Tuesday, July 17, 2001,
 Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Bhakra, Pong water levels comfortable
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 16
Bhakra Beas Management Board officials are optimistic of a “comfortable summer ahead”. Their optimism stems from the gradually rising water level in the Bhakra Dam and Pong Dam reservoirs as their catchment areas continue to have a good south-west monsoon.

The water level at Bhakra today was 1,562 ft , 21 ft higher than what it was on the same day last year. It was 1,312 ft at the Pong Dam against 1,301 ft on this day last year. “The rain so far has been very good,” says Mr H.K. Duggal, Member, Irrigation, BBMB, “hoping that the south-west monsoon will continue like this till the end of August or the beginning of September.”

The BBMB officials were a little worried at the beginning of the season as the inflow into the Bhakra Dam from the melting of snow in the higher reaches of the Himalayas was much slower and lower than expected. The reason was the continuous spell of inclement weather, with the summer far less hot than normal.

“But a good and vigorous south-west monsoon has made up for the loss so far. We are also meeting the full irrigation demands of the partner states , including Punjab,” says Mr Duggal, a point which is corroborated by his counterpart, the Chief Engineer (Canals), Punjab.

“In Punjab,” says the Chief Engineer, “all canals are running according to the indent. Though the south-west monsoon has been good in areas around Chandigarh, in the rest of the state, it has been below average to moderate.

“The Superintending Engineer in Ferozepore has been asked to go in for the ponding of excess water to prevent both flooding and wastage,” he says. “The demand has not come down and we want some storage of water upstream.” He maintains that the authorities of the Thein and Beas Dams have been requested to reduce discharges into irrigation channels for the time being.

Last year was perhaps a bad year for both the Pong Dam and Bhakra Dam reservoirs. “We were 40 ft below normal at Bhakra and 30 ft at the Pong Dam. We, however, managed to handle the shortage scientifically and efficiently,” adds Mr Duggal.

“The situation this time is much more comfortable. If the discharge from Bhakra has been reduced from 20,000 cusecs to 16,000 cusecs, we have been able to keep the remaining 4,000 cusecs in our reservoir. We are trying to maintain a balance between our gain and releases, meeting at the same time all demands for irrigation.

“Both Bhakra and Beas are basically irrigation-based projects and the generation of power is a byproduct. So the irrigation requirements come first and with whatever water is left, we generate power. Every month we have a technical experts’ meeting where a decision on discharges into irrigation channels is taken for the month,” adds Mr Duggal.

The BBMB officials are keeping their fingers crossed hoping that the south-west monsoon will continue with the same vigour during the rest of the season. There have been instances where after a vigorous start, it has suddenly turned away making the second half deficient.


Vigilance raid on hospital
From Sushil Goyal and Vikrant Jindal

Malerkotla, July 16
After the ordering of an inquiry by the District Health authorities into the alleged “false” tubectomy cases a six-member team from the Punjab Vigilance Department, headed by Mr Banarsi Dass, DSP, Flying Squad, today raided local Civil Hospital premises and took the record, relating to tubectomy and hysterectomy cases in the past years in this hospital into possession.

A news “False” tubectomy cases to meet target was published on July 14 in The Tribune exposing an alleged fraud, committed in the local Civil Hospital in the past years to achieve targets of the family planning programmes or earn easy money.

Mr Banarasi Dass, DSP Flying Squad, told The Tribune that as the inquiry was in progress he could not say anything. Any information on the inquiry could be provided by the SP, Flying Squad, Vigilance Department at Chandigarh, he added.

The DSP confirmed that the team would check the records of tubectomy and hysterectomy cases along with other irregularities, if any. He said they might complete this inquiry by this evening or tomorrow. It depended on the checking of the records of the hospital, he added.

Talking to The Tribune over the phone, Dr C.P. Bansal, Civil Surgeon, Sangrur, confirmed that a team from the Punjab Vigilance Bureau, including Dr Rajesh Jindal from the Health Department posted in the Vigilance Wing today arrived at the Civil Hospital at Malerkotla to check records of the tubectomy and hysterectomy cases.

Dr Bansal said on the demand of the Vigilance team, he had sent back the record pertaining to tubectomy and hysterectomy to the Malerkotla hospital today. Earlier this record was brought to the Civil Surgeon office on July 14, after the publication of the news item in The Tribune to look into the matter, he added.

Dr Bansal added after reading the news he sent a two-member team — Dr Suresh Goyal, District Family Welfare Officer, and Mr Ramesh Mittal, Accounts Officer — for preliminary inquiry on the spot. He said this team went through the records at the Malerkotla Civil Hospital and brought the related records with it.

Dr Suresh Goyal, District Family Welfare Officer, said besides an inquiry by the Sangrur District health authorities, the authorities of Punjab Health Department had also initiated an inquiry into the alleged false tubectomy cases. He said the local Health authorities would not favour any one in this case as everything was available on record.

