Friday, July 27, 2001, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SAD opens door to Hindus at grassroots
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
The President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has started an operation to bring important opinion leaders of the Hindu community into the party fold.

Mr Badal has made a well-planned move on this front. He has picked up a Bathinda-based Akali Minister, Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, to do the job. Mr Chiranji Lal belongs to the Aggarwal community which has a good presence in various parts of the state, especially in Ludhiana,Sangrur, Mansa and Patiala districts.

Though the leadership of the SAD had planned earlier also to open the door of the party to the Hindu community, it did not take any serious initiative in this regard. The leadership, perhaps, was apprehensive that hardliners in the party might oppose the move and attack the leadership for compromising the “panthic character” of the SAD. It is a known fact that the SAD is a party of Sikhs.

But this does not mean that there was earlier no Hindu in the SAD. At least three Hindu leaders, Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, Mr Parkash Chand Garg and Mr Chajju Ram Sofat, are members of the Executive of the SAD. Besides, there are a number of other Hindus in the party. But the party has, so far, no significant presence of Hindus at the grassroots level.

Mr Badal’s first objective is to make advocates, doctors, office-bearers of social organisations in localities and other activists of the community at the grassroots level in the urban areas join the party. The first such attempt was made in Ludhiana city. And it was successful far beyond the expectations of Mr Badal and his party managers put on the job.

Admitting that efforts were on to make opinion leaders of the Hindu community at the lower level join the party, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, secretary of the SAD, said that the response had been “very encouraging”.

In Ludhiana, more than 500 advocates, doctors and office-bearers of various social organisations belonging to the Hindu community had joined the SAD. Many of them had also thanked Mr Badal for accepting them in the party, Mr Badungar said. Mr Badal wrote to all those who had joined the party in Ludhiana that they would be treated with due regard in the party set-up.

In fact, Mr Badungar, has directed all district jathedars of the party to suitably accommodate important Hindu leaders joining the party. According to Mr Badungar, they have been told to appoint important leaders of the Hindu community to posts like senior vice-president, vice-president, etc. The party has also followed a decades old tradition of giving one important post at the district level to leaders from the Dalit community.

Mr Chiranji Lal said he was go from town to town and city to city to finish the task assigned to him by Mr Badal. He said the first major attempt was made in the Sunam byelection to make the strong Aggarwal community in Sunam town support the SAD-BJP candidate. He said Aggarwals not only extended their help but also showed keen interest to join the party. However, it took some time for the party to make a further move on this front, he said.

Mr Chiranji Lal said a big conference of activists of the Hindu community, including doctors, advocates and teachers, would be held at the end of August or in the first fortnight of September. At that conference, a large number of opinion leaders of the community would join the SAD. “I am working hard to organise the conference and am more than satisfied with the way things are moving at the moment in that direction”, he said.

Besides, Mr Chiranji Lal, Mr Badal himself makes it point to listen to opinion leaders and activists of the Hindu community in the urban areas and to sort out their problems. Mr Badal ordered the construction of a subway near Aggar-Nagar after the Aggarwal community told him that residents of the locality faced problems in crossing a road there. Mr Badal tries to be present at all important functions of the Aggarwal community in the state and elsewhere.


14 more bodies fished out
Truck mishap toll likely to rise
Our Correspondent

Ropar, July 26
The toll in the Kiratpur Sahib truck mishap is likely to go up, as official and unofficial lists of victims have started pouring in. Mr Baldev Singh Mann, member, PSEB, who belongs to Sangrur, has sent a list of 57 missing persons from the Dirba areas.

If this list is considered authentic, there were about 80 persons in the ill-fated truck which fell into the Anandpur Sahib canal.

Initially, from the statements of the survivors, it was assumed that there about 70 pilgrims were travelling in the truck. As there were 23 survivors, it was estimated that 47 persons had perished in the accident.

The Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Mr G.S. Grewal, when asked to comment on the exact number of victims, said all estimates, including that of Mr Mann, were tentative. Efforts were being made to verify these, he said.

In the search operations to find bodies, 14 more bodies were fished out today, taking the total of bodies found to 34. Of the bodies fished out today, six were found near Kiratpur Sahib and six from the Ropar head works. The bodies are those of Premjit Singh (30), Achal (2), Saroj Rani (22), Hardeep Kumar (13), Sarabjeet Kaur (17), Baldev Singh (35), Chaju Singh (40), Karamjit Singh (11), Gora Singh (13), Raj Singh (35) and Gurpreet Kaur (12), all from Dirba. The body of a male victim has not been identified as yet.

Two bodies were recovered from the Sutlej around 6.30 p.m. today identified as Harvinder Singh (12) and Major Singh (35), both of Dirba.

Meanwhile, two more youths were feared drowned today in the Nangal hydel canal near Ahmadpur village on the Ropar-Nangal road. Sources said two brothers, Raman Kumar (22) and Sarwan Kumar (26), who were coming from Delhi in their vehicle, decided to take bath in the canal.

While taking a bath, Raman was swept away by the strong current. Sarwan, who jumped into the canal to rescue his brother, was also swept away. The bodies of the brothers have not been found.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Commissioner, Ropar has appealed to pilgrims not to travel in over-crowded vehicles to.


Ten more pilgrims cremated
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 26
The bodies of 10 more pilgrims who drowned in a canal at Kiratpur Sahib on Monday, were cremated this evening at their respective villages, including Dirba and Kakuwal.

These pilgrims were killed when the truck in which they were travelling fell into the canal. Five bodies were cremated so far.

Those who were cremated today have been identified as Chhaju Singh, Gora Singh, Baldev Singh, Karamjit Singh, Harpreet Kaur, Prem Singh and Hardip Kumar, all from Dirba; Saroj Rani and Anchal (2 years), both from Kakuwal; and Raj Singh from Janal village.

