Thursday, July 5, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



CM’s sectt, bureaucrats given clean chit
Bribery charge in marriage palaces’ demolition found baseless
K.C. Chawla

Ludhiana, July 4
The Punjab Chief Secretary, Mr N.K. Arora, has exonerated the Chief Minister’s secretariat and bureaucrats of the charge of bribery as he has not found any substance in the allegations. The Chief Secretary was asked by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to look into the allegations of corruption against certain bureaucrats and the alleged involvement of the secretariat in the construction and demolition of marriage palaces at Ludhiana.

The allegations against the Chief Minister’s secretariat came up in the wake of the demolition of the marriage palaces under directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court which had described the construction of the marriage palace and other structures as illegal.

A section of the media had reported the allegations that certain bureaucrats and one broker of the Ludhiana Stock Exchange had offered to help the marriage palace owners if they were willing to strike a deal with the Chief Minister through them with a payment of Rs 20 lakh.

Following these reports, the Chief Minister directed the Chief Secretary to inquire into the allegations.

Accordingly, the Chief Secretary visited Ludhiana on June 17 and met the owners of the marriage palaces and also the district officers. He recorded the statements of owners of seven marriage palaces and none of them corroborated the allegations against the bureaucrats and the secretariat.

One owner of a rather described the Chief Minister as a kind-hearted person who had telephoned district officers for getting his electricity connection restored. He had got the connection restored through the court as the officials did not succumb to the political pressure.

The stock exchange broker, Mr Sridhar Milawat, who had allegedly offered his services to bring about the deal between the owners of the marriage palaces and the Chief Minister’s secretariat for Rs 20 lakh also denied the reports in the media and his involvement at any stage.

Mr Milawat who appeared before the Chief Secretary at Chandigarh on June 29 denied the allegations. Mr Arora submitted his report to the Chief Minister yesterday, it is learnt.

The Chief Secretary did not ask for any explanation of the bureaucrats mentioned in the media reports since none of marriage palace owners and the broker had levelled any allegations against them in their statements before him.

It is learnt from the authoritative sources that the state government was examining the legal aspect of the media reports which had maligned the bureaucrats.

It may be mentioned here that the Punjab and Haryana High Court had dismissed the petition of the owners of the marriage palaces seeking stay of their demolition under the Works Defence Act 1903 as the marriage palaces fell within 1,000 sq yards of the outer parapet of 17FAD, Badowal (ammunition depot)........ on March 19, 2001 and directed the district administration to demolish the marriage palaces and other illegal structures.

The district administration in compliance with the orders of the high court demolished four marriage palaces — two in the premises of Spring Field, Mega Resort and White Rock.

Five other marriage palaces were also served notices of demolition and they sought stay from the Supreme Court and the high court till July 9 when the appeal of the owners of the marriage palaces against the verdict of the high court will come up for hearing.

The Punjab and High Court, rejecting the petition of the owners of marriage palaces, had also directed the Chief Secretary to inquire into the lapses on the part of the district administration officers as the illegal structures came up within 1000 sq yards of the outer parapet of the ammunition dump despite the gazette notification issued in January 1983 prohibiting such constructions.

The Chief Secretary is examining the revenue records and has held meetings with civil and military officials in this regard. He is required to submit his report to the high court with the action taken report (ATR) by October 8.

The role of the Army authorities will also come under scrutiny as they did not show any interest in the matter for almost 10 years after the notification was issued in 1983.

The first reference made by the Army authorities to the civil administration of Ludhiana district was reported in 1993 when the construction around the periphery of Badowal dump picked up after militancy was controlled.

As a matter of fact, the construction activity around Badowal got an impetus with the containment of militancy, Badowal and its neighbouring village witnessed a spurt in militancy.

As many as 55 train passengers were gunned down at Badowal railway station and on the same night, 25 passengers were killed in a train at Kila Raipur railway station. These villages were a hot-bed of militants.

But after the gunning down of three top militants — Gurjant Singh, Budhsinghwala, Chief Khalistan Liberation Force, Sukhdev Singh Babbar, Chief Babbar Khalsa and Rachhpal Singh Chhandran, Chief Bhindranwale Tiger Force of Khalistan — within one month, the land prices witnessed a steep rise and the construction activity rose manifold.


Kanwaljit: Cong trying to disturb peace
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
Mounting a counter attack, the Punjab Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, said today the Congress was trying to disturb peace in the state just to garner more votes by creating a wedge between two principal communities — the Hindus and the Sikhs — in the state.

He said the Congress was back to executing its 50-year-old systematic plan to divide the state along communal lines. He said earlier also the Congress played this game by pushing the state into a vortex of terrorism for about 15 years.

Instead of playing the role of a responsible political party and Opposition, the Congress was out to create a bogey of terrorism in the state by blowing up the images of those persons who had no relevance in the state’s politics and at any other level. Further elaborating his point, he said, there was little significance of Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan and Wassan Singh Zaffarwal in the state politics at present and even in the past.