The Tribune news on July 14 mentioned only three cases in which tubectomy and hysterectomy operations had been performed on the same women on the same day or over two days by two different surgeons in the month of September 1999. It is alleged that several such cases may figure in report of the District Health authorities in the days to come.


WB may support biotech park
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 16
The Punjab Government has embarked upon a massive biotechnology plan.

Presiding over the first meeting of the governing body of the Punjab Biotechnology Council here today, Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, Science and Technology Minister, said the Ladowal Biotech Park, one of three such parks in India, was likely to receive support from the World Bank.

The proposal to kick-start biotechnology by the creation of three parks was conceived by the All-India Biotech Association.

Mr N.K. Arora, Chief Secretary, said the Punjab State Council of Science and Technology (PSCST) had already catalysed a JV with Israel for hi-tech green houses.

Mr Rajan Kashyap, Principal Secretary, Science and Technology, said the Centre of Excellence in Chandigarh required only Rs 10 crore to become an effective technology incubator for the growth of the biotechnology industry in the state.

Among those who attended the meeting were Mr N.S. Tiwana, Executive Director of the PSCST, Dr Gurdev Singh Khush of the International Rice Research Institute (Manila), Dr Inder Varma of the Salk Institute, San Diego, California, and Dr Satwinder Singh Marwaha, a former professor of Punjabi University and present Director of Biotechnology in the PSCST.


Bid to gherao police station
Our Correspondent

Maur Mandi (Bathinda), July 16
The police today foiled a bid to gherao the local police station by the activists of the BKU (E) by putting up nakas at entry points of the town. At least 35 persons trying to break the police cordon were taken into custody.

The BKU (E) activists were to gherao the police station as part of their ongoing struggle against the alleged suicide by a farmer of Sandoha village. The activists had decided to sit at an indefinite dharna in front of the police station. They alleged that the police was protecting those responsible for the suicide of farmers.

The police had put up nakas at Dhade, Maiser Khana, Ghuman villages and at the Maur Mandi crossing. A large number of police personnel were deployed at all nakas who they did not allow the activists to enter town.

The police took into custody leaders of the BKU (E), including Mr Jhanda Singh Jethuke, district president, Mr Shingara Singh, Mr Balwinder Singh, Mr Surmukh Singh, Mr Surjit Singh, Mr Harnek Singh and Mr Baldev Singh, president of Maur unit of the party.

Tension prevailed in the town since morning as a conflict was expected between the activists of the kisan union and members of the arhtiya association. Kisan union leaders demanded that criminal cases should be registered against the arhtiyas who had threatened them and were holding parallel rallies.

The farmers had started their agitation after the death of Mithu Singh of Sandoha village in the district. The kisan leaders had alleged that he had committed suicide due to harassment by an arhtiya from whom he had taken some loan. They wanted registration of a criminal case against the arhtiya who was responsible for the death of the farmer.

The Arhtiya Association had however, denied that none of their members had ever harassed any farmer for taking back the loan. They alleged that the kisan union was making false statements.

No clash occurred between the two groups today due to heavy police security. The kisan union leaders, however, alleged that the police was favouring the arhtiyas and it had registered false cases against the farmers on the instructions of the arhtiyas.


‘Badal serving interests of BJP’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 16
Bhai Ranjit Singh, former Jathedar of Akal Takht said here today the he had no political ambition and was only interested in spreading the message of ‘my gurus’ and fighting against injustice. He said the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, should have been present in India at the time of the visit of the Pakistan President, General Parvez Musharraf, and taken up Sikh issues with him. But he regretted that he was not interested in Sikh issue and he was interested only in retaining his ‘subedari’ of Punjab. He was being kept in power by the BJP government as he was serving their interests. Charging Mr Badal with finishing the Sikh institutions, the former Jathedar of the Akal Takht said that he had not bothered about Sikh interests at all. He said the signing of the report on inclusion of Udham Singh Nagar in Uttranchal had denigrated the supremacy of Akal Takht.

He said when the Pakistan Government had offered to provide a corridor to Gurdwara Kartar Pur Sahib what was the hitch in accepting the same. The BJP Government was not interested in allowing the Sikhs to have access to their religious places, he alleged.

Bhai Ranjit Singh maintained that the BJP led government should have included the visit of General Musharraf to Harmandir Sahib in his itinerary and discussed the plight of Sikh shrines in Pakistan with him along with other related issues.

He also criticised the Prime Minister who first agreed to meet Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra and later on cancelled the appointment. Mr Tohra had sought appointment with the Prime Minister to brief him about Sikh issues so that he could discuss the same with the Pakistani President, he added.

Bhai Ranjit Singh asserted that he was ready to discuss the issue of alleged visit of Mr Tohra to Nirankari Bhavan with the Sikh clergy. He rather dared the present Jathedar of Akal Takht Joginder Singh Vedanti to reopen the case. Bhai Ranjit Singh said that PPCC president Mr Amarinder Singh had failed to substantiate the charge and at no stage he sought punishment for Mr Tohra. He was simply pleading that the social boycott call against the Nirankaris should be withdrawn.


