the state to mobilise party workers, to apprise people about achievements and policies of the government and to counter the false propaganda of the Opposition parties.

Addressing the conference Mr Badal lashed out at the Congress and the so “called Panthic” third front leaders. He also urged the media to exercise restraint and highlight facts only regarding development and peace in the state.

He said it was unfortunate that the Akali Dal was being linked in media with Wassan Singh Zaffarwal, a leader of the terrorist outfit, responsible for the murder of hundreds of innocent people. He said the outfit of Zaffarwal killed so many Akali Dal candidates in previous elections, whereas no Congress candidate was attacked.

He said he knew nothing about Zaffarwal, even he has read about him in the newspapers only. He said how we could promote a person, facing trial for murders. He said only the Congress had started the propaganda to bring a bad name to our party. He said that till the Akali Dal was in power nobody could dare to disturb peace in the state.

Criticising the Congress, he said after Independence Mahatma Gandhi had recommended dissolution of the Congress, as it was not a political party rather it was formed just to get independence.

He said it was unfortunate that it got converted into a political party and ruled the country for 45 years and did nothing for the country except “looting” it, that’s why half of the population of the country lived below the poverty line.

He said though Punjabis were 2.5 per cent of population in the country yet they had contributed 70 per cent of the foodgrain and had always been in the forefront for the defence of the country and made sacrifices, but the previous Congress governments at the Centre or state had always meted out a step-motherly treatment and committed atrocities on Punjabis.

He said since when the Akali Dal had formed government in the state and the BJP at the Centre all demands of the state had been met though it had debt of Rs 8400 crore, increase in the MSP for farmers’ produce, construction of Ranjit Sagar Dam, setting up of oil refinery worth Rs 16000 crore. He said the Prime Minister never said no to any of our demand.

He even gave directions from the hospital. He said earlier no Congress Chief Minister dared to raise any problem before their Prime Minister. He said the recent controversy on the fixation of MSP for A grade paddy had been resolved and farm produce would be purchased.

Defending ‘sangat darshan’ programme, he said Congress men were feeling jealous and trying to put hurdles. He declared that programme would continue as the public money was being spent for public development works, whereas earlier it was grabbed by Congress leaders.

He said that the Congress posed no challenge as it was faction-ridden and failed even to play the role of an opposition party. They are fighting for chairs whereas we are fighting for the public.

Criticising leaders of other Akali Dals who had formed third front, he said it is unfortunate that some of our own men have formed third front to work for the defeat of the SAD (B) thereby helping the Congress.

Reacting to criticism that Mr Badal had left the Panthic agenda, he questioned which “Panthic agenda” Mr Tohra had started in politics and then in religious affairs.

Appreciating Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Minister for Finance for strengthening the economy of the state, he said now the same state had surplus funds and it would be spent on development.

He urged the people to back the SAD (B).

He also urged leaders and workers of other Akali Dals to join the main stream.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Minister for Finance gave details how economy was rerailed after three years. He said the Congress had left nothing in state treasury.

He said the Lok Pal had also recommended to the Governor to sue the Congress ministers, involved in corruption. He said state witnessed all-round development during the four-year rule of Akali Dal. He said the Congress had no agenda.

Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi surprised everyone by attacking the BJP, he said the BJP should think why it was losing base in cities.

He urged the political leaders to respect SGPC members also, as SGPC was supreme. He criticised the media for creating rift between him and Mr Badal.

He denied rift with Mr Badal. He urged media persons not to create confusion in public mind by their writings.

Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, Minister for Food and Civil Supply declared that the BJP-SAD (B) alliance was a holy alliance and would sweep the coming Assembly elections. He declared that Mr Badal would become the Chief Minister again. He said during Mr Badal tenure farmers of the state had been benefited to the extent of Rs 250 crore.

Mr R.S. Cheema, Mr D.S. Pandhi former Minister, Bibi Satwinder Kaur Dhaliwal, ex MP, Mr Didar Singh Bhatti, Mr Rajesh Paul Singh Lalli, senior Akali leaders, Gurpreet Singh Bhatti, District President, Youth Akali Dal, Mr Swarn Singh Chanarthal, District President, SAD (B), Balwant Singh Shahpur, MLA also spoke.


Chohan files fresh plea for anticipatory bail
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
In less than two weeks after his petition for seven day’s notice in case he was required by the Indian police was dismissed on technical grounds, the London-based “self-styled President of Khalistan,” Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan today moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking anticipatory bail. His plea is likely to come up for hearing tomorrow.

In his application, filed through special power of attorney Ranjan Lakhanpal, Dr Chohan prayed that he should be granted anticipatory bail in the event of his arrest in any case registered, or likely to be registered, against him in the state of Punjab.

Dr Chohan added that he had no previous criminal record but was being harassed due to political reasons as the scenario in the state was likely to change after his arrival.

His earlier application for anticipatory bail was dismissed by Mr Justice Mehtab Singh Gill of the High Court on June 13 as he had neither signed the petition nor the wakalatnama. Pronouncing the orders, Mr Justice Gill had added that the power of attorney, apart from being faxed, had not been appropriately authorised. Moreover, proper procedure had not been followed.

It may be recalled that Mr Justice V.K. Jhanji of the High Court had earlier directed the Union of India and other respondents to issue travel documents to Dr Chohan for enabling him to return to India.

In his detailed order, Mr Justice Jhanji had observed: “As regard to the contention that the intelligence agencies had not favoured the grant of travel documents to the petitioner in view of his known stand in favour of Khalistan, it is only to be stated that the return to one’s own country is the fundamental right conferred on a citizen under Article 21 of the Constitution of India”.

The Judge had concluded: “The right cannot be taken away simply because the intelligence agency has not favoured the issuance of passport to a citizen.... The writ petition is allowed. The respondents are directed to issue travel documents to the petitioner within a month from today.”

Publisher’s plea dismissed

A petition filed by Toubro Infotect and Industries Limited — publisher of Financial Express and FE Newsline — seeking the quashing of a first information report registered against them in Kolkata, was on Tuesday dismissed by a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

In their petition before the Bench, comprising Mr Justice R.L. Anand and Mr Justice K.S. Garewal, the petitioners had earlier stated that a show cause notice was received from Joint Chief of SEBI in Mumbai alleging certain violations in the issue of secured debentures.

They had added that on June 13, an FIR was registered under Sections 468, 471, 420 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code at the behest of an investor “repeating the same allegations as contained in the complaint by SEBI”.

Going into the background, counsel for the petitioner had added that the company, with a view to fund its expansion programme, had issued secured debentures on private placement basis.

Regarding the jurisdiction to file the case here, counsel had added that the company had its registered office in Dappar village in Patiala district and as such they could file the petition here.


PCC executive list final: Vora
Prashant Sood
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 26
The Congress, which has started serious preparations for the forthcoming Assembly elections in Punjab, will strengthen its mass-contact programme in the state against the Akali Dal-BJP government.

This was decided today at the first coordination committee meeting of the party on Punjab chaired by Congress treasurer and in charge of Punjab affairs Moti Lal Vora.

As part of the mass-contact programme, Congress workers will fan out in the blocks and villages of the state to carry their message against the Badal government. The party is working on a multi-pronged strategy to counter the Akali Dal which is reviving its support base though regular “sangat darshan” programmes.