Those who were cremated last evening have been identified as Wazir Singh and Navdip Kaur, both from Dirba; Karnail Singh from Bhai ke Pishore; Harmesh Kumar from Kakuwal and Charanjit Kaur from Kala Jhar village.


Passengers in trucks threat to safety
Lalit Mohan

During mela days thousands of pilgrims from all sections of society visit places of worship. Most of them are from the rural areas who use their own modes of transport like trucks or tractor-trailers.

Trucks used for carrying pilgrims are usually provided with partitions so that 50 to 70 persons can be accommodated in each of them. Similarly, tractor-trailers, as in the case of trucks, carry passengers beyond their capacity.

In the recent Kiratpur Sahib truck accident nearly 50 passengers were feared dead when the vehicle fell into a canal. The truck was reported to be carrying about 70 persons.

Police officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, admitted that the use of such vehicles for transporting passengers was against the law. They, however, maintained that it had become common for residents of the rural areas to travel in their own vehicles. It was difficult for the enforcement agencies to check the plying of a large number of such vehicles, particularly during mela days.

Those who use trucks or tractor-trailers for transport blame overcrowded buses for this practice. They say the number of buses in the rural areas, especially at the time of melas, is often inadequate. Besides, people prefer trucks and tractor-trailers as it is cheaper to travel by them as compared to buses. Moreover, several persons from the same village or locality can travel together.

However, the question remains whether such vehicles should be allowed to ply in gross violation of the traffic rules.

Even if trucks are to be used to transport passengers, should not the number of persons travelling in them be limited to ensure their safety?

It appears that the state administration only mulls over the issues when there is a major accident but forgets about these after a few days. 


Kargil victim awaits appointment
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 26
While the nation celebrated Kargil Divas today, lance naik Jatinder Singh, a Kargil war victim, stared at his amputated legs and documents pertaining to the job promised to him by the state government but yet to be given. To add insult to the injury, the war victim has also not been invited to any commemoration function of this special day when India won the Kargil war.

The scenario was quite different from the earlier time when he was honoured at one occasion by the Punjab Government and at another by the Madhya Pradesh Government.

Even though two years have passed since the Kargil war, the brave soldier, whose legs were blown off by a mine blast in the Dras sector, is still awaiting the much-needed job appointment promised by the state. After much correspondence by the local Sainik Welfare Department, he was interviewed for the post of Inspector with the Punjab police in September last year and his name was cleared, but he is still awaiting the appointment letter.

To cap it, he does not even know the reasons of the delay. The only hiccup that he understands is his physically challenged state but that was well known to the government. The interview was cleared by an ADGP and the DGP, Punjab, had cleared his case, as per his claim, also.


Martyrs’ widows honoured
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 26
Tearful scenes were witnessed when the war widows were being honoured at the celebrations of the second anniversary of victory of the Kargil war at the local Military Station today.

The celebrations were a part of the functions being organised throughout the country to mark the victory of Indian forces at Kargil two years ago. Though success of Operation Vijay had made India proud but it had to pay a heavy price for it in the shape of sacrifices of soldiers.

The Army organised a function at which the war widows were given gifts and citations.

In the morning, the Army officials and ex-servicemen, including Lieut Gen J.S. Varma, Major-Gen J.S. Herr (retd) and Brig Bant Singh (retd) laid the wreaths at Nand Singh Chowk as a mark of respect to the great martyrs.

The entire Military Station was lit with the candles during the night. One minute silence was also observed to pay homage to the Kargil martyrs who laid their lives for their motherland.

Vijay Divas observed
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, July 26
Brig S.K.S. Rana, Station Commander, Military Station, laid wreaths at the War Memorial, Asafwala, 7 km from here, today to commemorate Vijay Divas and to pay homage to the brave soldiers of the Indian Army who had laid down their lives during the Pakistani intrusion in Kargil in 1999.

Brigadier Rana recalled the supreme sacrifice of the martyrs of Kargil and paid glowing tributes to them.

A large number of senior Army officers, JCOs, jawans, ex-servicemen and civilians were present at the memorial to pay tributes.


Research, Punjabi on new VC’s agenda
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 26
Guru Nanak Dev University has decided to explore the international funding agencies, including the World Bank and Unesco, to carry out research work.

This was disclosed by Dr S.P. Singh, new Vice-Chancellor, while addressing his first press conference, here today. He said the university would give incentives to genuine researchers so that their research could be reckoned at the global level. It would also encourage guest faculty and offer fellowships to researchers who undertake new projects to create a scientific environment.

Dr S.P. Singh said that the Chairs, established after the name of Bhagat, Namdev, Bhagat Kabir, Dr Ambedkar, which were winded up due to non-release of required funds by the Social Welfare Department would be sustained by the university from its own resources.

Dr S.P. Singh said that though the university was established with two basic aims to promote and propagate the teachings and philosophies of Guru Nanak and promoting of the Punjabi language and culture, but much had yet to be achieved even after three decades. Even the university calendar which is available in English only, had yet to be translated into Punjabi. He said he had already directed the authorities concerned to translate it within a month. To promote the Punjabi language, the university would create special funds of Rs 15 lakh per annum immediately.

The Vice-Chancellor said that the university would complete work on the Punjabi folklore museum on the campus. It was scouting for rare manuscripts, articles of historical importance.

The university has emerged as a major information technology learning centre, he claimed. It had received a request from the Kenyan High Commission, New Delhi, for the admission of 67 students.

The university has already decided to give admissions to more than 5,000 students belonging to the poor strata of society from this academic session. The colleges have been directed to admit five poor students in each course, over and above the existing seats. The university would surrender the examination fee and other funds for admitting these students and colleges have been directed not to charge more than Rs 1,000 per annum from them.

