Tuesday, July 31, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SGPC to ask Centre to amend Act
Modification in definition of Sikh voter
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 30
In a significant development, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee has resolved to send the resolution passed by its general house on changing of the definition of Sikh voter (in its modified form) to the Centre for amending the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925.

The amendment in the definition of Sikh voter has been entered in the gurdwara gazette which may delay SGPC elections due for next year. While the Chairman, Sikh Gurdwara Commission, has already announced that the elections will be held as per the Act, the SGPC will press the Central Government to hold the elections in the light of the modified definition of Sikh voter.

It may be mentioned here that Justice Harbans Singh (Retd), Chairman, Sikh Gurdwara Commission, had sent a draft notification to the Central Government for deleting the word “Sehajdhari” from the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925, on the ground that many non-Sikhs, including smokers, were able to cast their vote during the previous elections of the SGPC.

A hue and cry was raised when news about the draft notification sent by Justice Harbans Singh was published in the columns of The Tribune, suggesting deleting the word “Sehajdhari” from the Gurdwara Act. Following strong criticism in some quarters, the then SGPC chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur, had written to the Central Government to ignore the draft notification sent by Justice Harbans Singh. Bibi Jagir Kaur had announced that no amendment should be made till the general house of the SGPC passed the same.

The general house, which met on November 11, 2000, under the presidentship of Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, passed a resolution suggesting amendment in the definition of Sikh which again raised a storm. Following this, Akal Takht had to intervene and Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti announced that changing of the definition could not be allowed.

Hence, the SGPC had to issue a clarification that the resolution passed by the general house was meant for changing the definition of Sikh voter so that non-Sikhs in the garb of ‘Sehajdharis’ could not draw undue benefit.

Now the gurdwara gazette has confirmed that the resolution was passed by the previous house in modified form. The issue was raised by Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, senior leader of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, during the general house session.

Gurcharanjit Singh Lamba, said that after publishing the modified definition of Sikh voter in the gurdwara gazette, it had become the moral duty of ruling Shiromani Akali Dal not to allow the SGPC elections as per the previous Act. He said the Shiromani Akali Dal was a partner in the Central Government.

Hence, the elections should be held as per the modified definition of Sikh voter welcoming the modification, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, an Akali MLA (a confidant of Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra) and former SGPC Secretary said the government must honour the modification suggested by SGPC’s general house. He said the elections of the SGPC should not be rigged by anti-social elements by giving a chance to ‘non-Sikh’ to cast their votes.

Mr Lamba said as per the SGPC resolution, the Government of India or the state government would be unable to interfere in the affairs of Sikh Panth by making amendments in the Act through a notification. He said the issuance of notification for amending the Sikh Gurdwara Act 1925 was a gross violation of the Nehru-Tara Singh treaty signed in 1959 which had ensured that government did not intervene in the internal affairs of the Sikhs.

He said the Sikhs had been emphasising on adopting of the definition of Sikh voter of the Delhi Gurdwara Management Act passed by Parliament in 1971 in which ‘Sehajdharis’ were not allowed to cast their vote.

Mr Calcutta said the term ‘Sehajdhari’ was being exploited by vested interests as it was clear that the Sikhs who were not baptised but had unshorn (uncut) hair were ‘Sehajdharis’. The ‘Mahankosh’ authored by Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha had published the photograph of a ‘Keshdhari’ Sikh in front of the definition of ‘sehajdhari’.

With the modification, Sikh women shaping eyebrows will also be debarred from voting.

As per the modification, Section 90 of the Gurdwara Act would read: “A person shall not be nominated member of the committee if such person does not fulfil the qualifications specified in Section 46 of the Act for nomination as member of the SGPC.


Removing unemployment top priority: Badal
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, July 30
The Punjab Government has drawn up a comprehensive plan to check unemployment in the state. Under the scheme small-scale industrial and agro-based units will be set up at village-level and youths would be advanced loans on easy interests for these. Job oriented courses will also be introduced in each educational institutions in this connection. More technical institutions will be set up to check unemployment.

This was stated by the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, while talking to mediapersons here today. Mr Badal who was here to preside over the sangat darshan programme said unemployment was a national phenomenon and required certain concrete steps to check the menace. He blamed the previous Congress governments for its spread. To a question, Mr Badal said an inquiry had been marked in connection with issuing fake arms licences at Ferozepore, Amritsar and Gurdaspur. Deputy Commissioners of the respective districts had been asked to personally take up the matter and send the report to the Chief Minister directly within 15 days. The Chief Secretary, Mr N.K. Arora had also been directed to ask all other Deputy Commissioners to check up such issues in their respective districts.

To a question regarding the beating up of farmers by the police during their blockade of traffic at Myserkhana in Bathinda district last week, Mr Badal said though the present regime was a saviour of the farmers yet it was responsible for maintaining law and order. He said nobody would be allowed to take law in his hand.

Mr Badal said work on Goindwal thermal plant had already been started. More than Rs 100 crore would be spent for the repair and construction of new roads in the next four months in the state. He denied charges levelled by certain Opposition MLAs that their constituencies were being ignored.