There will be regular Congress workers’ meetings in the districts and central observers will report on the progress made by the party in each constituency. Mr Vora will also camp in Punjab to regulate the party’s campaign which will be steered by a campaign committee. To counter the aggressive campaign of the BSP which is focusing on SCs and STs, the Congress has decided to constitute separate committees for these sections of society.

Asked about rumblings in the party over the PCC office-bearers’ list, Mr Vora asserted that party workers were satisfied with the list. Denying possibility of additions to the list in the near future, he said any genuine names left out could be considered after the party’s election campaign picked up momentum in the state.

Punjab Congress leaders, who have been visiting the AICC office in large numbers since the PCC executive list was announced, have complained that the party’s units in Ferozepore, Faridkot, Sangrur, Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Nawanshahr need to be “more balanced.” The complaints have been coming even though the party announced a 75-member PCC executive against the intended 51.

The schedule of the party’s mass-contact programme will be worked out at the next coordination committee meeting to be held on July 6. The party leaders are working on a “white paper” on the alleged misdeeds of the Badal government which will become the basis for the Congress campaign in the state. Denying the possibility of an alliance with the BSP in Punjab, Mr Vora, however, said the party was open to alliance with “secular parties.” He said the PCC chief, Capt Amarinder Singh was in touch with leaders of Left parties for electoral adjustment.

Today’s meeting was attended by 10 of the 12 members of the coordination committee. Mr Vora said former Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal could not attend the meeting due to personal reasons and Ms Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder was abroad. Mrs Bhattal also sent a verbal message through Mr H.S. Hanspal, a member of the committee, saying that she could not attend the meeting as her father-in-law was seriously ill.


Boycott SAD, BJP, Cong: Tohra
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 26
Ruling out the possibility of an alliance with the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, president, Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal has given a call for complete boycott of the SAD (Badal), the BJP and the Congress party in the forthcoming Assembly elections.

Mr Tohra, however, said that he would not contest the election of SGPC president, due in October for the second consecutive year. He said his party did not have enough strength to win the election of president as SGPC ticket was distributed by Mr Badal. He, however, said that his faction would contest the general elections of the Shiromani Committee due next year. He said his faction would install Bhai Ranjit Singh as Jathedar Akal Takht after the Assembly elections.

The SHSAD chief alleged that he could not even think of forging unity with the ruling Akali Dal as Mr Badal was no more an Akali. “Mr Badal has been pursuing the policies of anti-panthic forces with a view to maintaining alliance with the BJP.

In a significant statement, Mr Tohra said that he would hold separate meetings with Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, president Lok Bhalai Party, CPM leadership and BSP chief Kanshi Ram with a view to defeat the anti-panthic forces. He however, urged Mr Kanshi Ram not to contest all Assembly seats on his own as it would benefit the SAD-BJP and the Congress both. He offered to spare sufficient seats for the BSP if Mr Kanshi Ram announced to support the third front.

Mr Tohra alleged that for vested interests, Mr Badal had spoiled credibility of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee and Sikh high priests. He said in the present lot of Sikh clergy there was not even a single high priest who could follow the foot-steps of Jathedar Akali Phoola Singh, a contemporary of legendry Maharaja Ranjit Singh. He said Akali Phoola Singh, in his capacity as Jathedar Akal Takht had pronounced ‘punishment’ which Maharaja Ranjit Singh had accepted gladly. He said then Roor Singh was appointed Jathedar Akal Takht by the British. Mr Tohra alleged that after Giani Kartar Singh, Mr Badal was instrumental in the frequent removal and appointments of Jathedars of Akal Takht in violation of Sikh Rehat maryada.

It was a matter of concern that the SGPC, considered as “mini Parliament of Sikhs” was forced to play second fiddle. It was the SGPC which came into existence at the behest of Jathedar Akal Takht. The SAD was formed as ‘jatha of volunteers’. However, in the given time the SAD had become more powerful than the SGPC and high priests. Coming down heavily on the performance of the Badal government, Mr Tohra alleged that posts were being put on sale. The government had failed to provide basic amenities, Mr Tohra alleged that Mr Badal had been doling out public money at the ‘sangat darshan’ for vested interests. Such a trend had put a question mark on the five-year or annual planning. Where was Mr Badal for the past four years, why no development could be envisaged in the past?

On the proposed visit of Gen Pervez Musharraf, President of Pakistan, Mr Tohra said that the Government of India must utilise the occasion to get the genuine demands of Sikhs conceded by Pakistan. He said government of Pakistan had accepted in principle to provide a corridor for visiting Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara (Pakistan) without any passport. This offer must be accepted so that Sikhs could have easy access to the historic gurdwara.

Mr Tohra said that the annual contract for the 7,000 acres in Nankana Sahib (Pakistan) in the name of Gurdwara was only Rs 500 per acre. Farmers of Nankana Sahib had offered to start bids from Rs 6,000 per acre. He said the Government of India must persuade Gen Musharraf to materialise the auction. He said though money collected from the contract of agriculture land could not be brought to India yet it could be utilised for raising medical colleges, hospitals and educational institutes in the name of Guru Nanak.

Replying a question, Mr Tohra alleged that gurdwara funds were ‘misused’ during the presidentship of Bibi Jagir Kaur. His predecessor, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi too was unable to give satisfactory results. 


Patient given wrong blood
Timely intervention saves life
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 26
Next time you buy a unit of blood, ensure that it perfectly matches the blood group of the patient before transfusion. A casual approach in this connection may put the life of the patient in danger and even cause his or her death.

This is what happened in a private hospital here last evening. A patient, namely Suresh Rani, a resident of Sangrur district, who has been getting treatment in the private hospital, was saved from the jaws of death by the doctor attending on her following the transfusion of wrong blood to her.

Suresh Rani, who was very weak, fainted when blood was given to her. The blood was supplied from the blood bank of the local civil hospital.

Information gathered by TNS revealed the blood group of Suresh Rani was O (+ve). The doctor attending on her asked her husband Durga Ram to arrange for two units of the same blood group as she was very weak and blood transfusion was required.

Durga Ram went to the civil hospital along with another person and donated two units of blood. They also paid Rs 1,000 to the blood bank authorities to get two units of blood of 0 (+ve) group.

They were given assurance by the blood bank personnel that blood units given to them had been cross-checked and both the units were of O (+ve) group. Even the pouches of blood given by the blood bank personnel mentioned the blood group was O (+ve).

Durga Ram while talking to TNS said he came with the blood to the private hospital. One unit was administered to his wife. He added that when the blood was being given his wife started shivering after some time and was on the verge of fainting. He added that immediately the blood transfusion was stopped by the doctor and some injections were given to her to save her life. His wife became normal after some time.

He said he had not made any written complaint to the civil hospital authorities against the blood bank authorities in this connection as he was persuaded not to do the same. Moreover, he was more concerned about the treatment of his wife.

He pointed out that when the blood units supplied by the blood bank authorities were examined it was found that both the units belonged to some different group.

Dr Indu Bhushan, in charge of the blood bank at the civil hospital, when contacted, said as there was a heavy rush at the blood bank and staff members who were handling the distribution of blood units were new, the wrong blood units were given to Mr Durga Ram. He added that he had been making inquiries to know why it had happened.

