Wednesday, August 15, 2001, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



BJP toughens stand on octroi
Sarbjit Dhaliwal

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
The Punjab BJP has toughened its stand on the octroi issue. Its leadership wanted that the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, should make the announcement with regard to the abolition of octroi tomorrow at the state-level Independence Day function in Ferozepore.

The president of the state unit of the BJP, Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, tried to contact Mr Badal on the phone this morning in this connection. Mr Rinwa had reportedly taken up this issue with the senior BJP Ministers, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon and Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, yesterday. He had told the two BJP Ministers to get the decision regarding octroi abolition expedited from Mr Badal by making the party’s stand clear in this connection.

Mr Rinwa has also reportedly conveyed his concern about the delay in the announcement on octroi to the President of the BJP, Mr K. Janakrishnamurthy. He was expecting that Mr Badal would announce the decision at the joint meeting of MLAs held yesterday in the Regional Punjabi Hall of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha. Though Mr Badal gave a broad hint in this connection, he refrained from making any categorical statement.

When contacted, Mr Rinwa said that he was eagerly awaiting the decision of the state government on octroi. He said any further delay in this regard would not be in the interests of the SAD- BJP coalition. Shopkeepers and traders in the urban areas are also keenly awaiting the decision.

Punjab has reportedly zeroed in on the Rajasthan pattern as far as the mobilisation of alternative resources is concerned to meet the financial requirements of the municipal committees in the absence of octroi. The Rajasthan Government provides funds to the municipal committees in its state Budget proposals. After the passing of the Budget, funds are allocated to the committees accordingly. Every year an increase is ensured in the Budget for the committees.

However, as no such provision has been made in Punjab’s Budget this year and the next budget is about seven months away, the government may impose a 5 per cent cut on the existing Budget allocations for other government departments. The funds spared thus may be diverted to the municipal committees to run their affairs for the remaining period of seven months, if the decision to abolish octroi is implemented from September 1.

On the slashing of power tariff rates for the domestic and small-scale industrial sectors, the BJP has got information that the PSEB has agreed to change the existing slab system of power bills for the domestic sector. If this is done, the domestic sector will get appreciable relief. The BJP also wanted that the tariff increased after 1998 should be withdrawn. It is also insisting that the issue of pension and gratuity for teachers of aided colleges should be settled at the earliest. Already the government has faced a lot of criticism on this issue. If this decision is implemented just near the assembly elections, the SAD-BJP alliance will get no political benefit because of it.

The BJP is also preparing its inputs to be included in the joint political agenda for the coming Assembly poll. It wants to focus on education reforms and employment to youth on merit. It is for drastic changes in the set-up of the Punjab Public Service Commission and wants to make it an absolutely transparent body.


Badal’s clear message to MLAs
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal yesterday gave a clear message to the legislators of the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance, to concentrate on their respective constituencies for the next three months before the elections to the State Assembly are announced.

Addressing a joint meeting of the legislators here , the Chief Minister also used the occasion to impress upon the legislators to get the pending works completed before the model code of conduct for elections becomes effective.

Mr Badal, who has been assessing the “mood” of the people, including his own party and BJP legislators besides getting a feedback from party functionaries from the grassroot level through his “sangat darshan programmes”, used today’s meeting more for ascertaining views of the legislators on the prevailing political climate in the State. He listened to all speakers aptly without revealing his mind.

Mr Badal, who completed “sangat darshan” programme in 67 Assembly constituencies before going to the USA for treatment last month, has revived visiting the remaining Assembly constituencies with an eye on the next elections.

Except for Mr Badal’s address, the message of which was crisp ad clear — the ensuing elections — there was nothing much in this afternoon’s meeting.

The Congress and Panthic Morcha were targets of criticism as legislators of the ruling Shiromani Akal Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party “complimented their Government for pulling the State out of a major fiscal crisis left behind by the previous Congress government and for ushering in a new era of allround development of the State.”