Mr Badal said the state government had granted Rs 5 crore for the construction of the first phase of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences Complex here. The tenders had been finalised and the work would start next month. The Chief Minister evaded all questions regarding the strengthening of Faridkot district which was trifurcated into Moga, Muktsar and Faridkot districts during the Congress rule in the year 1995.

Meanwhile, Mr Avtar Singh Brar, senior Congress leader and local MLA, has criticised Mr Badal for ignoring the presence of Opposition MLAs at sangat darshan programmes in the state.


Illegal mining in Chakki river belt
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, July 30
Illegal mining is going on in the Chakki river belt here at more than 10 points on both banks. All efforts by the administration and the Mining Department to check it have failed.

The mining is going on unabated for the past more than 20 years. It is alleged that some influential persons are involved in the business. So, residents of the area are silent over the issue. A resident said the river was the main source of irrigation, but now its shape and size had almost changed and it gave a deserted look.

Contractors are digging earth beyond the permissible limit, thus playing havoc with the environment, said an expert. Two private roads had also been constructed through the forest to facilitate mining, the residents said.

No barrier has been installed by either the Mining Department or administration on the route. Residents say that truckloads of stone and gravel are being transported from this area illegally causing a loss of several lakhs to the state government per month.

When this reporter visited the area, some of the trucks were being loaded with stones and sand. However, drivers claimed they had paid royalty to the contractor.

Officials of the Mining Department said as some portion of the river fell in Himachal Pradesh and the rest in Punjab, so it was very difficult to conduct regular raids. Sources revealed that the administration had impounded some vehicles recently in this connection but was difficult to check mining without the coordination of both states.


Cracks develop in houses, shops
Negligence of municipal council alleged
Sumer Garg

Sunam, July 30
Big cracks have developed in at least 10 houses and two shops in the Kailash Parvat mohalla here in the past few days. Roots and floors of the affected buildings have also suffered damages, leading to a loss of about Rs 1 crore.

A private company was engaged by the municipal council (MC) to sink a tubewell to provide drinking water to residents of the Kailash Parvat locality and other nearby mohallas.

It is alleged that a tank was dug to store water to pour into the cavity during the digging process for cooling the borer, a part of the drilling machine.

Every time the tank was filled, the water was absorbed by the earth.

This reportedly caused the cracks to develop in the buildings.

A municipal councillor on the condition of anonymity said the council gave the contract to the private company to save Rs 1 lakh which would have to be paid to the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board as 14 per cent service charges for the purpose.

He said the board charged this amount to test the nature of soil, its bearing capacity and for testing the water for consumption.

The buildings were now irresparable in a majority of the cases, he added.

Mr Jagjivan Jain, whose two-storeyed building with 15 rooms was badly damaged and who has shifted to a rented house, said he had suffered a loss of Rs 50 lakh due to cracks in the roof, walls and floor.

He said he had informed in writing to the council thrice in this regard, but nothing had been done.

Ms Sarbjeet Sekhon claimed that she had suffered a loss of Rs 10 lakh.

She said work on the tubewell was closed once following her request, but the company started the work in full swing the very next day.

The wall of the samadhi of Peer Baba Chanake Shah has also been damaged.

The municipal council authorities, however, claimed that the cracks had developed due to leakage of sewers or underground drinking water pipes.

It is learnt that the council pressed into service a leakage detection instrument from the Public Health Department in Patiala to verify the leakage but no leakage was found.

The council has formed a sub-committee to ascertain the cause of the cracks and to assess the losses.


JBT teachers’ selection panel under fire
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 30
The functioning of the District Departmental Selection Committee formed by the Punjab Government to select JBT teachers has come under a cloud with several candidates belonging to Nawanshahr district alleging that the two representatives of Guru Nanak Dev University in the committee were harassing them on one pretext or the other.

They demanded that these varsity members should be replaced immediately.

The committee has been conducting interviews for the vacant posts of JBT teachers at the local government Girls Senior Secondary School at Model town for Nawanshahr and Jalandhar districts for the past 15 days. The candidates, belonging to the Backward Class category, alleged that though they had furnished BC certificates issued by the district administration, Dr Daljit Singh, a GND varsity representative, had rejected these on the ground that the family incomes of the candidates were not mentioned on these certificates.

Though the BC certificates were issued by the authorities concerned after verifying the fact that the family incomes of these candidates did not exceed Rs 1 lakh per annum, Dr Daljit Singh was unnecessarily harassing the BC candidates by rejecting these certificates, said Mrs Promila of Nawanshahr.

Mr Arjan Dev, an ex-serviceman and a resident of Ballowal village in Nawanshahr, alleged that he was debarred from participating in the interview by Dr Daljit Singh on the ground that he did not fulfil the minimum qualification criteria.

Mr Dev retired from the post of Petty Officer (Radio Telegraphist) from the Indian navy and was issued a certificate by the Ministry of Labour that his qualification was equal to that of a primary school teacher. But Dr Daljit Singh had rejected his candidature on July 25 without verifying the facts, he alleged.

“I have approached the Director, Public Instructions (Primary), in this regard and he has directed the Chairman of the committee to conduct my interview on August 4. Dr Daljit Singh should be replaced for harassing scores of candidates without any fault of theirs,” demanded Mr Dev.