He said the Punjab Government was competent as well as determined to deal with any eventuality related to separatist activity, terrorism and breach of peace in the state by any individual or group. He said his party, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), had fought against the separatist ideology and forces at a political level from a political platform. He said there was no place for people like Zaffarwal and Dr Chohan in the SAD. He said the authorities concerned would not hesitate to take action if any unlawful activity was undertaken by Dr Chohan.

Asserting that since there was no chance at all of revival of terrorism in the state, he said the Congress should not create a fear among people about this just for votes before the ensuing Assembly election. It was well-known that Congress leaders were behind the Khalistan resolution which was passed in late 70s and those behind the resolution had addressed a press conference at the local Congress Bhavan.

Giving instances in this connection, he said the Akalis had suffered most because of terrorism in the state. When Akalis decided to contest the 1991 Assembly election, their 28 candidates were killed by terrorists. The Congress had boycotted that election. However, when in 1992, the Congress contested the election and the Akalis boycotted these, no one was killed. He said if the terrorists were friends of the Akalis, they would not have killed them.

It was not politically sensible, to give importance, the way the Congress was doing, to persons who have no political or other significance in the state’s or the national politics. He was indicating towards Dr Chohan and Zaffarwal.

When people of the state wanted to forget the past, the Congress was trying to revive it in one way or the other and open the wounds again. The objective of the Congress behind this move was to disturb the communal harmony between the Hindus and the Sikhs achieved by the SAD-BJP government in the past more than four years. He said such a move of the Congress would not only push the state again into a difficult situation, but hit it hard.


Dal Khalsa flays Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 4
The Dal Khalsa today criticised Mr Amarinder Singh, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief, for allegedly adopting “double standards” with regard to the issue of Sikh radicals.

In a press statement issued here today, Mr Satbir Singh Sandhu, senior leader of the Dal Khalsa, said that Mr Amarinder Singh was signatory to the ‘Amritsar Declaration’, issued on May 1, 1995, from Akal Takht which advocated the demand of separate Sikh state. At that time, Mr Amarinder Singh was a leader of the Akali Dal.

The Dal Khalsa leader took exception to the statement issued by the PPCC chief that after coming into power, the Congress would pursue the sedition cases against Mr Satnam Singh Paunta Sahib, senior vice-president of the Dal Khalsa, Wassan Singh Zaffarwal and Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan.

He said that Mr Satnam Singh Paunta Sahib was one of those who had hijacked the Indian Airlines plane on September 29, 1981, in protest against the arrest of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhinderanwale. And he had already undergone a jail sentence for 14 years in Pakistan for hijacking the plane and the District Sessions Judge, New Delhi, had already acquitted him.

Meanwhile, the Sikh Students Federation (Mehta) president, Mr Sarchand Singh, has alleged that the PPCC chief wanted to disrupt peace in the state by issuing inflammatory statements.


Badal ‘behind’ Chohan’s return
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 4
Former Akal Takht Jathedar Bhai Ranjit Singh has alleged that Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, was instrumental in the ‘safe return’ of Wassan Singh Zaffarwal, chief of the Khalistan Commando Force and Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan, Khalistan idealogue, to India.

Talking to the media here yesterday, he said Mr Badal was behind the destruction of police records of several radical Sikh leaders with a view to giving them benefit during trial. He was now blaming the Congress for the same as he had been told by intelligence agencies that the return of Dr Chohan and Zaffarwal’s ‘arrest’ would adversely affect the election prospects of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal.

Bhai Ranjit Singh said Zaffarwal was seen roaming in the official car of an Akali leader before his “arrest”. He said even now he was being treated as a ‘royal guest’ in jail.


House misled on BBMB encroachments
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, July 4
Two Rajya Sabha members, Mr Kapil Sibbal and Dr D. Masthan, raised a question in the upper House on December 20, 2000. In the question the minister of power was asked to state if there was some area of land belonging to the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) lying unutilised in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, Raj Nagar and Nangal Dam areas. If so, what was the area of the land? Weather some unauthorised elements have already started encroachment upon such land? If so, what was the area under encroachment and what action had been taken to remove such encroachment and to take possession of the said land.

In response to the question, the Minister of State for Power, Mrs Jayawanti Mehta, told the Rajya Sabha that no land of village Hambewal, Nangal, including Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, Raj Nagar and other areas, acquired by the erstwhile state of Punjab in 1947 for the construction of the Nangal Dam and Nangal Hydel Channel, which are now under the administrative control of the BBMB had been declared surplus. She also told as per the information provided by the BBMB there were just four cases of encroachment in the said areas involving 1392 sq metres of land. These included one case of encroachment of 773 sq metres by the Municipal Council, Nangal. Out of the four cases, one case was pending before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, while in the remaining three cases the BBMB had started the proceeding under the Public Premises Act, 1971, for eviction, she told the House.

However, the information provided by the BBMB authorities recently in an affidavit to the district administration is quite contradictory to that provided by Mrs Jayawanti Mehta. The district administration had asked the BBMB to furnish an affidavit regarding land encroachments on the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which had asked for the information in a case regarding land encroachments on public property. In the affidavit the BBMB authorities have admitted to land encroachments of 92000 sq feet in the Nangal township area against just 14983 sq feet (1392 sq meters) encroachment as reported by Mrs Jayawanti Mehta to the Rajya Sabha. As per the affidavit there are 39 cases of 1125 sq feet encroachments on the BBMB land, two of 144 sq feet, one of 2000 sq feet, one of 150 sq feet, one of 10428 sq feet, one of 1980 sq feet, three of 192 sq feet, one of 2400 sq feet land a few other cases involving 31500 sq feet land in the township area.