He said after this incident the entire stock of blood lying in the blood bank was re-examined so that such an occurrence could be avoided in future. He admitted the staff members who gave the blood units to Mr Durga Ram did not check the blood group which was mandatory. He said action would be taken in this connection.


Fancy for cars, money lands 21 in jail
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 26
They would buy flashy and expensive cars through some finance company, flaunt them for some days only to make them “disappear” and sell these with the help of forged documents.

This was the modus operandi of 21 youths, most of whom belonged to well-to-do families of Jalandhar, Ludhiana and other townships of Doaba region of Punjab, to make a quick buck and impress girls.

Their taste for gleaming beauties and crisp notes has landed seven members of this gang of young car thieves into police custody. As many as 11 brand new cars, including one Honda City, one Maruti Esteem, three Maruti Zen, one Tata Indica, one Wagon-R, and a Matiz, worth Rs 52 lakh have been recovered by the Jalandhar police from their possession.

Under their meticulously planned modus operandi a decoy customer would be used as a front to get a luxury car financed from a finance company. They would show it as stolen after payment of a few instalments. After this an FIR would be registered in some police station and on the other hand the “stolen” car would be sold on reduced price to somebody after its registration at either Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala or Una on the basis of forged documents and with the help of Anil Kumar, who worked as an agent in the District Transport Office at Hoshiarpur.

Surjit, alias Goldy, a resident of Basti Nau, and Pradeep Kumar, alias Lucky, a resident of Mota Singh Nagar who were masterminds of the “operation”, used Ashwani and Gopal Krishan Dutta of Jalandhar as fronts to get the cars financed. The latter were paid Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh for each car. The masterminds used Avinash Chander and Gurkomal of Jalandhar for the resale of cars.

Mr Gaurav Yadav, SSP, said the scandal involving 21 youngsters was busted following a tip-off and was the result of a secret operation headed by the SP, Mr Rajiv Ahir, who laid a naka at the Paragpur toll tax barrier last night and arrested both Pradeep Kumar and Surjit Kumar who were travelling in a Maruti Zen and an Indica, respectively. The accused confessed to taking away a Maruti Zen from Holihock Marriage Palace on March 25.

Their confession led to the arrest of five other members of the gang identified as Gurkomal of Model Town, Ashwani Kumar of Khodian Mohalla locality, Anil Kumar of Prem Garh in Hoshiarpur, Avinash Chander of Khambra village on the city outskirts, Manjit Singh of BSF Chowk, Jalandhar, and Gopal Krishan Dutta, a resident of Jalandhar. A case has been registered.


Bhullar, Chahal made DGPs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
The Punjab Government today ordered the promotion of two Additional Directors-General of Police — Mr M.S. Bhullar and Mr Jarnail Singh Chahal — as Directors-General of Police besides ordering the posting of 20 Superintendents and 87 Deputy Superintendents of Police. The government also ordered the transfer of two IAS and three PCS officers.

Mr Bhullar, on promotion, will become the Director-General of Police, Punjab Armed Police, Jalandhar, while Mr Chahal, on promotion, becomes the Director-General of Police, Railways.

With their promotion, the number of DGPs in Punjab has gone up to three. In fact, one post of DGP had been lying vacant since the retirement of Mr Sube Singh.

The following transfers of Superintendents of Police were ordered :

Ms Neerja Voruvuru is the new AIG, Provisioning; Mr Nageshwara Rao has been appointed Commandant, 6th India Reserve Battalion; Ms Vibhu Raj goes as Superintendent of Police, Headquarters Hoshiarpur; Mr Bachan Singh Randhawa goes as Superintendent of Police, Pathankot; Mr Narinderpal Singh is the new Superintendent of Police, Headquarters, Jagraon; Mr Jagdish Singh Kahlon becomes the Superintendent of Police, City, Amritsar; Mr Amit Parsad has been appointed Additional SP, Amritsar; Mr Monish Chawla becomes the Superintendent of Police-2, City, Amritsar; Mr Balkar Singh goes to Bahadurgarh as Commandant, Ist Bn, Commandos; Mr Dharam Singh has been posted as Superintendent of police, CID, Ludhiana; Mr Mohinder Singh Chahal will be Superintendent of Police, Headquarters at Chandigarh; Mr Pritpal Singh Virk is the new Superintendent of Police, Detective, Patiala; Mr Rajesh Kumar Jaiswal, ASP, will be Superintendent of Police, Traffic, Amritsar; Mr Gurdev Singh has been appointed Superintendent of Police, Headquarters at Gurdaspur; Mr Darshanjit Singh Dhindsa is the new Superintendent of Police Operations, Gurdaspur; Mr Paramdeep Singh Sandhu goes as Superintendent of Police, GRP, Jalandhar; Mr Nirmal Singh Dhillon becomes Commandant, 3rd Commando Battalion; Mr A.K. Mittal is the new Superintendent of Police, Litigation, Chandigarh; Mr Raghbir Singh goes as Superintendent of Police, Traffic Training School, Phillaur; and Mr A.S. Rai becomes Assistant inspector-General of Police, Welfare and Litigation.

Civil Services

Mr Mandeep Singh, Director, Hospitality, is the new Director, Rural Development and Panchayats; and Mr Karam Singh has been appointed Director, Hospitality.

Mr M.R. Aggarwal becomes Joint Secretary, Animal Husbandry, Fisheries and Dairy Development; Mr Harmesh Singh Pabla has been appointed Joint Secretary, Department of Cultural Affairs; while Mr Pritam Singh has been appointed Subdivisional Magistrate, Nawanshahr. 


Will Ravi Inder be projected?
Our Correspondent

Ropar, June 26
Will Mr Ravi Inder Singh, SAD MLA from Morinda, be the BSP candidate for the chief ministership in the forthcoming Assembly elections? Indications in this direction are being given repeatedly by the BSP supremo, Mr Kanshi Ram.

He issued the first statement in this regard at a press conference in Nurpurbedi. Yesterday also, at a political function in Chandigarh, he said, “I will stay in Punjab till Mr Ravi Inder Singh, who has been projected as Chief Minister by the BSP, takes oath of office.”

But the question is will Mr Ravi Inder Singh be able to withstand the “derogatory language and unpredictable temperament” of Mr Kanshi Ram?

In a statement issued yesterday, Mr Kanshi Ram is also reported to have said, “Mr Ravi Inder Singh will not only implement the BSP’s political line but also sit at my feet.”

Mr Ravi Inder Singh, when contacted on the phone today and asked about his reaction to Mr Kanshi Ram’s statement, said the views expressed by Mr Kanshi Ram were his own and he had nothing to do with these. He, however, declined to comment on the “derogatory language” used by Mr Kanshi Ram about him.

Mr Ravi Inder Singh, noted industrialist and dissident SAD MLA, has been trying to form a third front comprising parties except the Congress, the SAD and the BJP in the forthcoming Assembly elections in the state.

He has been holding talks with leaders of the BSP and the splinter Akali Dals like the SHSAD and the SAD (Mann) in this regard.

However, the inflammatory statements of the BSP supremo have been nullifying these efforts. Though Mr Kanshi Ram has stated that Mr Ravi Inder Singh will be the chief ministerial candidate of the BSP but he has outrightly rejected any alliance with other parties. Sources say these statements of Mr Kanshi Ram may be part of his efforts to extract the lion’s share in the proposed front.