The candidates belonging to the ex-servicemen category alleged that these members were not implementing the instructions of the Central Government regarding the age reduction formula for them.

The Chairman of the committee was not available for comments.


Badal assures jobs for elementary trained teachers
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 30
The 41-day-long relay fast by unemployed elementary trained teachers of (Punjab) ended here today. The agitation came to an end as Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal gave an assurance of jobs to 400 elementary trained teachers here today.

The Chief Secretary, Punjab, N.K. Arora today offered juice to the nine agitators who had been on continuous hunger strike for the past several days. Eight of these agitators had to be hospitalised.

The Chief Secretary, Punjab, Mr N.K. Arora said, “The Chief Minister has in principle agreed to give jobs to all the ETT applicants who had applied for the vacant posts in the primary and middle schools of the state.’’

The unemployed ETT teachers had been agitating for about a year and had started hunger strike here in May to press the state government for their appointments to the 7,200 vacant posts in government schools.

The Chief Minister said that the Punjab government has already initiated the process for filling up of 7,230 posts of primary teachers in schools. He had a detailed meeting with the ETT union leaders and assured them that the government will take necessary steps in the direction of providing jobs to all qualified elementary trained teachers in near future.

The ETT Union president, Mr Sukhwinder Singh Chahal said,” Our agitation would be continued till the implementation of the assurance given by the Chief Minister. The Chief Minister would meet us tomorrow for further negotiations” he added.

The Chief Minister assured that state government will take all necessary steps to give them employment in schools and use their potential for constructive purposes.

The Chief Minister further appealed to the elementary trained teachers not to allow the calculated interference of some politically motivated vested interests in their course of agitation, which always leads to more complications and certain hurdles in smooth making decisions.


Sukhbir’s statement causes flutter
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 30
Mr Sukhbir Badal’s statement that 25 per cent of the party ticket will be given to youth by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) in the coming Punjab Assembly elections has ruffled many a feather in the party.

No such policy decision has been taken by the party at any of its forums like the Political Affairs Committee (PAC). On what basis did Mr Sukhbir Badal, son of the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, make such a statement? This is how a number of senior party leaders commented when quizzed in this connection today.

Mr Sukhbir Badal made the statement while interacting with mediapersons at Faridkot yesterday. Whether his statement had the approval of his father, who is the head of the party, is not known.

A senior Akali leader, on condition of anonymity, said the party ticket quota for youth in the elections was decided either by the PAC or the executive of the party. Neither the PAC nor the executive had discussed the issue so far.

The statement of Mr Sukhbir Badal is likely to be taken up by senior leaders at the next meeting of the PAC scheduled to be held on August 8. Senior leaders say that perhaps Mr Sukbir Badal has not gauged the political implications of such a statement at this stage when the assembly elections are not far away.

Fixing a quota of 25 per cent would mean that the party ticket would be denied to some of the present MLAs. Akali leaders say that Mr Sukhbir Badal must be aware of who would be axed while allocating the party ticket.

They say that apprehension of denial of the party ticket to some MLAs could trigger new alignments among various groups of MLAs and ministers. In fact, they say that already a number of MLAs and groups operate and lobby through their respective groups or leaders to get things done at the political and government levels from the Chief Minister. Such groupism always proves a negative factor in the elections.

Moreover, the party has followed a tradition of renominating all its sitting MLAs in assembly as well as parliamentary elections. The party ticket is denied to sitting MLAs on health grounds or due to other unavoidable reasons. “How will Mr Sukhbir Badal manage to give 25 per cent of the party ticket to youth in such a situation?” a senior Akali leader quipped.

Last time, the SAD had put up 94 candidates and its alliance partner 23. As many as 75 nominees of the SAD and 18 of the BJP were elected. However, because of a rift between Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, 12 MLAs are now in the Tohra camp. In absence of a patch-up with Mr Tohra before the assembly elections, Mr Badal will be in a position to put up new faces in the 12 constituencies from where MLAs owing allegiance to Mr Tohra were elected last time. Some senior Akali leaders opine that by making such statements Mr Sukhbir Badal is trying to establish his own group within the SAD and its youth wing.

If he succeeds in securing the party ticket for even 20 youth, he will be able to consolidate his position in the party. At present, there are only a few MLAs who owe allegiance to him in the party though he is very active as far as catering to the political needs of various party MLAs is concerned.


Cong leaders join SAD
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, July 30
The Shiromani Akali Dal today got a shot in the arm when several Congress leaders led by the block president, Mr Vijay Gupta, who was a member of the Congress for the past 35 years along with several Congressmen switched, joined the SAD in presence of the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, at the residence of the Irrigation Minister, Mr Janmeja Singh Sekhon here today. Welcoming the Congressmen into the party fold, Mr Badal asserted that the Congress during its 45 years of rule had brought the nation on the brink of ruin due to its wrong and anti people policies.

He asked people to repose faith in the Akali-BJP alliance during the ensuring Assembly elections in Punjab.

