Thursday, July 26, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SAD, Congress tone down attacks
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
After blowing hot for some days, both the Shiromani Akali Dal and its principal rival party, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, seem to have decided to avoid the issuance of sizzling statements against each other’s top leaders.

The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today refused to join debate with Capt Amarinder Singh, on the issue of setting up a judicial commission to probe the allegations of corruption against his (Badal’s) family members. Capt Amarinder Singh had stated that if his party was voted to power in Punjab, he would set up such a commission.

Mr Badal said that he had never resorted to any sort of mudslinging on any individual. He was interested only in issue-based battle between the political parties concerned and would like to follow the political path to counter what Capt Amarinder Singh had said against him. People of the state would decide whom they prefer most. “They (people) were the real authority to issue a certificate of good or bad character politicians”, Mr Badal said.

The issue was that what the Congress had done for Punjab and the country during its rule of several years. Even after 50 years of independence, the country was grappling with problems like poverty, illiteracy, corruption and unemployment. Why? Replying to the question himself, Mr Badal said it was because of the wrong policies pursued by the Congress at the Centre where it was in power for most of the years as well as in Punjab where it also ruled for four decades or so.

Coming to Punjab, Mr Badal, said it was his party which fought for the rights of people of Punjab. On every important issue pertaining to Punjab, the Congress compromised with its government’s in the Centre in the previous years and did nothing for the development of the state. He gave the instance of how a Congress Chief Minister in Punjab withdrew the case from the Supreme Court at the instance of Mrs Indira Gandhi in the 80s.

On the other side, Senior Congress leaders including, Mr Gurcharan Singh Galib, Dr Kewal Krishan, Mr Sant Ram Singla and Mr Gurnam Singh Abulkhurana, said today that the Congress did not believe in the character assassination of anybody including its opponents. The Congress as a responsible Opposition party was more interested in addressing issues relating to the people and the state. As corruption in public life was an important issue, the party was telling people that the charges of corruption even against the highest authority need to be thoroughly probed by an independent and high level judicial authority, they said.

They said the strong personal attack made by senior Akali leaders against the state Congress party chief was an expression of jitterness in the Akali camp. Instead of welcoming the move, the Akalis were trying to divert the attention of people from the real issue by resorting to mudslinging. The Congress leaders said the SAD-BJP combine should start preparing to reply the charge sheet which would be issued against its government soon.

The sober language used by Congress leaders in their statement and by Mr Badal while having a brief interaction with a group of media persons clearly indicates that wiser counsel has prevailed in both camps. Seasoned political leaders on both siders must have counselled against resorting to “cheap” political statements.

In a separate statement, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, General Secretary of the PPCC, Mr Gurdev Singh Lapran, President of the District Congress Committee, Ludhiana, Mr Surinder Dawar, Mr K.K. Bawa and others said that Mr Badal had become panicky on seeing the increasing popularity of the Congress in the state.

The successful rallies held by the Congress at Ludhiana, Jalandhar, and Bathinda had sent shivers down the spine of Mr Badal. While raising issues at these rallies, Capt Amarinder Singh, had talked about shabby treatment given to poor sections of society by Mr Badal and pro-terrorist role played by the Badal Government. Because of this reason, Mr Badal was encouraging his chums to make derogatory statements against Capt Amarinder Singh, they said. They said corruption in the state was a significant issue and the ruling party should be prepared to face it.

Meanwhile, Dr Satwant Singh Mohi, former MLA and a Dalit leader, said the Akali Minister, Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, should have first done self-introspection before raising an accusing finger against Capt Amarinder Singh. He said Mr Gurdev Singh Badal was answerable to the people of the state for what his family members had done at Ludhiana and elsewhere, Dr Mohi said.


Madanjit may shift to senior citizens’ home
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 25
Dr Madanjit Kaur, a renowned Sikh scholar and descendant of one of the five beloved ones of the tenth Sikh Guru, is planning to shift to senior citizens’ home, Chandigarh, after serving Guru Nanak Dev University for more than 28 years.

Circumstances compelled her to resign as Professor and Chairperson, Guru Gobind Singh Chair, as the university authorities wished to accommodate someone else in her place. The Sikh scholar, who would replace her, is to retire after a year. Though she was “forced” to write to the authorities to give her fellowship instead of headship of the Chair on “health grounds”, yet she is unlikely to accept the same.

The contents of the letter written to the then Vice-Chancellor speaks volumes about her frustration. She has worked with Dr Ganda Singh, renowned Sikh historian, Dr Pyar Singh and many other Sikh scholars. The two-year term of Dr Madanjit Kaur will be completed in December.