In total the BBMB authorities have admitted in the affidavit that there were about 50 cases of land encroachments in the township area. However, Mrs Jayawanti Mehta, on the basis of the information provided by the BBMB had told the Rajya Sabha that there were just four cases of encroachment on the BBMB land.

The contradictory facts in the statement of the minister and the affidavit of the BBMB clearly illustrate the fact that the upper House has been misled about the factual position of encroachment on the BBMB land.


Punjab to seek Centre’s help on power front
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
As problems on the power front continue to multiply, the Punjab Government has decided to approach the Centre for help.

Before leaving for the USA on July 6, the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, will meet the Union Power Minister. The first item on Mr Badal’s agenda is garnering more funds for the PSEB under various schemes, including bonds. The board is facing a financial crisis and it requires to undertake development projects like strengthening of the transmission network and addition of Units to the Lehra Mohabbat plant.

Mr Badal will ask the Union Power Minister to release Rs 300 crore to start the second stage of the Ranjit Sagar Dam project. In the second stage, the power generation system will be installed on the Shahpur Kandi canal network.

Sources said the Union Government had promised to give Rs 300 crore for the second stage of the project long ago but it had not released the money yet. As the first stage of the project had been completed, there was an urgent need to start the second stage to enhance the power generation and streamline the utilisation of the water which went waste.

Besides, the Union Government would be urged to release Rs 65 crore for the rural electrification programme. Under this scheme, the state government had started an extensive programme to provide round-the-clock single phase power supply to the rural areas on the pattern of urban areas. But the scheme has been throttled for want of funds.

However, the most acute problem faced by the PSEB pertains to the supply of substandard coal to its thermal plants. The ash content in the coal used at the PSEB plants is around 40 per cent. The coal bill of the PSEB has touched Rs 1,700 crore. In money terms, the PSEB pays Rs 680 crore for buying more ash.

Sources said the PSEB had mooted a proposal through the state government to the Centre to allot it a good quality coalfield or mine. However, the Centre had not so far accepted the proposal.

Official sources said the proposal would again be discussed with the authorities concerned. In the case of allotment of a coalfield, the PSEB could make its own arrangements to pick up good quality coal. At least the PSEB would be saving a lot of money which was being spent on freight.

The PSEB has to spend a lot of money on freight to transport the coal. Earlier, there was uniformity in the freight rates. The Railways used to charge equal freight from all state electricity boards, irrespective of the distance between the coalhead and the plant site. However, about two years ago the Railways changed the system and freight is now charged on the basis of distance.

The Punjab Government wants that the Centre should revert to the old policy of uniform freight for all boards.


Lok Bhalai Party to contest 90 seats
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 4
The Lok Bhalai Manch, headed by Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, has decided to contest 90 Assembly seats during the forthcoming elections.

This was disclosed by Mr Ramoowalia while addressing a press conference here today. However, he hinted that his party is unlikely to reach an alliance with the Sarb-Hind Shiromani Akali Dal and Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar). He said that he honoured the sentiments of Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, who had wished to reach alliance with the manch. His party was fighting for the sake of people while the Akali factions wanted to exploit the religious sentiments of the people.


BJP ex-MLA suspended
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, July 4 
Former BJP MLA Arjun Singh of Dheengawali village in Abohar tehsil has been suspended from the primary membership of the party by the Punjab BJP President, Prof Brij Lal Rinwa. Mr Raj Bhatia, office secretary of the state party unit, said the case had been sent to the disciplinary action committee of the party. Earlier, Arjun Singh was served a notice to explain his conduct.


SAD meetings cancelled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, secretary, Shiromani Akali Dal, said today that the party conferences scheduled to be held at Kapurthala on July 9, Bathinda on July 11, Amritsar on July 14 and Muktsar on July 15 had been cancelled as Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President, SAD, was going abroad.


Encroachment threatens Harike
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 4
Roosting spots of migratory birds in the Harike wetland in Ferozepore are being destroyed by uprooting of 20 to 30 feet high elephant grass in the wildlife sanctuary by a religious organisation thus threatening to upset the fragile eco-balance of the wetland.

According to a report prepared by a sub committee comprising academicians and wildlife officials under the State Bio-Diversity Strategy and Action Plan (SBSAP), the wetland is being threatened by the religious organisation which has recently encroached upon the sanctuary land by resorting to a virtual ‘kar seva’ like operation to “remove various ecological niches of innumerable wildlife species besides wild vegetations”.

The committee in its report has said that the religious organisation is conducting a war like operation on the canal side of the Harike lake. It has in its report submitted to the government a few months ago, said a red alert needs to be sounded to stop encroachments on the land and that any delay in this aspect would lead to a permanent setback. It has also accused the local wildlife officials and the district administration of being mute spectators to this man-made ecological calamity.