Cong workers who joined the SAD on Monday included Mr Brij Mohan, Mr Lajpat Rai, Mr Balwant Rai, Mr Sham Sunder Agarwal, Mr Bal Krishan, Mr Raj Kumar, Mr Keshav Gupta, Mr Suraj Bhan, Mr Munish Kumar, Mr Harsh Kumar, Mr Sudhir Kumar and Mr Lalit Garg, Mr Vijay Gupta, when asked why he had left the Congress and joined the Akali Dal said the Congress was losing the mass base and its leaders were indulging in petty politics to settle their scores.


Panchayat poll results
Our Correspondent

Sirsa, July 30
The byelections to the posts of sarpanch in two villages and panches in nine villages were held peacefully in the district today.

According to sources, the polling was held for three seats only because the other candidates had been declared elected unanimously. In the election for the post of sarpanch at Rangri village only six of the 918 voters casted votes while there were six contestants in the fray namely Mrs Surjeet Kaur, Mr Guljar Singh, Mr Gurdev Singh, Mr Ajmer Singh, Mr Prabhu Dayal and Mr Sri Ram. Mrs Surjeet Kaur won the election by securing four votes. The election result for the post of sarpanch at Kamali village went in the favour of Mrs Baljeet Kaur.

The elected panches were Mr Kulwant Singh of Rohan village, Mrs Lichhma Devi of Nathur village, Mr Naib Singh of Bhambur village Mrs Chandrawati of Suchan village Mrs Ram Pyari of Sangar Sarista village, Mr Duli Chand of Chautala village, Mrs Rameshwari of Sukera Khera village and Mrs Sunita of Khuian Malkana village. At Kehina village Mr Raja Ram won the panch election by a margin of one vote.


8 sarpanches, panches elected unopposed
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 30
Results of the panchayat byelections were announced here late yesterday evening. Out of the total 14 seats of panches and sarpanches, as many as eight were elected unopposed.

The following have been elected: Ms Surjit Kaur panch of Jeeda village; Ms Paramjit Kaur sarpanch, Gill Patti; Mr Harjinder Singh panch, Bhai Rupa; Mr Harbans Singh panch, Meharjpatti Karam Chand; Mr Hardev Singh panch, Jeewan Singhwala; Mr Mithu Singh panch, Ghuman Kalan; Ms Balwinder Kaur panch, Aklian Jalal; Mr Gurdev Singh and Mr Bhola Singh, panches, Sema; Mr Mangoo Singh panch, Lehra Dhusbot; Mr Gurjant Singh panch, Kalyan Sukha; Ms Mandeep Kaur panch, Pir Kot; Mr Baldev Singh panch, Kotra Kurianwala; and Mr Jarnail Singh panch, Pithoo.


SAD sweeps panchayat poll
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, July 30
The SAD got a boost when it swept the panchayat elections, held in about 12 villages, yesterday.

The election of sarpanch at Kahnuwan was crucial for Mr Sewa Singh Sekhwan, Revenue Minister, and Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, General Secretary, PPCC. There was a close fight between Naresh Tiwari of the SAD and Mr Bhatia of the Congress who polled 2,054 and 1,818 votes, respectively. Out of the 11 seats of panches, eight were won by the SAD.

At Kishan Kot in Sri Hargobindpur block, Mr Tarsem Lal of the Akali Dal polled 294 votes white Mr Ajit Singh of the Congress polled 173 votes. At Shri Bhattian, Ms Manjit Kaur of the SAD was elected panch.


Overhanging powerline threat to life
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 30
Residents of Bhatti road, Aggarwal Colony, Mohalla Parjapat, Shiv Colony, Suraj Colony, Kanhaiya Colony, Ajit road etc of the city do not allow their children to play on the rooftops of their houses fearing that they may get in electric shock from the high tension electric wires passing above their houses.

The fear in the minds of the residents of these colonies gets accentuated by many incidents in the past few years in which some residents and children received severe injuries or even lost their lives on their roof tops.

A 33 KV power line passes above the houses starting from the Barnala bypass right up to the power grid at the power house road. The wiring is about 40 years old and is worn out. At many places it is so low that if a person stretches his arms upwards he could come in to contact with it.

The wiring is so loose that it can break under a little strain. The residents had made several individual complaints to the authorities concerned in the past to get the wiring shifted from above their houses, but without any result.

The residents of these colonies said at least three accidents occurred every year due to the power line. A girl was electrocuted when she came in contact with the electric wires above her houses in Aggarwal Colony. In the same colony, a child died while he was trying to get out his kite from the wires. Another girl was paralysed when she received an electric shock from the wires passing above her house. in 1997, the residents formed a struggle committee to fight for getting the power lines shifted and made Mr Inderjeet Singh Brar president of the committee. The committee gave a representation to the higher officials of the Punjab State Electricity Board. They also pleaded their case before the Punjab Chief Minister.

The struggle of the residents bore some fruit and in 1998 the PSEB drafted a plan to shift power lines from the residential buildings and bring it at the grid at the power house road. But the residents alleged that the scheme did not see the light of the day. They said the department had proposed to construct high towers on the roads from where the line was to pass, but after building some pillars, the department stopped the work.

The residents alleged that the authorities concerned did not pay any attention to the problem. Therefore, they said they started taking preventive measures and did not allow their children to go to the rooftops of their houses.