In her letter, addressed to the Vice-Chancellor, she alleged that during her tenure as Chairperson she was not provided with the benefits of secretariat help, provisions for medical leave, summer, autumn or winter vacations, etc. Dr Madanjit Kaur alleged that she was not given space in the office to continue her research work.

She was appointed Professor and Chairperson of Guru Gobind Singh Chair in January, 2000, to December, 2001, after her retirement as Professor, Guru Nanak studies. During one-and-a-half year period she has already written two books on Guru Gobind Singh and prepared sufficient material on Sikh history. She was honoured on the tercentenary of the Birth of the Khalsa Panth by the Anandpur Sahib Foundation in recognition of her work.

Talking to TNS, she said she was the direct descendant of Bhai Daya Singh, one of the five beloved ones of Guru Gobind Singh, and descendant of Bhai Paro Julka, a great Sikh martyr.

She said the Panth had not given due honour to the scholars like Dr Pyar Singh, who had done great work in the field of Sikhism, Dr Ganda Singh, Dr Hari Ram Gupta and Dr G.O. Singh. On the contrary Dr Pyar Singh was summoned by Akal Takht and declared “tankhaiya” though he had done pioneering work on Guru Granth Sahib.

Giving reasons for her plans to shift to senior citizens’ home, Dr Madanjit Kaur said no relative of her would accept her with great volumes of books, coins and records. She said she did not opt for family life as she wanted to dedicate herself to the cause of Sikhism. She said one of her relatives asked her to stay with her on the condition that she would not take her books with her. In a chocked voice she said “books are my sons, friends”. She said she could not afford to part with the books which she had collected with great efforts. She informed that she would have to pay Rs 6,000 per month for the senior citizens’ home, being run by a retired IAS officer, while her pension would be only Rs 8,000.


CMs not serious on ‘taming Ghaggar’
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 25
Despite claiming themselves to be pro-farmers, the Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana have not so far, presented their case to the Union Water Resources Ministry to check the havoc caused by the Ghaggar river or receive funds to erect a bandh to channelise it. This shows that both Chief Ministers are not serious about the problem.

Mr Surinder Babbi, press secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), stated this on behalf of Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, MP, and president of the party, here today. He said Mr Mann had talked to the Union Minister for Water Resources on August 4 last year to solve the Ghaggar problem. The Union Minister agreed to take up the matter, provided the Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana made a request in this connection, he added.

Mr Mann wrote a letter the same day to the Union Minister regarding the Ghaggar problem and despatched the copies of the letter to Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Mr Om Parkash Chautala, Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana, respectively.

Since then none of the Chief Ministers had represented the case before the Union Government, Mr Babbi said.

Mr Babbi also claimed that the Union Minister had also assured Mr Mann at that time that the Union Government would provide funds to solve the Ghaggar problem. As none of the Chief Ministers made a request to get funds, so funds could not be released by the Union Government for this purpose so far, he added.


Another truck mishap; 12 hurt
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, July 25
Another truck carrying pilgrims overturned at Lablehri village near Anandpur Sahib today injuring 12. As per information available here, the truck (PAR-7885) carrying pilgrims from the Rajkot area in Ludhiana was moving towards the hill on which the Naina Devi temple was situated. While the driver was trying to overtake a Tata Sumo, another vehicle came from the opposite site. To prevent a collision the truck driver veered the vehicle and rammed into a tree.

Fortunately there wasn’t any reported casualty in the accident. Only 12 persons were injured, most of whom were discharged after first-aid from the Anandpur Sahib Civil Hospital.

The accident has, however, made the district administration to initiate steps to tackle the problem of misuse of trucks, tractor-trailers and canters, modes of transporting pilgrims especially during the mela days. The Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Mr G.S. Grewal, while talking to this correspondent said that it was very difficult to check such illegal practices due to the large influx of the pilgrims. However, the state government was being approached to impose a statewide ban on the use of unspecified mode of transports in future. As an immediate measure a ban had been imposed on the plying of heavy vehicles on the steep road leading to the Baba Budan Shah and Baba Gurdittaji Gurdwaras situated on the banks of Anandpur Sahib canal, he said.

Meanwhile, the search operations to locate the bodies of the victims of the truck accident were intensified today with the help of motorboats from the adjoining districts. Two motorboats were brought from Ludhiana and one each from Fatehgarh Sahib and Sangrur taking the number of boats being used to 14.