Cong promises fiscal reforms
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 16
Capt Amarinder Singh, President, PPCC, said the Congress party would work for economic reforms in the state and the thrust would be on Information Technology (IT).

Capt Amarinder Singh, who was here in connection with the marriage ceremony of 51 poor girls organised by the Jai Durga Bhajan Mandli, said while talking to mediapersons yesterday that during the four and half years of the SAD-BJP government rule, loan on the state had increased from just Rs 8,000 crore to Rs 34,000 crore. Most of the units of the state, including textiles, dyeing, shelling, steel and even the agriculture were closing down. The only industry running on marginal profits was the hosiery, but if the present faulty tariff of the SAD-BJP continued it would also meet the same fate, he said.

The tall claims made by the SAD-BJP combine could be verified from the fact that work on the much- hyped project of oil refinery at Bathinda had started after about three years since the foundation stone was laid by the Prime Minister, he said. The state had received only Rs 10 crore of investments during the rule of SAD-BJP combine in the IT sector whereas a state like Andhra Pradesh had received as much as Rs 10,000 crore of foreign direct investments, Capt Amarinder Singh said.

The PPCC chief said the Congress government would introduce a single-window clearance system to boost industrialisation of the Punjab. All clearances, land, power, licences, loans would be processed from the single-window, he said.

Capt Amarinder Singh said to boost rural economy of the state more and more agriculture based industries would be set up. More than 50 per cent of the farmers of Punjab had land holdings of less than 2.5 acre so the wheat-paddy cycle was of no use for them and there was a dire need of cash crops.

Commenting on the disposal of wheat stocks by the Union Government the Congress chief said, the recent reduction in the prices of foodgrains distributed through the Public Distribution System (PDS) was not sufficient. The farmers should be motivated to adopt hard wheat varieties for cultivation as the soft wheat varieties were not in demand in the European Union same was the case of paddy. Basmati enjoyed good export potential, but the coarse rice grains were not in demand, he said.

Refuting the charges of the SAD-BJP combine on the WTO agreement Capt Amarinder Singh said all fears of the people were created by the ruling alliance. “If any country found that their interests were not protected in the agreement they could withdraw from the agreement by giving a three months notice,” he said.

The state government had floated a bond, in the name of Infrastructure Development Bond of Rs 500 crore, but had used the money collected under its name for distribution for the sangat darshans, he alleged. Giving hints of alliances in the coming Assembly elections he said that the Congress was open to alliances with all secular parties, including the Left Front.

The Badal government was patronising former terrorists and the recent newspaper reports that they were giving financial aid to them was very unfortunate. More than 18 SPs, DSPs and other senior police officials were behind bars for alleged atrocities against who had fought for the state, but the state government was not caring for them, alleged the PPCC President.


Cong leader flays govt on Chohan, Zaffarwal
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, July 16
Mr Mohinder Kumar Rinwa, former MLA from Fazilka secretary PPCC in a strongly worded statement here today, flayed the SAD-BJP Government in Punjab for granting “VIP treatment” to terrorist Wassan Singh Zaffarwal and Khalistan protagonist Jagjit Singh Chohan and alleged that the government was preparing ground for the arrival of other hardcore terrorists, including Paramjit Singh Panjwar in Punjab.

He alleged that the Punjab Government was allowing the entry of terrorists and secessionist elements in the state to secure votes of their followers. “This is a dangerous trend,” he said.

Mr Rinwa said the government should have acted swiftly and arrested Chohan immediately on charges of secession as his utterances had still not changed and he was still saying that he would fight for Khalistan. He described the statement of Chohan that terrorism would not be allowed to revive as a farce.

The Congress leader alleged that there was complete breakdown of the law and order machinery, particularly in Ferozepore district, where instances of killings, dacoities, thefts and other crimes were on the rise. He alleged that district police had failed to check crime and was engaged in framing false cases against Congress workers at the instance of leaders of the ruling party.

The former MLA alleged large-bungling the distribution of paddy bonus to farmers stating that deserving farmers had been ignored whereas those patronised by the ruling party got undue favours.

He said farmers who had transplanted paddy in advance of the schedule in violation of the instruction of Punjab Agriculture University had been paid bonus while the farmers who cultivated paddy according to specifications of the university were deprived of the bonus. Moreover, the bonus had been paid to farmers who sold their paddy from September 21 to October. Mr Rinwa has asked the Punjab Government that paddy bonus be paid to all farmers.

Mr Rinwa criticised the Chief Minister for disbursing funds during sangat darshan programmes in a haphazard manner. 


SP accused of bias, shifting sought
Varinder Walia and Pawan Kumar

Amritsar, July 16
A minor dispute over playing cricket in a backward colony here is likely to snowball into a major controversy as certain second rung leaders of the Sikh Students Federation (Mehta), the Congress and other parties have demanded immediate transfer of Mr R.K. Jaiswal, SP (City II) from Punjab for allegedly using objectionable language against Punjab and Punjabis, the Uttar Pradesh Kalyan Parishad had threatened to boycott the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal and the BJP if the state government victimised any non-Punjabi IPS officer.

