Tuesday, July 24, 2001, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



200 get jobs on fake forms
CBI on trail of Punjab gang
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23
The Central Bureau of Investigation is hot on the trail of a gang involved in issuing fake nomination forms of the Staff Selection Commission, New Delhi.

According to the information available from sources, these nomination forms were purportedly issued by the Staff Selection Commission from the year 1989 onwards. It is learnt that on the basis of these fake forms over 200 candidates got employment in the Income Tax Department in Punjab and Chandigarh.

These candidates have been appointed as Upper Division Clerks, stenos and Inspectors in the Income Tax Department. Sources say the said gang allured unemployed youth and obtained anything between Rs. 1 lakh and Rs 4 lakh in order to get them recruited in the Income Tax Department on the basis of forged nomination forms.

Well placed sources in the CBI said they were now trying to identify the gang members , who were operating from Patiala, as well as the neighbouring districts of Sangrur, Fatehgarh Sahib and Ropar. Senior officials said they had a daunting task ahead of them in trying to identify the gang members and find documents related to the forged forms.

It may be noted that the Staff Selection Commission holds the examinations for the various posts like the Upper Division Clerks, Lower Division Clerks, stenos and Inspectors for the Central Excise and Income Tax Departments. Whenever there is a vacancy, the departments concerned request the Staff Selection Commission (S.S.C.) to sponsor the name of the candidate for the vacant posts.

It is then that the dossier of the candidates, who figure in the final selection list are sent along with the nomination forms. The nomination forms are embossed with a special seal. Also, there are written instructions on the nomination forms as well as the dossier that if the form is not embossed with the special seal, it be immediately returned to the Staff Selection Commission for verification.

The forged nomination form so prepared by the gang did not contain the embossed seal. The matter was brought to the notice of the Commission almost a year back and was handed over to the CBI here around six months back, informed sources.


Clash over ‘polluting’ unit, four injured
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 23
Fed up of the nuisance and pollution caused by a sweetmeat manufacturing unit for the past 10 years in Makhdoompura and adjoining localities, hundreds of residents of these localities, particularly women, had a scuffle with employees of the unit today, resulting in injuries to four residents.

The Wholesale Cloth Merchants Association, Shiv Bari Mandir Management Committee and Gurdwara Guru Singh Sabha, Makhdoompura, joined issue with the residents and supported their demand of shifting the factory of Jalandhar’s “Lovely Sweets” from the area. They decided to sit on a dharna in front of “Lovely Sweets” if the police failed to arrest the culprits within 24 hours.

Earlier, perturbed over the road blocked by a four-wheeler belonging to the unit owners, the residents embroiled themselves in a fight with the employees. In the ensuing clash, four residents — Hari Mahajan, Brij Mahajan, Ashu and Raju — were injured and admitted to hospital.

The residents alleged that they were beaten up by employees of Lovely Sweets inside the shop in the presence of Mr Rakesh Kaushal, DSP, who was allegedly supporting the unit owner.

More than 5000 residents of Makhdoompura Mohalla, Dhobi Mohalla and Saraj Ganj alleged that they had been living in miserable conditions for the past more than 10 years due to nuisance, air and noise pollution caused by the manufacturing unit and the alleged indifferent attitude of the Municipal Corporation and Punjab Pollution Control Board, which had failed to initiate any action against the factory despite several complaints in this regard.

Mr Kanwalnain Singh of Makhdoompura Mohalla, alleged that the main entrance to the locality remained blocked by the trucks due to loading and unloading of sweets and raw material and it was virtually impossible to reach their home without exchanging hot words with unit employees. He alleged that truck and other vehicle owners or drivers played loud music in the night, making life miserable for the residents.

Mrs Kuldeep Kaur Khalsa, an Akali Municipal Councillor, alleged that it was difficult for women and girls to pass through the street, since some factory employees passed indecent remarks. “They make objectionable comments on every passing woman which is highly deplorable. I have complained several times to the owner of the factory, Mr Ramesh Mittal, to stop them, but the latter retorted that I should sell my house to him, if I was so disturbed. Where shall the residents go,” questioned Mrs Khalsa.

Mrs Shankuntla (58), a resident of the same locality alleged that her son Anil Parkash was attacked by the employees of the factory with sharp-edged weapons last night, when he asked a milk supplier of the factory blocking the road, to vacate it. “Though a complaint has been lodged with the police, an F.I.R. is still to be registered in this regard,” she added.

The residents further alleged that they had made several rounds of the Punjab Pollution Control Board office and local Municipal Corporation regarding shifting of the factory, but the authorities had failed to take any action in this regard.

Mr Ramesh Mittal, owner of Lovely Sweets, alleged, “In fact, these residents have smashed the windowpanes of my shop situated adjoining to the factory and attacked me with lathis.”


Mahant ‘resurrected’ to grab land
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23
Mahant Manohar Dass died in 1952 in Ramparshad village of Montgomery district of Pakistan. But he was “resurrected” in 1997 in a village of Muktsar district. Though it sounds unbelievable, it is true. And this is part of the official records not of Pakistan but of the Punjab Government (India).

However, the matter did not stop at the “resurrection” of Mahant Manohar Dass. An attempt was also made to “grab” about 1,100 acres in the name of the Mahant. However, the attempt was foiled, thanks to an alert PCS officer of the state government.

Two persons, Bharpur Singh and Sandeep Singh, of Fattanwala village in Muktsar district filed a petition, supported by an affidavit in the local court of the Additional Director, Consolidation of Holdings-cum- Managing Officer (Headquarter), Rehabilitation, Punjab.