However, despite these efforts little success could be attained in locating the bodies. Till reports last came in only five more bodies could be located. All these had been fished out from the Sutlej. With this the total number of bodies recovered has reached 20 so far.

The victim whose body have been recovered today have been identified as Vagir Singh (16) of Deepa Pati area in Dirba, Navdeep Kaur (5) of Babal Pati in Dirba, Karnail Singh (60) of Bhavi Pishora area of Dirba, Charanjit Kaur (25) of Kala Chahar village and Mela Singh (25) Dirba village.


Drive to register migrant labourers fails to take off
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 25
The exercise to register all migrant labourers in the district has turned out to be a nonstarter with not a single labourer being registered in any police station in the city even though nearly one week has passed since directions were given in this regard by the District Magistrate.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, had issued orders stating that the driver would start from July 19 and continue till September 18. As part of the drive all persons working in various factories, offices and houses as labourers or domestic help were directed to get themselves registered at the nearest police station. It had also been made mandatory on the part of house owners, industrialists and shop keepers to intimate the police about the complete present as well as permanent addresses of their tenants.

The Deputy Commissioner had invoked powers vested in him under Section 144 to issue the orders. They had been done following apprehensions that migrants were sometimes responsible for robberies and armed dacoities and that it became difficult to solve such cases as there was no clue about the identity of the culprits.

According to the orders the migrants living in the city are to register their complete particulars alongwith their photographs to the nearest police station. Action is likely to be taken against the factory owners who do not conform to the direction.

However, a survey of the various police stations in the city revealed that no such migrants had come to register themselves there. Officials of one police station disclosed that they had even purchased a register to record the names of migrant labourers but no one had come forward so far. However, the city police is likely to start the process of registration by making beat incharges responsible for the same. The police is likely to take up registration of labour employed in commercial establishments only as of now.

Meanwhile, some residents are still unaware of the scheme due to which the registrations probably had not occurred. Though the Deputy Commissioner had ordered that public announcements about the orders were to be made and posters of the directions were to be pasted in government offices and public places, yet no steps had been taken in this regard. “I did not know about the orders”, said Shyam Lal, a shopkeeper who had employed a migrant labourer.

Though residents have welcomed the scheme by the large and they said it was very important to get all domestic help registered with the police at the earliest. “On many occasions the domestic servants have been found to be responsible for robberies occurring in a house and it is important to get them registered”, said Amarjit Singh.

However, residents feel the registration should be done only after due coordination has been struck with police authorities of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar from where most of the migrant labourers arrive. They said a drive in this regard had been started few years ago also after a spate of robberies in the city but it fizzled out as the local police did not get any response from their counterparts in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar from where the antecedents of the migrant labourers were to be verified. The drive be successful only if there was coordination, they added.


2,000 crore project for roads, bridges
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 25
The Punjab Government has devised a Rs 2000-crore project for the construction of major roads and bridges in the state.

Disclosing this here yesterday while addressing youth workers at a rally organised here by youth leader Kulwinder Singh Lovely, Public Works Minister Suchha Singh Langah said two major roads which would be constructed under this project were the Gurdaspur-Mukerian road at a cost of Rs 64 crore and the Nawanshahr-Khanna road at a cost of Rs 24 crore.

Besides this, Mr Langah disclosed that the link roads in the state would be widened from the 10 to 12 ft width to 18 ft. Besides this, 29 bridges and flyovers would be taken up for construction with each structure costing around Rs 10 crore.

The minister said the state government had also taken up the issue of money due to it from the Centre on account of the cess on petrol and diesel. He said the Centre had collected around Rs 5,600 crore from the cess on fuel in the country and a substantial amount of this was due to Punjab. He said the matter had been taken up with the Centre which was likely to release around Rs 25 crore to it. He said the state would, however, demand more money from the Centre on this account.

Mr Langah said another scheme was being formulated to construct kutcha roads to all religious places as well as to people living on the outskirts of villages. He said around Rs 1800 crore would be spent on the scheme with the Centre giving Rs 125 crore for the scheme.


SAD (A) to contest 117 Vidhan Sabha seats
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 25
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) will contest all 117 seats of the Vidhan Sabha in alliance with the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal and the BSP. This was stated by Mr Ram Singh, General Secretary of the SAD (A), at a press conference here today. He said Mr Simranjit Singh Mann would be projected as the next Chief Minister of Punjab.

Meanwhile, the SAD (A) will hold district-wise conferences from August 6. The first conference will be organised at Fatehgarh Sahib and will cover all 21 districts of the state.


Cong manifesto panel to meet
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
Mr Moti Lal Vora, treasurer of the AICC and in charge of party affairs in Punjab, has called a meeting of the manifesto committee of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee on July 28 at the party head office in New Delhi to discuss the issues to be included in the manifesto pertaining to the assembly elections in Punjab.


YC condemns CM’s statement
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 25
Mr Jagpal Singh Abulkhurana, spokesman, Punjab Youth Congress, had condemned the statement of the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, in which he had stated that Capt Amarinder Singh, President, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, required lessons in basic public decency.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Abulkhurana said Mr Badal should clarify his perception regarding decency.

Mr Abulkhurana said those who had signed the statement issued against the PPCC chief did so out of fear.

The Youth Congress leader said Akali leaders were afraid that when the Congress came to power in the state inquires would be held in the bunglings committed by the present government.


SSP justifies lathi charge
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 25
Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, SSP, said a mild lathi charge at Maiser Khana village yesterday was resorted to disperse the BKU (E) activists and was justified in the larger interests of the public.

Dr Jain while talking to mediapersons here today said the activists of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta) had staged a dharna on the Bathinda-Maur-Mansa road for nine days at a stretch near Maiser Khana village resulting in diversion of traffic which resulted in about 15 km longer route. The activities of the BKU (E) had become a nuisance for the public however justified their demands might be. “The BKU (E) activists could not be given a free hand to disturb the law-abiding people. They are free to stage a peaceful dharna anywhere in the district, provided they do not disturb the normal routines of life of the public,” Dr Jain said.

The police action was well-planned, well thought out and well-implemented and the entire episode was videographed. None of the police official involved in the operation was armed and the police only used tear gas and water cannons and resorted to a mild lathi charge to get dharna lifted. The BKU (E) activists on the other hand had stones, bricks and lathis as they had prepared for a scuffle with the police, he said.

Dr Jain said people were fed up with the activities of the BKU (E) activists. They had been stopping rail and road traffic, had gheraoed the bank officials many times, manhandled the bodyguard of the Superintendent of Police (Headquarters), went back time and again on the agreements reached with the district administration and yesterday pelted stones on the police personnel.

The SSP said not only this one of the BKU (E) supporters, Joginder Singh, a former panch, fired at the police party on being provoked by Buta Singh. Both of them were now absconding. The BKU (E) activists had violated Section 144 and even after repeated warnings by the SDM and the police party did not lift the dharna yesterday.

Dr Jain claimed the panchayats of Sandoha, Jaga Ram Tirath, Singo, Maiser Khana, Talwandi Sabo and Rajgarh Kube villages had appreciated the police action, in writing. One Head Constable, Mr Varinder Kumar Sharma, was injured badly by the BKU (E) activists, who pelted stones at him and he was saved by the efforts of one of the residents of the village, Mr Jarnail Singh Namdhari. The Head Constable would be recommended for a bravery award, he said.

The SSP denied the charges that the policemen entered the religious place, molested ladies or children or broke the household gadgets of the innocent villagers. The police arrested 70 BKU (E) activists, four of them women.


BKU (E), Lok Morcha flay lathi charge
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 25
The district unit of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta) today condemned the lathi-charge by the police on activists of the party and residents of Maisar Khana village yesterday.

In a joint statement issued here today, Mr Buta Singh Burjgill, acting district president of the union and Mr Shingara Singh, district general secretary, said the police had fired teargas shells and lathi-charged innocent villagers.

They alleged that the police used unlawful means to disperse the activists holding dharna. The leaders alleged that the police had taken into custody nearly 100 persons, including around 15 women.

Meanwhile, Mr Narinder Jeet, state president of the Lok Morcha, said in a press note issued here today that the action of the police was not justified. 


Parents’ plea to nab son’s killers
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 25
Mr Jagdish Lal Nanda and Mrs Santosh Kumari Nanda, the parents of Deepak Kumar Nanda, today wrote to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh, Home Minister L.K. Advani and Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, seeking their intervention and help in tracing the killers of their son who was allegedly murdered in Italy a few days ago. They also requested to help them bringing the body here and providing them aid. Addressing newsmen, the aggrieved parents alleged that their son, Deepak Kumar (28), was murdered in a restaurant being run by a Jalandhar - based NRI. They said they had contacted the Indian and Italian embassies. They were assured of being informed about the episode by July 23, but no information had reached them till today, they said. Deepak had gone to Italy five years ago, they said.


Roads dotted with potholes
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 25
This town is fast emerging as an industrial and educational centre but roads and other infrastructure are not keeping pace with the development.

Most of the roads are dotted with potholes due to which the movement of traffic has become unsafe.

Goniana road which is the busiest road of the city and links Bathinda with Malout, Muktsar, Kotkapura and Faridkot is in worse condition. This road has innumerable potholes, some at points where slip roads join the main road or near roundabouts.

A shopkeeper who runs a shop near the spot said many accidents had happened due to the pothole and stones scattered on the road. It had been several months but nothing had been done to fill it up.

The road from the bus stand to the ITI chowk is also in a bad condition. The Ajit road also presents the same picture.

The Bibiwala road which connects the city with Barnala, Patiala and some villages is also in need of immediate repair.

Almost all roads are in a similar condition.

“The bad condition of roads had damaged the shock absorbers of my car for which I had to spend Rs 5,000,” lamented Naresh Kumar Vicky, a resident of the city. Dr Rajesh Kumar Badyal, an orthopaedic surgeon, said driving on such roads was bad for the backbone.

Mr Balwant Rai said there was always rush in front of DAV College and students drove in a zig-zag manner to avoid the potholes, increasing the risk of dashing against other vehicles. Everyday 10 to 15 minor accidents went unreported on this road.

The problem of potholes becomes severe in the rainy season as potholes get filled with water.

Mr R. Venkatratnam, Deputy Commissioner, said the Goniana road was national highway and was under the jurisdiction of the Central Ministry for Surface Transportation. An application had been written to the authorities concerned regarding its repair.

He said for the repair of other roads, the concerned Xen had been given instructions.


Come rain, phones go dead
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 25
Residents here have been facing problems regarding their telephones, especially during rainy season. Office-goers, businessmen are the worst-hit.

Residents allege that the complaints in this connection to the authorities concerned are generally not entertained. And if the subscriber shows some patience and keeps on trying he gets the reply that his complaint has been received and will be dealt in turn.

The other lame excuse is that due to the rain the underground cable laid by the Telecommunication Department has got damaged and the department is trying to repair the same as soon as possible.

Some of the residents say that the telephone numbers of the department meant for lodging the complaints often remain unattended or give an engaged tone.

Moreover, the indifferent attitude of the local officials of the Telecommunication Department can be judged from the fact that no official was present at the meeting of the District Grievances Committee held recently, which was presided over by Mr Tota Singh, Punjab Education Minister and Chairman of the committee.

Mr Tota Singh was caught in an odd situation when nobody from the department was present at the meeting. He ordered the Deputy Commissioner to write a complaint to the Union Telecommunication Minister regarding this.

The residents allege that the claims of the Telecommunication Ministry regarding the rectification of complaints within 24hours was false.

Mr T.S. Gambhir, General Manager, Telecommunication Department, could not be contacted despite repeated efforts.

Mr S.L. Garg, Divisional Engineer, Telephones when contacted said with the modern technology there was very little possibility that a telephone could remain out of order for quite a long time. He said the department was quick enough to attend to the complaints immediately.

He said due to some construction work an underground cable was damaged which affected the telephone numbers beginning with 280. He added that it had been repaired and the telephones had started functioning normally. He said the department did not receive any intimation regarding the meeting of the District Grievances Committee.


Services at Civil Hospital inadequate
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 25
The local Vigilant Citizens Forum took up the matter of lacunas in services at the Civil Hospital here with the Deputy Medical Commissioner, Dr Gurjant Singh Sekhon. The forum said in a press note issued here today that though some of the services of the hospital had been improved, yet much remained to be done.

A delegation of the forum met Dr Sekhon and took stock of the services at the hospital and expressed satisfaction over the improvement of facilities in the emergency ward and the starting of ultrasound facility. The forum said the facilities had improved at the Intensive Care Unit but the ventilators, which were installed at the hospital at a cost of Rs 30 lakh, were lying unused.

Mr Rakesh Narula, press secretary, of the forum, said the Deputy Medical Commissioner expressed helplessness over the issue of the ventilators as adequate trained staff was not available.

“The Red Cross medical store is also reportedly running without a valid licence since 1999 and is fleecing the patients by overcharging,” Mr Narula alleged.


Steps to check diarrhoea
Our Correspondent

Barnala, July 25
Sensing the gravity of situation pertaining to the diarrhoea menace in Bhadaur town, about 25 km from here, and some of its surrounding villages, the Health Department and the Barnala administration have initiated remedial measures to prevent the outbreak of diarrhoea at a large scale in the region.

Dr J.R. Bansal, Assistant Civil Surgeon, Sangrur, Mr N.S. Walia, SDM, Barnala, District Health Officer, Sangrur and Mr Balbir Singh Ghunas, MLA, Bhadaur, visited the town yesterday.

Dr Raj Kumar of Community Health Centre, Bhadaur, while talking to this correspondent, said following the visit, it was decided to go in for a door-to-door survey by the Health Department employees to detect diarrhoea cases.

Nanaksar Road, Bhaini Kalalan Mohalla and Nainewal Mohalla have been spotted as badly affected areas.


Musharraf’s effigy burnt
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 25
Activists of the Shiv Sena burnt an effigy of the Pakistan President, Gen Pervez Musharraf here today. The activists, led by Mr Vinay Jalandhari and Mr Purshotam Kumar, alleged that Pakistan was aiding terrorism in India even after the Agra summit.


Announce MSP for paddy : CM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has urged the Union Minister, Mr Shanta Kumar, to consult the paddy-producing states before finalising the specifications relating to the procurement of the commodity.

Presiding over a high-level meeting called to review the arrangements made for the procurement of paddy, Mr Badal urged the Union Government to announce the minimum support price (MSP) of paddy at the earliest. He also urged the Centre to ensure adequate supply of gunny-bags.

Mr Badal said he had met the Union Ministers concerned recently to impress upon them the need for expediting the movement of wheat and rice from Punjab to other states.

Mr Badal said that 1,650 purchase centres for the procurement of paddy would be set up. 


Committee on urban projects set up
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today set up a high-level committee under the chairmanship of the Local Bodies Minister, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, to prepare an action plan for giving a big push to the ongoing urban development projects in various parts of the state and prepare new area-specific projects.

The committee has been told to hold its meeting on August 2. The Chief Secretary, Mr N.K. Arora, the Principal Secretary, Mr Rajesh Chhabra, all Deputy Commissioners and chairpersons of Improvement trusts will be members of the committee.


JE held for demanding bribe
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 25
The Vigilance Bureau today arrested an employee of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) for demanding a bribe of Rs 1,000 from a consumer.

Mr Varinder Kumar, SP, said here today that Daljit Singh of the local Friends Colony complained that Gagandeep Singh, a Junior Engineer posted at the Maqsoodan office of the PSEB, was allegedly demanding a sum of Rs 1,000 for issuing a test report for the extension of his residential load.

Gagandeep Singh has been arrested and a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act registered against him.


Man alleges sodomy
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, July 25
Mr Gurdev Singh (36) of Baghewala village, about 10 km from here, in statement before the police here today, alleged that three youths of the village sodomised him. According to the statement, when he was returning his home on last Tuesday, the three youths standing near a dharamshala allegedly dragged him into it and sodomised him. He said after the incident, he had gone to his relatives at a nearby village and on returning after a week, he informed his brother Bachitar Singh of the incident, who got him examined at the local Civil Hospital.

According to Dr M.M. Singh, Medical Officer, Civil Hospital, no external mark of sodomy was found, but the swabs have been sent to Patiala.


Agriculture officer held for graft
Our Correspondent

Barnala, July 25
A six-member Vigilance Department team, headed by Mr R.S. Dhillon, DSP, Vigilance Sangrur conducted a raid on the Agriculture Department Office in the local Pharwari bazar and arrested Dr Gurtej Singh Madahar, Soil Testing-cum-Block Agriculture Officer, Barnala, under the Prevention of Corruption Act. Another colleague, Dr Surjit Bawa, Agriculture Development Officer, however outsmarted the Vigilance team and escaped from the office complex.

A Vigilance Department spokesperson informed newsmen here yesterday that the raid followed a complaint by Krishan Kumar son of Ram Chand, a local residents.

Krishan Kumar had confided in the Vigilance Department, Sangrur, that Dr Bawa had demanded bribe of Rs 5000 on behalf of Dr Gurtej Singh Madahar from him for issuing a licence for a pesticides/insecticides shop.

Following this complaint, Vigilance Department noted the currency notes number catch the Agriculture Officers redhanded.

When team reached the office, sensing trouble Dr Bawa took to his heels on his scooter dropping Rs. 3000 there on the way.

Dr Bawa is alleged to have received Rs 5000 on behalf of Dr Gurtej Singh Madahar.

The Vigilance Department team has sealed the four rooms of the Agriculture Department Office complex and the relevant records.

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