Ramoowalia to fight for secularism
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, June 26
The All-India Lok Bhalai Party will lay stress on strengthening secular policies, removing corruption and opportunism and exposing dynastic rule in its election manifesto for the forthcoming Assembly elections in Punjab.

It will try to provide for the basic needs of the common man like generating more jobs, improving the education system, and checking unemployment, besides other facilities in different fields to the poor and weaker sections of the society.

This was stated by Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, MP, and President of the party, while talking to mediapersons at Kotkapura today.

He announced many more welfare schemes for the people. He categorically stated that the party would not make any alliance with the third front which was being constituted by various Akali factions like the Akali Dal (Amritsar) and the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal for the poll. He termed these parties as opportunists.

Mr Ramoowalia said his party had yet not decided to join hands with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) regarding seat adjustment in the Assembly elections so far. It would be decided at an appropriate time, he said.

The MP said his party would contest elections from the 90 Assembly constituencies and the list of the candidates would be announced by the end of the next month.

However, he announced his party’s candidates for the Chatrana and Mahalpur Assembly constituencies, namely Mr Piara Singh Advocate and Jathedar Resham Singh, respectively.


SAD youth wing to seek 40 pc seats
Our Correspondent

Sunam, June 26
The Youth Wing of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) will seek 40 per cent of party ticket to participate in the ensuing Assembly elections in Punjab.

Stating this here last night at a press conference, Mr Parminder Singh Dhindsa, MLA from Sunam, and a youth leader, added presently there were 25 per cent young MLAs in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha. In view of this, the demand to seek 40 per cent quota was justified, he added.

Mr Dhindsa also disclosed that the Punjab Government had submitted guarantee to the HUDCO for the release of a loan worth Rs 4 crore for laying sewers and water supply lines at Sunam. He also said Rs 40 lakh had been sanctioned by the state government for the development of Sunam town while Rs 50 lakh for the villages of Sunam Assembly constituency.

Mr Dhindsa said that the state government had prepared a plan to widen the Bhawanigarh-Mansa road via Sunam and Sunam to Lehra road.

On this occasion, Mr Pritpal Singh Handa, Chairman of the Sunam Market Committee, who accompanied Mr Dhindsa, said that the market committee had earmarked Rs 68 lakh for various development works like the construction of auction platforms, covered sheds, permanent electrification in grain markets, construction and repair of link roads.

Mr Handa added that the market committee had earned Rs 1.03 crore as market fee till May end this year as compared to Rs 80.85 lakh during corresponding period of the last year. He also disclosed that 8.31 lakh tonnes of wheat arrived in the grain markets of the Sunam Market Committee in this kharif season whereas only 6.74 lakh tonnes of wheat had arrived in the kharif season of the year 2000. He said with the increase in the wheat arrival, the committee had earned Rs 22.46 lakh more as market fee this year as compared to the previous year.

He also disclosed the market committee had distributed Rs 1.55 lakh among seven victims of threshers as financial assistance.

Mr Nusrat Ali Khan, Sports Minister, Punjab, who was also present on the occasion, said the state would organise national games at five places, namely Patiala, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Anandpur Sahib and Chandigarh. He also said these games would begin from September 1 in which about 15,000 players from all parts of the country would participate.


Stamp duty worth crores being evaded
K K Goyal

Mansa, June 26
Evasion of stamp duty amounting to crores of rupees is taking place in the district allegedly with the connivance of the sub-registrars of the district. Sub-registrars are allegedly pocketing part of such stamp duty amassing huge money.

The Deputy Commissioner as Registrar, has fixed rates for Agricultural, commercial and domestic land. The rates of ‘nehri’ agriculture land has been fixed at Rs 1.5 lakh per acre, “barani’ agriculture land at Rs 1 lakh per acre for the purpose of registration. The rates of lands in the urban area has been fixed at different rates ranging from Rs 500 to Rs 15,000 per square yard. The state government has instructed all sub-registrars to register all documents through computers and not to register the documents manually. The time for registration has been fixed from 9 am to 1 pm on all working days.

However, sub-registrars with ulterior motives somehow make computer non-operational so that the documents can be registered manually and big amounts can be “pocketed” through their agents. Sometimes deed writers obtain the signatures or thumb impressions of the seller, purchaser and witnesses required for the registration of documents at their seats and charge heavy “fees” and later on get the deeds registered in the absence of such persons by paying the “fees” of the sub-registrars at their residence.

Mr Sanjay Kumar, former Deputy Commissioner, Mansa, had ordered an inquiry against the then Sub-Registrar (Tehsildar) Mansa, Mr Sukhdev Singh, for registering the under valued documents and amassing huge wealth but with his transfer the inquiry seems to have been burried in the files. The powers of the Sub-Registrar withdawn by Mr Sanjay Kumar has since been restored without waiting for the result of the inquiry.

The government is imposing new taxes on the public while officials are eating into it. There is only one treasurer office in the district and the people have to stand in queue for hours to purchase the stamp paper. Extra amount is reportedly being charged by certain employees of the treasurer office to issue stamp papers. Certain deed writers are allegedly charging hundreds times more fees than prescribed without issuing any receipt.

The racket by the sub-registrar, deed writers, registration clerks and other persons should be probed, but it seems that the state government is not sincere in solving the problem.


PUDA to modernise Ludhiana bus stand
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 26
The Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) is in the process of constructing modern bus stands at Ludhiana, Jagraon and Anandpur Sahib.

This was stated by Dr Upinderjit Kaur, Housing and Development Minister, Punjab, while talking to the newspersons at the inaugural ceremony of the Office Complex and Community Centre at Urban Estate, Phase II and III respectively here today.

Dr Upinderjit Kaur said besides this buildings of District Headquarters were being constructed at Patiala, Hoshiarpur, Bathinda and Moga and a sub-divisional complex is also being laid down at Jalalabad apart from a few more complexes that would be made at Kapurthala and Gurdaspur districts. She said, “PUDA aims at renewal of Urban infrastructure and all possible efforts would be made in this regard to fulfill the task.

In response to the establishment of Urban Estate in a low-lying area and thus creating a fear for floods during monsoon, she said that the work of desilting of Badi Nadi and Chhotti Nadi has been undertaken by the Punjab Government in an efficient manner. She thus assured that the developing complex was completely safe from this point of view. Regarding recurrence reoccurance of encroachment in urban areas, Dr Upinderjit Kaur said though laws were there to prevent this, public support was needed to ensure encroachments did not repeat again at the same spot after being removed.

Regarding the master plan, she said that development in Urban estate was an integral part of the master plan.


DSPs may get powers to raid chemist shops
Our Correspondent

Ropar, June 26
To check the growing problem of drug addiction through prescription drugs, the Punjab Government was considering the proposal of giving powers to check this illegal practice to the DSPs and Senior Medical Officers (SMOs) in the state.

The matter came up for discussion during the recent meeting of SSPs with the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal. When confronted on the issue of the failure of the police to check growing drug addiction among the youth of the state, the SSPs expressed their helplessness in checking the illegal sale of drugs from the chemist stores, which are allegedly the major sources for the supply of cheap and lethal psychotropic drugs to the addicts.