They claimed that the late Mahant Manohar Dass abandoned about 1,100 acres in Ramparshad (Montgomery), now in Pakistan. After migration from Pakistan, he settled in the native village of the petitioners. A copy of the revenue records pertaining to the land of the Mahant in Pakistan was also attached with the petition. There is no problem in obtaining such a copy as such records are available in the office of Director, Land Records, Jalandhar. After Partition copies of the revenue records were brought from Pakistan by the Indian Government to settle claims and allot evacuee land to refugees after verifying the claims from the revenue records.

The petitioners claimed that the Mahant stayed with them for the past 12 years before his death on March 20, 1998. Before his death, he executed a registered will on November 10, 1997 in favour of petitioners giving equal share to both. It was also claimed that the Mahant was a bachelor. The certificate of Mahant’s death on March 20, 1998, was also attached with the petition.

Quoting various laws and rules and other documents, both through their lawyer sought the allotment of the land in lieu of the land left by the late Mahant in Pakistan.

After initial formalities like the translation of the revenue records from Urdu to Punjabi and evidence regarding legal heirs of the deceased, the case came up for hearing in the court of Mr S.S. Khara, a PCS officer, who holds the office of Additional Director Consolidation of Holdings-cum-Managing Officer Rehabilitation, Punjab for regular hearing on August 20 last year.

However, one of the petitioners Bharpur Singh died in December, 2000. This was told by second petitioner Mr Sandeep Singh to the court while recording his statement on June 11, 2001. Sandeep Singh told the court that the Mahant had migrated to Fattanwala village at the time of Partition.

He also said that Mahant’s will was got registered on November 10, 1997, in the office of Sub Registrar, Muktsar, and a nambardar Bikram Singh was a witness in the will. However, Sandeep was unable to tell why the Mahant’s name was not included in the voters list or in any of their ration card.

The presiding officer of the court got suspicious. First how a man who left 1,100 acres in Pakistan did not file his claim before the authorities concerned though he was alive till March 1998 as per the “documents” produced by Mr Sandeep and party. How, the party, all of a sudden woke up to claim 1,100 acres after 50 years.

Smelling a rat, the presiding officer proceeded to Jalandhar to check the revenue records brought from Pakistan. He found the relevant revenue record. It was recorded in jamabandi (revenue record) that Mahant Manohar Dass converted to Islam after Partition and did not leave the village. Further inspection revealed another interesting information about the Mahant. A tehsildar of Dipalpur tehsil in Pakistan had sent a report to Director Land Records in July 1954. The exact date on the Tehsildar’s report is July 7, 1954.

The Tehsildar’s report of 1954 recorded that Mahant Manohar Dass “expired about two years ago at Ram Parshad village”. He married a muslim woman Mrs Nooran and remained in possession of his land. He had a son, Munawar Ali. After the death of Manohar Dass the mutation of inheritance was entered and sanctioned in favour of Munawar Ali and Ms Nooran.

However , it was cancelled as the land belonged to gaddi (religious seat or say to the Mahant’s dera) and was not his personal property. As the Mahant had became Muslim and stayed here (Ramparshad village) the land remained in his possession. The land was never declared evacuee property. Following orders of the Deputy Commissioner, the land of Gaddi has been with a Nambardar of Kharal Kalan village on “supardari”.

The presiding officer made further scrutiny of the revenue records and found that the copy of the record attached with the petition by Mr Sandeep Singh and party was a doctored one. Certain crucial parts of this original revenue records were missing from the copy attached with the petition.

The court has dismissed the petition. But it has raised certain very important questions. The court says “it was clear that a well-planned and calculated strategy was worked out to grab government land”. The will was fake and some old person impersonated as the Mahant. The presiding officer also made comments about the Mahant’s death certificate obtained from Muktsar. He said the petitioners in connivance with certain others got prepared false documents in order to file the case with a view to cheating the government.

He has recommended criminal proceedings against those involved in the scandal.


Problems plague Bathinda industries
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 23
Even as the district has been declared industrially backward and many plans have been made to develop the district by the state government more and more industries are struggling hard to survive.

Even after the establishment of two power plants in the district, power cuts have been taking a heavy toll of the industrial units. The minimum billings rule imposed by the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has added to the woes of industrialists of the district.

Mr Raman Watts, president, Bathinda Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said while talking to this correspondent today that many industrial units had closed down in the district due to wrong and illogical policies of the state government. According to him, corruption, red tape and misinterpretation of rules by officials have impeded the growth of industries in the district.

Mr Watts said the PSEB charged minimum electricity bills depending on the sanctioned loads. “But when the PSEB does not provide electricity for 24 hours, the minimum charges paid by the industrialists turn out to be more than the electricity consumed by them,” he said.

“The authorities had promised industrialists that 24-hour power supply, drinking water and sewerage facility would be provided at the Industrial Growth Centre but not even a single facility has been provided”, Mr Watts alleged.

He said that when industrial plots were allotted at the growth centre, the rate of the plots was Rs 100 per sq yard but now the authorities had sent letters demanding Rs 100-150 per sq yard in addition to the amount paid earlier. Due to recession in the industrial sector, industrialists had started abandoning projects in the growth centre, Mr Watts said.

Mr M.R. Mittal, general secretary, Bathinda Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the industrialists had to deal with as many as 48 departments to get clearances and until this was changed to a single window clearance system, the industrial recession would continue.

Mr Watts said the mark of quality issued by the Department of Industries, Punjab, was not treated on a par with the ISI or BIS mark given by the Union Government.

He alleged that government departments did not give price preference to local industries. The Himachal Pradesh Government had directed various departments that 15 per cent price preference should be given to Himachal-based industries. Thus, if in a tender a Himachal-based industry quoted prices 15 per cent higher than the non-Himachal-based industry, the two were treated on a par, but this was not the case in Punjab, Mr Watts said.