The university had decided to introduce single widow system to provide information at the gate itself so that students did not have to go to different departments for information about courses, fee structure and examinations.

Dr Singh pointed out that the courses of basic sciences and humanities needed to be updated.

Dr Singh said that the university would revive the career counselling to guide students for opting for better career and also to set up a cell for placement in the private sector. The Vice-Chancellor announced the setting up of a special planning and development cell to coordinate various activities of the universities. The cell will plan new job oriented courses.


Review appointments by Soch, says Dang
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 26
In a letter to the Governor, Punjab, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob, who is also the Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, Mr Satya Pal Dang, CPI leader, has requested that all decisions taken on July 20 at Chandigarh regarding the new appointments by the outgoing Vice-Chancellor of the university, Dr H.S. Soch, should be reviewed. Some of the appointments, he alleged, violated rules and regulations of the university, besides going against the guidelines of the UGC. “I do not rule out the possibility of the whole exercise having been undertaken to favour ‘favourites’. It is shocking that no member of the syndicate objected to them,” Mr Dang has written.

According to him, the most disturbing part was the creation of four new Chairs. Surprisingly, the Vice-Chancellor who was due to quit the very next day effected appointments, including one of the reader, who became professor and chairman of one of the four Chairs without any interview. Just a few months ago, four Chairs were abolished on the plea of lack of finance while one was allowed to continue when its chairman offered to work honorarily to complete his research work. Copies of the letter were sent to the Chief Justice, Punjab and Haryana High Court, for action.


Badal govt ‘passing the buck to opponents’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
The spokesman of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Mr Sant Ram Singla, said today that the Badal government not only had a faulty approach to the state’s development but its methodology with regard to the development process was destructive.

He said if the Akalis were serious about the welfare of the people in the state, they should have the courage and large heartedness to accept their failures rather than passing the buck to their political opponents. The disinformation campaign and distortion of history by the Akalis would not serve the cause of the people, he asserted.

As the president of the PPCC, Capt Amarinder Singh, had felt concerned about the lopsided development process followed by the Badal government, he had extended an invitation to Mr Badal to a debate at a public platform to discuss what had gone wrong in the state during the past four and a half years of SAD-BJP rule. It was not a question of scoring political points but a serious attempt to know the shortfalls and weaknesses in the state’s development.

He said the Akalis should be aware of the fact that during the four decade rule of the Congress at the Centre, the country achieved self-dependence in many crucial areas like agriculture, defence, education, communication and indigenous industrial production.

Meanwhile, Mr Sukhpal Singh Khaira, secretary of the PPCC, said that though Capt Amarinder Singh belonged to a royal family he joined the Army and fought for the country during the 1965 and 1971 wars. “Has Mr Badal made any such sacrifice for the nation?” he asked.


Cong to give youth chance
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 26
In its efforts to gear-up for the Assembly elections, the recently formed 12-member coordination committee of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) has decided to give a chance to the youth in those constituencies where its candidates lost by over 15,000 votes during the last Assembly elections.

The coordination committee has divided the state into four zones for ensuring better performance.

The committee has started sending signals that there is no factionalism among the groups led by Capt Amarinder Singh, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and Mr Jagmit Brar.

Re-assessment will be done in the case of those candidates who had lost by a margin ranging between 5,000 and 10,000 votes. Ticket would be given to those who had lost by a margin of below 5,000 votes. “No one who had lost by more than 15,000 votes is likely to be granted ticket,” party sources said.

The committee and in charge of the party’s Punjab affairs, Mr Moti Lal Vora, has divided the state into four zones headed by former Union Minister Raghunandan Lal Bhatia, Mr Santosh Chaudhary, MP, Mr Jagmit Singh Brar, MP, and Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo.

Encouraged by the response to its July 21 rally at Rayyia in Amritsar, the committee has planned to hold three more rallies at Phagwara, Khanna and Muktsar.

Mr Vora had said the party was not going to project any particular leader as the next Chief Minister and the decision regarding this would be taken later. This was endorsed by Capt Amarinder Singh, who said it was undemocratic to project someone as the Chief Minister beforehand.


4 MPs on Congress manifesto panel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
To bring about cohesiveness in the top ranks of the Congress in Punjab, the party high command has accommodated a few senior leaders, including MPs, in the manifesto committee of the party.

Ms Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder, a former member of the Lok Sabha, has been made chairperson of the committee.

Its other members are Mr Balbir Singh, Mr Gurcharan Singh Galib, Mrs Parneet Kaur, Mr Harcharan Singh Channi, all MPs, Mr Varinder Kataria, a former president of the PPCC, Mr C.D. Kamboj, a member of the AICC, Dr Kewal Krishan, Mr Harnam Dass Johar and Chowdhary Gurmail Singh, all former ministers.


SAD committee meets on Aug 8
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
The secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, said today that separate meetings of the Political Affairs Committee and district jathedars of the party would be held here on August 8 to discuss important issues pertaining to the party and the coming assembly elections.

He said the party had also decided to hold political conferences at Baba Bakala on August 4, Daddogal village in Sangrur district on August 9, Issru in Ludhiana district on August 15 and Longowal on August 20. 


JD (S) seeks action against Cong MP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
Mr Harish Khanna, president of the Punjab unit of the Janata Dal ( S), has urged the Punjab Government to initiate action against Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, a senior Congress leader and member of the Lok Sabha, on the basis of a report of the Lok Pal.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Khanna said he would meet the Punjab Governor to urge him to direct the state government to proceed against Mr Dullo. When his attention was drawn towards the rejection of all findings of the Lok Pal against Mr Dullo by the previous Governor. Mr Khanna said the case could be reopened.

When contacted in this connection, Mr Dullo said there was no substance in what Mr Khanna had stated against him. He said the allegations against him were politically motivated.