A senior official of the PSEB when contacted said the power line was in position for the past about 40 years. He said when the PSEB had laid the power line, there were no dwellings beneath it. He added that the residents for economic reasons started building houses under the power line although it was against the PSEB rules.

He said the board had sent notices from time to time to the residents to curb the constructions of dwellings in the area. He added that the officials or the employees of the PSEB were in no way responsible for the accidents which occurred due to the power line.


E-governance seminar on Aug 10
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 30
To identify, understand in depth and address various issues related to e-governance, the Punjab IAS Officers Association has decided to organise a one-day seminar in Chandigarh on August 10, Mr Sarvesh Kaushal, chairman of the seminar committee, announced here today.

The theme of the seminar would be “Governance in 21st century — Challenges before Indian civil servants”. The seminar would provide an opportunity to discuss the broad policy framework, strategies and issues, status and action plan of e-governance, ingredients of good governance, administrative reforms as an integral part of e-governance, implementation strategies, infrastructure, e-governance architecture and success stories from other states.

At the technology session to be conducted in the afternoon, the issues to be discussed were contemporary technologies for e-governance, connectivity and IT backbone, status of ISP services in Punjab, cyber laws, and security and privacy issues, to complete the spectrum of e-governance at the state level.

The seminar would be inaugurated by the Governor, Punjab , Lt-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd) , and presided over by the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal. Speakers of national and international repute would address the seminar. Some key senior officers from Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and the Union Territory of Chandigarh would also attend.


Ultimatum on kidnapped boy
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 30
The “Sunil Agwa Action Committee”, along with other organisations, has given an ultimatum to the police to find the kidnapped one-year-old Dalit boy, Sunil Kumar, by August 5.

This ultimatum was given at a meeting held here last evening in which members of the action committee and political, social, religious and employees’ organisations participated.

Mr Pali Ram Bansal, convener of the committee, said if the police failed to locate and recover the kidnapped boy by August 5, the committee, along with other organisations, would intensify the agitation to put pressure on the police and the district administration.

The boy was allegedly kidnapped by a woman on July 19 from a temple near local bus stand. The committee members had earlier alleged that despite the fact that the police had the photograph of the accused woman, it had failed to make a breakthrough in the case.

A large number of persons held a rally throughout the town on July 26 in protest against police inaction.

Mr Bansal said the meeting lasted for over three hours which was also attended by Mr Surjit Singh Grewal, DSP, Sangrur, who assured them that the police would not leave any stone unturned in locating the boy.

Mr Bansal further said on a suggestion given by members of the committee, the DSP said the police would announce an award for the person who would give information regarding the whereabouts of the boy.

The meeting was addressed, among others, by Mr Jeet Singh Alloarkh, district president of the SAD (A), Mr Pawan Kumar, advocate, member of the PPCC, Mr Nanak Chand Kalra, chairman of the Sangrur Improvement Trust, Mr Jhanda Singh, district president of the BKU, and Mr Swaranjit Singh, leader of an employees’ organisation.

Later, a deputation of the action committee met the SSP, Mr Jatinder Singh Aulakh, who assured them that the police would make all efforts to trace the kidnapped boy.


Tohra, Badal groups clash
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 30
The confrontation between Mr Bikramjit Singh Khalsa, sitting legislator from Dakha who owes allegiance to Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, and the vice-president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia, has spilled out onto the streets. Yesterday the two groups confronted each other head-on.

Three legislators of the group including Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, Mr Hira Singh Ghabria and Mr Khalsa, besides senior leader Surjant Singh Thekedar today met the DIG, Ludhiana, Mr Suresh Arora demanding that an FIR be registered against the guilty.

According to Mr Grewal, the DIG assured them that the guilty would not be allowed to go scotfree. Yesterday, Mr Khalsa had filed a complaint with the local police. However, no FIR was registered.

The administration also tried to help resolve the issue. Representatives of both groups today met in the presence of the Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sandhu. Although the meeting lasted over two hours, no compromise could be reached.

The provocation for the confrontation yesterday seems to have been the removal of a foundation stone laid down by Mr Khalsa in Shimlapuri area for a Rs 133 crore drainage project sponsored by Nabard on July 27. The stone was allegedly removed by supporters of local councillor Sukhwinder Kaur, who owes allegiance to the SAD. She questioned the authority of Mr Khalsa in laying down the stone since she was the councillor of the area and claimed that she had got Rs 11 lakh sanctioned for the project.


Alcometers stop bacchus lovers in their tracks
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 30
Bachus lovers driving late night on the roads of the city yesterday had a narrow escape as most of them were let off after being subjected to the newly introduced alcometer test. However, those driving rashly after imbibing too much liquor were challaned.

Use of an alcometer by the city police under the guidance of the Superintendent of Police (City), Mr Gautam Cheema, resulted in 36 persons being let off after being given a warning for driving under the influence of liquor.

According to the police, 101 persons were checked in all last night. While 36 persons were let off after a warnng, 17 were found to be badly drunk and were challaned. Fortyeight others were not found under the influence of liquor.