Upon this the Chief Minister assured the SSPs that SMOs would soon be given the powers to check the illegal sale of prescription drugs at the chemist shops. The SSPs, Ropar, Mr G.P.S. Bhullar, while giving this information to this correspondent said the SSPs also requested Mr Badal to allow police officers at least of the rank of DSP to check the chemist stores.

The police officers usually get information about the illegal sale of drugs at the chemist stores but they cannot act quickly because they have to first locate the drug inspector to raid the shop.

The Ropar police was criticised on several occasions for its failure to check the sale of illegal drugs in the district. The Jathedar of Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib, Prof Manjit Singh, at a community policing programme held at Anandpur Sahib had openly accused the police of failing to check the illegal sale of drugs. The DGP, Punjab, who was present at the function, had, however, attributed the police failure to the lacunae in the law. He had alleged the police had legally no right to check the chemist stores which are main sources of the sale of psychotropic drugs. Only the drug inspectors had the right to check the chemist stores.

Whenever the police had raided the chemist stores in the past protests had been made by chemist associations which took the refuge under the provisions under the NDPS Act which do not allow the police to check the chemist stores, the DGP alleged.

The problem of drug addiction through prescribed drugs was on the increase in the district. Several drugs such as avil and diazepam along with cough syrups like Corex, phensedyl and alprex were being used by the drug addicts. The easy availability from the chemist stores had increased the number of drug addicts in the area. Several youth of the area suffering from the drug addiction due to unprescribed intake of the psychotropic drugs are undergoing treatment at the drug deaddiction centres in the district.

The SSP, Ropar, also at the recently held sangat darshans at Ropar, Anandpur Sahib and Kurali stressed upon the residents to help the police in checking the menace of drug addiction through prescribed drugs. However, it seems that the delation of powers to check chemist stores to police and doctors might check this growing menace.


Sugar mill workers to get 54 months’ pay
Tribune News Service

Mansa, June 26
The Punjab government today agreed to make payment to workers of Budhlada Cooperative Sugar Mill which was closed down a few years ago. Mrs Raji. P. Srivastva, Deputy Commissioner, talking to The Tribune said that the Punjab government had decided to make payment of salary to 200 workers of the mill for 54 months. She added that the payment would be made to workers shortly.

She pointed out that in the decision taken by the high-powered committee headed by Chief Secretary, N.K. Arora, it was decided to arrange Rs 3.40 crore for the same task. She added that Rs 3.40 crore from the state Renewal Fund would be transferred to Sugarfed, Punjab. After it, Sugarfed, Punjab, would insert advertisements in the newspapers to call employees of closed-down mill and payment of salaries would be made to them. She added that this decision had been taken after the intervention of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

The workers of mill under the banner of Sugar Mill Bachao Action Committee have been observing a stir since June 1. He had also been booked under Section 309 of the IPC for the offence of attempt to commit suicide. The activists have been demanding that mill be restarted, salaries of the workers paid and arrangements made for their re-employment.


SHO’s explanation sought
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, June 26
The district police chief, Mr Gurpreet Singh Gill, has sought an explanation from Mr Mukhtiar Singh, SHO, Sadar police station for negligence in not informing his seniors about the cremation of the body of Principal Gurdev Singh on June 10, here. Mr Gill also recommended departmental action against the head munshi and information officer of the police station in this regard.

The body of the deceased principal was recovered by the police from a canal near Tehna village, 4 km from here, on June 10.

The SSP said he had taken the action officials after reviewing the preliminary report submitted by Mr Jarnail Singh Dhaliwal, SP (Headquarters), Faridkot. It may be mentioned here that Gurdev Singh, the then Principal of the Government Senior Secondary School, Dhurkot in Moga District, had disappeared under mysterious circumstances from the school on June 6.

The Moga police had registered an FIR in this regard on June 8. 


De-addiction Day observed
Our Correspondents

Bathinda, June 26
The International Day Against Drug Abuse was celebrated here today by many agencies, including the District Red Cross Society, NGOs and the district police.

While the district police organised a rally in association with the Sahara Jan Seva, the District Red Cross Society organised a drug de-addiction and drug abuse awareness programme at the Red Cross Deaddiction hospital here.

Mr R. Venkatratnam, Deputy Commissioner, who was the chief guest, said medicines meant to cure diseases were being used as drugs. He urged, parents, NGOs, sports and youth welfare clubs and village panchayats to join hands to fight the menace of drugs. He appealed that awareness camps, poster-making and debates should be held in educational institutes to create awareness among the masses regarding the ill-effects of drug abuse. He also released a souvenir on the occasion.

Dr B.R. Gupta, Civil Surgeon, while speaking on the occasion said if the rate of growth of addicts was not controlled in the next 20 years, one person would lose his life to drugs every three seconds.

NAWANSHAHR: The district police organised a seminar here at R.K. Arya College to mark the International Day Against Drug Abuse and illicit trafficking. Mr J.P. Birdi, IGP, Zonal, Jalandhar, presided over the seminar. Officials of different departments, social, political leaders, educationists participated. A need to create awareness among the masses, especially youth, regarding the ill-effects of drugs was stressed.

PATHANKOT: The Nasha Virodhi Parcharak Manch organised a seminar here today against the menace of drug addiction. Mr Sukhdev Singh, SSP, Gurdaspur, was the chief guest. Addressing the seminar, he said literature and hand bills apprising the people of the ill-effects of drinking and drugs should be distributed.

ROPAR: The district administration held a function here today to mark the International Day on Drug Deaddiction. The Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr Khushi Ram, while presiding over the function, alleged that the authorities responsible for checking the illegal sale of drugs were not fulfilling their responsibilities. The menace of drug addiction due to prescription drugs was on the increase.


Drive against drugs yields results
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 26
This district due to its unique position and sharing of borders with Rajasthan and Haryana has been the hub of narcotics and drug smuggling, especially during the past few years.

The district police has launched a campaign, Drug Free Bathinda-2000, and with the help of the public it has started showing significant results. While in year 2000, 11 women were arrested for allegedly selling drugs, this year, till June 23, five persons have been arrested. The other alarming trend revealed was the adoption of drug selling as a family profession as several couples had been arrested on the charge of selling narcotics.

Last year 225 cases were registered under the NDPS Act and 265 persons were arrested. About 125.62 kg of opium, 6127.8 kg of poppy husk, 4.15 kg of charas, 56.9 litres of synthetic drugs and 1,858 tablets/capsules were seized. The police also impounded 31 vehicles allegedly used for drug smuggling.

The police authorities have also organised drug de-addition and drug abuse awareness camps in the district in association with NGOs. Twentyfive such camps have been organised at various places. Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, SSP, said the police had also published a booklet ‘Aas Di Kiran’ highlighting the ill effects of drug taking and its treatment.


Congress for talks between presidents
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 26
Senior Congress leader and party’s Political Training Department Chairman Mani Shankar Aiyar today questioned Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s credibility to safeguard national security and said the President should hold talks with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf during his forthcoming visit to the country.

Speaking at the inaugural function of the party’s north zone political training camp in which delegates from nine states participated, Mr Aiyar said though the party did not have much confidence in General Musharraf, it had even less confidence in Mr Vajpayee and was of the firm view that the President should hold talks with the visiting dignitary on issues of national security, including the Kashmir imbroglio.