Ironically, while the sub committee, which was formed by the government submitted its report to the Principal Conservator of Forests, has come out against the organisation for encroaching upon the sanctuary’s land by first constructing a building and then going in for further expansion. Earlier, the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had announced that some land adjoining the present building of the body would be given to it.

The Wildlife Department has also not taken any action against the religious organisation. While officials of the department were not available for comment, others disclosed that the report was still under consideration.

Senior teachers of the department of zoology, Punjabi University, and the senior department official, Mr M.S. Chhibber, who are also the members of the sub committee have pointed out that some musclemen were growing vegetables in the sanctuary and had also installed illegal water pumps in the wetland. They said this was being done in the downstream area which had a sizable population of otters, turtles, fish and rodents. They said in the upstream area cattle grazing was common which disturbed the temporary abode of the migratory birds.

The committee also pointed out that an afforestation drive should be launched in the downstream area where eucalyptus trees had been growing. It said local trees should be planted and that ‘kangni’, ‘bajra’, ‘bakla’ and chillies could be grown alongwith elephant grass in the floating islands of the lake to attract more birds. It has also proposed that intensive studies of other animals of the wetland besides birds should be conducted. The committee said an inter-disciplinary team of taxonomists from universities, non-governmental organisations, members of the state Wildlife Board and the Forest Department could do the job.

The committee also recommended that an aerial photography of the wetland be done to understand the topography afresh. This would help in establishing suitable observatory sites in the upstream area of the lake and that these could be fitted with high-powered telescopes. They said telescopes could also be installed on the periphery of the lake for the tourists.


Ex-minister fined for using more power
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 4
Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) authorities imposed a fine of Rs 39,720 on a former Congress minister for using more power than a sanctioned load of 5 kw here today.

An enforcement team of the PSEB headed by Mr Rameshwar Sharma, Executive Engineer, during its routine checking of residential power connections at the local Rajinder Nagar found that the former Congress minister, Mr Jai Kishan Saini, was utilising 20 kw of load as against a sanctioned load of 5 kw.

Though, the PSEB team was not allowed by the family members of Mr Saini to inspect the premises since the former minister was not present at his residence, the team calculated the connected load on the basis of six airconditioners and other equipment which were visible from outside the residence.

The PSEB officials imposed an interim fine of Rs 39,720. Mr Saini was also served with a notice to cooperate with the PSEB authorities and they be allowed to inspect his residence within 24 hours failing which the power supply would be disconnected.

When contacted, Mr Saini admitted that he had received the notice from PSEB authorities asking him to deposit a fine of Rs 39, 720. “I have already applied for extension of load to 17.9 kw and have deposited Rs 9,000 as fee on June 12, but, the board has failed to take any step in this regard. Instead, a team has raided my residence today to defame me by imposing a fine, which is highly deplorable,” Mr Saini said.

PSEB officials could inspect my residence at any time tomorrow, he added.


47-crore plan for enclave in Jalandhar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
The Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) has realised a Rs 47.68 crore scheme by inviting applications for the first enclave of Chotti Baradari measuring 55 acres in Jalandhar.

Stating this here today, Dr Upinderjit Kaur, Housing and Urban Development Minister, Punjab, said that PUDA would be investing Rs 5.54 crore in the development of basic infrastructure in this enclave. This included Rs 554.36 lakh for roads, public health works, electricity, landscaping and stormwater and underground drainage. The planning of the enclave included wide roads and spacious parks apart from modern civic amenities. Provision for institutional sites and schools had also been made. An ultra modern commercial complex abutting the main Garha road had also been carved out. When fully developed, it would emerge as one of the most modern shopping arcades in Jalandhar. Actual construction was expected to begin in August and the receipt of instalments from the plot holders would fund the execution of this project. The auction of commercial sites in this enclave would be announced soon.

Dr Upinderjit Kaur pointed out that PUDA was instrumental in realising the dream of a multi-speciality hospital under the aegis of the Punjab Institute of Medical Sciences in Jalandhar. The project was to be funded exclusively out of the sale proceeds of the old Sugarcane and Research Farm in the heart of Jalandhar on the Garha road which had been transferred to PUDA under a tripartite understanding.


Breathalysers for 23 police districts
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 4
The traffic police, under Mr Rajesh Jaiswal, the newly appointed SP (Traffic), has introduced breathalysers to put a check on drunken driving.

Mr Jaiswal, while talking to mediapersons here today, said two equipments of the device had been provided to all 23 police districts in Punjab. The thrust to check this menace would be especially on drivers of heavy vehicles like buses, trucks etc.

Mr Jaiswal said the first phase would start from the outskirts of the city and the traffic commuting to and from the city would be under surprise checks. The device would check the alcohol contents in blood, the permissible limit being, he said. However, due to likelihood of misuse of the device, he said, only personnels with integrity would be deputed to avoid harassment to the commuters.

In order to make the traffic police corruption free, Mr Jaiswal said moveable encroachments like rehris and roadside vendors would be tackled with a heavy hand to facilitate the smooth flow of traffic. On a query about unauthorised vehicle stands taking illegal payments in liew of allowing parking of vehicles, he said the matter would be taken up with the municipal corporation shortly in addition to the problem of immoveable encroachments.