Even as the district police chief, Mr Parampal Singh Sidhu has deputed Mr Jagdish Singh Kahlon, SP (City-I) for probing the matter, Mr Jaiswal who has gone to New Delhi in connection with training told The Tribune on phone that he was very much upset over the allegations giving a tinge of regionalism over the minor incident.

Mr R.C. Yadav, chairman, Uttar Pradesh Kalyan Parishad, said that all 32 lakh migrants from Bihar and UP would ensure the defeat of SAD-BJP combine in the forthcoming elections if the state government chose to discriminate against the non-Punjabi officers. He alleged that IPS officers were being meted out humiliation in the state which was a matter of great concern. He announced that the parishad might field its candidates in all 117 Assembly constituencies.

Mr Iqbal Singh Tung, senior vice-president Sikh Students Federation, (Mehta), Mr Raj Kumar Grover of the Anti Corruption Board, Comrade Raj Kumar, Ms Parvesh Rani, councillor and a number of residents of Judge Nagar and adjoining colonies threatened to launch an agitation if Mr Jaiswal was not transferred from Punjab for allegedly speaking against Punjab and Punjabis. They said the transfer of assistant-sub inspector, head constable and constable from Vijay Nagar Chowki police station to the Police Lines be cancelled as Mr Jaiswal has allegedly “punished” them to favour a resident of Uttar Pradesh in the dispute.

Mr Jaiswal, however, pleaded that he had transferred the police officials on the basis of news report which appeared in a section of the press that one Kewal Kumar son of Jagdish Kumar, a migrant labourer, was beaten up by one Rajesh Saini, a wireless operator in the Traffic Police. They were transferred for a fair inquiry into the whole matter.

Residents of Judge Nagar alleged that the case flared up when Mr Yadav of the UP Kalyan Parishad personally sought the help of non-Punjabi officers to teach Punjabis a lesson the latter denied the allegation. Mr Yadav said that he did not enter the Judge Nagar Colony. Mr Yadav alleged that Mr Saini took the help of his colleagues in the Punjab Police and took the sons of Jagdish to Vijay Nagar police station where the ASI, head constable and a constable beat up them severely. Mr Yadav said that the UP Parishad would organise a big rally at Ludhiana on July 29 where Mr Laloo Parshad Yadav, a former Chief Minister of Bihar would also address. At this conference hard decisions could be taken if any harm was done to non Punjabis in this case.

However, Mr Tung, a former personal assistant to Jathedar Akal Takht asked whether the state of Punjab was being run by Laloo Prasad Yadav or by the Shiromani Akali Dal president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal? He said an agitation would be launched if strict action was not taken against Mr Jaiswal.


Quality education for poor his aim
Lalit Mohan

Schooling gives children the parameters on the basis of which they view society later in life. The basic concepts regarding education also develop at a younger age. Unfortunately, in our society adequate attention is not being paid to schooling. Teachers, especially in primary schools, are given very low salaries. Owing to this people with higher academic qualifications generally do not prefer to work in schools, which is lowering the quality of education.

These views were expressed by Baba Mann Singh Pehowa, a philanthropist and sant who is striving to set up educational institutions for the poor in the area, while talking to this correspondent here.

Baba Mann Singh had recently taken up the construction of Sant Karam Singh Academy near Ropar. The foundation stone of the institution was laid by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr G.S. Grewal, recently .

Baba Mann Singh said the academy was being built on 14 acres donated by the panchayat of Shampura village. The building would be constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 16 crore.

The institution would be affiliated to the CBSE and be gradually upgraded to the 10 plus 2 level. It would have modern facilities and highly qualified teachers. It would be ensured that the teachers had an aptitude for teaching and they would be paid well.

Baba Mann Singh said children from poor families would be given free education. Besides laying stress on academics, the institution would strive to inculcate moral values among the students. Admission to the primary classes would be started by April next year.

He said besides the academy, a college for girls would be opened in the Chamkaur Sahib area.

Residents of the area have been demanding the setting up of such a college. Bibi Jagir Kaur, during her stint as President of the SGPC, had promised to open such an institution. However, the present President, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, during a visit to the area had rejected the proposal. He maintained that even the existing educational institutions were a financial burden on the SGPC.

Baba Mann Singh has offered to set up the college if land for it is donated by residents. The Deputy Commissioner has assured him that he will arrange land for the college with the help of panchayats.


Check drug abuse, doctors told
Tribune News Service

Kotkapura, July 16
Dr Arun Mitra, General Secretary of the Indian Doctors for Peace and Development said the race among various countries to become a nuclear power had been posing a threat to the world peace.