The drive was aimed at reducing the increasing number of accidents in city. Police sources said one week’s warning would be given to the alcoholics initially following which if they continued to mix drinking with driving, strict action would be taken against them.

They said under the Motor Vehicles Act. a punishment of six months or fine of Rs 2,000 or both would be applicable in their case. If the alcoholic repeats the same within three years, a punishment of two years or fine of Rs 3000 or both would be applicable.

According to a survey carried by the city police, most accidents occurted at night after people are returning from marriages and parties. Sources claim that these people irrespective of any sort of fear, drive carelessly thereby leading to accidents. Thus, for this very reason, these alcometers, which are not only accurate but also fast in reading the liquor content consumed by the person, have been installed.

The machine is capable of detecting the liquor quantity consumed by the person within 30 seconds and its samples too do not get contaminated as was the case with breath analysis. Moreover, the machine can record a test level of 6,500 persons which can be downloaded to a computer to get a print out. Another characteristic feature is that the print can be shown to the accused to ensure a fair game right on the spot.

The drive also included spreading awareness among common people and especially the school going children to acquaint them with traffic rules and regulations. The police officials feel that such activities inculcated at earlier age would ensure safer life in future.


Cycle track left unfinished
Anital Tayal

The cycle track being constructed along Lower Mall was intended to ease the movement of traffic in the area. However, the project has been left halfway since the Army authorities who had undertaken the task have stopped the work.

Only half of the planned path has been completed. Army personnel, with the help of the district administration, have laid a concrete path along the road from Thikriwala Chowk to the end to the Army area. The plan was take it up to Major Manwindra Singh Chowk near the Yadavindra Public School.

Funds for the path were provided by the local member of Parliament, Mrs Parneet Kaur, while the district administration had supplied the material. The Army was to contribute men and machinery but the work has suddenly come to a halt and the administration has no knowledge why it has happened.

Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, Deputy Commissioner, says that funds were being provided to the Army authorities from time to time. He has yet to contact Brig Chiranjiv Singh Harika, the man behind the project, but he is sure that the work will be completed soon. All the material and funds are available and the additional amount required for men and machinery which were to be provided by the Army, can be raised without any difficulty. The administration will ensure that the cycle track is not left unfinished.

Brig Harika, when contacted, said that the work had been delayed but it will be completed in a month’s time. Apart from this, the track which was to be for exclusive use by pedestrians and cyclists, is now being used as a parking place for all kinds of vehicles.

The residents feel that these vehicles should not be allowed to use the track for parking and cyclists and pedestrians should be encouraged to use it. Mr Manmeet Singh, a former president of the local Rotary Club, said: “The administration should check this trend and ensure that the path is not turned into a parking area.”


Aids distributed to physically challenged
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 30
Mr Gurnam Singh Mehra, Commandant, inaugurated the identification-cum-evaluation camp organised by the District Red Cross Disability Rehabilitation Centre held at Senior Secondary School, Bahadurgarh, here today.

During the camp, various aids were distributed free of cost to the handicapped and disabled persons under the ADIP scheme of the Government of India. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Mehra appreciated the activities of Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, Deputy Commissioner, and lauded the efforts of the District Red Cross Disability Rehabilitation Centre in providing adequate service to the needed persons.

As many as 200 persons were examined on the occasion by Dr R.L.Mittal, Dr Inder Singh, Dr Girish Sahni, Dr R.S.Randhawa and Dr J.P Goyal. Certificates were also issued on the occasion by the CMO, Patiala, under the guidance of the Civil Surgeon, Dr Amrit Lal Dhingra. Mr Mehra advised the persons with disabilities to take maximum benefits from the District Fitment Centre.

The centre in charge, Mr Pritpal Singh Sidhu, examined the persons with disabilities. He also disclosed that within months, the centre would be declared number one due to the research work also being undertaken now in the centre. Mr Sidhu is also the first person to have received invitation for open research on artificial limbs from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow (Scotland).

Furthermore, 15 tricycles, 40 hearing aids, 5 wheel chairs, artificial limbs and clippers were distributed to the disabled persons.


Rs 1 crore for development of Nihalsinghwala
Our Correspondent

Moga, July 30
The Punjab Government has handed over Rs 1 crore to the local district administration for the development of Nihalsinghwala town in the district and more funds would be provided if the need arises. This was stated by the Punjab Education Minister, Mr Tota Singh, at the opening ceremony of two schools at Badhani Kalan village in the district, in a plus two and a primary school.

He further said all vacant vacancies of school teachers in Punjab would be filled by year-end. The Education Minister further said 700 schools and 42 colleges in Punjab would be computerised soon.

During his visit to Fatehgarh Panjtoor, the minister said the government had decided to honour the school teachers from the state whose schools had given better results and the students had passed and obtained 70 per cent marks.

He also paid tributes to Lala Din Dyal of that village, who had donated Rs 10 lakh for development of the areas around his village.


Punjab police union’s general secy resigns
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 30
Perturbed over the failure of the state government to accept the demands of Punjab police officers, general secretary of the PPS Welfare Association, Punjab, Mr Amarjit Singh, has resigned from the post owing moral responsibility for not getting their demands accepted during his tenure.