The SP said the proposal for spot challan and consequent fines in violation of the traffic rules, which already exist in metro cities, was likely to be introduced shortly. The Traffic chief would shortly issue special “press” stickers to eliminate those who have been illegally using these stickers.


Village bridges face monsoon on slaught
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, July 4
The recent heavy monsoon poses serious threat to stringer bridges built over the rivers at Kathlour and Khojki Chak which are about 4 km away from the Indo-Pakistan border. At least 34 villages falling in the belt along with the Indo-Pakistan border will be marooned, if the bridges are washed away due to flash floods.

According to villagers of the area, while the recently constructed bridges over the Ujh river may not face the onslaught of flash flood, the residents of those villages which falls under the Narot Mehra constituency face the threat.

Despite the district Administration claim that flood control measures have been taken residents of the area fear that the arrangement might prove to be inadequate, if the rainfall is high.

According to sources, the PWD authorities have recommended the evicting of the villages that could be washed away. Mr Karan Singh, Sarpanch of Jaidpur village says the arrangement were inadequate. Mr Surjit Rana, a local resident, said a few boats were usually pressed into service to save thousands of flood victims. He demanded the construction of permanent bridges over rivers.

Demanding better health services, residents of Narot and Bamial sub tehsil told this reporter that a team of doctors and surgeons should visit the villages of the area to check the outbreak of water-borne diseases and potable water should be supplied to the residents.


Funds released for development work
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, July 4
Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, during a sangat darshan programme in Batala presented a cheque of Rs 1 crore to the local municipal committee and granted Rs 2.55 crore to 91 panchayats of the constituency to pursue development activities.

Speaking on the occasion, he said he would discuss various problems facing Punjab, including construction of Shahpur Kandi Dam Project, during his visit to Delhi. He hoped that the financial allocation would be made within 10 days.

He said all posts of teacher lying vacant in the state would be filled during the current year.

Earlier, Mr Badal laid the foundation stone of a 50-beded hospital to be built at a cost of Rs 1.92 crore in Batala.


Police, NGOs to work jointly in Punjab
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, July 4
The Punjab Government has formed the Punjab Police State Apex Committee for NGOs under the community policing programme.

The Director-General of Police, Punjab Mr Sarabjit Singh, will be the patron of the committee. Mr D.R. Bhatti, ADGP-cum-Director of the Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur, has been appointed as Chairman, Dr P.S. Jassi, Consultant, UNICEF, as Adviser, Mr Suresh Arora, DIG, Ludhiana Range, as Vice-Chairman, Mr Parveen Sinha as ex-officio member and Mr Gursharan Singh as Secretary of the committee. Two persons from funding agencies will be the members. Zonal and district coordinators from all 23 police districts have been included in the committee.

The first meeting of the committee was held at the academy yesterday. It was decided to start a state-level campaign on traffic awareness, drug de-addiction, and slum area welfare and awareness.

It was also decided to form range and district-level committees for NGOs and the Police Department for joint programmes.


Thermal plant generates 13,774 units of power
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 4
The local unit of Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant (GNDTP) has produced 13,774 lakh units of power in the first six months of the year 2001, although the target for the period was fixed at 12,750 lakh units.

This was stated by Mr U.S. Lucky, General Manager of the plant, in a press note issued here today. He said the thermal plant during the period was running at 72.06 per cent plant load factor (PLF). He said all these were achieved despite the fact that the plant had completed its design life, and its technology was also outdated.

Mr Lucky said the use of demineralised water was only 3.04 per cent while the target fixed for the same was at 3.6 per cent. Similarly, the consumption of the auxiliary power was 9.41 per cent.

He said the modernisation of the thermal plant would be undertaken soon under the R and M scheme at a cost of Rs 230 crore. About 25 per cent of the amount would be spent by the Central Government while the rest would be provided by the state government.

He said the state government would take a loan from the Punjab Power Finance Corporation for the purpose.

Under the scheme the unit number 1 and 2 of the thermal plant would be fitted with the latest boilers and special equipments for reducing the quantity of the fly ash would also be installed.

Mr Lucky was optimistic that in the coming paddy season the thermal plant would be able to produce enough power for the farmers.


2 jawans cleaning AK-47 killed
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 4
Two Home Guard jawans were killed on the spot while their companion sustained bullet injuries when their AK-47 went off accidentally in the Home Guard complex here today.

According to reports received here, the Home Guard jawans were cleaning the rifle without removing the magazine, violating rules. As per norms only an expert a should clean the weapons.

When contacted, Mr Jagdish Singh Kahlon, SP (city) said that the deceased have been identified as Angrez Singh and Surjit Singh. Another jawan, Ajit Singh who sustained bullet injury in the thigh is out of danger. Mr Kahlon denied that the case was being hushed up.


CPI condemns closure of spinning mill
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 4
The CPI has condemned the closure of the Punjab Spinning Mill here.

In a joint press note issued here today, Mr Hardev Arshi, MLA, and Mr Jagjit Singh Joga, district general secretary of the party, said politicians, bureaucrats besides the owners of the mill were responsible for the sale of the mill.