The senior leader, while alleging that the BJP could compromise on issues of national security at any time, claimed that the role of the Prime Minister‘s Office, including his Confidant Brajesh Mishra, his foster son Ranjan Bhattacharya and former Defence Minister George Fernandes, was highly questionable in various defence deals. He alleged that in such a situation the Prime Minister could compromise national security at any step and should not hold talks with the Pakistan leader.

Mr Aiyar said even on the issue of the Kargil infiltration recent reports had severely indicted the government for failing to take timely action against the infiltrators despite the fact that the infiltration had been reported by Army officials at the very onset. He said this also proved the incapability of the government to guard its territorial boundaries effectively.

Speaking on the occasion, former naval chief Vishnu Bhagwat alleged that the BJP government wanted to separate Kashmir from the country. He said this was amply proved from the report of the Kashmir Study Group prepared in the USA which had the blessings of the Prime Minister’s party. He claimed that under the plan, a decision had been taken to trifurcate the present-day Jammu and Kashmir into Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh areas. He said in real terms this meant the abandonment of the Kashmir valley.

Admiral Bhagwat also alleged that the BJP government was going in for questionable defence deals. He said instead of modernising the T-72 tanks, as had been suggested, at a nominal cost, the government had decided to purchase new T-90 tanks. He said the very decision to purchase the tanks was not based on ground reality as the tanks had still not been commissioned in the Russian army. He said while it cost Rs 2.50 crore to modernise each tank, the government was going in for new tanks at the cost of Rs 12.5 crore each.

Earlier, state coordinators of the programme — senior leader Sant Ram Singla and MP Praneet Kaur also spoke on the occasion. Mr Singla disclosed that the Punjab Congress had, under the leadership of Capt Amarinder Singh, already held dharnas at the block and district level on the Tehelka issue.

He said now a great responsibility lay on the delegates of the various states, including Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi and Uttaranchal to carry the message from this camp to their native states and to organise such training camps at the block and district level in their states.

Among those who attended the camp were the AICC Secretary, Major Dalbir Singh, the AICC coordinator, Dr D.N. Balodhi, and Punjab Mahila Congress President Gurkanwal Kaur.


Khalsa Panchayat wants Talwandi to resign
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
The Khalsa Panchayat, Chandigarh, has urged the President of the SGPC, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, to resign. The panchayat, an umbrella organisation of various Sikh religious bodies, said Mr Talwandi had no right to continue as President of the apex religious body of Sikhs as he had failed to enforce the Sikh “maryada” approved by the SGPC and Akal Takht for Sikh religious places.

Panchayat members said instead of stopping certain organisations from violating the maryada, Mr Talwandi accepted the resignation of Mr Man Singh, Head Granthi of Takht Damdama Sahib, who had opposed the violation of “maryada” at Gurdwara Damdama Sahib.

Mr Rajinder Singh, convener of the panchayat, said as head of the SGPC, it was the primary duty of Mr Talwandi to enforce “maryada” in religious places managed by the SGPC.

Urging him to reinstall Mr Man Singh, they said the SGPC chief should ensure that no organisation acted against “maryada”.


‘Revive history research board’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
The Institute of Sikh Studies has urged the SGPC to revive the History Research Board to decide on the disposal of any handwritten or other birs and also preserve documents, manuscripts, etc, and act as a watchdog for any further publications.

It was suggested that a separate complex be earmarked to preserve and maintain documents and manuscripts of historical value. Micro-filming of such papers should also be undertaken. The SGPC should see to it that no handwritten bir, manuscript or other paper of historical value was destroyed or discarded without the scrutiny and approval of the research board.


Resentment among pensioners
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
The Punjab Government Pensioners’ Association today regretted that the state government had not so far honoured its commitment of giving old-age allowance to Punjab pensioners on attaining the age of 65.

A press note issued by Mr Yash Paul Ghai, additional general secretary of the association, said the announcement in this regard was made by the Punjab Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, on April 25 at the state- level pensioners’ convention held at Fatehgarh Sahib.

Mrs Satwant Kaur Sandhu, Punjab Minister for Pensioners’ Welfare, also addressed the convention and advocated the pensioners’ case. Although more than two months have gone by, the government has not issued a notification so far. As many as 1.5 lakh pensioners of Punjab were feeling unhappy over the attitude of the government, the press note said.


Copies of Hindi daily burnt
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, June 26
Members of the Malta Boat Tragedy Probe Mission burnt copies of Dainik Jagran, a Hindi daily, at the Phagwara road here today to protest against a report published in the newspaper.

Mr Jagdish Singh, secretary of the district unit of Janata Dal, said in a press note that the mission had released a list of 102 drowned, missing victims of the Malta Boat tragedy a few days ago which was published by Dainik Jagran declaring all of them dead. He said the paper had also published baseless charges levelled against the office-bearers of the mission. Mr Balwant Singh Khera, Chairman of the probe mission, refuted all allegations levelled against him. The mission had received photographs of wrecked ship and articles on this tragedy which would soon be released to the Press, he added.


Pace of development irks residents
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 26
Residents of the Urban Estate, Phase III, today expressed concern regarding the slow pace of development work by PUDA to Dr Upinderjit Kaur, Housing and Urban Development Minister, when she came here to inaugurate a community centre and an administrative block.

The Urban Estate Welfare Association claimed that the Urban Estate lacked a health centre and a sports complex. Mr R.K. Sharma, president of the association, said a sports complex could be provided in the Urban Estate, Phase I, which was currently called Desehra Ground.

The Urban Estate Phase I (West) Residents Welfare Association pleaded that the PSEB should be requested to establish a separate substation in the Urban Estate. President B.S. Gill and Secretary P.M. Sharma said that for the present, Phase I should be connected to the urban feeder. They lamented frequent tripping of power and undeclared power cuts.

The citizens complained that Phase I did not have entry roads, green belts and drainage system. They said the entry road from the highway had been encroached upon by shopkeepers and PUDA had taken no action in this regard.

They added that the various entry roads and pavements of the new shopping complex were in bad shape. They claimed that the repair work of road cuts once undertaken by PUDA again required additional repair.


Govt decision to work against SCs
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 26
Mr Malkit Singh general secretary of the district unit of the Gazetted and Non-Gazetted SC/BC Employees Federation, has said that decision of the government in which it has said that no SC/BC student who did not secure 40 per cent marks in the pre-medical entrance test (PMET) would be given admission in Medical Colleges of Punjab was against the interests of the poor.

In a press note issued here today, he said earlier the students of the SC and BC communities who had appeared in the PMET were eligible for getting admission to medical colleges as there was no restriction as far as the marks obtained in the test was concerned. He said a number of students belonging to these communities would be barred from pursuing the medical profession.

He said the decision of the government was not opposed by any political party which showed that politicians only talked about protecting the interests of the Scheduled Castes but were not serious about it. He urged the government to revert the decision taken by it. 


City lacks civic amenities
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 26
The city which reportedly is soon going to have the fifth municipal corporation of the state is suffering due to the lack of civic amenities.

Water stagnates in the low-lying areas and the high altitude areas suffer from shortage of drinking water. Stray animals, particularly pigs, are also a nuisance. These are usually left free in the city to feed on garbage.