Members of the association alleged that those demands which could have been easily accepted by the state government were not even taken up by its president Sukhdev Singh Brar with the authorities concerned for reasons best known to him.

The officers were demanding that the state government should withdraw its orders pertaining to the abolishing of 18 posts of superintendent of police, impose a ban on out of turn promotions of junior officers and should conduct elections to the PPS Welfare Association, which were due since April 30 without any further delay.

According to sources, the state government had abolished 18 posts of SP in March, last year. A meeting was held between members of the association and the Punjab Chief Minister regarding the withdrawal of orders, and Mr Badal had assured them to review the decision.

“But the president of the association has failed to take up the matter with the authorities concerned in the past one year leading to resentment among the members, a local DSP alleged.

Mr Amarjit Singh, further said he had written to the Director-General of Police, Punjab to conduct the elections to the body, which were due since April 30, but the move was allegedly scuttled midway by the president, Mr Sukhdev Singh Brar.

Mr Brar was, however, not available for comments.


Punjab Govt anti-Dalit, says SC Federation
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 30
The Scheduled Castes and Backward Class Employees Federation, Punjab has demanded that the state government should withdraw its orders regarding abolition of the roaster system pertaining to reservation in promotions for Scheduled Caste and Backward Class employees.

Mr Achar Singh Lapran, president of the federation, in a press note here today, alleged that the state government was pursuing anti-Dalit policies.

He said though the roaster system was being followed throughout the country by different state governments, Punjab had taken the “uncalled for” step by abolishing it.

This was deplorable. He demanded that the state government should withdraw the notification, failing which the federation would launch a statewide agitation.

The federation also demanded that the state government should implement the recommendations of the Mandal Commission in toto.


I-Day function at Ferozepore
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, July 30
The state-level Independence Day function will be held here for which preparations have been initiated. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.R. Ladhar, while presiding over a review meeting of the district officials to oversee the arrangements, said the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, would pay floral tributes at the samadhi of martyrs, Bhatat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev and then preside over the Independence Day celebrations at the Shahid Bhagat Singh stadium.


Freedom fighter cremated

Moga, July 30
Mr Jarnail Singh, a freedom fighter, who was associated with the INA, died at Chheda village near Salsar, in the district yesterday. He was 85.

He was cremated with full state honours in the village today in the presence of a large number of people, including several freedom fighters of the area and Punjab Agriculture Minister Gurdev Singh Badal.

Meanwhile, Capt Lachhman Singh (retd), who had won President award four times during the service and had served panchayat of Gholia Khurd village for 40 years, died in the village yesterday.

Capt Lachhman Singh, who was father of Bachittar Singh of the North America unit of the SAD was cremated in the village. A large number of people, including sarpanches and panches of the area and Punjab Education Minister Tota Singh attended the funeral. UNI


Shopping complex plan invites protest
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, July 30
Hundreds of residents of the Sirhandi Gate area raised slogans against the Chairman of the Improvement Trust and the Punjab Government here today in protest against the proposed shopping complex scheme of the trust at Sajida Park in Talab Bazar.

Meanwhile, the Chairman, Mr Mumtaj Ahmed Shah, along with the executive officer and other employees of trust reached the site and started demarcation of the land. The residents demanded that a public park should be built instead of the shopping complex.


Two cops suspended
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 30
Bhawanigarh shopkeepers today observed a bandh while a large number of residents accompanied by leaders of various political parties took out a march, demanding the suspension of an ASI and a munshi of Bhawanigarh police station in a case in which an accused in a rape case escaped from police custody on July 27. Later, the accused was arrested by the police.

The matter was resolved when the DSP, Bhawanigarh, Mr Darshan Singh Mann, assured them that their demands had been accepted. According to sources, Mr Baljit Singh, ASI, and Mr Mehar Singh, chhota munshi (constable), had been placed under suspension. The DSP Bhawanigarh, will now investigate the case.


Intoxicants seized from drug stores
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 30
A large quantity of intoxicants was seized during raids on drug stores. More than 8,000 capsules containing dextraproxyphene, about 1,800 tablets of lomotil, 19 bottles of corex were recovered from different chemist shops in the city. This was stated by Dr Ajaib Singh Sandhu, Civil Surgeon, here today.

He said huge stocks of intoxicants were seized not only from retail shops but also from wholesale market.


Assembly session from Aug 21
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 30
The next session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha is scheduled to be held here from August 21 to 23, according to a Vidhan Sabha press note.


Upinderjit Kaur bereaved
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, July 30
Mrs Surjit Kaur (64), elder sister of Dr Upinderjit Kaur, Punjab Urban Development Minister, died of heart attack yesterday. She was the daughter of veteran Akali leader the late Atma Singh. She is survived by a daughter.


Bains takes over as Director, Agriculture
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 30
Dr S.S. Bains has taken over as Director of Agriculture, Punjab. He assumed charge on July 27 on a regular basis.

The post has a chequered past since the present government assumed office in February, 1997. Mr Bains was shifted as Chairman-cum-Managing Director, Punseed, in June 1997.

Thereafter, there were a string of appointments with some being given current duty charge as Director or being appointed twice to the post.