They said their party had held a rally in front of the mill’s gate to press for the fulfilment of the workers’ demands. They urged the government to take over the affairs of the mill and pay adequate compensation to the workers. The leaders alleged that no legal notice was served on the workers before the closure of the mill. They further alleged that the power and water supply connections of the residential colonies at the mill had been cut off by the owners.

They demanded that the government should ensure that the mill was restarted and the arrears of the workers were paid.


90 SGPC employees confirmed
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 4
After reverting 45 employees, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, President, SGPC, confirmed as many as 90 employees today.

According to a press note issued here today, Mr Talwandi said with the confirmation of these employees they would now enjoy all benefits as per service rules of the Shiromani committee.

Mr Talwandi, however, clarified that those who were promoted in gross violation of the service rules were demoted on the basis of the executive committee’s decision.


Charge baseless, says IMA
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 4
The Indian Medical Association, (IMA), Punjab, has condemned some Punjab Government officials for blaming the IMA causing hindrance to the implementation of the PNDT, Act regarding the eradication of female foeticide.

Mr Kuldip Singh, secretary of the legal Action Committee-cum-Legal Cell, IMA, said here yesterday the IMA fully supported the implementation of the Act as per the guidelines of the Supreme Court. He said the association never resisted the registration of ultrasound scan centre.

He clarified that in its various representations, the IMA had only demanded the registration of ultrasound centre under the constitutional guideline.

Acting on the directive of the IMA Headquarters, Delhi, Dr O.P.S. Kande, president IMA (Punjab) appealed to all members to get their centres registered.


Shuffle in PR Dept
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
The Punjab Government yesterday ordered following postings and transfers in the Public Relations Department:

Mr G.S. Boparai, Joint Director, (Radio and Press) (Jalandhar) goes as Joint Director (Border) Amritsar; Mr BS Sodhi, Joint Director, (Border) becomes Joint Director, Radio and Press (Jalandhar); Mr BS Sandhu, DPRO, Amritsar will be DPRO Sangrur; Mr Gian Singh DPRO, Bathinda is DPRO, Amritsar; Mr Narinder Singh, DPRO, Sangrur, will be the now be DPRO, Mansa; Mr P.S. Kalra, DPRO, Fatehgarh, becomes DPRO, Ludhiana; Mr Darshan Singh DPRO, Ludhiana, is transferred as DPRO, Fatehgarh Sahib; Mrs Balwinder Kaur Bhattal, DPRO, Mansa, becomes DPRO, Ropar; Mr Manohar Singh DPRO, Faridkot goes as DPRO, Bathinda; Mr Gurmeet Singh DPRO, Ropar is DPRO, Ferozepore; Mr Mohinder Singh DPRO, Hoshiarpur, goes as DPRO Kapurthala; Mr Nath Singh, PRO becomes DPRO Hoshiarpur; Mr GS Kalkat is DPRO Gurdaspur; Mr RK Bhalla, is the new DPRO, Patiala; and Mr Ujjagar Singh, DPRO, Patiala, goes to Faridkot as DPRO.


Rs 1.6 cr grant for computer centres
Our Correspondent

Ropar, July 4
The district administration has decided to open computer centres at Anandpur Sahib, Nangal, Nurpur Bedi and Chamkaur Sahib, in which free training would be given to unemployed youths and those living below the poverty line. The decision in this regard was taken at the meeting of the governing body of the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA), held here today.

The DC, Mr G.S. Grewal, said a grant of Rs 1.6 crore would be given for the development of the proposed computer centres.


Function to mark Shergill death anniversary
Our Correspondent

Barnala, July 4
Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, Punjab Food and Civil Supplies Minister, Jathedar Tota Singh, Education Minister, Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President, SHSAD, Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, president, National Lok Bhalai Party, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, former Punjab Chief Minister, Gobind Singh Longowal, Minister of State for Irrigation, Surjit Singh Barnala, Governor of Uttaranchal will be among those who will be taking part in the three-day function to mark the first death anniversary of Brigadier late Balwinder Singh Shergill to be organised at Daangarh village about 15 km from here from July 13.

Brigadier Balwinder Singh Shergill laid down his life waging a battle against terrorism in the Kupwara sector of Kashmir on August, 21 last year. The Brigadier Balwinder Singh Shergill Foundation and Daangarh panchayat will jointly organise the function. According to sources, on July 13, Jathedar Tota Singh, will inaugurate the upgradation ceremony of Government High School Daangarh, which has been now named after Brigadier Balwinder Shergill.


Rattan promoted
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 4
Mr B.S.Rattan, IRS, Additional Commissioner of Income Tax, Patiala Range, has been promoted as the Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals), Ahmedabad. Mr Rattan has worked in various capacities at Bathinda, Amritsar and Jalandhar. 


Agricultural marketing to be made ‘scientific’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
The Central Government will soon be developing a scientific system of agricultural marketing to encompass the entire value chain, including storage, grading, packaging and marketing of crops. This was stated by Mr J.N.L. Srivastava, Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Government of India, at the open house and panel discussion on WTO organised by the Mahatma Gandhi State Institute of Public Administration, Punjab, here today.