Except for the VIP areas of the city, streets are strewn with heaps of rubbish. The sanitary and sewerage systems are inefficient. The problem of stray animals is prevalent in the newly developed colonies also.

Civic amenities are almost non-existent even in the areas which have come up recently.

Residents of the North Estate area in the city alleged that their locality had been neglected. Roads had not been developed and lighting in streets was poor.

A resident pointed out that the local MP had given a Rs 4 lakh grant for laying sewerage system but the work had not been started yet, he alleged.

Mr Shiv Kumar Mittal, executive officer of the municipal council, when contacted, said the grant was received before he had joined the office.

On the poor state of sewerage he said not all areas of the colony could have the facility as without proper water supply it would not work.

The council would start laying sewers and water supply pipes in the coming months, he added.


Chemists warned against selling Schedule-H drugs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
The Ropar District Health authorities have warned chemists selling Schedule - H drugs without prescription.

Chandigarh Tribune had higlighted indiscriminate selling of injections and tablets used by drug addicts by various chemists in the periphery of Chandigarh, including SAS Nagar. Raids were carried out on chemist shops in Mullanpur-Garibdas and Nayagaon villages. Huge quantity of such drugs were reportedly recovered from 14 shops.

At a meeting of office-bearers of the Ropar District Chemists Association here yesterday, Civil Surgeon of Ropar issued warnings to the erring chemists of serious action. The general secretary of the association had assured the Administration that the association would try to stop drug abuse.


No vehicle, yet challaned

Sangrur, June 26
Ever received a police challan for alleged violation of traffic rules on a vehicle you did not possess ?

A Sunam resident, Mr Dara Singh, was perplexed when he reportedly received summons from the Chandigarh police regarding violation of traffic rules in the union territory on December 17, 1999, pertaining to his scooter bearing registration number PB-44A-4142. The amusing part of the tale is that he did not possess a scooter at that time. An ex-serviceman who lost both his legs while defending the country’s borders, he purchased a scooter only on February 23 last year from a dealer in Sunam, near here. UNI


Probe levy rice ‘scandal’: Cong
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
The Agriculture Committee (AC) of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) has sought a CBI inquiry into an alleged scandal in the purchase of levy rice in the state.

Mr Sukhpal Singh Khaira, convener of the committee, said that the official procurement agencies were directed by the state government not to procure the common variety (IR-8) during the last paddy season. Following the government direction, there was distress sale of this variety as it was bought by rice millers at a rate which was much lower than the minimum support price (MSP).

However, the government authorities had accepted the rice prepared from this variety by millers at Rs 902 per quintal. He said that in connivance with the authorities, the millers had minted money by paying less to farmers but getting the full levy price from the government. In Kapurthala district, about 35,529 tonnes of levy rice prepared from the common variety had been procured by the government authorities.

He said this scandal involved several hundred crores of rupees and required to be investigated by the CBI. The AC, which met here, passed a resolution demanding such an inquiry.

Meanwhile, the AC has rejected the proposed recommendation of the Commission for Agriculture Costs and Prices to increase by Rs 10 per quintal the MSP of paddy this year. Mr Khaira said that the MSP should be fixed at Rs 700 per quintal. The AC also urged the scrapping of the draconian laws enforceable for the recovery of loans from farmers. The AC rejected the compensation being given to farmers for the paddy which was damaged last year. It said that the compensation was insignificant. The Badal government had promised to give a total of Rs 350 crore as compensation but now this amount had been slashed to Rs 100 crore.

Taking up the WTO issue, the AC stated that if the Punjab Chief Minister was honest to farmers of the state, he should make the Vajpayee government withdraw from the WTO agreement. Otherwise, the Chief Minister had no right to issue statements with regard to the dangers of the WTO.

The AC warned of a statewide agitation if the Union Government tried to merge Grade-A paddy with the common variety and withdraw the MSP in the case of Grade-A paddy. Mr Khaira said that if the Congress formed the government in Punjab, it would continue the facility of free power and water to farmers.


Put up complaint boxes, DC tells officials
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, June 26
Mr S.R. Ladhar, Deputy Commissioner, has instructed all district and field officials to put up complaint boxes in front of their offices to enable people to write to them in connection with their grievances by putting it in the boxes.

Mr Ladhar, in a press note here today, said that all district and field officers had been instructed to solve problems of the people quickly. He added that they had also been asked to bring complaints of public to the notice of senior officials.

He added that officials had been asked to implement the decisions taken at the ‘Sangat Darshan’ at the earliest and expedite the development works.

All heads of departments had been instructed to be present in the ‘Sangat Darshan’. If any head was having some emergency work outside the district, the officer junior to the head would be present in the ‘Sangat Darshan’. All officials should be courteous towards the public. All complaint brought in the ‘Sangat Darshans’ be solved within 15 days.

The district officials had also been told to use funds being released at the “Sangat Darshans” as per the guidelines issued by the Chief Secretary.

Mr Ladhar said that such steps would make the administration more responsive towards the problems of common people and a strong bridge would be built between administration and people.


Sodhi is chief of Advisory Board
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
Amending four notifications issued by the Department of Home Affairs and Justice, the Punjab Governor has appointed Mr Justice N.K. Sodhi of the Punjab and Haryana High Court as Chairman of Punjab Advisory Board. Mr Justice Sodhi has been appointed in place of Mr Justice R.S. Mongia, who was recently elevated as the Chief Justice of the Guwahati High Court.


Illegal liquor vends in Patiala
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 26
Illegal liquor vends are thriving in the city with various kinds of shops being taken over by local liquor contractors to sell liquor without permission from the Excise Department, which is oblivious to the development.

Liquor contractors are using a myriad of small shops and even a shop of a cement stockist to sell liquor. All these shops are functioning as subvends of the contractor in areas where the main vend is a little far away from a section of the city’s population. However, such contractors are not paying anything to the Excise Department for opening these “sub vends” nor have they taken permission for the purpose.

The liquor contractors of the city, who had earlier formed a syndicate to form a pool so that liquor prices in the entire city could be uniform (read increased), are also selling liquor through mobile vends in the shape of vehicles in slums of the city. Villages too have not escaped their attention with illegal vends being opened there.

A quick survey of the city revealed that illegal liquor vends were running at several places. The most glaring example was one such vend functioning from the premises of a cement and marble shop. While the exterior of the shop states that it is selling cement and marble, liquor has been kept in a line right at the door-step of the shop for sale with several cases of liquor stocked nearby. In a corner, the only sign for the discerning that the shop was selling liquor was the painting of a rate list of various qualities on one of the pillars in front of the shop. The shop was doing brisk business in the evening when the check was conducted.

Liquor was also being sold openly from a small shop at the Gol Gappa chowk in Tripuri. People said liquor was being sold from the shop despite the fact that there was a completely residential area all around it. No board or sign proclaimed that the shop was a licensed subvend. The practice was prevalent in villages also, with the panchayat of Khudda village near here complaining against the opening of an illegal liquor vend in their village. Village sarpanch Gurmail Singh said the liquor vend was doing business despite the fact that complaints had been submitted in this regard to the Excise Department and the village panchayat had also moved a resolution, calling for the removal of the vend from the village.