Dr Mitra, while addressing a conference of the organisation here last evening, said there were at least 30,000 nuclear war heads which pose a danger of nuclear war. He said atom bombs dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan killed about 2 lakh persons but the present day atom bombs were capable of causing 1000 times more destruction.

He said if the expenditure on arms was spent on public welfare, there could be a sea change in the living condition of people throughout the world. He added that the amount saved by halting half’s day spending on the arms could immunise the children of globe against infectious diseases. The saving of three days’ arms spending could provide primary health services to the children.

Dr Prabhdev Singh Brar, chief organiser of the conference, said it was the time that doctors should take time out of their work and do something for the general public.

He said doctors should not limit themselves to the treatment of patients only but they should make sincere efforts to check social evils and create peaceful and healthy environment for the people. Medical professionals should fight against drug abuse and gender discrimination.

Dr Ravi Bansal while informing the participants from Muktsar, Jaitu, Faridkot and this town, said initially the organisation was named International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear war to mobilise the people against nuclear war. Later on, the name of organisation was changed and role of doctors was expanded to cover human welfare.


Thrust on promoting Punjabi literature, culture
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 16
The criticism in the field of creative literature has failed to develop an acceptable world view. Due to the changed priorities in life and literature, the real sting is missing from the Punjabi scene which prevailed during the period of Prof Mohan Singh.

This was stated by Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, while presiding over a seminar on modern Punjabi poetry organised by the Department of Punjabi and the Department of Punjabi Development at Senate Hall here today.

Commenting on the role of critics, Dr Ahluwalia said that the habit of studying the Punjabi literature in the context of class consciousness in different periods had become outdated. He added that instead of feeling remorse over the decaying traditions and dead past “we should celebrate the emergence of new knowledge and new literary forms.”

Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, Minister of Science and Technology, inaugurated the seminar and reiterated the commitment of the Punjab Government to develop the Punjabi language, literature and culture.

Dr Gurbhagat Singh, a renowned critic, in his paper “Western paradigms of modernism and modern Punjabi poetry” said that when capitalist imperialism was steam rolling the small cultures, Bhai Vir Singh and Prof Puran Singh created their own paradigms in Punjabi and established a separate entity for poetry.

The others who spoke on the occasion were Dr Nahar Singh, Dr Paramjit Singh, Prof Kirpal Singh Kasel, Dr Gurtaran Singh and Dr Kamlesh Uppal.


NRIs’ contribution appreciated
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 16
The NRIs have made great contribution to the development of Punjab and won laurels for their motherland by earning name and fame in the countries of their adoption.

This was stated by Mr Satish Chandra, new Commissioner of Jalandhar Division, who has also taken over as chairman of the NRI Sabha Punjab at a joint meeting of the executive committee members of the sabha and Deputy Commissioners of various districts of the state here today.

He said it was necessary to motivate NRIs to invest in the state which was both in the interest of Punjab and the country as well. He said NRIs were facing a number of problems which were being taken up by the sabha with the government from time to time.

The outgoing Chairperson Geetika Kalha of the NRI sabha, explained activities of the sabha and assured that she would continue her cooperation as far as “Heritage Village” project of the sabha was concerned.

Mr J.S. Puar, the Executive Vice-President, said the biggest achievement of the sabha was an amendment in the Rent Control Act and getting of land for the “Heritage Village” project of the sabha. Mr Prem Singh advocate, the Vice-Chairman of the sabha also lauded the role of Mrs Kalha.


TSU ends agitation
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 16
The year-long tussle between the PSEB management and the members of the Technical Services Union (TSU) ended on Saturday evening when both parties reached an agreement, according to which all suspended employees would be reinstated and a sympathetic view taken in respect of the other demands.

This was stated in a press note issued here yesterday by Mr Hem Raj, Zonal Secretary, Bathinda, of the union. He said a meeting in this regard was held here on Saturday evening in which the Power Minister, Punjab, Mr Nirmal Singh, the Superintendent Engineer of Bathinda Division of the PSEB, and the XEN from the management side and from the TSU side Zonal Convener, Zonal Secretary and other members of the union participated.

Mr Hem Raj said the management had agreed to the demands, therefore they had decided to the cancel their struggle. He said the management of the PSEB agreed to transfer the union leaders, who were transferred to the far-off places, to the places nearby the city.

He said the management had also agreed that the cases of those employees who were chargesheeted would be considered leniently. He said it was also agreed that for the consideration of the criminal cases registered against the employees of the PSEB, a meeting between Police officials, District Attorney, PSEB employees and the members of the union would be held soon.

The union leader claimed that the PSEB authorities were forced to accept their demands after they had held a massive agitation at various places in the district. He said the year-long agitation brought the results in their favour. They did not want to adopt the path of agitation, but when they were allegedly victimised by the authorities they had to do that.

He said the authorities had used every tactic to curb their agitation, but were not successful in their effort and ultimately they had accepted their demands. He claimed that there was no alternative for the authorities other than agreeing to their demands.