Mr Watts pointed out that it was not true that most of the industries had been declared sick just to evade taxes or to eat into the subsidy given by the state government. “Most industries have not got the state subsidy for more than five years of their existence,” he said.

Mr Watts and Mr Mittal said that instead of the sales tax holiday for small-scale industries, interest-free loans should be given. 


Who is responsible for custodial deaths?
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 23
Ram Chand, a resident of Amritsar, was arrested by the police under Sections 457 and 380, IPC, on April 11, 1997, and next day he died allegedly by jumping from the roof top of the Brahbuta police chowki in order to escape from police custody. The magisterial inquiry in the matter held Darshan Lal, Assistant Sub-Inspector responsible for the incident. An FIR was lodged against him which was cancelled later.

The incident is a reflection of the fate of inquiries into the custodial deaths in Punjab. The official documents available with The Tribune reveal that the number of custodial deaths in 1997 in various districts of Punjab was seven and of these in five cases the police was not held responsible. Investigation was still pending in one case, while the death of one person was attributed to some disease.

In 1998 seven persons had died in various police stations in the state. Of these two were reported from Barnala police district and one each from Nawanshahr, Sangrur, Tarn Taran, Mansa and Ferozepore districts.

In Nawanshahr Mahinder Kaur died at the city police station and a magisterial inquiry was held, which had found four police personnel, including two police women, responsible for the death, but no action was taken against them.

Similarly, a case under Section 304-A, is pending in court against three police personnel who were held responsible for the death of Malkit Singh at Ahemadgarh police station in Sangrur district.

Police personnel were not held responsible for the two custodial deaths in Barnala police district. While the police personnel were acquitted in a custodial death case in Tarn Taran police district, an FIR was cancelled against those police personnel who were responsible for the death of Bhagwan Singh at Fazilka police station in Ferozepore district.

In 1999 seven custodial deaths were reported in the state while in 2000 eight persons died in police custody. In 1999 one death was reported each from Amritsar, Nawanshahr, Jagraon, Tarn Taran, Muktsar, Barnala and Ropar.

Of these in three cases either the police personnel were not held responsible or the FIR registered against them were cancelled.

In 2000 two custodial deaths reported from Hoshiarpur district and one each from Khanna, Sangrur, Gurdaspur, Tarn Taran, Barnala and Moga districts.

In six of these cases the magisterial or the departmental inquiry is pending while a case under Section 302 and 35, IPC, has been registered against the guilty police officials. In one case, the police was not held responsible for the custodial death.

This year so far three persons have died in police custody, in Hoshiarpur, Muktsar and Ropar. A magisterial inquiry is pending into the death of Surinder Pal Singh in Hoshiarpur district and that of Jaspal Singh in Ropar district.

The police was not held responsible for the death of Iqbal Singh in Muktsar.


Liquor mafia active in Pathankot
Ravi Bhushan Puri

Pathankot, July 23
Pathankot, the gateway of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, has become a heaven for drugs and illicit liquor traffickers.

In the past about one year, there has been an alarming rise in the liquor trade. The trade has been flourishing in Sujanpur, Dida, Chakki and Channi Baili (HP), say local sources. But the police seems to be helpless in curbing this practice.

Since last year, the police has booked more than 400 persons under the Excise Act. It has also raided unauthorised dhabas where this trade is carried out. There appears to be a nexus between high-ups and dhaba owners.

Communities like the sansis and gorkhas have always indulged in illicit distillation of liquor. A majority of women of the sansi tribe also indulge in this trade. The contraband is often stored in truck tubes.

A resident of Sujanpur area said since the people involved had become rich, others too were tempted to take up the trade.

Also the liquor mafia finds it easy to buy liquor at cheap rates from places in Himachal Pradesh and sell it in Punjab where the prices are higher. Employees of the Punjab Roadways have also been apprehended by the local police for carrying countrymade foreign liquor from some other stations to Pathankot in buses.

Officials of the Excise Department admit that due to the difference in prices, the liquor mafia is making huge profits.


11,000 acres still under water in Patiala
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 23
Water continues to inundate around 11,000 acres in Patiala and Samana blocks of the district even as the water level in all three major rivers in the district has gone down substantially.

The situation has also improved at Khanauri, where the water level had gone up as the syphons there could not cope up with the heavy in flow of Ghaggar water. The water level recorded today was at 750.9 feet (above sea level) as compared to the danger mark of 748.8 feet. However, this level has been showing a downward trend for the past three days.

Deputy Commissioner Jasbir Singh Bir disclosed that earlier water had inundated around 10,200 acres in Samana subdivision and 11,000 acres in Patiala subdivision, but now the land under water had now gone down by half in both the subdivisions.

Mr Bir said earlier land of nearly 22 villages had been inundated with water, but now land of only eight villages — Saparheri, Asmanpur, Marori, Shatrana, Sagram, Chiccherwal, Rasoli, Naiwala, Jogawal, Gullad and Shadipur Momian — were under water.

The Deputy Commissioner said reports of damage to the paddy crop could be accessed only after the water receded in the remaining fields of the district. He said wherever water had receded there were no reports of extensive damage to the standing crop. However, sources said crop damage was likely to occur, particularly in Samana subdivision, where paddy crop had been inundated with water for the past four days.

Meanwhile, the water level has gone down in all three major rivers of the district — the Ghaggar, Tangri and the Markanda. While the Ghaggar level has been reduced drastically, Tangri is flowing at around 10 feet at Budhmor, which is 2 feet below the danger level and Markanda is flowing at 14 feet, which is 4 feet below the danger mark. Official sources disclosed that the 250 feet major breach, which occurred at Ojhan village on the Tangri, had been plugged. They stated that the other remaining breaches at Adaltiwala and Bibipur had also been plugged.