Mr Khanna said it was unfortunate that the Badal government did nothing against Mr Dullo and others, though enough evidence was available against them. The Badal government had a soft corner towards Mr Dullo, Mr Khanna alleged. 


Conspiracy to ‘defame former Prime Minister’
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 26
Mr Darshan Singh Jeeda, president of the Samajwadi Janata Party (SJP), Punjab, today alleged that former Prime Minister and party’s national president, Mr Chander Shekhar, was being defamed under a well-planned conspiracy in connection with the Bharat Yatra Kendra Trust’s land case.

Mr Jeeda talking to reporters here, pointed out that Mr Shekhar had never claimed that 500 acres of land adjoining Bhondsi ashram was in possession of the Bharat Yatra Kendra Trust. He added that vested interests were trying to show Mr Shekhar in poor light by dragging his name into this case.

He said that as he had been associated with the trust for long though he was not its member, he was aware of all facts. He added that real facts of that piece of land was that was in possession of the panchayat and Mr Shekhar had made it green by planting saplings to improve the environment.

Mr Jeeda said that as the elections in various states were drawing near some vested interests were trying to harm the image of the party also. He said that Mr Shekhar was carrying out some programmes for the welfare of people at large at the “ashram”.

Regarding the party’s prgoramme in Punjab, Mr Jeeda said that situation which had started emerging in the state as the Assembly elections were approaching near, was being watched. He added that the SJP would try its best to oust the present SAD-BJP government of Punjab as it had failed to deliver the goods and proved as anti-people.


Villagers living in fear of flood
Our Correspondent

Mansa, July 26
People living in villages along the embankments of the Ghaggar river in the district are under constant threat from the rising water level of the river. During the last one and-half decades they have faced the fury of floods four times.

No other arrangement has been made on the Chandpura barrage except placing 45,000 sand bags. The administration claims to have made all arrangements to face the situation. According to the Drainage Department, 60 per cent of the desilting work of drains have been completed and repair of all drains considered sensitive is on but the people allege that even 40 per cent work has not been completed.

According to information available with the Drainage Department, a sum of Rs 1.15 crore was provided to fight the floods and Rs 50 lakh had been spent on desilting of the drains and small repairs. The remaining work is going on with an estimate of Rs 35 lakh. The repair of 2.74 km Jatana canal and 8.29 km Kusla link is being done with an estimated cost of Rs 11 lakh. The breach in the Chandpura barrage and release of 45,000 cusecs of water in the Gobind Sagar Lake was the main cause of earlier floods.

At least 17 villages of the Budhlada subdivision of the district have been identified as super sensitive and 10 as sensitive. At least 10 villages of the Sardulgarh area were affected by the floods in the past. Due to overflowing of the Sahoke drain, some villages of Bhikhi and Mansa are also affected by the floods. The Deputy Commissioner, Mansa, Ms Raji P. Shrivastava said, arrangements were being made on a war-footing to check floods. She said the district administration had sought Rs 50 lakh from the state government in this regard.


Passport inquiry system non-functional
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 26
Hundreds of passport applicants have been inconvenienced due to the non-functioning of the computerised inquiry system which was installed by the Regional Passport Office authorities here with much fanfare.

The passport office claimed that the system would help applicants as they would not need to visit the passport office for knowing the status of their applications or for getting answers to their queries. However, the system has not been functioning for the past over two weeks.

Talking to The Tribune, several applicants complained that they had to come from far-flung areas and were put off by the indifferent attitude of passport office staff and security staff towards them.

“I had come to know about the system and have been trying to know about the status of my application for the past 20 days. Since I failed to get any answer I had to visit the office twice during the past week alone,” Vijay Pal Singh of Aima Mughlan village of Hoshiarpur district said.

Jeewan Singh, another applicant, said he tried to approach the RPO but was virtually manhandled by his security staff who did not allow him to meet the officer. “Pushing me to a corner, they also abused me. Is it the job of the security staff to maltreat people and herd them around like cattle?”, he asked angrily.

The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the office could not be contacted. One of his assistants who called himself the cashier, repeatedly maintained that the PRO was busy and was “dealing” with the public. “Tusin apna naa nu dass diyo, sahib tuhade naal gall kar lainge,” he said.

Mr Amarjeet Singh, RPO, admitted that his security staff was being used for “controlling” visitors as there was shortage of staff.


Government lax, quacks make hay
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 26
Even as the authorities concerned have failed to check the menace of quacks in urban and rural areas of this district, the selling of intoxicants for addiction to the people by fake doctors in this area has started acquiring alarming dimensions.

Cashing in on the laxity of the authorities, fake doctors have been minting money by selling intoxicants and sub-standard medicines to the unsuspecting buyers, posing a threat to their lives.

In this year, the district police authorities have registered criminal cases against 14 such fake doctors and recovered intoxicating medicines in huge quantity from them. These fake doctors were running chemist shops without licence.

Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, SSP, said that in most of the cases, the doctors used to sell intoxicants by claiming themselves to be qualified doctors. These fake doctors had also been selling wrong medicines to unsuspecting people.

Though the state health authorities have been claiming that criminal cases were being registered against the quacks and unregistered medical practitioners, the quacks continue to play havoc with the lives of innocent people.

In Chauke village of this district, hapatitis-B has acquired epidemic dimensions due to the use of already used needles by quacks. The disease has claimed about three lives, leaving the residents panicky.

Some quacks have been cashing in on the preference of a male child by most people.

Sources said that district health authorities had been failing to check the menace of quacks and unregistered medical practitioners as it had been facing acute shortage of medical and para-medical staff in its health centres, especially in those located in the rural areas.