Thermal plant not polluting air: PSEB
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 16
Replying to a case filed by Mr N.K. Garg, against the PSEB, the board authorities submitted that though the Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant was discharging some effluents in air but not polluting the air.

Mr N.K. Garg, a city lawyer had filed a suit against the PSEB authorities in June seeking directions that the pollution levels should be brought down and the city be declared a power cut-free city.

The PSEB authorities in their reply, said the thermal plant was set up when the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, was not operational. After the Act became operational the state pollution control board authorities had allowed the plant to operate with an emission level of 350 mg/nm3 which was subsequently reduced to 150 mg/nm3.


Plea to PHRC on parents’ suicide
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 16
Miss Neeru Garg, a resident of Rampura Phul town of the district has urged the Punjab Human Rights Commission (PHRC) to initiate action against those who were allegedly responsible for the suicide of her father and mother.

In her application to the PHRC she has alleged that some of the employees of the Punjab State Warehousing Corporation (PSWC) had harassed her parents who owned a shelling mill near Bhucho mandi in the district, which forced them to commit suicide.

She alleged that officials of the PSWC had got a false case registered against her parents. She has urged the commission to book the culprits.

She said that the names of the persons responsible for the incidence was written in the suicide note of her parents that was found in the pocket of her father.


Few arrests in rape cases: CM
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 16
Decline in the number of rape cases in 2000 seems to indicate that the efficiency of the police has increased. But the conclusion is belied by the fact that there is a decline in the number of arrests as well in these cases.

While in 1997, of the total 278 accused involved in 157 cases, 270 were arrested the figures of year 2000 are dismal. Of the total 319 accused in 184 cases, only 290 were arrested and the Moga police topped the list where not even one of the five accused was arrested.

The Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, told in a written reply to the CPI MLA, Mr Hardev Arshi, in the recently concluded Assembly session that in 1997, maximum number of rape cases were reported from Jalandhar and all 38 accused were arrested. The minimum arrests in 1997 were made in Ferozepore where out of the 27 accused in 13 cases, 24 were arrested.

Mr Arshi, while talking to The Tribune here today, said under the SAD-BJP government excesses on women and the weaker section had increased. The state comprising 17 districts had been divided into 24 police districts but the law and order situation had not improved.

Mr Arshi pointed out that rape cases were mostly reported that districts where industry was developed. In Jalandhar, 15 and 21 cases were reported in 1997 and 1998, respectively. Ludhiana reported 42 cases in 1999 and in 2000. Patiala reported maximum number (30) of cases.

Mr Arshi said in Bathinda, number of rape cases had not shown any increase but number of arrests had declined. While in 1997, out of the 14 accused in the seven cases, 13 were arrested, in 2000, only seven accused were arrested out of 12 in cases of rape.

Most of the cases from rural areas or in which victims were Dalits were either not reported or settled out of courts under police pressure. In almost all cases, the number of accused were significantly larger than the number of cases reported which indicates that the rapes were organised gang rapes. The situation was no better in urban areas, said Mr Arshi.

Mr Arshi said the statistics clearly indicated that a rape case was being registered every 48 hours. Relatives of higher officials had been found to be involved in many cases, but these had been hushed up, he alleged.

There was no decline in the number of rape cases as was being claimed by the government, it was only that these were not being registered, he added.


Move to help kin of terrorists flayed

Phillaur July 16
Shiv Sena (Bal Thackrey) state unit vice-resident Pawan Parbhakar here today condemned the government’s order to all Deputy Commissioners of the state to prepare lists of families of terrorists so that the government could help them.

Lauding Ms Lakshmi Kanta Chawla for receiving this information the sena leader asked all BJP ministers to quit the SAD-BJP government as the Badal government had done nothing for the rehabilitation of families of terrorists’ victims.


Doc ordered to pay 2 lakh as compensation
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 16
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed an orthopaedic surgeon, Dr Amrit Gupta, to pay Rs 2 lakh as compensation to Harjinder Singh for causing permanent disability to his right arm to the extent of 50 per cent.

In his order the president of the forum directed that the doctor should also pay Rs 30,000 as costs.

The compensation is to be paid within two months after the receipt of the copy of the order.

The right arm of Harjinder Singh, a resident of Chak Ram Singhwala village in the district, was fractured when he fell from a roof on August 8, 1997.

He was admitted to the hospital of Dr Amrit Gupta. But the doctor allegedly treated the child with negligence that led to disability in his arm to the extent of 50 per cent.

Mr Gurmeet Singh, father of the child who contested the case on his minor son’s behalf, pleaded that the doctor refused to give them the details of the treatment and the prescription. He said the doctor had obtained his signature on a paper without disclosing the contents.

The complainant was subsequently examined by a doctor of the local Civil Hospital. The doctor opined that the movement at the right elbow joint was nil and the Civil Surgeon gave a certificate to the effect.

The wrong treatment could lead to further complications as the child was growing, some of the experts opined.