Litigations and police cases mired the department in several controversies. The last incumbent, Dr M.S. Sonar, was promoted as Director and served for about five months, retiring on June 30. Then an IAS officer, Mr Ashok Gupta, was given temporary charge as Director following which technocrats launched an agitation and held rallies in protest against the move at the district headquarters on July 26. Finally, Dr Bains was appointed Director.

Dr Bains holds a Ph.D degree in agriculture and a master’s degree in economics. He has attended several international conferences, training courses and seminars. He has served as Joint Commissioner in the Ministry of Agriculture. In his earlier tenure from 1991 to 1997, Punjab was given six national productivity awards.


Robbers plotting to kill NRI held
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, July 30
The police has busted a gang of robbers by arresting Joti, alias Raju, Balwinder Ram, alias Babba, Ravinder, alias Preetu, Surjit, alias Thellu, Bahadur Singh, Sanjiv Kumar, Baljinder Singh and Chaman Lal. The gang was involved in a number of robberies in the Banga area in the district. This was stated in a press note issued by Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, here today.

The gang members were allegedly planning to murder and loot an NRI, Mr Bhagat Singh, of Gosalan village at the time of arrest. Mr Bhagat Singh who had recently come from Canada and had sold his house in Chandigarh was having Rs 40 lakh as the sale proceeds. A country made pistol, three cartridges, one air-gun and several sharp-edged weapons were seized from their possession, the SSP said.

The gang, was involved in a number of robbery cases at Chahal Khurd, Mazara Nauabad, Mehrampur, Bharo Mazara, Gosalan, Banga, Gunachour, Dhahan-Kaleran, Ghataron villages. Surjit Singh, alias Tutti Tang, who at present is lodged in Ludhiana jail, was also a member of this gang.


ETT Union to end fast
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, July 30
The Elementary Trained Teachers Union today decided to end their fast, after the Chief Minister assured the delegation, which called upon him here yesterday, that the government would take every necessary step to provide jobs to all ETT teachers, who had applied for the posts of primary teacher.

After two hour long deliberation with the three-member delegation comprising Mr Sukhwinder Singh Chahal, state president, Mr S.S. Sukhi, president, Malwa region, Mr Ravinder Singh Pappi, co-convener, Mr Badal instructed the Chief Secretary to the Punjab Government, Mr N. K. Arora, to urge the agitationists to end the strike as he (Mr Badal) had given them commitment to provide them jobs.

According to information, there are around 7,230 unemployed elementary trained teachers in Punjab.

Mr Badal stated that he would himself go and meet the members of the unemployed ETT union and listen to their grievances. He further said he would call a meeting of the Chief Secretary, Secretary (Education) and Advocate-General, Punjab to discuss about the fate of those candidates who had been debarred by the high court from appearing in the interview.


Varsity ignores AICTE notice
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 30
Punjabi University today cocked a snook at the All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) which has accused it of granting illegal affiliation to various institutions for grant of Master of Computer Application (MCA) degree and offering MCA degree through the distance education programme, by urging the institutions concerned to disregard the AICTE notice and complete the admission process.

The AICTE had taken out a public notice yesterday, claiming that it was the only statutory body to grant approval to institutions starting technical programmes, including the MCA course. It had alleged that Punjabi University had granted affiliation to various institutions despite the fact that they had not been granted approval by it.

A press note said the University Grants Commission (UGC) had recognised the Bachelor of Computer Application (BCA) as a non-technical course and as such outside the purview of the AICTE. It said ipso facto the MCA course was also a non-technical course. Moreover, the validity of the university degree for the MCA course in the affiliated colleges or through the distance education programme was not dependent upon or conditioned by any provision other than the University Act and statutes.

The press note said contrary to the public notice, there was nothing illegal about the affiliations for the MCA course for which the examination body and the degree awarding body was the university. It said the affiliations had been granted to the colleges in terms of the enabling provision of the varsity Act which nowhere envisaged that the affiliation granted by the university was dependent for its validity on recognition or approval by any other agency.

Moreover, there was no provision of law, governing any outside agency, envisaging that a university affiliation to a college was subject to mandatory requirement or approval by any central agency. It claimed where any subsequent statutory formality was to be done by any of the affiliated colleges following university affiliation, it would be done in the due course of time.

Meanwhile, the Punjabi University Teachers Association (PUTA) today expressed shock at the development, saying that a high-level inquiry should be conducted.

PUTA President B.S. Khaira said it was for the first time that courses run by the university and its affiliated colleges had been declared illegal by the AICTE.


Workshop on conservation of manuscripts
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 30
Modern techniques like CD, microfilming and video cassettes should be adopted for the preservation and conservation of rare manuscripts, books, documents, photographs and other library materials.

This was stated by Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, GNDU, while delivering his presidential remarks at the inaugural session of a five-day workshop on “Preventive conservation of paper manuscripts and the library materials” here today at Guru Nanak Bhavan of the university.

The workshop is being organised by the Indian National Turst for Art and Culture Heritage, Punjab, INTACH, Indian Council for Conservation Institutes and Charles Wallace Institutes under the Department of Library and Information Science of the university.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
121 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |