Saturday, June 30, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



No place for Zaffarwal, Chohan in SAD: Badal
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, June 29
Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister Punjab talking to reporters today after “sangat darshan” said that Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan and Wassan Singh Zaffarwal would not be admitted into the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal). They are rejected by the people and the SAD-(B) will not embrace them at all.

Mr Badal said that these persons were working at the instance of the Congress to create Hindu-Sikh divide. The SAD-BJP government was aware of their evil designs and would not allow anybody including the Congress to connive with terrorist outfits to create disturbance in Punjab and affect communal harmony in Punjab.

Mr Badal said that left to the Punjab Government and the central government Dr Chohan would not have been allowed entry into India as well as in Punjab. But it was the decision of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to grant him entry which the government at the Centre and the state respected in view of its respect for the judiciary. But if Dr Chohan choses to be anti-national, law will take its course.

Regarding unity among several Akali Dals, Mr Badal said that unity could not be had with so-called Panthic-parties who were out to defeat the SAD-BJP government in Punjab. Till there is unity of minds the SAD will not entertain any talk in this regard particularly against forces bent upon damaging the SAD-BJP alliance by siding with the Congress which he said was anti-Panthic and number one enemy of the SAD (B).

On the distribution of seats between the SAD and the BJP in coming Assembly polls. Badal said it was a non issue as at present the SAD-BJP alliance is inherent and lasting and strengthened Hindu-Sikh unity in Punjab. Distribution of seats among the alliance partners would be decided without any hindrance.

Mr Badal said that seven lift irrigation schemes for irrigation facilities to 8000 acres of agricultural land will be started at Ranjit Sagar Dam, a high-power committee comprising Secretary Irrigation, Secretary Rural Development and Secretary PWD (B&R) headed by him decided it at a meeting yesterday. First instalment of Rs 27 lakh had been released to initiate the work and the lift irrigation scheme will be functional in two months.

Mr Badal said that Ranjit Sagar Dam lake, which he considered more scenic than Dal Lake in Jammu and Kashmir and Nainital lake in Uttar Pradesh will be developed as a tourist resort and water sports centre. In this connection he said that he is in touch with Navy Chief and authorities of Institute of Water Sport Goa. The lake will be provided with house boats, five huts and one restaurant near the RSD lake for which Rs 50 lakh had been released.

Mr Badal said that a workshop for technical training will be set up at Shahpur Kandi. Trades will be decided later but recruit electricians, welders and plumbers.

Mr Badal said that he was aware of drinking water and irrigation water shortage in Dhar sub-division. He said that a lift irrigation scheme by laying of pipes will be started in pipe water from Ranjit Sagar Dam to Dalla in Dhar sub-division to provide drinking water in the area. The rest of the area of Dhar sub-division will be connected with Dalla by laying of pipe lines. Irrigation facilities which are a necessity of the area are being worked out and will be provided soon.

Mr Badal said that Punjab Government would provide one job to every family of employees who sacrificed their lives during the completion of Ranjit Sagar Dam. He announced one increment for the employees of Ranjit Sagar Dam who participated in the construction of Ranjit Sagar Dam. He ordered the withdrawal of recovery of arrears from retrench employees of Ranjit Sagar Dam.

Mr Badal said that Punjab Government would persuade the Centre to set up an airport at Chandigarh after fulfilling its demand to set up international airport at Amritsar and Pathankot for which foundation stone was being laid today by Mr Sharad Yadav, Union Minister of Civil Aviation.

Mr Badal announced a grant of Rs 1.10 crore for the 55 panchayats of Gurdaspur Assembly constituency and Rs 70 lakh for Municipal Committee Gurdaspur. Each panchayat getting grants will affix boards indicating the project for which the grants are being utilised for the sale of transparency.


‘Clear stand’ on Chohan’s return
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 29
Levelling serious allegations against the BJP leadership of being a mute spectator to the “militant homecoming show” being staged by its alliance partner SAD, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) has urged the BJP to clarify its stand before people of the state over the return of foreign-based militant leaders to Punjab.

The PPCC also alleged that the return of Wassan Singh Zaffarwal and Jagjit Singh Chohan was part of the SAD agenda to foment trouble in the state to get votes of the sympathisers of militants on the one hand to create a fear psychosis among people and on the other to make them vote for the SAD-BJP combine.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Jagjit Singh Chaudhary, Senior Vice-President of the PPCC, and Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly, alleged that the silence of the BJP leadership over the issue was an indication that it had given its consent to its alliance partner to facilitate the entry of top militant leaders so that they could be used in the forthcoming elections. He said the silence of the BJP over the development had created a paradoxical situation for those who had been taking it as a nationalist party, which had fought militancy during its hey day in the eighties and early nineties. “It has created confusion among people, who start thinking the BJP had shunned its ideology for the sake of votes and power,” said Mr Chaudhary.


Zaffarwal, Chohan’s arrival part of conspiracy: Cong
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, June 29
Return of Khalistani ideologue, Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan to India and recent drama of arrest of Khalistan Commando Force (KCF) Chief Wassan Singh Zaffarwal was part of a deep conspiracy to disturb peace in Punjab, if the SAD-BJP failed to regain power in the state. This was alleged by Chaudhary Jagjit Singh Leader of the Opposition in Punjab state Assembly while talking to mediapersons at the local PWD rest house here today. He said that after arriving in India Khalistani ideologue, Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan again repeated that he would continue his efforts for the formation of Khalistan on which Punjab and Central Governments remained silent and did not take action against him.

The Congress would not allow any one to disturb peace and harmony at any cost in the state. He said that Dr Chohan who declared Khalistan, issued its currency and passports and published regularly literature and brochures in support of his “self-styled Kingdom in exile” in the past should be arrested to avoid complication the Congress would oppose militants and anti-national forces in all respects. He pointed out that all leaders of the SAD had links with terrorists who ruined the state in the past.

Referring to appointments of office-bearers in the PPCC recently Choudhary Jagjit Singh said that due representation had been given to all sections and factions in it, which had satisfied all Congress leaders and party workers. He said that people of Punjab were fed up with the corrupt rule of the SAD-BJP government. The wave in favour of the Congress had stared in the state. To prepare party manifesto for the forthcoming elections of state Assembly, the PPCC had set up 14 sub committees. After getting their recommendations, the party manifesto would be finalised. However, it had already decided to abolish octroi, free electricity to those living below the poverty line and end “inspectors raj” in state, if it came to power.

He said that people of Punjab especially Schedule Castes and Backward Classes had given big response to the Congress in its recent rallies at Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Bathinda. A big rally of the SC and the BC would also be organised on July 15 in Hoshiarpur.

He said that 1,000 vacancies of clerks had been advertised in the state by the SAD-BJP government keeping in view the ensuing elections of Punjab. The Deputy Commissioner had been empowered to make recruitments for the same in their respective districts. He apprehended that selection of these clerks would be done purely on the recommendations of SAD-BJP leaders. He said that all tactics of Mr Parkash Singh Badal to come to power again would remain fruitless as people of state had made up their mind to dethrone the Badal government.

Later, Mr Jagjit Singh along with Mr Ram Rattan newly appointed President of the District Congress Committee and senior Congress leaders of the district went to the district Congress office. In a big function there Mr Jagjit Singh installed Mr Ram Rattan as President.

After coming from England, the recent outburst of Khalistan ideologue Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan that he would continue to pursue his movement for ‘Khalistan’ would endanger hard-earned peace, communal harmony in Punjab, said Mr Charanjit Singh Channi, member of Parliament from Hoshiarpur.

In a press statement from his office here today Mr Channi demanded immediate arrest of Dr Chohan for the cases pending against him for sedition as he had hoisted the Khalistan flag on 2nd March, 1980 in Punjab and later on burnt copies of Constitution of Indian Union outside the building of Indian High Commissioner in the United Kingdom.

Mr Channi criticised the union and the state government for compromising attitude towards those responsible for instigating innocent Punjabi youths to adopt the path of violence for more than a decade in Punjab. He said that persons like Mr Jagjit Singh Chohan were more guilty and stringent action should be taken against them. He also stated that Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal was trying to play the Sikh card to win the forthcoming Assembly elections in Punjab and that was the reason of lenient view against Dr Chohan and Wassan Singh Jaffarwal KCF chief.


Chohan’s remarks evoke more protests
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 29
The pro-Khalistan remarks by Jagjit Singh Chohan after his return to the country almost two decades after exile, has evoked strong protest and sought for his immediate arrest.

The Chairman of the All-India Anti-Terrorist Front (AIATF) Mr M.S. Bitta, today expressed apprehension over Chohan’s open espousal of the separatist cause on his return and demanded his immediate arrest.

The activists of the National Akali Dal held a demonstration in the Capital to demand Chohan’s arrest.

The Delhi unit of the Shiv Sena has also expressed concern over the permission granted to Chohan to arrive in the country and demanded trial for his anti-national activities.

In a memorandum to President K.R. Narayanan, Mr Bitta said “Chohan’s statements openly espousing the cause of Khalistan prove that long years of separation from his roots have not dimmed his passion for separatist ideology”.

He sought President’s intervention for Chohan’s immediate arrest and trial for providing leadership to acts of terrorism while propagating a separatist movement in Punjab.

“Allowing him to roam freely even after committing sedition will encourage other separatist leaders in exile to return and regroup, endangering the security and integrity of the country,” the memorandum said.

Describing his presence in Punjab as a “danger to peace” in the state, Mr Bitta said, “his Khalistani ideologies may revive and once again disturb the peaceful atmosphere in Punjab”.

The memorandum urged the government to impose immediate curbs on Chohan to prevent him from organising movements and demanded a ban on all pro-Khalistan activities in the country.


Can cases against Chohan be reopened?
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 29
When Satnam Singh Paunta Sahib, vice-president of the Dal Khalsa, a hijacker, entered India clandestinely in July 22, 1999, by using the Nepal route, the intelligence agencies were caught unawares.

Paunta Sahib, who had landed at Kathmandu airport on fake travel documents, then adopted the land route to enter India and came directly to Punjab to meet his colleagues. He spent some days in Punjab to seek legal opinion before appearing in the court of Mr Sunita Dhingra, Sessions Judge, New Delhi, on August 9 along with his lawyer. The intelligence agencies continued to be in the dark till he declared in the court that he had already undergone 14 years’ sentence in Pakistan for hijacking the Indian Airlines plane on September 29, 1981, in protest against the arrest of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. He had pleaded that nobody could be punished twice for the same crime. He was acquitted after two months since no FIR was lodged in India against him.

Similarly, the entry of Wassan Singh Zaffarwal, self-styled chief of the Khalistan Commando Force, in India on April 12 on fake travel documents had also shown the failure of intelligence agencies. Though The Tribune had published a news item about the probability of the surrender of Zaffarwal much earlier, the intelligence agencies were unaware about the move.

Now, the entry of Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan, self-styled chief of the Council of Khalistan, though on legal travel documents has put the Punjab Government in a spot. The government finds itself in a dilemma over whether to revive the old cases lodged against Dr Chohan or not.

According to sources, three cases were filed against him at kotwali police station in 1981 and 1983 when he had already left for England. The first case (FIR number 311) was lodged on November 24, 1981, under the Unlawful Activities Act. The second case was also lodged in the kotwali on April 18, 1983, on the basis of the report of the Inspector-General of Police, CID, Chandigarh (FIR number 168) under Section 13 of the unlawful Activities Act. The IG had reported that an FIR may be lodged against Dr Chohan on the basis of a report published in an English daily about the activities of the Council of Khalistan. The third FIR was lodged on August 29, 1983, (FIR 297) under Section 124-A of the IPC and the Unlawful Activities Act.

It was alleged that Mr Balbir Singh Sandhu, general secretary of the outlawed Council of Khalistan, was pursuing his activities on behalf of Dr Chohan from room number 32 of the SGPC, Guru Nanak Niwas.

The IG (CID) had reported that Mr Sandhu had given inflammatory statements against Akali leaders, including Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Mr Balwant Singh. Mr Sandhu (as per the FIR) had stated the Akali leaders were a hurdle in the way of Khalistan. It was also alleged that the Akali leaders were harming the cause of Khalistan due to vested interests. It was stated in the FIR that Mr Sandhu had claimed that Dr Chohan was pursuing the cause of Khalistan from a foreign land.

Some legal experts stated the cases which were filed as “untraceable” could not be revived. However, some senior police officials said cases could be reopened.

On January 26, Mr Balbir Singh Sandhu had released the Constitution of Khalistan on behalf of Dr Chohan from the Golden Temple premises. Dr Chohan had also installed radio transmitter in the Golden Temple premises before going back to England where he spent 21 years in self-imposed exile.

Political observers say if the Badal government failed to handle the case of Dr Chohan properly, it would adversely affect the SAD-BJP prospects in the forthcoming general assembly elections.


Chohan’s demand troubles Tarlochan
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 29
National Commission for Minorities Vice-Chairman Tarlochan Singh here expressed concern about Jagjit Singh Chohan reiterating his demand for “so-called Khalistan”, especially when the Sikh community at home and abroad have firmly rejected such moves. “Dr Chohan, who has been out of the country for more than 20 years appears to be unaware of the prevailing situation where the Sikh community after emerging from its travails and tribulation is looking up and doing well,” Mr Tarlochan Singh told the Tribune.

He emphasised that the Sikhs were not interested in a separate homeland or in any separatist movement. They were working for the strengthening the forces of unity. There was a democratically elected government of SAD in Punjab and the Sikh community was pursuing its religious and cultural traditions without any hindrance.

In this context he maintained that influential members of the Sikh community residing abroad had also reversed their views on Khalistan after making trips to their homeland. They welcomed the overall approach and well being of the Sikhs in an atmosphere of harmony coupled with development.


Curb Chohan’s activities, says Singla
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 29
Senior Congress leader and Punjab Pradesh Congress media committee chairman Sant Ram Singla today urged the Central government to stop Khalistan protagonist Jagjit Singh Chohan from pursuing his separatist activities in the country, claiming he had re-entered the country with an intention to try to disintegrate it.

Disclosing this here, Mr Singla urged the government to take serious note of the utterances of the separatist leader after he returned back to the country recently after a period of 21 years. He said if the Centre did not take action immediately, Mr Chohan would continue to work towards separating Punjab from the country.

He said the recent statement of Mr Chohan that he would continue to pursue the movement for Khalistan in a peaceful manner, was bereft with serious ramifications for the unity and integrity of the country and could pose a serious danger to communal harmony and hard-earned peace in which thousands of lives were lost at the hands of militants.

The former MP said Mr Chohan’s claim that he now wanted to live and die in Punjab did not appear to be a change of heart. He said the statement should not be taken at face value. He said Mr Chohan’s claim that he had not committed any crime in India was also baseless. He said in fact Mr Chohan should answer whether he was responsible or not for instigating thousands of boys from the ranks of militants to commit a heinous crimes and disturbing peace in Punjab.


Leading fruit grower murdered
Our Correspondent

Abohar, June 29
A petrol filling station was looted and a leading fruit grower murdered on two different national highways under the Khuiyansarwer police station area in this subdivision on Thursday night, sources said on Friday.

Three armed persons reportedly visited Juneja Filling Station at Khuiyansarwer village at about 9.30 p.m. and deprived cashier Vineet Kumar of Rs 74,000 while threatening to kill all those present there. The proprietor, Mr Ramesh Chander Juneja, who was about to leave for his hometown, Abohar, in his Maruti car, had a providential escape as the suspects tried to target him but he sped away in the car, sources said.

Sources told this correspondent today the rural branches of the nationalised banks had been charging bank draft rate more than urban branches therefore the employees or the proprietors had to take the risk of bringing the sale proceeds to Abohar daily to get bank drafts issued in favour of the companies. The rural branches of the Cooperative Bank had not provided the facility of issuing commercial drafts so far.

Petrol and diesel filling stations had in the past been looted on all highways including the Abohar-Hanumangarh road, the Abohar-Sri Ganganagar road and the Abohar-Fazilka road. The suspects had twice shot at the employees who tried to resist the robbery attempt. Similar incidents occurred recently near Banwala and Ghallu villages on Abohar-Fazilka Road, a part of National Highway 10.

Khuiyansarwer is the biggest village on the Abohar-Sri Ganganagar road . The government had announced it would be given the status of sub-tehsil as per recommendations of the District Reorganisation Committee but implementation of the political decision was still awaited. The village had developed as a sub-township and provided link road to Panjkosi village, native village of former Lok Sabha Speaker Dr Bal Ram Jakhar. Two petrol filling stations, hotels, tea stalls, wine shop had been working round the clock near the crossing where last night’s incident happened.

DSP Gurmeet Singh Randhawa along with SHOs and heavy police force rushed to Khuiyansarwer village immediately on receiving the information and launched an operation to chase the suspects but sources said in the meanwhile information was received that leading fruit grower Sheopat Rai had been murdered at his farmhouse outside Nihalkhera village on the Abohar-Fazilka road.

Reports available here said three to four persons scaled the walls of the posh farmhouse owned by the award-winning fruit grower at about 9.30 p.m. They reportedly tried to attack the wife of the fruit grower but she gave the suspects a push and hid herself in the orchard area. When the Nepali servant, Bahadur, tried to resist the suspects they attacked him with knives. As Bahadur fell unconscious the suspects rushed to Mr Sheopat Rai’s room and brutally murdered him. Afterwards they apparently escaped comfortably. The family later informed the police.

Senior officers reached Nihalkhera at midnight and cordoned off the area. The dog squad and fingerprint experts today visited Khuiyansarwer and Nihalkhera villages. The police was still camping there. The body was today brought to the civil hospital. Bahadur was also got admitted to the hospital. His condition was described as stable but he looked terrified and was not able to give much information to the mediapersons.

Nihalkhera had emerged as the biggest fruit growing area in this district. All fruit growers had got their residences developed inside the orchards close to the main road. They had earned name in growing fruits which were earlier considered the monopoly of hilly areas only. Last night’s gruesome incident has sent shockwaves all over the subdivision. Gloom was writ on the faces of large residents of the sleepy village. Most of them belong to the Kumhar community.

DCC president and former minister Sajjan Kumar Jakhar today expressed shock over the two incidents. He expressed sympathies with the family of late Sheopat Rai and described him as a gentle and hardworking fruit grower who perhaps never had enmity with any person.

Both the incidents spoke of the increasing activities of unsocial elements in Abohar and the adjoining Fazilka area, which needed to be curbed with a heavy hand, he said. Dr Mohinder Rinwa, former MLA, visited the bereaved family and accompanied the body also. He condemned the incident and demanded that the culprits should be nabbed soon. Former Union Agriculture Minister Dr Bal Ram Jakhar said in a telephone call the gruesome murder of prominent fruit grower Sheopat Rai was shocking. Steps would have to be taken to check such unfortunate incidents. The farmers had lost a good friend and progressive farmer, he said.

Official sources said SSP Harchand Singh Sidhu was closely monitoring the situation and had issued necessary instructions to police officers in Abohar and Fazilka subdivision to ensure that elements responsible for both the incidents were identified and booked at the earliest. Mr Sidhu has asked the SHOs to further intensify night patrolling on the highways to prevent reoccurrence of such incidents.


Sharad Yadav lays stone of airport
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, June 29
The northern regions of the country lacked adequate aviation infrastructure Mr Sharad Yadav, Union Minister of Civil Aviation said this while addressing a rally at the Local Market Committee grounds after laying the foundation stone of Rs 34 crores Pathankot Civil Airport today.

Mr Yadav said existing operational infrastructure at the Pathankot Air Port was suitable for operation of B-737 Type of Aircraft. He said being a gateway to Jammu and Kashmir and picturesque valleys of Kangra and Chamba in Himachal Pradesh and centre of all activities related to Thein Dam at Shahpurkandi and other defence requirements of this sensitive region, there was a pressing requirements for the promotion of civil aviation activities. Mr Yadav disclosed that 12 airports had been developed as model airports and more airports had been identified to be developed as model airports. These airports shall have all facilities and operational infrastructure for the operation of Jet aircrafts.

Mr Chaman Lal Gupta, Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation, addressing the rally said Pathankot due to its strategic location was a lifeline for the defence of the country.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister promised to develop the Thein Dam lake as one of the beautiful tourist place of the country.

Prof Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister, Himachal Pradesh while addressing the rally said there had been a steady growth of tourism in the state during the last five years. He said we should recognise the crucial role that tourism can play in catalysing the economy.

Mr Shanta Kumar, Union Minister for Public Distribution and Consumer Affairs, said air passengers bound for tourist destination in Himachal Pradesh would now be routed through the Pathankot airport. Mr Shanta Kumar said the Airport Authority of India had installed instrument landing system (ILS) at almost all Airports where jet aircraft operations were taking place.

The Rally was also addressed by Mr Mohan Lal, Minister for Higher Education, Punjab, Raja Narinder Singh Minister of Public Health and Civil Aviation, Mr Sat Pal Saini, Minister for Information and Technology, Mr Kirpal Parmer, MP and others.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal presented the Siropa to Mr D.V. Gupta, Chairman, Airport Authority of India, Mr Sharad Yadav, Mr Chaman Lal Gupta, Mr Shanta Kumar, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, Mr Rakesh Pathania, MLA, Nurpur, Mr Des Raj, MLA Himachal Pradesh and others.

Mr Vinod Khanna, MP, Mr Jagdish Sahni, MLA, Mr Kartar Singh Pahra, MLA, Mr Ram Lal, MLA, Ms Roop Rani, MLA, Mr Anil Vasudeva, Member BJP Executive, Mr Kulbir Singh Sidhu, Deputy commissioner, Gurdaspur, Mr Sukhdev Singh, SSP Gurdaspur, Mr K.K. Garg, SDM, Pathankot and other dignitaries were also present at the function.


Punjab school board results
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, June 29
Securing 87.55 per cent marks, Arti Puri of APJ College of Fine Arts, Jalandhar, has topped in the humanities group of the Senior Secondary School level examination of the Punjab School Education Board, whose results were declared here this evening. Anu, a student of Modern Senior Secondary School, Patiala has secured the second position by securing 87.11 per cent marks.

The third position in the humanities group is shared by Jagmohan Kaur of SD Senior Secondary School, Hoshiarpur, and Swati Singh of BCM Senior Secondary School, Focal Point, Ludhiana — both securing 86.66 per cent marks.

Of the total 1,46,134 regular candidates who appeared in the humanities stream, 73,541 have been declared pass. The controller of the examination said of the total 46394 private candidates who appeared in the examination, 20, 058 were declared pass. The pass percentage of regular candidates was 73.73 per cent and for private candidates 43.23 per cent. The combined pass percentage of the regular and private candidates was 64.05 per cent.

In the vocational group, Hardeep Kaur of Government Senior Secondary School, Dakha, Ludhiana, bagged the first position by securing 86 per cent marks. Charanjeet Kaur and Amanpreet Kaur, both students of Government Senior Secondary School, SAS Nagar, have been placed second and third by securing 85.11 per cent and 84 per cent marks, respectively. Of the total 5640 candidates who appeared in the vocational stream, at least 4172 were declared pass. The pass percentage in the stream was 73.97 per cent.

The Controller said the gazette of the result would be available at the district Text book depots tomorrow. The result can also be seen at the following websites:; www

The roll number/ marks of the first 50 candidates in the merit of the humanities group are as follows.

Arti Puri (285517/394), Anu (390135/392), Jagmohan Kaur (263262/390), Swati Singh (363101/390), Tejinder Kaur (371808/385), Vandana Lambha (299505/384), Mamta Rani (327374/383), Kuljeet Kaur( 373023/383), Sarita Arora (263294/382), Vishal Narural (336146/382), Dimpi ( 351719/382), Anju Bala (371781/380), Nisha Sharma (405576/380), Roppinder Deep Rattan ( 415563/380), Nidhi Ahuja (371816/379), Sanjeet Kaur (277816/377), Sapna ( 304119/377), Preeti (351716/376), Kuljeet Kaur (244288/375), Manjeet Kaur (288354/375), Mandeep Kaur (331909/375), Gurpreet Singh (367655/375), Shama ( 331944/374), Amandeep (336141/374), Sheenu (191205/373), Simranjot Kaur Randhawa (243753/373), Sumeet Aulakh ( 254255/373), Anand Bajaj (284416/373), Anju Bala (331888/373), Meenakshi (336136/373), Sonia Walia (405548/373), Seema Rani (412444/373), Deepak Kumar (323521/372), Manminder Singh (331964/372), Meenu ( 351737/372), Rohini Goel ( 371852/372), Gurdeep Kaur (412435/372), Karamjeet Kaur (331906/371), Jagmeet Kaur (336224/371), Pankaj (351729/371), Harpreet Kaur (299510/370), Sony (303733/370), Gurdas Singh (330887/370), Ravneet Bajaj (371838/370), Amita (405546/370), Kulwant Kaur (193728/369), Reenu Bala (303716/369), Preeti Garg (331921/369), Ashu Sachdeva (371783/369) and Jagdeep Kaur (371806/369).


Revolt in Nawanshahr dist Cong
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, June 29
A group of Congressmen has revolted against the decision of the Congress high command to change the president of the district unit with a view to uniting different factions.

The Congress high command has under its ‘unity move’, replaced Mr Tarlochan Singh Soond, acting district president and appointed Mr Kartar Singh Sekhon, a veteran Congress leader as district president, a few days ago.

But, supporters of Mr Parkash Singh, PPCC member and cousin of Congress MP from Hoshiarpur, Mr Charanjit Singh Channi led by Mr Tarlochan Singh Soond, former district president, Mr Dogar Ram Munim, Mr Dita Ram Maneja, former presidents of the Banga and Nawanshahr Municipal Councils respectively, Mr Kuldip Singh Rana, block president, at a meeting held at the residence of Mr Parkash Singh at nearby Sloh village on Wednesday, in the absence of Mr Parkash Singh, refused to accept Mr Sekhon as district president. They held Congress MP from Phillaur, Mrs Santosh Chaudhary responsible for creating factionalism in the Congress. They said they would meet PPCC President, Capt. Amarinder Singh, AICC general secretary and in charge of Punjab Congress affairs, Mr Moti Lal Vora and AICC, President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi against the decision.

On the other hand, Mr Kartar Singh Sekhon, at a hurriedly called press meeting here today at Punjab Mata Vidhyawati Bhavan, yesterday said that he would try his best to persuade all Congressmen to unite. He appealed the Congressmen to air their grievances at the party platform only and not media.

Mr Ram Kishan Kataria, former MLA, Mr Iqbal Singh, former PPCC member, Mr Balbir Singh Nagra, PPCC member, Mr Pakher Singh Nimana, former president of the district unit of the Congress, who were also present at the press meeting, termed the ‘revolt’ by supporters of Mr Parkash Singh as unfortunate and said that all Congressmen should obey the decision of party high command and work for strengthening the party.


‘Sangat darshan’ waste of public money: BSP chief
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 29
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) held a rally in the city today as part of their ongoing election preparation campaign in the state in which the party workers participated in large numbers.

The speakers at the rally were optimistic that they would form the next government in the state. They said that they would win the majority in the next Assembly in the state. They wanted that Bahujan Samaj Party would dominate Indian politics one day.

Mr Kanshi Ram, BSP chief addressing the gathering said that he was working for the establishment of the Bahujan Samaj in the country which would include all the down-trodden sections of the society.

He said that he should not be considered the leader of the Scheduled Castes only as he was willing to include the members of the backward classes and other weaker sections also in his party. He said that the Bahujan Samaj meant that there were more than one samaj (section) in the country and there should be unity among all these sections.

Mr Kanshi Ram said that his party would contest all seats in the coming elections in the state. He said that he would not make any alliance with the other political parties. He said that his party was capable of coming to power at its own.

Mr Kanshi Ram said that he would work for the welfare of the weaker sections which was the motive behind the formation of the BSP. He said that he was making best effort for making the life of the agricultural labourers better. He added that dharna was being held at Chandigarh in that direction. He said that tomorrow would be the closing day of the dharna.

Mr Kanshi Ram said that all political parties were using the dalits as vote bank and were least bothered about their welfare. He said that all political parties prepared manifestos in which various plans were drawn up for the betterment of the weaker sections. He said that although they did not have their own manifesto but they implemented the manifestos of the other parties which gave the benefits to the dalits.

Mr Kanshi Ram said that his party had firm footing in the states like Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and they would gain strength in Punjab also. He said that for the creation of the Bahujan Samaj in the state they would make all efforts.

He criticised the ‘sangat darshan’ programme held by Chief Minister, Punjab terming them as a step to woos the voters for getting the votes. He said that during these programmes the money was wasted for meaningless purposes.

Regarding the alliance with the other parties he said that he had not approached any party rather the leaders of the other parties were coming to him for getting his help. He said that the other leaders were confirming his view that one day the members of the Bahujan Samaj would rule the nation.

Mr Kanshi Ram said that although his party did not have money to distribute for buying the votes but his followers would vote for his candidates as his policies were in their favour. He said that people would not only give them votes but would also help them financially.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, Punjab was playing with fire to win the Assembly elections in the state by paving the way for the entry of Mr Jagjit Singh Chauhan, self styled president of Khalistan, to India.

Mr Kanshi Ram, BSP chief stated this here today while talking to the mediapersons, saying that it was not possible that Mr Badal was not aware of the coming of Mr Chauhan. He said that the arrival of Mr Chauhan had close relation with the coming Assembly elections in the state.

Mr Kanshi Ram said that there was every possibility that after the arrival of the terrorists in the state, they would disturb the peace here. He said that people of the state were forgetting terrorism but fear started emerging in their minds after the happenings in the past few months, when terrorists came here one after the other.

He said that peace and Mr Badal could not go together. He said that Mr Badal could do anything to come to power.

Mr Kanshi Ram alleged that Mr Badal had forgotten 25,000 people who were killed during the terrorism. He said that it was wrong on part of the political party to take the help of terrorist for political gain.


Lok Bhalai Party to contest 90 seats
Our Correspondent

Rampura Phul, June 29
The national President of the Lok Bhalai Party, Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, at a party rally here yesterday said that the party would release its election manifesto before July 15.

The party would contest election from the 90 Assembly constituencies and had, till date, announced the names of candidates for 12 constituencies, he said.

Mr Ramoowalia said the ill-framed policies of the state government were responsible for the worsening condition of the farm economy. He said the rural sector had been neglected by the successive governments.

Commenting on the tense relations of the farmers with the ahrtiyas in the region, he said cordial relations must be maintained between the two at all costs. The tension could have been averted if the government had intervened in time, he said.

Mr Ramoowalia criticising the SAD-BJP government, said for the past four-and-a-half years the ministers remained busy in corrupt practices and were now trying to woo the voters with the so-called ‘sangat darshans’ and distributing grants and relief cheques.

The previous governments had played the card of Hindu-Sikh unity but never given proper representation to the Hindus. The party would field as many as 40 Hindu candidates in the coming Assembly elections, he said.


Mayor refutes Cong charges
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, June 29
While refuting the allegations levelled by the Congress and BSP councillors that no development works were started in their respective wards in the past four years, the Mayor of the local municipal corporation, Mr Suresh Sehgal today asserted that development project worth Rs 93.48 crore were approved by the MC house and Rs 46.24 crore had already been spent on these projects during his tenure.

Mr Sehgal, addressing a press conference at his office here today, said contrary to the statements of the opposition councillors, who were misleading the residents of the city on development issue, projects worth Rs 38.42 crore and Rs 6 crore were approved on the demand of the Congress and the BSP councillors, respectively.

“These councillors are virtually least concerned about the welfare of the residents. Since elections to the state assembly are round the corner, opposition parties have started accusing the Akali-BJP alliance for neglecting development works in the city,” Mr Sehgal alleged.

“I have never adopted different yardsticks as far as development of the city is concerned which is evident from the fact that an amount of Rs 38.42 crore has been approved for development projects in the wards of the Congress councillors as compared to allotment of an amount of Rs 22.24 crore and Rs 14.51 crore in the wards of the BJP and Akali councillors, respectively in the past four years,” the Mayor added.

When asked about the delay in the completion of rest of the projects, the Mayor alleged that the Commissioner, Dr Roshan Sunkaria, was behind the move to bring bad repute to the state government.” Dr Sunkaria is creating hurdles by not inviting tenders for those works, which have already been approved by the MC house last year.


Harike beckons picnickers 

Harike (Tarn Taran), June 29
Harike, a village in Amritsar district situated on the national highway has come to be developed as the best picnic spot in north India. In 1992 the Punjab Government acquired 86 square kilometre area here and named it bird sanctuary to which the Punjab Forest and Wildlife Department has provided peaceful and secure atmosphere for migratory birds which come here from far-off places.

Now when the rainy season has set in people visit Harike wetland for pleasure and recreation. Here the Forest and Wildlife Department has set up an Orientation Centre in Wildlife office complex. The centre with photographic and pictorial display and audio-visual facility provides basic factual information to the visitors. Harike also houses headworks — place where two rivers Beas and Sutlej meet. The 636.12 metres long and 10.06 metres high barrage provides scenic beauty of the area to the visitors. Harike wetland in its vicinity has several gurdwaras like gurdwara Baoli Sahib and Rababsar Sahib. Famous religious place Ishar Dham is also located here where Sant Ishar Singh of Nanaksar Kaleranwale’s body was immersed on October 7, 1963. A large number of devotees gather here on April 13 every year. Sikh warrior general Sham Singh Attariwala, a close relative of Maharaja Ranjit Singh sacrificed his life here in a fight with the British forces. To pay tributes to this Sikh General a large number of people gather here on December 21, every year.

The Forest and Wildlife Department, Punjab, has created the post of a Divisional Forest Officer under whom more than 50 employees perform duty here. The department has provided six motor boats and five manual boats which are kept ready round the clock for sight seeing by visitors coming here. A watch-tower is erected in the middle of the river from where one can have a view of the scenic beauty of rivers and birds.

On the left a bundh from Nanaksar gurdwara to Makhu check-post provides a trail of 7 km. The watch-towers near burji No. 4, 13 and 20/21 provide bird-watching points from where one can view scenic beauty of the area. Water hyacinth had become a problem here threatening fresh water body. The Punjab Government with the help of Army launched operation ‘Sahyog’ on August 16, 2000 here. Eighty per cent of water hyacinth has been removed from the rivers and now water has been cleared of this problem. The place now is ready to receive visitors for picnic etc. The Harike gram panchayat has installed solar streetlight system here and Wildlife Department planted flower plants which add to the beauty of the place. All these things have made Harike a beautiful picnic spot.


Historic fern house continues to draw crowds
Anita Tayal

Patiala, June 29
The historic fern house here is still the centre of attraction for city people even after 100 years more than. Drains which still provide the perfect slope, earth which does not let water to accumulate. All this is working since princely days making the fern house situated in the Baradari Garden as vibrant as always.

Constructed in princely times, most probably by Maharaja Rajinder Singh, when he laid out the Baradari Gardens around his palace after shifting out of the historic Quila Mubarak, the fern house is unique not only from the view of its excellent maintenance but also for the variety of ferns planted in it.

The only addition has been use of sprinklers to create the unique climate needed for propagation of the unique ferns planted in the house, while earlier the fern house was watered manually. The rest of the house remains the same.

The shape and structure of the fern house is somewhat similar to the gardens of Calcutta as it was formed after Maharaja Rainder Singh paid a visit to the city of palaces during the end of 19th century. The area of the fern house is 0.08 kanal. The House comprises various species of plants, including palms, that were brought down from Calcutta to the city’s Baradari Gardens. Efforts were made by Maharaja Rajinder Singh to develop a personal garden for his comforts which today is partially open to the public.

Giving details of the fern house, Mr Vinod, Deputy Director, Department of Horticulture, said that there are also three entrances to the fern house. It comprises five tombs, out of which four are located in each corner, and the fifth one, which is much bigger in size, is placed on the side of the fourth gate.

In the four-cornered tombs of the house, there is a fountain in the middle of each and a fountain inside the fifth tomb. The side walls of these tombs are decorated with coloured glasses and sea shells.

Mr Vinod said that with the passage of time, the glasses had become detached from their original places, giving a rough look but still the house is a source of attraction for the city people. Apart from the five major fountains, 17 more small-sized fountains are installed inside the fern house at varied places to ease the availability of water to plants from different angles.

Fragrance climbers such as the famous Indica (Jhumka Bel) and Ticoma varieties have been raised that highlight the beauty of the house as well as protect the undergrown plants from direct sunlight. Most of the plants grown in the fern house are shade-loving plants.


CBI team in Amritsar to probe killing
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 29
A three-member Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) team was here today to probe the killing of bank manager Naresh Mahajan in his car on October 22, 1998 here.

The team comprising Mr R.C. Dogra, Mr Anil Chandola and Mr Jasjit Singh, inquired into the genuineness of “parallel banking” in banking circles as alleged to be the cause of murder of Naresh by the All-India Hindu Shiv Sena, President Surinder Kumar Billa here today. They also inquired into the “scale” of this kind of banking operation in Amritsar besides the facts of the case which were allegedly being tossed between Chandigarh and Amritsar and eight SPs have already been changed in the case.

According to Mr Billa the CBI was investigating the murder case following a letter by the Sena chief to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, to Mr Bimal Jalan, Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, Mr Prabhat Kumar Cabinet Secretary to President of India and Mr Jaswant Sinha, Union Finance Minister on March 15 this year. The letter was shown to Sena president by the CBI prior to the inquiry today claimed Mr Billa.

Mr Billa had written that the murder of Naresh Mahajan holds significance as its solving could expose the greater scandal of parallel banking existing here. He had alleged that nearly eight SPs were transferred who had tried to investigate the case. Later the case was handed over to crime branch, Chandigarh before finally being transferred back to Amritsar.

He said that “tremendous political pressure” was being exerted by influential industrialists of the city who reportedly had a hand in the murder.

Despite the possibility that Naresh himself could be involved in parallel banking racket, his family members Mr Banarasi Das Mahajan, Mr Satish Mahajan, father and brother respectively of the deceased sought an inquiry into the murder to expose the alleged racket. They had repeatedly written to the Prime Minister and to the Home Minister seeking the arrest of the culprits.

Social activists and MLA Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla had reportedly escorted the family members to two Governors and two Chief Ministers to address the case.

Mr Satya Pal Dang, veteran CPI leader too had tried to build public opinion against the police-politician nexus in shielding the alleged “influential” culprits, while the Sena president had accused the DGP Punjab of being insincere about the investigation.

They all had found the case meriting a CBI inquiry and had demanded so in several press statements.

Reportedly the CBI team is also making inquiries from police officials, bank officials.


Rescued pangolin taken to Chhat Bir
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, June 29
Officials of the Wildlife Department today took a rare mammal named pangolin, a scaly ant-eater, which had been rescued from Majitha to Chhat Bir Zoo in Chandigarh in the afternoon.

On a tip-off the team headed by Mr B.S. Gurm, Assistant Director, Wildlife, rescued the pangolin from a person who had taken it to his place when the mammal fell into a borewell being sunk by the Public Works Department.

The mammal, according to the Assistant Director, has been almost wiped out from North India and is mainly found in Africa and Asia. The adult pangolin grows up to one metre. This pangolin, however, according to Mr Gurm is young. Mr Gurm further said efforts were afoot to trace its parents in the nearby area from where it was recovered.

He said the animal was highly beneficial to farmers as it eats white ants and other harmful insects, subsequently helping to protect the crops.

Its biological name is “Manis Crassisadata” and it is protected under Schedule-I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Violation of the Act as in illegal possession is subject to severe penalties ranging from a fine of Rs 25,000 and imprisonment of up to six years. In some parts of the country this mammal is also believed to be killed for meat while its scales are used for some medicinal purpose, he added.

Mr Gurm has solicited public cooperation in protecting wildlife whereby eco systems could remain undisturbed and in complete harmony.


Baddowal bribery case: inquiry completed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 29
The enquiry into the Baddowal marriage palaces bribery case was completed today with the recording of the statement of the broker , who offered to obtain an NOC and restoration of power connection to a marriage palace — by the Chief Secretary, Mr N.K. Arora, here today.

Though the said broker was asked to appear before the Chief Secretary at Ludhiana on June 18, he could not do so as he was out of station on that day.

The Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had asked the Chief Secretary, to conduct an inquiry into allegations made by the owner of one of the marriage palaces that a bribe of Rs 20 lakh was demanded from the owner of a marriage palace for obtaining NOC and a regular power connection .

Mr Arora visited Ludhiana on June 18 and reportedly recorded statements of all important persons concerned. The broker, however, was not available.

“I would submit my report to the Chief Minister as I have recorded the statement of the broker now ,” he said maintaining that he would take a couple of days to complete his report.


Hepatitis-B claims one more life
Tribune News Service

Bargadi (Faridkot), June 29
Yet another human life has been claimed by hepatitis-B in this region on Wednesday leaving the people panicky over the spread of the disease in the region. Hepatitis-A and B has been claiming, human lives in this region for the past two years.

Daljeet Sharma, a youth of this village died at Guru Gobind Singh Medical College, Faridkot on Wednesday. He was suffering from hepatitis-B. After his death, a pall of gloom has descended in this village.

About two weeks ago, two children of migrant labourers working at a brick kiln at Kotshamir village of district Bathinda died of jaundice. In the past many months, hepatitis-B has claimed many human lives in Chauke village in Bathinda district.

Official sources said contaminated drinking water due to mixing of sewerage water with the potable water, uncleaned waterworks and use of previously used syringes by unqualified medical practitioners had become a major source of spreading of hepatitis-A and B. In the past months, hepatitis-A spread in the Malout area of Muktsar district and Mansa town. The problem of hepatitis-A also remained severe in Kotkapura town of Faridkot district .


AIDS workshop held for PRTC staff
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 29
The District AIDS Control Organisation held an AIDS awareness workshop at the PRTC workshop here today, to educate the employees of the PRTC about the dreaded disease.

Ms Raj Gupta, Chairperson of the organisation while addressing PRTC employees said AIDS was a behavioural disease and though it was 100 per cent preventable but was 0 per cent curable. Ever since the first AIDS case was reported in 1981 more than 220 lakh patients had died so far. Reports from the United Nations have indicated that if the number of AIDS patients continued to rise at the same rate, after about 20 years the annual death toll by the disease would cross the death toll of the World Wars. Avoiding risky sexual behaviour holds the key to the prevention of the disease. Over the past few years the number of drug addicts turning into AIDS patients had increased tremendously, she said.

Mr Rajinder Singh Sidhu, District Transport Officer, said all members of the society should share their responsibility to prevent the spread of the disease. Multiple sexual partners and uncertified blood transfusion should be avoided as these were the most common causes of the spread of disease. He lauded the roles of DACO on AIDS awareness campaigns.

Ms Anuradha Gupta, psychologist spoke at length about the ill effects of drug abuse.


Paucity of funds hits excavation
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 29
Paucity of funds with the Department of Cultural Affairs, Archaeology and Museums, Punjab, has hit excavation work drastically, which yielded ancient artefacts and some household items, at Chhat village, about 15 km from here. The work that would have yielded historical evidence has come to a standstill just after two and half a months due to lack of funds.

After digging soil up to 10 feet, the Archaeology Department had found ancient items relating to the 11th and 12th centuries which established the sleepy village’s relationship with the civilisation of Mughal Emperor Mohamad Gauri and Prithavi Raj Chauhan.

Highly placed sources in the department said the government had sanctioned Rs 2 lakh for excavation. The little that was received out of the sanctioned money was exhausted on purchasing new tools, stationery and other important containers to store the valuable artefacts.

The sources said the labourers were paid salaries for March from last year’s budget meant for the excavation work at Banda Bahadur Singh Gurdwara in the village. The remaining sanctioned amount has not been received by the department. The authorities were forced to suspend work as the money was exhausted after only one fourth of the excavation work was completed.

A similar problem was faced by the department last year while excavating about 600 square feet area within Banda Bahadur Singh Gurdwara of the village. After repairing some structures, chambers and other artefacts collected from the site over three months, the area was fenced by the department.

Hopes about the possibility of finding more ancient artefacts have been dashed to ground with the suspension of the excavation work.

Mr K.K. Rishi, Archaeology Officer, said items including stamps, bangles, Shivlings of quartzite stone and gray stone, certain semi-iron agricultural implements show their relation with the 11th and 12 centuries. The department has to excavate up to a depth of 60 feet at the site. He hopes that ancient structures and artifacts belonging to the Harappan civilisation could be yielded till this depth.

It may be recalled that the Punjab Governor, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), had paid a visit to the excavated sites on June 23 but neither the authorities of the Archaeological Department nor Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, DC, Patiala, informed the dignitary about the paucity of funds. The governor even announced that a museum will be set up for the artefacts in case yields in a large number.

Chhat village is the second village after Sanghol in Punjab, where ancient artifacts have been found.

Mr Inderjit Singh Sandhu, Director of the Department of Archaeology, Punjab, was not available for comments.


Workers stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 29
A large number of workers of G.I.S. Limited factory, situated at Akbarpur near Ahmedgarh, today staged a day-long dharna in front of the office of Assistant Labour Commissioner (ALC) here. They were led by Mr Dev Raj Verma, Joint Secretary of the Punjab unit of CITU.

The agitating workers protested against the functioning of the ALC on the plea that he had not made the GIS Limited Workers Union (affiliated to CITU) a party at the time of an agreement between the owners of the factory and the workers. They alleged that members of another union, which were not in majority had been included as a party and justice had not been done to the workers in that agreement.


ASI ‘beats up’ father
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 29
Mr Mukhi Ram of Bhasaur village near Dhuri yesterday alleged that his son, Ram Dass, an ASI in the wireless section at the local police line, had forced him to leave home after beating him up. Ram Dass had also grabbed his property, he alleged.

These allegations were levelled by Mr Mukhi Ram in a complaint handed over to the ADC, Sangrur, Mr G.K. Singh, at a weekly ‘sangat darshan’ programme here on Thursday.

Mr Mukhi Ram said his son had been troubling him for the past five years. Fearing danger to his life he had started staying with his daughter at Badrukhan village. He demanded protection to his life and property.

The ADC ordered the police to initiate action in the case.

As many as 25 grievances and representations were submitted as the ‘sangat darshan’, of which 18 were settled on the spot while remaining representations were forwarded to the departments concerned.


Blankets given to kusht ashram inmates
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 29
The National Theatre Arts Society (NTAS), Patiala, today distributed items of daily use among the needy. The items were received from the Hind Samachar Shaheed Parivar Fund, Jalandhar, at a function held here. Prominent social workers and theatre activists distributed the items including 50 blankets, 150 utensils, gas cylinders and pickels to the inmates of Dr Khushdeva Singh Leprosy Patients Colony on behalf of the Hind Samachar Shaheed Parivar Fund, Jalandhar.


3 dogs die after biting man

Ferozepore, June 29
A dog biting a man isn’t news, but when it dies after biting him, it makes headlines.

Three dogs bit a man, and died. Kishan Chand, working in a brassware shop here, was bitten by three stray dogs within a span of 40 days. And none of them survived.

He was bitten on his right leg on May 10, May 20 and May 21. The first dog died within a couple of days, the second within five and the last within minutes.

The deaths could be explained by the fact that Kishan had got himself vaccinated against tetanus after the first bite.

A pathologist who examined him, said in such cases, the dog died. He advised Kishan to get anti-rabies injections. UNI


2 killed in mishaps
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 29
In two different incidents two persons died in the district in the last 24 hours.

A person was crushed to death by a truck near Rampuraphul town. The deceased could not be identified. The police registered a case under Section 304-A against the truck driver. Volunteers of Sahara Jan Sewa cremated the body after post-mortem examination as there was no claimant for it.

Mr Ramesh, a resident of Nepal who was suffering from Tuberculosis died here today near the godowns. The police handed over the body after post-mortem examination to the Sahara Jan Sewa as there was no relative of Ramesh in the city, whose activists cremated the body.


Welfare schemes for farmers
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 29
The farmers having one acre will be provided with a limit of Rs 30,000, while those with about six acres will be provided with a loan of Rs 3 lakh at 11.5 per cent interest.

Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, Deputy Commissioner, said this while addressing the bank authorities about the Golden Jubilee Self-Employment Scheme and various other schemes initiated by the government at Red Cross Hall here today. He said in order to provide maximum facilities to farmers, a special Kisan Credit Card Scheme had been introduced, whereby the farmers would be given loan at lower rate of interest.

The DC had asked the Block Development and Panchayat Officers of different blocks to spread awareness about these welfare schemes initiated by the government among farmers and also to install placards at branches of various banks, focal points and grain markets to enable the awareness of the scheme.

Mr Bir had asked the farmers whose annual income was less than Rs 32,000 to take benefits of the Credit-cum-Housing Subsidy Scheme. He said that under the scheme, a loan of Rs 40,000 would be provided through banks for the construction of a house. He added that a subsidy of Rs 10,000 would also be provided by the government under the scheme.

Mr Bir said under the Golden Jubilee Self-Employment Scheme, about 30 self-help groups were formed last year, through which 329 members were given a subsidy of Rs 30 lakh while a loan of Rs 95.59 lakh was also provided by the government, and subsidy of Rs 17.16 lakh and a loan of Rs 56.11 lakh was also given to 200 individual cases.

The DC said last year, about 600 people were given employment under the Prime Minister Employment Scheme, while another 642 unemployed youths were also provided loans from banks to start their business. He added that such development projects would continue from time to time.


Agriculture Dept head retires
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 29
If the developments in recent months are any indication, the Agriculture Department has low priority in the scheme of things of the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party Government in Punjab.

The Department was rendered headless on the retirement of Capt Mewa Singh Sonar today. For the past few years, there have been frequent changes at the top in the department.

Uncertainty prevails as the department is yet to decide whether it wants an agriculturist from within the department or a bureaucrat from outside to head it.

There were speculations galore today as the Department prepared to give a farewell to Captain Sonar who had managed the position after a lot of running around, including litigations.

The major issue facing the Department is whether it wants only a man from agriculture administration as director or the seniormost man from the remaining three cadres within the department — hydrology, statistics and engineering.

Dr Gurcharan Singh, joint Director, Hydrology, had moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court to stake claim for the post. The Court upheld his contention and directed the Department to consider him and others, including those from statistics and engineering, for the post as they belonged to the department.

The Government went in for special leave petition but got no relief. As such when it constituted a departmental promotion committee, it considered besides others Dr Gurcharan Singh who was placed at number two after Dr Mewa Singh Sonar. The recommendations of the DPC made in December last year, claims Dr Gurcharan Singh, are valid today. He says that since he was placed at number two position then now he should be given the charge when number one man has superannuated. He reportedly met the Chief Secretary today.

Dr S.S. Bains, who is the Managing Director, Punseed, and had headed the Department earlier, is also in the running for the post. His detractors say that he has some enquiries or complaints against him.

Dr Balkaran Singh, who also headed the department briefly, is also in the running. He too has some police cases against him before being replaced.

Of the three joint directors from other wings in the department, Dr Gurcharan Singh claims himself to be the seniormost.

Also staking their claim for the post are Mr Kundan Lal and Mr Ram Pal, both joint directors. They are not regular joint directors but are holding the current position on ad hoc basis.

Another option before the Government is to bring a senior man from Punjab Agricultural University to head the Department. The sixth option is to appoint a bureaucrat to head the Department. The last option would be to give the charge temporarily to the Director of Horticulture, a related area, who is otherwise a qualified farm expert.

The Chief Secretary, Mr N.K. Arora, says that it is the Agriculture Department which has to decide whether it wants to promote one of its joint directors or request the State Government to appoint a bureaucrat to head the department. “It would,” he says,”also depend upon the rules. If the rules provide for only departmental candidate, then the rules would have to be amended to make any deviation. But till date there has been no proposal from the department about filling the post. In case the department was considering extension, the proposal should come to the State Government. Again there has been no such proposal.”

It is indeed pity that now when the farm sector is under tremendous pressure as the Union Government is contemplating major changes in its procurement policies that the Agriculture Department continues to be cold-shouldered by the State Government. There has been little or no continuity at the Directorate-level.

It would be unwise for the Government to appoint a bureaucrat as it would intensify infighting and litigations thus affecting the functioning of the department.

Some senior officials of the department maintained that the case has been pending for a long time for want of discussion with the Chief Minister.


16 cable exchanges to be upgraded
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 29
The Department of Telecom today stated that 16 new cable exchanges were being planned by the department for upgradation. Stating this during a press conference, the general manager, Mr Bhag Singh said most of the upgradation would take place in rural areas.

The major areas that would come under the upgradation scheme are Badshahpur, Chappar, Gajjumajra, Bras, Anandpur Keshu, Navipur, Mandor, Nirvanapur, Gharham, Kulara, Sadaranpur and Kulburcha. Mr Bhag Singh said these areas would be upgraded from the present 256 lines to 1000 lines.

Places such as Chalaila and Fatehpur Rajputan would be upgraded from 256 lines to 512 lines. He added that lines of few more areas such as Chanarthal, Thua, Nogawan, Bathonia, Rampur Nawad, Ajnoda and Babalpur would be increased from 512 to 1000 lines.

The authorities were aiming at completing the waiting urban list in other states due to which the development work was a bit slower in city. He added that in Patiala, the waiting list was more for rural areas than the urban part.

The officials added 5000 lines were under planning criteria for the Tripuri exchange area, where 12,000 lines were already working. Sewa Singh Thikriwala would add another 5000 lines where 2000 lines existed.


Admn gears up to tackle floods
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 29
The district administration has taken various preventive measures to cope with any flood problem that may arise during the monsoon season. This was stated by Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, Deputy Commissioner, while inspecting the different application works employed for the prevention of floods in the district.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Bir said the repair work being undertaken along the Ghaggar river had been completed with an expenditure of Rs 91 lakh. Bolden stone appren pitching, filling of various breaches and other such problem areas have been improved upon by the administration.

Mr Bir said various other emergency works had also been completed. These include closure of the broken edges of the SYL canal at Rajpura sub-division, strengthening of the 1,000 feet-long dam on the left side of the Ghaggar river and placement of sand-bags at Sarala Khurd to prevent any damage to the area. He added that another sum of Rs 8 lakh had also been added for the repair of the bridge at Undsar.

He asked the SDMs of different sub-divisions to inspect the repair work being undertaken and ensure that no problem area was left unwatched. He added that the panchayats of villages concerned, which are also the incharge of Inspection Committees were taking care of these development works. The Deputy Commissioner has also asked the Panchayats to inform the SDM concerned immediately in case of any emergency during the monsoon season.

The DC also urged the employees not to take any leave from office without prior information to the Flood Control Room, especially from July1 to September 25 failing which, he said, strict action would be taken against the employees for disobeying the orders. Even the SHOs were also urged to inform the district administration in case of any emergency through the wireless service.

Mr Bir asked the SDMs to close all channels leading to small tributaries in case the water level in Ghaggar river rose and timely steps should be taken to reduce the level of water. The District Drainage Officials said out of a sum of Rs 813 lakh, the government had sanctioned only Rs 91.75 lakh for the flood prevention development projects.


Village ponds to be dredged
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 29
Village ponds, a vital link in the eco system which have since long been ignored by the government, are likely to get a fresh lease of live with the district administration deciding to dredge various ponds besides constructing their retaining walls and creating alternative drainage facilities in villages so that they remain clean.

Official sources disclosed that Rs 80 lakh would be spent on dredging and cleaning around 50 to 60 village ponds in the district which needed urgent attention. It has also been decided to construct retaining walls in the ponds and create alternative drainage system in the village if possible so that water used for household needs is not drained in the ponds.

Deterioration of the ponds has resulted in its own set of problems in the villages. The most affected is the cattle who are being afflicted with a variety of diseases. Sources said though presence of ponds were a boon for village cattle, accumulation of excess dirt in the water was having an adverse affect on their health. While one reason was the accumulation of silt the other was drainage of dirty water used in houses and sometimes even night soil in the ponds. They said besides this there was a tendency to fill up ponds and make them less shallow following which they were encroached upon.

Officials disclosed that two machines had been deputed to remove silt from the ponds. Attempts were being made to make the machines operational quickly so that work could be completed before the advent of the monsoons. As most of the ponds had become shallow due to accumulation of silt, these overflowed in the monsoon months resulting in insanitary conditions and damaging village streets.

Supervisory committees have been set up to monitor the work at both the village, block and district level. At the village level a supervisory committee consisting of the village sarpanch, Scheduled Caste panchayat member, ex serviceman, social worker and the village Nambardar had been constituted. 


Cop booked for cheating

Kapurthala, June 29
The police has registered a case of cheating and forgery against police constable Baldev Singh, cloth merchant Shiv Kumar and a woman Kuldip Kaur under various sections of the IPC for allegedly trying to prepare a fake passport in the name of a dead woman.

Disclosing this to mediapersons here today, SSP Gurpreet Deo said that the criminal case was registered following an inquiry conducted by SP (Headquarters) Munish Chawla. In the inquiry it was revealed that one of the alleged accused Shiv Kumar whose wife Neelam Kumari had died six months back, came into contact with Kuldip Kaur whose husband was abroad and promised to help her in going abroad on forged documents, she claimed.

Kuldip Kaur applied for a passport in the name of the deceased Neelam Kumari by pasting her own photograph on the passport application form, the police official said. When the passport verification inquiry came to the office of the security branch here, constable Baldev Singh the third accused was approached and he promised to get the passport application form verified and for this he approached a lady constable in the security branch, Mrs Deo added while pointing out that the lady constable brought the matter to the notice of her superiors.

A inquiry was then conducted which revealed that Shiv Kumar who had recently returned from abroad on a tourist visa had promised to send Kuldip Kaur abroad on fake documents. UNI


DAV college lecturer suspended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 29
Dr Harinder Garcha, Lecturer in Punjabi, DAV College for Girls, Garhshankar, Hoshiarpur, was suspended by the DAV Pradeshik Managing Committee. Although the order of the managing committee does not specify any reason for this action, sources state that this action has been taken against Ms Garcha following strained relationship with former Principal of the college.

A few days before the order was passed, Ms Garcha had sent a strongly worded complaint to the Dean College Development Council, Panjab University. The complaint states that the former college Principal, Ms Kamal Bala had retired on April 30, 2001 but was “still circulating notices and directing teaching and non teaching employees under her own signatures” and was mentally harassing and torturing her.

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