Mr Srivastava also said besides launching a programme for setting up cold stores all over the country, the government was also working out a strategy to provide incentives to the private sector which would lead to increased agriculture related infrastructure. The open house was organised with the objective of enabling people to clear their doubts and fears about the WTO and educating them about the opportunities that it holds out for them.

Answering queries from newspersons, the Agriculture Secretary categorically said that the government had no plans to discontinue the MSP (Minimum Support Price) operations and these would continue as long as the country felt that they were required. Referring to the WTO, Mr Srivastava said it did not come in the way of India’s MSP operations as the subsidies given by India were much below the permissible levels under the WTO Agreement on agriculture. Mr Srivastava also reassured the farming community that there was no need to fear any large-scale influx of agricultural products from other countries as India had enough tools to safeguard the interests of its farmers.

Besides discussions on various issues relating to Indian agriculture, suggestions were also solicited from various stakeholders for preparing proposals for the ongoing negotiations on agriculture in the WTO. There were two presentations — Coping Strategies for WTO Agreement on Agriculture and the second presentation was made on WTO Negotiations and Policy of the Indian Government by Mr Augustine Peter, Director, Exim Policy, Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

The panel discussion was attended by senior officials. The group of panelists, led by Mr Srivastava, included Mr R.C.A. Jain, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Mehta and Mr Peter. Prof. Sucha Singh Gill, member of the Committee on WTO in Punjab, co-ordinated and facilitated the discussion.


Women taking to smuggling drugs
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 4
An increasing number of women are taking to smuggling narcotics in the Malwa region of Punjab. The district police has waged a war against the latest modus operandi of the smugglers in the region whereby the fair sex is being used for unfair activities.

The district police arrested three women on July 1 and 2 for smuggling narcotics. The accused, who had been carrying out the smuggling activities for the past four years, were arrested for being in possession of poppy husk.

According to a press note issued here today, Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, SSP, said the three women had been carrying 5 kg of poppy husk each. Separate cases had been registered against them in the city police station.

According to information gathered by The Tribune so far in the district during the past three-and-a-half-year, 32 women had been arrested for the same. In certain cases, women took to drug trade when their husbands landed themselves in jails for committing the same offence. Of the three arrested, two were residents of riot victim locality while one belonged to Tungwali village of the district.

Dr Jain said to check the menace of drug smuggling, the district police had developed informers in various pockets where this illegal activity was suspected to be going on. He said apart from this, women police personnel had been deputed to detect women involved in drug trafficking.

According to reports, the accused women drug smugglers had sometimes tried to smuggle drugs inside the local Central Jail as well.

Dr Jain said in another case, Pargat Singh of Moga district was booked under the NDPS Act for possessing 210 kg of poppy husk.


4 of marriage party die in mishap
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, July 4
Four persons died on the spot and six were injured when the Maruti van carrying them rammed into a tree after hitting a car coming from the opposite direction at 8.30 pm last night near Ale Chack, 3 km from here. The van was carrying marriage party and was on its way from Ganji village to Hardobathwala village. The deceased, all travelling in the van, have been identified as Ajit Singh, driver, Madan Lal, both residents of Hardobathwala, Vikram (5), Priya (6), both residents of Baje Chak. The injured include Sabbo, Pinder, Nirmal, Stephen, Priti and Guddo.

The driver and passengers of the car fled the scene leaving behind the car, which has been impounded by the police. The injured were admitted to Civil Hospital here and are stated to be out of danger. The bodies were handed over to the guardians for cremation, after a post-mortem.

The police has registered a case.


Two lovers commit suicide
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 4
Perturbed over the non-acceptance of their love affair by society, two Adampur-based lovers allegedly committed suicide by consuming some pesticide at Naulli village here today.

According to the police, Kulwinder Kaur (35) fell in love with Jaswinder Singh (22) of the same village while her husband was away in Dubai.

The two were found lying unconsicious in the fields this afternoon. They were admitted to the local Civil Hospital, where they died.

Meanwhile, Ram Niwas, (24), a conductor of a private bus company, was crushed to death when he fell accidentally near the Bhagat Singh Nagar locality on the G.T. Road and the bus rushed over him.


Bid to rob bank, 3 held
Our Correspondent

Mansa, July 4
The Bhikhi police has arrested Sewak Singh Bir, a postgraduate and Punjabi poet, tried to commit theft with the help of his two accomplices to generate funds for development of his village.

The police has also arrested his two accomplices, Sukhpal Singh Bir and Baljit Singh, alias Kala. All accused are reported to be running a school. They have been arrested in connection with an unsuccessful attempt to loot Bhikhi branch of Punjab National Bank. It was their third attempt.


ITI students hold rally
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 4
Students of the ITI here held a rally and sat on a dharna on the premises of the institute to press the authorities to fulfil their demands.

The students demanded a roll back in the recent fee hike.

They said the fee hike was uncalled for and the poor students would not be able to bear it. Some students alleged that this step of the government would desist poor students from taking admission in ITIs.

The students also condemned the policy of the government under which it had shifted some of the trades to the non functional ITIs. They alleged that most of these ITIs to which the trades were shifted were situated in rural areas and the students were facing difficulties in reaching such institutes regularly.