A major section of these quacks as ‘agents’ for big private clinics.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that more than 30,000 fake doctors had been running business in small and big hospitals in the state. The authorities have not been taking any concrete action against them on the pretext that strength of drug inspectors in Punjab was low, with only one inspector handling more than two districts. Some of the unregistered medical practitioners and quacks had managed to get certificates and degrees of required qualifications and had succeeded in legalising their ‘profession’.

Dr Jain said that the Civil Surgeon had been asked to cancel the licences of those chemists who had been posing as medical practitioners and selling intoxicants and sub-standard medicines.


‘Sangat darshan’ programme 
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 26
The residents of Chaura village today said water had accumulated during the monsoon around five or six villages, due to which there was danger of spreading of various diseases. They also complained of illegal closing by certain workers of the nullah.

This was stated during a sangat darshan programme held at Red Cross Hall here today. Presiding over the programme, Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, Deputy Commissioner, asked the SDO of the Drainage Department and the SDM of Patiala to look into the matter.

Mr Mahinder Ram, member of the panchayat of Subash village, Samana subdivision, complained against Mr Rurah Singh, pharmacist of Civil Hospital of Shatrana, for demanding bribe against giving medicines. The DC asked the Civil Surgeon to investigate the matter.

Mr K.K. Sharma, president of the Majithia Enclave Development Committee, demanded expanding of bus route from Punjabi University to Majithia Enclave, Century Enclave and Gurdharshan Nagar. He said there were many such students and employees who had to face many difficulties in reaching their destination. Mr Bir asked the RTA Secretary to deal with the matter.

Ms Chand Kaur and Ms Banto, two widows of Sangla Khurd village, Rajpura tehsil, complained that they had not been allotted the widow pension approved since August 14, 1999. The DC asked the District Social Welfare Officer to look into the matter.

Ms Gurmeet Kaur, sarpanch of Guru Teg Bahadur Nagar Gular village, Samana subdivision, and other panches demanded the plugging of various breaches in Ghaggar river flowing near the village. Residents of Adalatiwala village, Patiala subdivision, sought the opening of the nullah flowing near Dudan Gujra village so that the crops could be saved from the excessive rains. Mr Bir asked the SDM concerned and authorities of the Drainage Department to take immediate action.


‘Sangat darshan’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, will hold a “sangat darshan” programme at Valtoha in Amritsar on August 3 for on-the-spot redress of the grievances of more than 100 panchayats of the constituency, according to Prof Jagir Singh Bhullar, Chief Parliamentary Secretary (Industries), Punjab.


2 drug addicts found suffering from AIDS
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, July 26
Two drug addicts of the district have been found suffering from AIDS according to Dr J.P. Jalota, project director of the district de-addiction centre, which is being run by the Red Cross. They were taking morphine injections and probably used the same syringe for injecting themselves repeatedly, he said.

The drug de-addiction centre was set up here in 1991. Most of the drug addicts who report here for treatment are from Batala and Sri Hargobindpur area. The de-addiction centre has a 30-bed hospital attached with it and has treated 10,454 outdoor and 9,271 indoor patients. The percentage of patients who have suffered a relapse is 40, according to Dr Jalota.

Dr Jalota said the centre got an annual aid of Rs 10.5 lakh from the Ministry of Empowerment and Social Welfare. He suggested the formation of a joint cell involving the de-addiction centre, the Health Department, the police and the district administration to tackle the menace of drug addiction.


‘Inaction’ of cops in kidnapping case flayed
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 26
A large number of men and women under the banner of “Sunil Agwa Action Committee” today took out a march through the town, protesting against the local police as it has allegedly failed in locating 1 year-old Dalit boy Sunil Kumar, who was kidnapped by a woman on July 19 from a temple near the main bus stand here. The protesters also held a rally in front of the local police station and raised slogans against the administration for its alleged indifference towards the kidnapping episode. The rally was addressed by Mr Chand Singh Chopra, former MLA, Mr Pawan Kumar, PPCC member; and Mr Pali Ram Bansal, convener of the action committee.

They said that despite the fact that the police had the photograph of the woman, accused in the Sunil Kidnapped case, it was still clueless and had “failed” in making a break-through to locate the kidnapped boy as the boy belonged to a poor Dalit family. They submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner.


Several fall ill after drinking dirty water
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 26
Several residents of Haripura, declared as a slum area, have fallen ill after drinking contaminated water.

A visit to the area revealed that there was a probability of an epidemic due to water-borne diseases even as the district administration and the municipal corporation authorities continue to turn a blind eye to the situation. The water is stagnating in the low-lying areas.

Most of them can not even pay their bills. They said they could not afford proper treatment due to the paucity of resources. They alleged that neither any municipal councillor nor any health department official had visited the colony so far.

Mr Bahadur Singh, General Secretary, Gurdwara Sadh Sangat, Haripura, and Mr Amrik Singh, President, Gurdwara Kabir Marg, had sent a letter to the Subdivisional Officer (Public Health) in October 2000 in which the residents of the colony had complained that they were getting contaminated water. However, officials of the department who visited the colony could not detect the source of contamination.


Probe lathi charge on farmers: Tohra
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 26
Condemning the unprovoked lathi charge on agitating farmers in Bathinda this week, the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal President Gurcharan Singh Tohra today demanded a judicial probe into the incident.

The police had initially allowed peaceful agitation by the farmers for seven days and swung into action only when Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal gave them a go-ahead after his arrival from the USA, the former SGPC chief told newspersons here.

He alleged that the Badal administration wanted to teach a lesson to farmers who dared to agitate for an official action against a moneylender -cum-commission agent whose usury was said to be cause behind the suicide of Mithu Singh, a farmer of Sandoha village.

Around 300 farmers in the state had committed suicide in the past couple of years after being rendered bankrupt, he added.