Sources disclosed that even as the Excise Department was being robbed of revenue by the contractors who were running vends illegally instead of taking special permission for opening subvends which would cost them around Rs 20,000 per subvend, they were actively engaged in stopping smuggling of liquor into the city along with officials of the Excise Department. They said in this manner while the contractors sold liquor freely in the city without permission through the illegal vends, small-time smugglers were booked regularly for smuggling in even a few bottles of the liquor.

Senior Excise Department officials, when contacted, were tight-lipped on the issue and said they would check out on the developments. Department sources said no official permission had been given for opening of any subvends in the city and that some subvends had been allowed in the border areas of the district to tackle the menace of smuggling from other districts and Haryana into Patiala. They also expressed helplessness at the creation of a syndicate due to which liquor prices had increased in the city though the Excise Department had claimed that it was working against the formation of syndicates.


Three booked for smuggling
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 26
The police has registered two cases against three persons allegedly involved in the smuggling of the narcotics and has recovered 54 kg of poppy husk. It has also impounded a jeep allegedly used for the purpose.

Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, SSP, in a press note here said, today that at a naka near Kotha Guru village in the district the police stopped a jeep for checking. He said that during the search of the vehicle 40 kg of poppy husk was found from it. He said that the police arrested two of the three occupants of the jeep while the third one fled.

Dr Jain said that a case under Section 15, 61, 85 of the NDPS Act was registered against the culprits at Dayalpura police station. He said that those arrested have been identified as Balwant Singh and Beant Singh of Sireawala village and the third, who absconded was Gurcharan Singh of the same village.

He said that the vehicle used in the crime has also been seized. He added that search for Gurcharan Singh has started and he would be arrested soon. Ranjit Singh of Burj Kahnsingwala has been arrested for possessing 14 kg of poppy husk from near the Katar Singhwala village. A case has been registered against him by the Sadar police station.


Woman jumps before train, killed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 26
A migrant labourer, Usha Rani (27) allegedly committed suicide today by jumping before a train along with her three children near Gurdwara Dukh Niwaran Sahib. Two children, both girls, had a miraculous escape as they suffered minor injuries. Her only son was admitted in critical condition at the CMC hospital. 

Doctors attending on him said his one arm and one leg had to be amputated. The two girls, one of them only month old and the other three years’ old, were discharged after treatment.


Cops held
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, June 26
Two cops, Satnam Singh and Karnail Singh, have been arrested, suspended and sent to Police Lines, Kapurthala, for dereliction of duty, it was learnt today. They were booked under Sections 223 and 224, IPC.


PCCTU ultimatum to Punjab Govt
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, June 26
The Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) today served an ultimatum on the Punjab Government to either solve various issues exercising the mind of 6,000 teachers working in 170 non-government colleges by July 15 or face a protracted agitation for which a calendar of struggle was released to newspersons by Prof Jaspal Singh Randhawa, general secretary of the PCCTU.

The union also served another ultimatum on the college authorities of Dev Samaj College for Women, Ferozepore, to either reinstate Prof Harbans Kaur of the college by July 7 or face statewide agitation against the repressive and anti-teacher measures of the college management and the Principal, warned Professor Randhawa.

The union also decided to appeal to the Managements Federation, the Principals Association, the Non-Teaching Employees Union, student organisations and different political and social bodies to support the cause of higher education.

Releasing the time table of the six-phased struggle for July and August, Professor Randhawa disclosed today that teachers would wear black badges during days of admission i.e. with effect from July 2 to July 7. Teachers will observe stay-in-strike on July 16, 18, 20 after first three periods and organise campus rallies and dharnas to educate students about anti-higher education policies of the government, continued Professor Randhawa.

Under the third phase, zonal rallies would be held at Jalandhar on July 3 at Muktsar on August and at Patiala on August 3.

The state-level protest in support of Prof Harbans Kaur would be observed on August 10 in the form of a stay-in strike, disclosed Professor Randhawa.

On AIFUCTO’s call, college teachers would join national strike on July 25 against privatisation of defence-related industries to express solidarity with central government employees, he said. Under the sixth phase, teachers would join protest dharna in front of the UGC office at New Delhi from August 6 to 10, he continued. The executive committee of the union would meet on August 15, at GTB College, Dakha, to review the situation and decide the date of a massive rally in the constituency of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to be held in the last week of August. Besides, the teachers would also march to the assembly during the monsoon session for which a date would be decided later, he said.

The executive committee meeting at Ferozepore held on June 23 with Prof K.B.S. Sodhi in the chair took notice of the continued dilly-dallying methods of the Punjab Government in implementing the already accepted demands, particularly with regard to pension-cum-gratuity scheme, despite repeated ministerial and bureaucratic assurances, disclosed Professor Randhawa.


Elementary teachers to continue fast
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 26
Mr Jaswinder Singh, district president of the Unemployed Elementary Teachers Union, in a press note issued here today said the union would continue the fast unto death started at Chandigarh to get its demands fulfilled.

He alleged that the Education Minister was making false statements that the government was recruiting teachers in Punjab soon. 


Sainik board to run computer classes
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, June 26
The District Sainik Welfare Board will impart O-level computer education to the wards of ex-servicemen and weaker sections of society at a concessional fee of Rs 4,200 per year at the Sainik Institute of Stenography and Computer Education here. The duration of the course will be one year and classes will be held for six hours everyday. As many as 22 students have already been admitted against a total of 40 seats.

Mr Daljeet Singh Brar, Deputy Director, Sainik Welfare Board, said the fee would be charged in four instalments to make it affordable for the students. He said if candidates from the above said categories were not available, seats would be given to other categories. The candidates must have the minimum educational qualification of plus two grade.

The classes will start from July 1.


Malfunctioning of ATM
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 26
A Special Correspondent of an English national daily, in a complaint, has drawn attention to the malfunctioning of the ATM system of the Bank of Punjab. He claimed to have lost Rs 10,000.

In his complaint, he has stated that in the past two attempts to draw the same amount using the ATM facility on May 15, the transactions were not carried out.

Even the complaint to the officials concerned elicited no response, who instead said that he had withdrawn the specified amount. However, Mr Gulzar Singh, branch Manager of the Bank of Punjab, said the complaint was being processed. He said there was only 1 per cent chance of malfunctioning of the ATM which was a satellite link system.


Traders resent govt apathy, warn stir
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 26
Mr Ashok Garg, president of the Punjab Youth Beopar Mandal, today said here the state government was not paying attention towards the problems of the traders. He alleged that it was giving money only for the development of villages through “sangat darshan” programmes. In a press note issued here today, he said the demands of traders like ending the octroi and simplification of rules for getting permits.

He alleged that in the past four years the government had given a step-motherly treatment to businessmen of the state. He alleged that while power was given free of cost to the agricultural sector, the rates for the same had been increased manifold for the traders.

Mr Garg said resentment also prevailed among the traders regarding the attitude of the Opposition parties in the state. He said none of them had raised voice against the injustice done to the traders. He warned that if they were not given assurances that their demands would be fulfilled, they would start an agitation.


Protest in factory
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 26
Trade unionists today blocked the premises of a leading blanket manufacturing unit Swadeshi Koreatex at Batala bypass holding up a couple of containers with export blankets.

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