SAD leaders attack Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23
The war of words between the Punjab Chief Minister and President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief, Capt Amarinder Singh, took a new turn today as several senior SAD leaders made scathing attacks on the PPCC chief.

Mr Badal himself issued a statement decrying the “indecency” shown by Capt Amarinder Singh in his statement yesterday.

“Capt Amarinder Singh feels that by merely heading the state unit of a political party, he acquires the authority to indulge in raving and ranting. While indulging in futile attempts at character assassination of his political opponents, he should remember that he himself is sitting in a glass house and should not throw stones at others. I have, for reasons of decency, always refrained from commenting on his personal life and pursuits. He is still to learn some basic norms of decency,” Mr Badal said.

Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, senior vice-president, SAD, in a separate written statement asked Capt Amarinder Singh to sit pretty in his ivory tower and hold on to his presidentship, though by the skin of his teeth, till the Punjab Assembly elections. “It helps Punjab and the SAD to keep the Congress away and prevent the recurrence of an era of hatred, mistrust and humiliation.”

“Those who have studied history can easily see what has been behind the royalty’s crocodile tears for the poor. When people came to Maharajas asking for roti, they were advised to buy cakes instead. This is what they knew of their people and their poverty. I am sure the people of Punjab will not opt for the revival of feudalism and the black days of the past,” said Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, MP, and a general secretary of the SAD.

Mr Zora Singh Mann, MP, in a separate statement said that the “Congress is the fountainhead of corruption in our country. Even its former Prime Minister, Union and state ministers are in the dock facing so many corruption charges in various courts. Capt Amarinder Singh’s wishful utterances about launching inquiries against his political opponents are aimed at distracting the attention of the people of Punjab from the misdeeds of his corrupt associates within his own party.”

The Punjab Information and Public Relations Minister, Mr Sewa Singh Sekhwan, who is also a member of the Political Affairs Committee of the SAD, also attacked Capt Amarinder Singh saying that “those living in palaces have childhood fantasies which blur their thought and vision. Jails to them may seem to be annexes of their palaces where one can live in peace and pleasure. It is a new theory propounded by Capt Amarinder Singh which will certainly put to shame at least all those from his own party who underwent jail terms during the freedom struggle. Maharajas have been torturing the common man in their own jails and executing hundreds and thousands of them.”


Disabled given artificial limbs
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 23
The government would fill all vacant posts meant for the handicapped persons. Special funds would be earmarked in municipal councils for their rehabilitation, said Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, Minister for Local Bodies, Labour and Employment, while addressing a state-level rehabilitation camp for handicapped. It was organised by the State Physically Handicapped Association and Indian Red Cross Society (Punjab Branch), here today.

The minister provided 46 tricycles, two wheelchairs, 35 artificial limbs and 37 hearing aids to the handicapped persons.

He minister asserted that the state government would ensure training and financial assistance for the handicapped so that they could start their own ventures. The government would also encourage and help the voluntary organisations, engaged in the service and rehabilitation of the handicapped.

The minister announced a grant of Rs 25,000 from his discretionary quota and gave Rs 5000 from his own pocket to the association to carry out its activities for the service of handicapped.

Mr Ajit Sailani, chairman of the association, Punjab, urged the minister to reserve funds in municipal committees in the state for the rehabilitation of handicapped.

Mr Ramesh Aggarwal, deputy secretary of the Punjab branch of the Indian Red Cross Society informed that the society had spent Rs 20 lakh on providing aids to the handicapped last year.

Meanwhile, Mr Tandon said only if the Finance Department ensured the provision of a regular flow of adequate funds to the municipal councils could the octroi be abolished in the state.

Though he said that neither he nor his party would be any hindrance if octroi is abolished, he advocated the continuation of octroi. He explained that 70 per cent income of the councils came from octroi and it is a direct source of income for them. Mr Tandon said civic amenities were a more important issue than octroi.

Expressing concern over the flow of funds for the councils, he said that 20 per cent of the five taxes like electricity duty, stamp duty, road tax, entertainment tax and cinematography recommended by the state Finance Commission and stamped by the State Assembly nor the excise duty on the liquor were released to the councils. He demanded that these should be released at the earliest.

Even the funds allotted by the Centre for the developmental activities in the towns and of the councils had not yet been released. He said certain councils have approached the high court and got the money released.

Later, delegations of the municipal councils of the district led by their respective presidents met the minister and presented their charters of demands.

The Sirhind Fatehgarh Sahib Council president demanded that the post of the AME in the council be abolished as it put a financial burden on the council.


Health centres short on staff, medicines
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, July 23
Health services in border villages seem to be inadequate, going by the shortage of staff and medicines at the primary health centres in Narot Jaimel Singh, Dorangla and Dera Baba Nanak villages.

Hospitals with 25-30 bed capacity have been set up at Narot Jaimal Singh and Dera Baba Nanak. Though posts of specialists have been sanctioned for the centres, doctors either do not join or get themselves transferred to urban hospitals. The hospitals do have operation theatres and costly medical equipment but due to absence of specialists, these are not being utilised properly.

The number of patients admitted to these hospitals in the past 10 years is very low. Rooms meant for patients are allegedly used by class III and class IV employees and their visitors. Portions of these buildings are being used as stores.

Primary Health Centre, Dorangla, is functioning without any medical officer. The post of pharmacist is lying vacant. Though the centre is expected to cater for people of about 150 border villages, in view of the absence of facilities, residents of the area go to Gurdaspur and Dina Nagar for medical treatment.

The building of dispensaries attached with Primary Health Centre, Dorangla, located at Jaura Ale Chak, Dugri, Hardan, Daburi, and Dhoot, are in a dilapidated state. Power supply and drinking water are not available at the dispensaries in Pakhowal Kullian, Daburi, Hardan and Hayat Nagar villages. Medical officers reportedly sit in the open to examine patients. Obviously, on rainy or hot days, these dispensaries remain closed. The rate of absentees in civil hospitals of the area is high.

According to Mr Varinder Kumar, Sarpanch, Dorangla, the border area continues to be neglected regarding healthcare, which is virtually non-existent, contrary to official claims. The available infrastructure in this regard is not being maintained, he said.


Buses ‘impounded’ for INLD rally
Tribune News Service

Mansa, July 23
Hundreds of buses and mini buses, from various parts of Punjab, including from Bathinda and Mansa have been allegedly “impounded” by the transport authorities to be used for transporting people from the Dabwali area to Bhiwani where the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, will address a rally of the Indian National Lok Dal tomorrow.

Information gathered by this correspondent revealed that buses had been taken into possession today and dispatched to Dabwali in the evening. In certain cases, owners of the vehicles had been pressurised to give their consent for sending their buses for the rally.

Private transporters had been reportedly asked to send their vehicles to Dabwali to a particular person. The drivers of these buses on the condition of anonymity said they had been asked to take the people from Dabwali to Bhiwani tomorrow.

Mr Jagmeet Brar, Congress MP alleged that Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had been sending the buses to Haryana for the INLD rally despite the fact that Mr Chautala was going to raise the issue of completion of the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal and other anti-Punjab issues.

He further alleged that this had exposed anti-Punjab attitude of Mr Badal as he had been facilitating the Haryana Government to deprive Punjab from its rightful share of river water.

He said by taking away their buses, the Punjab Government had been depriving the operators from earning their livelihood. He alleged that Punjab Government had been indulging in undemocratic and unconstitutional means to extract benefits for certain individual.

An operator on the condition of anonymity said it was for the first time that the buses from Punjab had been taken like this for the rally in the neighbouring state. He added that he did not know whether they would be given money for arranging the fuel for the vehicles or not.


2 PSEB officials granted bail
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 23
Mr Surjit Singh, Special Judge, has granted bail to the two PSEB officials.

The Judge while pronouncing the judgement said the shopkeepers of Krishna Market had obstructed them in the discharge of their duty.

Cases against the two PSEB officials, Mr Hardidar Singh, SDO and Mr Labh Singh, Junior Engineer, were registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The Judge said the petitioners had not mentioned in their application given to the Deputy Commissioner within the PSEB officials had demanded any gratification.

“It appears that the complaint is a counter the FIR which has been registered against the complainant and others by the PSEB officials,” the Judge said.

The Judge granted bail to the PSEB officials on bonds of Rs 25,000 each and a surety of the like amount.


Two die of enteritis in Bhadaur

Barnala, July 23
Bhadaur town, about 25 km from here, is in grip of diarrhoea.

According to information available here, two persons have fallen victim to the disease. However, unconfirmed reports put the toll at three.

This reporter contacted Dr Raj Kumar of Community Health Centre, Bhadaur, in this regard, who informed him that about 27 persons had been admitted at the centre. He stated that after treatment, barring one or two cases, others were discharged.

Dr Avtar Singh Gill, who is a private medical practitioner in Bhadaur, said 500 persons from Bhadaur had fallen ill.

The District Health Officer, Sangrur, today paid a visit to Bhadaur to get samples of drinking water. He is reported to have taken samples of drinking water from two places.


Gen Surjeet Singh visits cantonment
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 23
Lieut-Gen Surjeet Singh, General Officer, Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, accompanied by Mrs Deep Surjeet Singh President, Army Wives Welfare Association (AWWA), Western Command visited Amritsar cantonment today. The Army Commander had briefings at the divisional headquarters. The General also visited the cantonment and reviewed the progress of ongoing projects. He appreciated the efforts being put in by the division for the well being of the troops, including the construction of sainik institute for jawans.

Mrs Deep Surjeet Singh, paid a visit to the Panther AWWA centre and various vocational institute run by the Panther division for the families of the jawans. She emphasised on providing a purposeful directions to AWWA functioning and urged the women to work with dedication. Later she interacted with wives of all ranks and enquired about their welfare.


Neglected fountains of Patiala
Anita Tayal

Patiala, which is known as a city of railway gates because of the railway crossing it has, is also a city of fountains. But the way some of these fountains are being neglected the latter tag may soon become redundant.

There are about 25 water features and fountains in the city, but except some prestigious fountains which have come up recently most of the old ones are facing neglect and have become inoperative.

The Mall Road has more than six water features. There are four in ‘Chotta Shimla’ or the Rock Garden, about five in Baradari Garden, two opposite Dukhniwaran Gurdwara, two in Leela Bhawan and two in Phowara Chowk.

The recently built fountain in Baradari Garden has been highly appreciated by the residents of the city. Similarly, the one in Rose Garden near the bus stand, is in working order and the Municipal Corporation has plans to turn it musical. However, nature lovers feel that the other fountains should also be put in working order. Many fountains on Mall Road have lost their beauty and tiles are breaking loose from the plaster. Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, Deputy Commissioner, says that he has asked the Municipal Commissioner to do whatever repairs are required, such as changing the nozzles and burnt-out bulbs, to put them in running condition.

The water features in ‘Chotta Shimla’ or the Rock Garden only require some cleaning up which does not entail much expense, to make them run smoothly. Mr Bir says that the fountain and other water features in the Rock Garden have been lying dry for want of water. The garden remained closed for about 20 years and could not be maintained for lack of funds. Only two years ago, the authorities started reviving the fountain for which, a tubewell is being installed near Kali Devi temple. When this tubewell starts functioning, the water features in the Rock Garden will be revived, he says.

Mr Ajay Sharma, a teacher, said: “These fountains work only for some time after these are built. Then these are forgotten and left to their fate”. Many residents of the city share this view.

The Leela Bhawan features were built two years ago, and lately two features were built opposite Dukhniwaran Gurdwara. Only one feature each at these two places is working. Yet another water feature is located near Major Manwinder Singh Chowk. A fountain has been installed there but it is not working.

The efficiency of the fountain at Fountain Chowk has also diminished with the passage of time. This is said to be because of lack of proper maintenance.


Bid to encroach MC land
Our Correspondent

Bhuchu Mandi (Bathinda), July 23
Officials and employees of the local municipal committee today foiled a bid by a shopkeeper to encroach upon its land on the bus stand road, by taking action in time.

According to the information, one of the shopkeepers who runs a seeds business in the shopping complex on the local bus stand road had opened an entrance to the rear of the shop. He allegedly encroached upon the municipal land adjacent to his shop.

The authorities went to in the presence of the police personnel got the land vacated.

Mr Jagjit Singh, Executive Officer (EO) of the municipal committee said every effort would be made to stop the reoccurrence of such incidents in future.


Training workshop on AIDS
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 23
The number of AIDS infections is increasing at a fast pace among women all over India. More than 61 per cent of the AIDS patients in India are women and over 71 percent commercial sex workers of country are infected with AIDS.

This was stated by Mrs Raka Rashid, Regional Director of the Commonwealth Youth Programme Asia Centre, while inaugurating a training workshop on AIDS/HIV organised by AHASAAS, a Patiala based NGO in collaboration with the Department of Social Work, Punjabi University, here today.

Mrs Rashid was of view that AIDS was not merely a health problem but a global epidemic, creating serious social, economic, cultural and psychological problems as well. Dr J.S. Ahluwalia, Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, underscored the need to be conscious about the multiple dimensions of the global issue.

Mr A.P. Bhatnagar, ADGP, Punjab Human Rights Commission, underlined the need for respecting the human rights of AIDS patients. The social taboos attached to this problem must be done away with by educating and creating awareness about the disease among people.


‘Experience makes man perfect’
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 23
Canada-based Punjabi poet Dr Ravinder Ravi was today brought face to face with the audience at the State Language Department here today.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Ravi said experience makes the man perfect and this had helped him in developing his art of writing literature. He said working with foreign teachers, he wrote African and American literature, which encouraged him to bring forth the classic values of the past.

Dr Madan Lal Hasija, Director of the Department, expressed his desire that any Punjabi poet visiting here must also visit the department and share his experiences and concepts with others so that others could gain and follow the footsteps to achieve higher goals in life.


Nabard gives 2 cr for flood protection
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, July 23
The border village of Kajla located near the Ujh river continues to be under constant threat of being washed away. The Ujh now flows at a few metres from the village.

On July 21 when the Ujh recorded a flow of one lakh cusecs more than 20 acre of land of the village was washed away and an equal number of huts were damaged. The villagers have migrated to safer places.

Nabard has released Rs 2 crore for executing flood protection measures in the district. Some amount was spent on the construction of two studs to control the flow of the river.


Postal Dept told to pay Rs 1000 as relief
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 23
The District Consumer Forum, Hoshiarpur, has ordered the postal authorities here to pay Rs 1,000 to Jog Nath Punni as compensation for mental tension and harassment, along with Rs 500 as litigation cost and Rs 68 spent by the complainant on telephone calls which he had made to his daughter in order to enquire about a money order, within one month from the date of judgement. 


Illegal sale of agro products detected
Our Correspondent

Mansa, July 23
The district officials of the Punjab Mandi Board have detected illegal sale and purchase of agricultural products worth Rs 6.10 crore. This was allegedly done by 11 firms of the district, which have now deposited Rs 22.66 lakh with the Mandi Board on the receipt of notices from the board. The local M/s Jai Durga Cotton Pressing factory purchased cotton worth Rs 1.95 crore from different areas and did not submit Form M to the market committee.

It thereby evaded tax worth Rs 7.80 lakh, payment of 2 per cent market fee and 2 per cent RDF fee leviable on the total value of the purchase. To account for the purchase in its records, the firm allegedly indulged in bogus billing from firms falling under the jurisdiction of the Market Committee, Bathinda. It claimed exemption from here stating that the fee had already been paid at Bathinda. The firm did not mention the receipt number, date and the amount paid in the documents submitted here for the exemption claim.

It is alleged that bogus letters from the committee, Bathinda, confirming the payment of fee were received here. On inquiry it was found that the market and RDF fee had not been deposited at Bathinda and the bill was bogus. The firm had deposited Rs 4.65 lakh with the Mandi Board on receipt of a demand notice of Rs 12 lakh. Similarly, six more firms of Mansa had issued fake bills.

In Sardulgarh two firms which had issued fake bills worth Rs 3.60 crore, and evaded taxes worth Rs 14.40 lakh had now deposited Rs 12.50 lakh with the board. In Bareta M/s Shivji Ram Bhagwan Dass, had issued fake bills worth Rs 1 crore and evaded tax of Rs 4 lakh. In Budhlada M/s Hanuman Trading Company had issued fake bills worth Rs 15 lakh and evaded tax worth Rs 0.60 lakh.

The district Mandi Officer, Mr Jagtar Singh Sanghera, confirmed the issuance of the fake bills and evasion of tax by these firms. He said the fraud came to the notice when it was found that no date and amount was mentioned on the KK form, which shows that the market and RDF fee had been deposited. The fake form was issued by a firm of Bathinda. When the office of the board sent this form to the Bathinda office for verification, no one cooperated, Mr Sanghera said. However, he refused to comment on whether any police action would be taken against the firms which had failed to deposit the tax.