Technocrats stage dharna
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 26
On a call given by the Agricultural Technocrats Action Committee, Punjab, hundreds of agricultural technocrats of various departments of the district held a dharna in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office to press for early acceptance of their demands.

While addressing the dharna, Dr Satnam Singh, state general secretary of the committee, demanded that the decision to withdraw the notification dated November 28, 2000, taken by the Chief Minister at a meeting held on December 8, 2000, should immediately be implemented.


Rain fails to enthuse paddy growers
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 26
The more than average monsoon this year in the region over the past few days, has failed to enthuse the paddy growers. The area under paddy transplantation in the state has significantly declined as farmers have not forgotten the marketing problems faced in selling paddy during the last season. However, the apprehensions of those, who have grown paddy this year, have further increased after the good monsoon.

The area under rice reported so far, in the country has increased to 93.45 lakh hectares, which is higher than last year’s corresponding acreage of 84.33 lakh hectares. In Punjab, the area under paddy transplantation by the end of June was about 83 per cent of the normal area of 24.7 lakh hectares, which was about two lakh hectares less compared to the area covered during the previous year. Interestingly, good rains during the past few days in other rice-surplus states, such as Haryana, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have further increased the fears of the farmers.

Dr Sukhdev Singh Hundal, Head of the Department of Agro Meteorology, says, “The reports so far indicate that the monsoon is above than normal this year. Ludhiana district alone received 220 ml rainfall in June against 66 ml normal rainfall and 357 ml in July so far against 232 ml normal rainfall. In the coming days, more rains are expected in the state.”

Experts in the Department of Plant Breeding and Plant Clinic agree that the rains have proved beneficial for paddy except a few regions in the Sunam, Patran, Sangrur and Patiala where the paddy crop has been inundanted by the Ghaggar river. However, more rains will increase the possibility of attack by different pests on paddy.

Mr Mohinder Singh Dhaliwal, a progressive farmer in Leel village, near here, said, “The rains have certainly benefited the growth of paddy besides helping improvement in water table and cutting the diesel costs to draw water. However, good monsoon in other states would result in a glut in the market.”

The farmers fear that probably they would have to once again face the problem of marketing their crop as the food grain in the deficit states is expected to improve significantly. The FCI has still not cleared the rice and paddy from the state that have been lying in the open and stores from the past many years. 


Panel to remove shellers’ problems
Our Correspondent

Sunam, July 26
The Punjab Government has divided the state into three regions —Patiala, Jalandhar and Ferozepore — to remove the grievances of rice shellers regarding discolouring of paddy and broken rice.

The government has constituted a committee headed by Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, Punjab Food and Supply Minister, to hold meetings with the rice shellers during the ensuing paddy procurement season so that paddy growers and rice shellers could be saved from harassment.

Mr Mittal, talking to this correspondent last evening, said the state government was committed to procuring paddy at a grand scale for which it had made elaborate arrangements which included smooth procurement, storage and payment for the paddy purchased.

Mr Mittal claimed that the SAD-BJP government had succeeded in getting a relief package for the paddy growers the previous year from the Union Government. He said this relief package had benefited paddy growers in a big way.

Mr Mittal reiterated that the SAD-BJP alliance would contest the next Assembly elections jointly and form government.

He also said the alliance did not have a soft corner for the militants as alleged by the Opposition. He said the Congress was trying to revive the Khalistan issue for political gains.


New police chiefs for 4 districts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
Patiala, Ludhiana, Jagraon and Mansa will have new district police chiefs as the Punjab Government today ordered the transfer of three IPS and five PPS officers. Fresh posting orders of one IPS and one PPS officer will be issued later.

Mr Paramjit Singh Grewal will be the new SSP of Patiala. Mr Harpreet Singh Sidhu, the present SSP of Patiala, goes to Ludhiana as the new district police chief.

Mr Balkar Singh has been posted as SSP, Jagraon. Mr Dilbagh Singh will be the new SSP of Mansa.

Mr Sukhmohinder Singh has been transferred and posted as SP (Headquarters) at Nawanshahr. Mr Narinderpal Singh has been shifted to Ludhiana as SP (ORP), Operations, Ludhiana.

The fresh posting orders of Mr Kuldeep Singh and Mr Yurinder Singh, the outgoing SSPs of Ludhiana and Mansa, respectively, will be issued later.


Bhaini Sahib board reconstituted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
The Punjab Government has reconstituted the Sri Bhaini Sahib and Raiyan Development Board under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

The board will have official and non-official members. The non-official members will be Mr Amrik Singh Aliwal, a former MP; Mr H.S. Hanspal, a former MP; Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Mr Sadhu Singh, MLA; Mr Bikramjit Singh, MLA; Mr Hira Singh Gabria, MLA; Mr Surinder Singh Namdhari; Ms Surinder Kaur Kharal; Ms Sachinder Singh; Mr Ajit Singh Namdhari; Dr S.S. Johal; Mr Jaspal Singh; and Mr Gurbachan Singh Namdhari.


Plan to improve Bathinda drains
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 26
To drain out rain water from the roads of the city and to beautify it, a survey would soon be conducted by a reputed national agency.

Mr Venkat Ratnam, Deputy Commissioner, while presiding over a meeting of the District City Planning Committee here today, said that the survey would be conducted so that proper planning could be done in this regard.

Various other decisions were also taken regarding the beautification of the city and provision of basic facilities to the residents. The Bathinda-Barnala and Bathinda-Mansa roads would be connected with each other through a ring road. Its foundation stone was laid by Mr Balramji Dass Tandon Punjab Minister Local Bodies in April, this year. The ring road would help ease the heavy traffic and would save the time of the drivers of heavy vehicles who did not wish to enter the city. He added that the traffic would increase manifold after the oil refinery started working at Phulokhari village in the district. The DC added that a scheme under consideration to increase the width of the road to 200 feet.