Of rain and dead phones
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 16
Telephones in the city instead of being a facility become source of nuisance in rain. Most of the phones give out strange noises or get cross connected.

Number of telephones has increased steeply. The Department claims that even rural areas had been connected with the ‘facility’ of telephone and the computerised telephone exchanges.

Residents alleged that most of the time telephones were out of order. Complaints to the authorities have had no effect and the PCO operators were charging Rs three per call, they alleged. If an engaged number was dialled more than three times computer either connects it to a wrong number or asks the caller to ‘Please check the number you have dialled,’ they alleged.

Complaint number of the telephone exchange was not attended to most of the time. The faults which could be removed at the office of the telephone were rectified generally in two three days but those requiring manual operations beyond the exchange were not rectified, in certain cases for more than one week.


Safai karamcharis to hold rally
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, July 16
Safai karamcharis will hold a state-level rally at Chandigarh tomorrow in protest against the failure of the Punjab Government to accede to their long-pending demands.

The main demands include the abolition of contract system, recruitment for more karamcharis, regularisation of the services of workers who had completed 240 days of service, payment of bonus pending for the past four years.

Mr Parkash Chand Gaichand, state president of the Safai Karamcharis Union, said yesterday that repeated representations to the Punjab Government in this connection had proved futile. Even a deputation of the association met the Director, Local Bodies, on March 21 to impress upon him for sorting out the issue amicably but received no response.


SHO dies in accident
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 16
Mr Kishan Singh, Station House Officer (SHO), Police Station, Phul, died when his vehicle met with an accident in the cantonment area on the Bathinda-Barnala road late last night.

Police sources said that a military heavy vehicle dashed against the vehicle of Mr Kishan Singh who suffered serious injuries and subsequently died.

Mr Kishan Singh, a Sub-Inspector, is survived by his wife and a son.

His body was cremated in his native village Pathrala, 30 km from here. Senior police officials, including SSP, Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, attended the funeral which was largely attended.


Textile workers hold rally
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 16
Members of the Textile Mazdoor Ekta Committee held a rally here today in protest against the closure of Punjab Spinning and Weaving Mills.

Members of the Textile Mazadoor Ekta Committee burning the effigy of the Punjab Government and the Labour Commission, whom they held responsible for the closure of the textile mill, in Bathinda on Monday. — Tribune photo Kulbir Beera


Kisan unions give memo of demands
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 16
A deputation of various kisan unions from Punjab called on Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, and submitted a memorandum of demands to him here today.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh assured the deputation that its demands would be conceded soon. He said the families of farmers who committed suicide due to financial distress during the tenure of the present SAD-BJP government would be given compensation of Rs 2.5 lakh each.

The Finance Minister promised that the demands accepted by Mr Parkash Singh Badal would be implemented. He said serious deliberations were on with the Centre on the procurement of paddy. Concerted efforts were being made to enhance the MSP of paddy. The Finance Minister said Rs 30 crore had already been released to cooperative sugar mills for the payment of arrears due to cane growers. The balance amount would also be released soon.


Coop societies to lose privileges
Our Correspondent

Ropar, July 16
The Punjab Government has decided to withdraw the special privileges given to the cooperative and the labour societies in the allotments of works in the municipal councils.

In a letter to the Manager, Punjab State Cooperative Labour and Construction Federation Ltd, the Special Secretary, Local Government, had stated that the work and the quality of cooperative and labour construction societies, has not earned much appreciation. So, the government has decided to encourage open competition in the works. Therefore, the privileges granted to the labour and the cooperative societies would not be continued.

Earlier, these societies were given special privileges under the Cooperatives Act, in the allotment of government works. In the local governments all works below the limit of Rs 5 lakh were given to these societies. The societies also did not have to deposit the earnest money for these works. For the works above the limit of Rs 5 lakh also the societies were given preference. The idea behind these concessions was to generate employment.

However, the privileges for the societies were being exploited by the vested interests who had formed bogus societies for the purpose.

Many local politicians and influential people had formed bogus cooperative and labour societies by enrolling migrant labourers as members. They used to take the government contracts on the basis of these societies and further sublet it to other contractors.

Many of the local government officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity welcomed the government’s decision to withdraw the special privileges granted to these societies. They allege that since it was their compulsion to allot all works below the Rs 5 lakh limit to these societies, the costs of works remained higher due to fewer bidders. In addition to it the quality of work was not found satisfactory no action could be taken against the erring societies as they did not deposit any earnest money.

However, about 94 cooperative and the labour societies in the district have termed the decision of the government as unfortunate. They allege that the order of the Punjab Government was in gross violation of the provisions of the Cooperatives Societies Act. The decision would lead to the monopolising of government works by a few big contractors or the companies.


Tricksters create panic among women
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 16
Panic has gripped the housewives of atleast 10 localities who are virtually confining themselves to indoors following incidents of attacks and looting by two tricksters.

Unable to check the menace caused by these two tricksters, who have struck at about four places so far, the police has advised residents not to allow any stranger in their houses in absence of male members. The two have so far chosen only those localities which fall in the outer ring of the city.

What has instilled a sense of fear among housewives is the unique modus operandi adopted by the two tricksters. They enter households after posing as friendly government officials. If they find that there is no male member in the house, they force women to hand over the cash or jewellery at pistol point. Though not very successful, they have targeted a few isolated houses in Santokhpura, Aman Nagar, Ajit Nagar and Lama Pind localities on the city outskirts during the past one month.

In Santokhpura locality, they attacked a woman and fled away with cash and jewellery, a similar attempt was made in Lama Pind about 10 days back. Another bid to loot was courageously resisted by a wife of a bank employee in Aman Nagar.

Mohinder Kaur, a resident of Aman Nagar locality said she had advised her daughter-in-law to remain indoor till the return of her husband from work. Similarly, Arjan Dass of Lama Pind Chowk said residents of the locality have started guarding their respective areas during night.

Mr Rakesh Kaushal, DSP (city) said computer sketches of suspects had been prepared and an award of Rs 5000 has been announced for providing a clue about the two tricksters. He said a series of meetings had been held by police officials with residents of various localities. “We have advised residents, particularly, women that they should establish the identity of the stranger before letting him in. Actually, they strike between 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. that is the time when women should be alert,” said Mr Kaushal.


Woman kills daughter, self
Our Correspondent

Mansa, July 16
Jasbir Kaur (32) along with her seven-month-old daughter, Sunpreet, committed suicide yesterday by jumping before a Ferozepore bound passenger train near railway station here. Inquiries reveal that the husband of the deceased was in the Army and he had gone back to join his duty in the Agartala sector after spending his annual leave. Jasbir Kaur was under depression since the departure of her husband, it is learnt. The railway police has sent the body of the deceased for a postmortem.


Students left in a quandary
PTU allots MCA seats to college not affiliated with it
Jangveer Singh

Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 16
Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar, has given a rude shock to students aspiring for a Master in Computer Applications (MCA) degree and threatened their career prospects by allotting them a local college for admission which is not even affiliated with the university.

Students arriving to take admission in the local Guru Harkrishan College of Management and Technology after having deposited an initial fee of Rs 10,000 with the PTU following the centralised counselling programme held at Jalandhar recently, were in for a rude shock when they discovered that the college was not even affiliated with the university and the authorities were not willing to admit them.

The PTU allotted the college around 30 seats during the counselling held at Jalandhar. The college authorities have, however, refused to entertain the students claiming their college is affiliated with Punjabi University, Patiala.

Sources said the genesis of the problem lay in an application sent by the college to the PTU in November, 2000, requesting that it be given affiliation to run the MCA course. They said as the college did not get a prompt response it also applied to Punjabi University for affiliation. When Punjabi University started the process of granting affiliation by sending inspection teams they did not pursue the matter of affiliation with the PTU further.

Meanwhile, the college was also given approval to run the MCA course by the All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) which sent a communication in this regard to the PTU, the sources said, adding that on receiving the AICTE communication the PTU wrote to the institution asking it to proceed with the process of affiliation by depositing Rs 10,000 as inspection fee and affiliation fee of Rs 50,000 for admission of 30 students. The letter was sent by Mr Sadhu Singh, Director, Colleges of PTU. However, the sources said as the college did not deposit the affiliation fee before the date of counselling as mentioned in the PTU communication they should not have been considered for allotment of students. He said in the meantime, the institute had been granted affiliation by Punjabi University.

The GHCMT Principal, Dr S. R. Sahani, said the college authorities did not take part in the counselling organised by the PTU in Jalandhar on July 10. He said on July 11 the college was allotted 50 candidates during the centralised coaching held on the Punjabi University campus here. He said he had written to the PTU saying that the university was giving students to the institute all of a sudden even though the institute had not paid either the affiliation fee for the students or the inspection fee and no inspection team ever visited the institute.

However, the students who have paid Rs 10,000 to the PTU and still have not got admission in any college offering a MCA degree feel cheated at the developments. ‘’The PTU has apparently organised the entire counselling in a very casual manner as it is almost impossible to believe that it would allot seats to the College which is not affiliated to it ‘’, said Rachpal Singh Tiwana who is one of the students who have suffered due to the allotment of MCA seats to the local college. Other students also complained that their career was at stake and said even if they were given a second choice by the PTU they would not be able to take admission in colleges of their choice as the institutions had already been allotted to students.

Meanwhile, the GHCMT authorities disclosed that they would request the PTU to either distribute the students to other colleges or allot the college 30 MCA seats as a special case to ensure the career of the students was not affected.


Rumours denied
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, July 16
Mrs Harcharanjit Kaur Brar, controller, Punjab School Education Board, in a statement here today denied all rumours of missing marksheets of class X students as baseless. She said if any school or class X student had any doubt about the result, they could contact at fax No 0172-414200 at her Mohali office. She said the aggrieved person might also contact her personally for redressal.

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