Farmers present memo to DC
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, July 23
A large number of farmers, under the aegis of the Kirti Kisan Union, took put a procession in the bazaars of the town today and reached the district courts, where they staged a demonstration in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Vivek Aggarwal.

They also staged a dharna in front of Deputy Commissioner’s office and presented a memorandum to Mr Aggarwal, demanding the disbursement of compensation to those farmers whose paddy was sold at a price lower than the MSP. The farmers brought to the notice of Mr Aggarwal that compensation had not yet been given to those farmers who were keeping temporary receipts issued by commission agents and demanded its immediate release.


Punjab to amend Drug Act

Moga, July 23
In order to fight against the menace of drug abuse and intoxication among youths, all Senior Superintendents of Police in the state have been directed to keep watch on drug peddlers and unscrupulous chemists, the Director-General of Police, Punjab, Mr Sarbjit Singh, said here today.

He told reporters that the state government had decided to bring necessary amendment in the existing Drug Act empowering police officers in the rank of DSP to check the open sale of drugs and intoxicants by the chemists.

The amendment was likely to be made very shortly and this would certainly help to check the menace of drug and intoxicants, he said.

The DGP said all police officers had been directed not to use “3rd degree” methods during interrogation. PTI


PUDA auction fetches Rs 1.03 crore
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 23
The sale of 13 sites at an auction of the Sehaj Enclave by the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) under the Optimum Utilisation of Vacant Government Land (OUVGL) scheme, which included three residential plots also, fetched Rs 1.03 crore here today. The site is located on the Majitha road adjoining Ram Lal ENT Hospital. The maximum rate for residential sites was Rs 8800 per square yard for residential and Rs 23,600 per square yard for commercial.

The earning from the sale proceeds for this scheme will be utilised to finance the construction of wards of Guru Nanak Dev Hospital.


FCI employees stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 23
The members of the FCI Executive Staff Union today held a demonstration in front of the district office here to press the authorities concerned to withdraw the chargesheets and the penalty imposed on the employees.

Mr Gian Chand Bansal, District Secretary, who addressed the rally alleged that the FCI management had been harassing the employees by issuing chargesheets and imposing heavy penalties on them on the pretext of storage and transit losses and the quality of the foodgrains.


SPOs yet to get increments: MLA
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 23
Mrs Laxmi Kanta Chawla, BJP MLA, has complained that the increment of Rs 20 a day announced by the state Finance Minister for Home Guard jawans and SPOs in Budget session this year has still not been given.

Mrs Chawla said the administration was not paying attention towards these people who are getting Rs 70 a day and working for 12 hours. She urged that their services should be regularised.


Jalandhar cops launch website
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 23
A website on the city devised by the Jalandhar police was launched here today. The website contains the map of the city and details of the crime in the district, ranging from photographs of missing and kidnapped persons, stolen vehicles to details of unidentified bodies, traffic rules and police officials.

The website (www.jalandharpolice.com), launched by Mr C.S.R. Reddy, the DIG Jalandhar range, is interactive, with the “Help Us” and “complaint” sections.


Sarpanch beaten to death

 Batala, July 23
A sarpanch, identified as Karam Singh, was allegedly beaten to death and his wife and another panch injured when a police party belonging to the Excise Department, along with employees of a liquor contractor, raided the house of the deceased in Chahagill village under Qadian police station last night.

According to a police report here today, the raid was conducted at the behest of a local liquor contractor, Bhola Singh, as he suspected that Mr Karam Singh indulged in illicit liquor distillation at his house in the village. Three employees of the contractor, whose identification was not known, accompanied the police party.

According to an FIR registered at the Qadian police station, no official of the Excise Department accompanied the raiding party. The FIR was registered on a statement by the wife of the deceased who fractured her arm when she along with a panch of the village tried to save her husband from being beaten up mercilessly by the policemen and the employees of the contactor.

The SSP, Sukhdev Singh Brar, when contacted, confirmed the incident. They said all three policemen and the three employees of the contractor involved in the incident had been arrested. Bhola Singh had absconded.

He identified the arrested policemen as Head Constables Sukhdev Singh and Gurnam Singh and constable Surjit Singh.

Mr Brar said after receiving the post-mortem report, a detailed inquiry would be held.

Meanwhile, the Sarpanch Union comprising heads of 40-odd villages of Qadian police station have demanded the arrest of the contractor. The president of the union, Mr Tirlok Singh Padda, said if no action was taken in the case, they would launch an agitation. UNI


Man held for sheltering militant
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 23
The district police today arrested a person on the charge of providing shelter to a hardcore Kashmiri militant, wanted in connection with several killings and bomb blasts by the Jammu and Kashmir police, from the local Immansar locality.

Mr Dilbag Singh, SP (Detective), while confirming the arrest of Manzoor Ahmed Dar, a resident of Una vilage in Bargam district of Kashmir, said he was living in the locality for the past several years.

He had given shelter to his uncle, Mohammad Safi Dar, a hardcore Kashmiri militant, for more than 10 days and had made arrangements for the escape of the militant, when a Jammu and Kashmir police party raided a mosque here on Saturday to nab the latter.

The SP said that during the preliminary interrogation, Manzoor admitted that he had provided shelter to his uncle and had arranged for his escape during the police raid last week.

A case has been registered under Sections 212/216 A of the IPC and further inquiry into the case has been entrusted to Mr Gian Singh, in charge, CIA staff.