The Deputy Commissioner instructed officials of the municipal council to complete all the schemes for repairing and widening roads, the decisions for which had been taken in the earlier meetings of the committee. Regarding beautification, he said a central verge would be constructed on the Bibiwala road and lights would also be provided along the road. Similarly, a footpath would be built on both sides of the Amrik Singh road.

To cope with the parking problem in the city, the officials concerned have been instructed to develop sites earmarked for the parking and ensure that they were used for the purpose. He said a special drive would be launched in the city to plant trees and flower plants along the roads.


Seven houses demolished
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 26
The district administration today demolished seven houses which had been built on panchayat land in Theri village on the outskirts of the city.

The administration swung into action in the morning using a bulldozer and a crane to demolish construction made on village land which is right next to the Urban Estate, Phase I. The demolition drive was supervised by the District Development and Panchayat Officer (DDPO) and the Tehsildar, Patiala. Panchayat representatives were also present during the demolition which was done under security cover.

Though notices had been issued to residents of eight houses, only seven houses were eventually demolished. Sources said the eighth house was not demolished due to intervention of the village panchayat. Those whose houses were demolished today had encroached on village panchayati land measuring between 150 to 1000 square yards.

The affected families, however, alleged that the village panchayat had followed a pick-and-choose method to conduct the demolition exercise. They said even though other people had also encroached upon village land, only they had been targeted for demolition today. They said the demolition squad also did not allow them to vacate their premises before bull-dozing them, destroying their household goods.

Villagers also accused the village panchayat of setting two jhuggies which had been set up near the demolished houses on fire. This had been done without giving any notice. Those whose houses were demolished today are Chhota Lal, Mehr Chand, Satpal, Tarsem Singh, Shobha Ram, Surjit Singh and Gomti Devi.


Two held for minor’s rape, murder
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 26
The police has solved the mystery behind the alleged suicide by a 14-year-old girl in April last year and has arrested two of the four accused this morning, Mr Gaurav Yadav, SSP, stated here today that on the morning of April 4, last year body of Geeta of Anshik Impex Factory, Maqsudan was found hanging from a ceiling fan with dupatta in the servant quarters in the premises of the factory at Maqsudan, where she had been living with her parents.

Later the Punjab Istri Sabha took up the matter and a complaint was made to the police alleging that the girl had been raped, murdered and the accused had stagemanaged the incident to make it look a case of suicide and thereafter followed an inquiry by Mr M.F. Farooqui SP City.

It was found that the body had signs of injuries due to resistance. Subsequently analysis report from the Chemical Examiner, Patiala concluded that the girl had been raped prior to her death and then strangulated to cover up tracks. It was tried to project the death as an incident of suicide. During investigation four persons, including Rajesh Raman Vaid, Krishan Kumar, Arun Kumar all residents of Basti Guzan and Hari, a resident of Dania Kundi, district Ajamgarh (UP), and a foreman in the factory were named as accused.

Mr Yadav stated that Krishan Kumar was proprietor of Anshik Impex Factory, Maqsudan and his son Arun Kumar and Rajesh Raman Vaid, who was son of brother-in-law of Krishan Kumar used to help him in running the business, Nand Ram, father of the deceased girl Geeta had started living in the servant quarters in the premises of the factory and used to act as a caretaker as well. Rajesh Raman Vaid had allegedly been drawn to Geeta and he had made several advances for a relationship with the girl on the fateful day when the girl’s mother had been away from home. She was raped and strangulated.

After this, a police party arrested Krishan Kumar and Arun Kumar from their house today morning. The others have been absconding and police parties have been deputed to raid their possible hideouts.


Bag with cash, papers snatched
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 26
Two scooter-borne persons deprived a cyclist of his bag, which contained Rs 30,000 and valuable financial documents, at the local Central Town locality this evening.

Mr Piara Singh, a resident of the locality, said in his complaint to the police that he was going home on his cycle when two persons on a scooter snatched his bag and fled away.

He said the bag contained Rs 30,000, besides fixed deposit receipts and kisan vikas patra valued at Rs 70,000. The police is yet to register a case in this regard.


Seven arrested, stolen goods recovered
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, July 26
The district police claims to have solved 10 cases of theft with the recovery of stolen goods including scooters, bicycles, gold jewellery and coils used in electricity transformers estimated to be worth more than Rs 3 lakh.

Many more items like sugar bags, ghee tins and a large quantity of tea leaves have also been recovered by the police. In a press note issued here today, Mr Gurpreet Singh Gill, SSP, said seven persons, namely Sanjit Kumar, alias Lakki, Sham Beer, Sher Singh Thakur, Tarsem Singh, Kamal Singh, Paramjeet Singh, all of Faridkot district and Beant Singh of Ferozepore district had been arrested. The SSP said the police had also seized four working stills along with 332 litres of illicit liquor, 200 gm of opium and 13 kg of poppy husk.


No marksheets even after 15 days
Pushpesh Kumar

Bathinda, July 26
The alleged negligence of the Punjab School Education Board has cost students of government schools of Nathana, Poohla, Gidder, Kalyan and Poohli villages dear as the board failed to despatch the detail marksheet. A teacher of Government Senior Secondary School, Nathana reportedly sold the computer printed marksheets at exhoribitant rates.

Sources said the result of Class X was declared on July 7 and as per the rules the board had to despatch the marksheet to the students with- in seven days of the declaration of the results. But is this case, they were not despatched even after more than 15 days. The marksheet was required by the students to get admission or fill reappear forms.

One of the teachers cashed in on the urgency of the students and got the results from a website. This year the board had given details of marks on the website, which were a similar to the marksheet which is generally sent to schools. The teacher got them printed and then sold them at the rate of Rs 25-35 per copy.

Most of the students who bought the marksheet said they were not aware that they were a generated computer. They got suspicious when one of the parents said the registration number and the signature of the board authorities were missing.

Over 200 students who bought the marksheets refused to name the teacher, fearing victimisation.

Mr Nirmal Singh, officiating principal of the school, could not be contacted. The newly appointed principal of the school, could not be contacted. The newly appointed principal of the school, Mr Gurdev Singh Gill, was not available for comments.

Cyber cafe owners of the city said it was a normal practice to use such marksheets as proof after due attestation by the school authorities. The website on which the results were declared says the marksheets can not be treated as original marksheets. “The original marksheets are issued separately”, it says. Mr Major Singh Sandhu, DEO, was not available for comments .


5 expelled from hostel for ragging
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 26
Five students of B.Tech., computer sciences and engineering, Guru Nanak Dev University, have been expelled from the hostel and fined Rs 10,000 each after being found guilty of ragging. The decision was taken after an inquiry conducted by Dr Bikramjit Singh Ghumman, Dean, Students Welfare. The students admitted during the inquiry that they had indulged in third-degree ragging. The students, whose entry into hostels has been banned, are Loveneet Singh, Amit Kumar, Sukhpal Singh Multani, Robin Sharma and Navpreet Singh Bajwa.

Dr Ghumman said the victims of ragging complained that their seniors had woken them at midnight on July 17 and taken them to room No 122. Apart from using objectionable language, the seniors directed them to remove their clothes. 


Counselling for B.Ed. admissions from Aug 3
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 26
The counselling for admission to B.Ed. courses in various colleges of Punjab will start on the Punjabi University campus here on August 3.

Giving this information, Dr B.S. Bhatia, co-ordinator of B.Ed. entrance test, said the counselling for general category candidates would be held from August 3 to 6, while the counselling for various reserved categories would be held from August 7 to 10. The shifting of already admitted candidates from one college to the other, subject to the availability of seats, would be allowed on August 11.

Dr Bhatia added that all candidates must be present at the time of counselling as per the schedule and that no one would be interviewed outside the schedule. 


ETT teachers stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 26
Unemployed ETT teachers, under the banner of Unemployed Elementary Teachers’ Union, led by Mr Jagjit Singh Bhola, district president, today staged a four-hour-long dharna here in front of the residence of Mr Ranjit Singh Balian, Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development, Punjab, against the Punjab Education Minister’s alleged adamant attitude towards their demand.

They reached the Minister’s house from the local bus stand in a procession, raising slogans against the Punjab Government and in support of their demand to employ them on priority basis against the 7230 posts already advertised for the ETT teachers.

Mr Balian came out of his house and heard the demands of the protestors. They urged the Minister to present their case before the government.

Mr Balian assured the protestors that he would talk to Mr Tota Singh, Punjab Education Minister, with regard to their demand.

The dharna was addressed, among others, by Mr Swarnjit Singh, leader of the Democratic Employees Front.


Sodhia is GND varsity Dean
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 26
Mrs Manjit Kaur Sodhia was appointed Dean, College Development Council, Guru Nanak Dev University, for one year.

Stating this, Dr R.S. Bawa, Registrar, said Mrs Sodhia was a retired principal of Government College for Women Ludhiana. She had more than 36 years of teaching and administrative experience.


Select JBT teachers on merit: Kataria
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 26
Former PPCC President Virendra Kataria has urged the Punjab Governor to ensure that the SAD-BJP government is not allowed to collect election funds on the pretext of getting teachers appointed against thousands of JBT posts, interview for which was now in progress.

The selection should be strictly made on the basis of merit to minimise discontentment. The unemployed youths had been holding demonstration to express resentment against the alleged corrupt practices in the process of employment.

Talking to mediapersons here at his residence yesterday, Mr Kataria said the state government boasted of development but had led the state to a disastrous situation. Such a government would not survive by illegally disbursing money at sangat darshan meetings. The government had failed miserably in performing its moral duty of providing basic facilities to the people, he added.


Teachers’ delegation meets DEO
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 26
Members of the local unit of the Democratic Teachers Front (DTF) met the District Education Officer (DEO), Secondary, today and urged him to fulfil their demands.

Mr Darshan Maur, secretary of the union, said in a press note here today that they urged the DEO to instruct officials and employees of his office to complete all type of paper work within two weeks.

He said they also suggested that the general provident fund (GPF) slips should be sent to the schools concerned next month, adding that if a teacher wanted to withdraw money from the GPF before the issuance of the slips, he should be allowed to do so.

The union leaders said the authorities should conduct an inquiry into the issuance of fake experience certificates by some persons in this district.


Non-teaching staff hold dharna
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 26
The Punjabi University Employees Association (Non-Teaching) organised a dharna in front of the main gate of the University here today. Similiar dharnas were organised at Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, PAU, Ludhiana, Punjab School Education Board, Mohali, and Panjab University, Chandigarh.

Mr Malkit Singh, President of the PUEA (non-teaching), said the strike was observed by the association in order to get their demands conceded by the Punjab Government and university authorities. They urged the Punjab Chief Minister to fulfil his promise made at the time of elections regarding the payment of 15 per cent house tax to employees in Patiala.

The association also demanded the payment of Rs 40 as an allowance on the Secretariat pattern to all ‘C’ class clerks, junior assistants and steno typists while Rs 120 to desk assistants. The association claimed that the Punjab Government had stopped giving these allowances. They also asked the payment of Rs 80 to senior assistants on the same pattern.

Mr Malkit Singh added all sorts of privatisation should be stopped immediately and vacant posts must be filled at the earliest.

The association said that if the demands of employees was not conceded in time, a massive rally would be held on August 6.

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