They urged the authorities to shift the trades to ITIs, which were easily accessible to students.

The students demanded that the question papers should also be published in Punjabi so that these could easily be understood.

Mr Roop Singh, convener of the ITI students’ committee, said they would continue their struggle until their demands were met. He said the students wanted transparency in the affairs of the ITIs.

The student leader said though they had been agitating for quite some time yet the authorities had not paid any attention to their demands.


Merger of dept evokes protest
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 4
Students of the Physiotherapy Department of Guru Nanak Dev University took out a march in protest against the proposed move of merger of the department with the Department of Physical Education.

Nearly, 90 students from Lyallpur Khalsa College, Jalandhar, joined the march in which at least hundred students of the university took part.

In a representation to the Dean Students’ Welfare, the students expressed concern over not receiving any assurance from the university to stall the move for the merger.


GND varsity scheme for poor students
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 4
Guru Nanak Dev University today decided to allot five seats in each course to the colleges affiliated to it so that poor students could get education free of cost. This decision was taken at the meeting of principals, chaired by Dr Harbhajan Singh Soch, Vice-Chancellor, here, today.

Dr S.P. Singh, Dean (Colleges), said that the extra seats would be allotted on the condition that the colleges would get maximum Rs 2000 as college funds etc. The university, however, has been contemplating to take the matter to the Syndicate for not charging any fee or funds (university charges) from the genuine students.

In another significant decision, the university has directed the principals not to charge more than Rs 35,000 from those students who get admission against paid seats. Earlier, there were complaints that the college managements were charging even up to Rs 1 lakh for giving admissions in technical courses like bachelor of information technology etc.


Course on English concludes
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 4
A month-long course on “English speaking and writing” concluded at local Lala Jagat Narayan DAV School here today. More than 100 students participated.

According to Prof Ashwini Syal, a ninth class student Samir Sharma topped the list of successful students.

Among others students who successfully completed the course were Rahul Sharma, Gaurav Wadhwa, Pooja Sharma, Shaveta, Muskan, Siya Nanda and Vasu.


Salaries not paid to 80,000 teachers
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, July 4
Due to reported wrangles in the Education Department, Punjab, around 80,000 teachers and other employees working in 18,000 primary, middle, high and senior secondary schools of Punjab have not been paid salaries for the month of June this year.

Mr Raj Kishore Kalra, spokesperson for the Government Teachers Union, Punjab, while giving details here today said the salary of the teachers and other grant of temporary sanction by District Education Officers. Mr Kalra lamented that even after the lapse of four months, the department had not provided regular financial sanction for paying the salaries. He demanded the Education Minister to grant essential financial sanction for the year 2001-2002.


DEO inspects schools
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 4
Mr Major Singh Sandhu, District Education Officer (S), today inspected different schools of the district without prior notice.

Mr Sandhu, along with other officials of the district Education Department, visited the government senior secondary school at Bhuchu Kalan and found the working of the school satisfactory. He also visited government senior secondary school for boys and government high school for girls at Bhucho Kalan and found the sanitation of the school unsatisfactory. He instructed the school authorities to make it up to the mark.

The principal of government high school told Mr Sandhu about some problems which the school was facing.

Mr Sandhu, in a press note issued here today, said the Punjab Government was making every effort to improve the education level of the state and for the same all heads of government schools were issued instructions.


Non-teaching staff’s plea to govt
Our Correspondent

Barnala, July 4
The Private Colleges Non-teaching Employees Union (PCNTEU), Punjab and Chandigarh, has urged the Punjab Government to stop giving the union a “stepmotherly” treatment and redress grievances of non-teaching employees serving in the private colleges of Punjab and Chandigarh.

Talking to The Tribune here on Monday, Mr Raj Kumar Singla, general secretary, PCNTEU, said the Punjab Government was not addressing the problems being faced by the non-teaching employees.

Mr Singla said the long-standing demands of the PCNTEU included revision in the house rent allowance, payment of arrears in one instalment and the implementation of the Anomaly Committee report.

He said delegate session of the PCNTEU was held at Doaba College, Jalandhar, in which new office-bearers were elected for a two year term on Sunday.


College to hold seminar
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 4
A seminar will be organised in Government College for Girls to mark the World Population Day on July 10 here. Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, Deputy Commissioner, will be the chief guest on the occasion. The seminar will be organised under the aegis of the District Red Cross Society, the Family Welfare and Population Control Society and the Health Department.

Dr Madan Lal Dhingra, Civil Surgeon; Dr A.S. Sekho, acting Principal of Medical College; Ms Nutan, District Programme Officer; Dr Gurcharan Kaur Jaggi, Principal of the Government College for Girls; and Mr Mohan Lal Gupta, Chairman of the Family Welfare and Population Control Society, will attend the seminar.

varsity results
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 4
The results of the MA (anthropological linguistics) Part I, MA (Persian) Part I, MA (Punjabi parveshika), BA (Hons. School), History (Part III) and MA (Prak Shastri) examinations conducted by Punjabi University were declared here today.

Mr R.K. Sharma, Joint Controller, Examinations, Punjabi University, said that the result gazettes would be available at the university enquiry counter on July 5.

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