PSEB official held for taking bribe
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 23
The Vigilance Bureau of the city today arrested Darshan Singh Jaura, Junior Engineer, of the PSEB for accepting a bribe of Rs 1,800 from Mr Resham Singh, a resident of Kaurian Wala village, of the district.

Police sources said Mr Resham Singh had purchased a piece of land in Kot Fatta village and had applied for a power connection with Kot Shamir subdivision of the PSEB. He had paid the security and other charges applied for the connection to the PSEB authorities. But junior engineer demanded a gratification of Rs 2,200 from Mr Rashem Singh with a promise to give power connection in a few days.

When the connection was not installed in the plot he again approached the PSEB official and requested him to oblige. But the PSEB official demanded another Rs 3,000 from him. He said the PSEB was short of the electric meters thus he would have arrange for the meter on his own.

Despite his repeated requests connection was not installed and the PSEB official demanded another Rs 2,500 from him. Mr Resham Singh then approached the Vigilance Bureau for help.

The PSEB official accepted Rs 1,800 and ordered that the connection be given to Mr Resham Singh.

Mr Surinder Pal Singh, SP (Vigilance) said Junior Engineer of the PSEB was caught red handed while accepting an instalment of Rs 1,800.

The SP said the PSEB official was arrested under Section 7/13/(2)88 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.


Eyebrows raised at heads’ appointment
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 23
Extension to some professors and appointment of heads of the new Chairs at the meeting of the syndicate of Guru Nanak Dev University at Chandigarh on the recommendation of the outgoing Vice-Chancellor, Dr Harbhajan Singh Soch, have raised eyebrow in certain quarters. However, Dr Soch justified all the appointments and extensions.

Dr Soch denied he had indulged in favouritism while making the appointments during the recently held Syndicate meeting.

In the syndicate, Dr Satinder Singh, a former Dean, has been given two years’ extension as Head, Baba Ram Singh Chair much before his retirement. Similarly, Dr Jodh Singh, an eminent scholar has been appointed Head of another Chair. Dr Darshan Singh, who retired as professor in Panjab University has been appointed Head of Guru Granth Sahib Study Chair, Dr Radhye Sharma is Head, Maharaja Ranjit Singh Chair. Dr Sukhdev Singh Khehra, Reader in Punjabi Studies, has been appointed in the scale of professor as Head, Nanak Singh Chair. Dr G.V. Singh has been given extension of one year as Head, IAS Centre.

However, Dr Soch claimed that all the appointments were made on merit and strictly as per rules. He said the appointments of heads of various Chairs were conditional ones.


Cong criticises minister’s remark
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 23
The Punjab Pradesh Congress today claimed that division of academic posts on communal lines in the state would not only vitiate the academic atmosphere of universities, but also divide the faculty and students on communal lines.

In a statement here, PPCC Media Committee Chairman Sant Ram Singla said the Punjab Congress would not tolerate politicisation, communalisation and saffronisation of the academic atmosphere of the universities in the state. He was reacting to a statement made by the Higher Education Minister that one of the two posts of Pro Vice-Chancellor would be filled by a BJP man.

Mr Singla said making appointments on the basis of communal lines would adversely affect the academic atmosphere on the university campuses. He also alleged that the minister had gone beyond his jurisdiction by making such a statement. He said no educationist would tolerate such moves on the part of the minister to take charge of educational activities.

The Congress leader said the Higher Education Minister, who had himself been rejected by Punjabi University while pursuing his doctorate, was making such uncalled for statements to take control of the university. He said the PPCC was of the view that such posts should be filled only by academicians, without any consideration for caste, creed, colour or political affiliations.

Mr Singla urged the Punjab Governor, who is also Chancellor of both Guru Nanak Dev University and Punjabi University, to not allow the move of the Higher Education Minister to succeed.

He also appealed to the Chancellor to save the universities from becoming political battlefields and said the Higher Education Minister should be dismissed immediately for making such statements.


Principal questions minister’s claim
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh July 23
Principal Tarsem Bahia, president of the Association of Principals of Non-Government Colleges, affiliated to Panjab University, Chandigarh, in a press note issued here today questioned the claim of the Minister of Technical Education, Punjab, that Punjab Technical University has worked within the parameters of the University Act passed by the Punjab Vidhan Sabha in 1997 as per the UGC guidelines.

He reminded the minister that PTU was supposed to take care of only technical education. As a result, the educational institutions associated with technical education were sought to be affiliated to the PTU and all engineering colleges and polytechnic of Punjab got associated with it.

The press note further stated that whereas the PTU was regulated and guided by the All-India Council of Technical Education (AICTE), general education is coordinated and standardised by the UGC.

Mr Bahia also stated that he disagreed with the minister that the technical university had saved the Punjab students from being fleeced.


College “misusing” SGPC’s name
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 23
The Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) Secretary, Dr Gurbachan Singh Bachan, in a press note clarified that the SGPC was not responsible for the management of Mata Sahib Kaur College for Women Urmur, Hoshiarpur district.

Clarifying the SGPC stand, Dr Bachan said Principal Bibi Jatinder Kaur of the college was misleading and illegally using the SGPC name for admissions to the college.

He stated that advertisements to this effect were also published by the college and the SGPC was taking legal action against the college.


533 clear CET
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 23
Mr Mandeep Singh Randhawa of Jalandhar has topped the entrance test for admission to MBBS/BDS course conducted by Sri Guru Ram Das Charitable Hospital Trust held yesterday, while Navdeep Singh Boparai of Gurdaspur and Sumanjit Kaur of Patiala have stood second, respectively. The candidates had to appear for a test on Sikh religion and history along with four science subjects.

Dr U.S. Dhaliwal, Director and Principal of the institute, said out of a total of 679 candidates 533 had qualified for admission.

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