The meeting, the sources said, was convened to finalise strategy of the ruling alliance for the three-day Vidhan Sabha session next week besides planning for the ensuing Assembly elections.

Mr Badal presided over the meeting which continued for almost two hours.

The SAD-BJP legislators assailed both Congress and Panthic Morcha. They said the Panthic Morcha by playing a dirty political game wanted to marginalise Panthic vote to indirectly benefit Congress, the destroyer of Punjab.

This unholy alliance has neither any political plan nor programme and its only game plan was to create political instability in the State so as to disrupt the developmental activities started by the present Government headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal. Further, the Morcha was trying to disrupt communal harmony and development activities.

They hoped that awakened people of Punjab would keep the achievements of the present government in mind while rejecting these “disgruntled and anti-Punjab forces” and give the SAD-BJP more strength and power to further strengthen the peace process and developmental activities in the State.

By adopting a resolution, the SAD-BJP legislators, appreciated lasting peace, stability, communal harmony, universal brotherhood, economic stability , overall development of the State and complimented both the Punjab Chief Minister and the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee.


Punjab to allot plots to Dalits
I-Day sop to woo voters
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, August 14
With the Assembly elections round the corner in the state, the SAD-BJP combine-led Punjab Government is embarking on various populist welfare schemes for the uplift of the poor and downtrodden to woo them.

In a step in this direction, the government has decided to allot 5 marlas of panchayat land each to all villagers belonging to economically backward classes who do not own a house. The Department of Rural Development and Panchayat, Punjab, has issued a circular under which all Deputy Commissioners in the state have been given concurrent powers under Section 13-A of the Punjab Village Common Land Regulation Act, 1961, within their respective jurisdiction for implementation of the scheme and the allotment of sites to such families in the state.

According to sources in the department, the decision had been taken as some of the families belonging to the Scheduled Castes did not possess their own house. Keeping in view the hardship being faced by them it has been decided to allot plots measuring 5 marlas to these people free of cost and the panchayats have been instructed to allot the same by passing resolutions in the gram sabha meetings.

To expedite the process, the deputy commissioners have been authorised to do the needful. The gram panchayat would pass the resolution and select the beneficiaries before sending the cases to the concerned BDPO for approval. The BDPO of the block would examine and scrutinise the proposal and forward the same to the DDPO, who would further submit it to the DC for final nod.

According to Mr S.R. Ladhar, Deputy Commissioner, around 10,000 such persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes have been identified in Ferozepore district who would be allotted land certificates by the Chief Minister, Punjab, here tomorrow. Mr Ladher said the beneficiaries who were being allotted plots were those who did not have any land in their name and belonged to the Scheduled Castes, Rai Sikh or Christian community.

As per the government notification, the plots would be either within the main abadi or near the abadi in panchayat land or shamlat land. The beneficiaries were supposed to construct the house within three years of the date of the allotment and in case they failed to do so, the plot would vest with the panchayat. The notification further says that the beneficiary to whom plot was allotted should neither sell nor change it with any other person and nor he could mortgage the plot. However, he could mortgage the plot to get finance for the construction of the house.

Mr Ladher said in cases where the panchayat did not possess any land of its own and transfer of land was not possible, efforts would be made to purchase the land from private persons and the rate for the same would be fixed by the District Land Price Fixation Committee.

In addition to this proposal, the government was contemplating the idea of abolition of octroi, the decision which is in the pipline for quite some time now and the announcement regarding it is likely to be made here tomorrow by the CM.

According to sources, the other populist schemes which are likely to be mooted soon include 100 units of free power to Dalits, withdrawal of power tariff for domestic and small-scale industries and pension for private teachers.


Non-bailable warrants against DSP, 5 other cops
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 14
A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court today issued non-bailable warrants against a Deputy Superintendent of Police, two Sub- Inspectors, two Assistant Sub- Inspectors and one Head Constable, on the charges of causing the disappearance of six members of a family of Tarn Taran police district for September 18.

The Special Magistrate, CBI, Mr Jaspinder Singh Heyer, today issued non-bailable warrants against DSP Gurmeet Singh, who is presently posted at Abohar in Ferozepore district, Sub-Inspectors Virkamjit Singh and Sukhdev Singh, Assistant Sub-Inspectors Faqir Chand and Sube Singh and Head Constable Lakha Singh in two separate chargesheets filed by the CBI in which complainant is the same.

In the case of the DSP, it is alleged by the complainant Ms Surjit Kaur that the DSP abducted six of her relatives in 1992 whose whereabouts remain unknown till now. The complainant, who is a resident of Pandori Ramana in Tarn Taran , had filed a writ petition in this regard in May, 1997, before the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

She had alleged that the DSP had abducted her brother-in-law, Mr Gurdev Singh and his maternal uncle, Mr Janga Singh, from Sitapur in Uttar Pradesh where they had gone in connection with a court case in February, 1992. She alleged that both were never seen again.

In the second case it has been alleged that the two SIs, two ASIs and the Head Constable had abducted her relative, Mr Kesar Singh. She alleged that the police officials abducted Kesar Singh from the Amritsar railway station after which he could not be traced.


‘Prosecute officers involved in fake encounters’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
Four prominent human rights activists — Justice Ajit Singh Bains, Mr Inderjit Singh Jaijee, Mrs Baljit Kaur and Mr Gurdarshan Singh Dhillon — in a joint statement issued today demanded that all those who conceived and executed fake encounters and made a mockery of the fundamental rights guaranteed in the Constitution and enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights should be prosecuted without further delay. They appealed to the Punjab Government to file criminal cases against all guilty officers.


CBI plea for further questioning of pilot
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 14
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today requested the Designated Court under the anti-hijacking Act here to allow it to further examine Capt Devi Sharma, commander of the ill-fated Airbus IC-814 which was hijacked from Kathmandu to Kandahar . The court, however, asked the CBI to file an application in this regard. Consequently, the cross-examination of Capt Sharma was deferred till October 9. The court asked the CBI to provide defence counsel Brijinder Singh Sodhi with a list of witnesses it wanted to examine in the case in the near future.

The court also allowed an application filed by two of the accused - Yusuf Nepali and Dalip Bhujail - requesting that they be provided free legal aid as they could not hire an advocate themselves. Allowing the application, the court ruled that both would be provided with an advocate to argue their case. 


Maharashtra yet to decide on memorial
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
While the bicentenary celebrations of the coronation of Maharaja Ranjit Singh are almost half -way through, the Maharashtra government is yet to take a final decision on raising a memorial for Maharani Jindan, wife of the Maharaja, at Nasik, where she was cremated.

Maharani Jindan had to struggle hard to get a passage to England to meet her son, Maharaja Duleep Singh. Maharani Jindan, the last Sikh Maharani, died in England on August 1, 1863.

Before her death she had expressed her last wish that her mortal remains be taken to Punjab for cremation there. The British Government, however, turned down the request of Maharaja Duleep Singh to take her body to Punjab.

The British later relented and allowed Maharaja Duleep Singh to ship the body to Mumbai. The body was ultimately cremated at Nasik and her ashes were immersed in the Godavari.

The issue for raising a memorial at Nasik was raised by the Vice-Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Mr Tarlochan Singh, with the Maharashtra Governor, Mr P.C. Alexander, and the Chief Minister, Mr Vilasrao Deshmukh, last year.

In a letter addressed to the Governor and the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, he had requested that since Punjab would be celebrating bicentenary of coronation of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 2001, it would be a befitting tribute to the last Indian Maharaja to raise a memorial for his Maharani who was cremated at Nasik. This, he said, would be a step towards fostering national integration.

Mr P.C. Alexander responded immediately by writing to the Chief Minister for raising the memorial. The Chief Minister, too, responded saying he was looking into the demand.

Since then, Mr Tarlochan Singh has been pursuing the matter both with the Governor and the Chief Minister. “I am hopeful that it will come through. What we want is that there should be a beautiful memorial which could be developed into a tourist resort,” Mr Singh added.


CPI secretary foresees hung Assembly
Says party will contest 30 seats
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, August 14
There will be an hung Assembly in Punjab as no political party will get majority in the forthcoming elections, claimed Dr Joginder Dayal, Secretary, CPI, Punjab, while talking to mediapersons here today. He said to defeat the “corrupt” SAD-BJP government, the CPI would forge an alliance with all secular parties. However, it would enter into only an “honourable” pact with the Congress.

He said the CPI would contest 30 seats, including Garhshankar, Tanda, Mukerian and Mahilpur segments of Hoshiarpur district. The district unit of the CPI had declared Mr Manjit Singh Lali as its candidate from the Garhshankar segment. He appealed to Mr Kanshi Ram, BSP supremo, to join hands with “secular forces to protect Dalits.

He said the SAD-BJP government in Punjab was following pro-imperialist countries and pro-US economic policies in the state as a result of which the state was facing a financial crunch. He alleged all ministers, including family members of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, were involved in corrupt practices.

He criticised Mr Badal for “protecting criminals and corrupt politicians.” He changed Mr Badal with criminalisation of politics and religion. This had posed a major threat to communal harmony and peace in the state.

As many as 787 rape cases had been registered during the four year regime of the SAD-BJP alliance. This was shameful. Mr DS Bhullar, ADGP, had been convicted in a murder case which was a reflection on the law and order situation in Punjab. He alleged “Akalilisation” of the Government machinery and said public money was being distributed at sangat darshan programmes to consolidate votes.

Mr Dayal said the condemnation of Operation Bluestar and the 1984 riots was aimed at only winning Sikh votes. It was strange that the killing of 25,000 innocent persons had not been condemned. He said Mr Badal had burnt the Indian flag and a copy of the Constitution and signed a memorandum for the formation of “Khalistan” which was presented to the UNO in 1986.

He said Mr Badal was now trying to secure the return of terrorists like KCF chief Wassan Singh Zaffarwal and self-styled president of “Khalistan” or Jagjit Singh Chohan to utilised their services to win the forthcoming elections.

To a question, he said police officers who had fought terrorism during the peak of militancy had served the nation by rooting out terrorists. They should not be humiliated or “implicated” in cases. Their cases should be reviewed by the CBI and cases against innocent officers withdrawn.

He also pleaded for reviewing the cases against those Sikh youths who were still in jails. Dr Dayal demanded that Zaffarwal and Dr Chohan should also be tried by the CBI.

Referring to an opinion poll conducted by India Today and The Indian Express declaring Mr Badal the best “Chief Minister of Punjab after Independence”, Dr Dayal said such opinion poll was aimed at getting “cheap popularity.”


Cong promises free power to Dalits
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 14
If the Congress comes to power in the ensuing Assembly elections in Punjab, it will provide free power supply to Dalits in the state. Besides, it will also provide houses to all homeless Dalits by constructing the same on “shamlat” land.

This was stated by Mr Mohinder Singh Kalyan, Chairman of the SC/ST Wing of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), while addressing a press conference here today. He was here to attend a district-level meeting of the SC/ST wing of the party.

Mr Kalyan said the Congress would also make arrangements to provide free bus travelling facility to all members of the panchayats in the state. Claiming that a large number of persons were still deprived of old-age and widow pension, he said the Congress would provide the same to all eligible persons.

Mr Kalyan said the Congress could not be compared with the BSP as the latter had no following in the state. He said by declaring that the BSP would contest all 117 seats in Punjab, BSP supermo Kanshi Ram had proved that he had an understanding with Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

He said the Congress would win 20 of 27 seats for the SCs in the ensuing Assembly elections. He claimed that out of 117 assembly seats the Congress would win 60 to 70 seats.


Notice to Dhillon for anti-party activity
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, August 14
The district unit of the SAD served another show-cause notice yesterday to Mr Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon, a former general secretary of the Youth Akali Dal, Punjab, for anti-party activity.

Releasing a copy of the notice to the Press here today, Jathedar Lakhbir Singh Arrianwala, president of the district unit, charged Mr Dhillon with not cooperating with the district party unit, in mobilising support and carrying out party policies. He said Mr Dhillon did not attend a meeting of the party workers and leaders convened on June 10 at the local Gurdwara Singh Sabha for motivating people to attend a party rally on June 13 and held a parallel meeting at Milap Palace. A show-cause notice was issued to him for the violation of party discipline, he said.

Mr Arrianwala said Mr Dhillon did not accompany district leaders during their visit to rural areas. Mr Dhillon also displayed his own banners on trucks carrying party workers to the rally in spite of a party direction not to use such banners. Mr Dhillon has been asked to give a reply within 10 days. 


Thakur nominated Cong observer
Our Correspondent

Mansa, August 14
Mr Ram Lal Thakur, former Health Minister, and sitting MLA of Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha, who has been nominated as Congress observer for Mansa district, arrived here yesterday. Mr Thakur while speaking to mediapersons said his priority was to bring unity among the party workers to face the forthcoming elections of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

He said, “I will visit all four Assembly constituencies of the district and try to meet all workers of the district and solve their problems”. He did not favour alliance between the Congress and the CPI on the two seats of the district. He, however, added that a dialogue for an alliance with the CPI was yet to start.


War veterans unhappy with pension disbursal
Our correspondent

Bathinda, August 14
“We had fought with the enemy when we were young, but now we have to fight with our own people for getting our dues,” these were the general views of the war veterans who assembled today at the local cantonment to participate in the “War Veterans Day” function.

The day was celebrated to commemorate the deeds of valour by soldiers of the Army in World War II. At least 180 veterans took part in the function.

The veterans said at the fag end of their age they have to face humiliation at the hands of officials for getting their due.

Mr Naranjan Singh Sahnewalia said it was not possible for them to come to the district headquarters for collecting their pension. He said the authorities should make arrangements so that they don’t have to travel too much to get their pension.

The veterans from Mansa were angry with the authorities as they had to come here for getting the pension. They said a large amount of the pension was spent on drawing the same.

The others like Mr Gurnam Singh, Mr Balwant Singh and Mr Pritam Singh have the same story to tell. Mr Bogh Singh, former member of the state-level body of the ex-servicemen, said the some of the employees of the board allegedly demanded bribe form the ex-servicemen for getting their works done. He said special facilities should be given to the veterans so that they have not to face difficulty for drawing their pension.

Later during the function, Major Gen R. K. Kaushal who was the chief guest said the government had started a number of schemes for the welfare of the ex-servicemen. He said they should not hesitate to bring their problems to the Army officials.


Destroy N-weapons, doctors ask nations
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 14
The Punjab unit of the Indian Doctors for Peace and Development (IDPD) has sent letters through its national president, Dr L.S. Chawla, to nuclear power countries with an appeal to eliminate nuclear weapons for the welfare of humanity in a time-bound programme. These letters have been signed by more than 1,000 doctors of Punjab.

Stating this here yesterday, Dr Surinder Singla, newly elected general secretary of the Punjab unit of the IDPD, said they were of the view that huge amount of money being incurred on nuclear weapons should be diverted to health, education and development projects to change the fate of millions of people who were still deprived of good health and education, especially in India and Pakistan.

Dr Singla said they wanted a suitable health policy from the Centre and state governments at the earliest, aiming at “health for all”. He said they also wanted that the Centre should declare population-control programme a “national emergency”.

Dr Singla said they wanted an effective ban on female foeticide and were of the view that doctors should not only own moral responsibility to condemn the practice of female foeticide, but also professional responsibility by not indulging in sex determination tests. He said the sex determination tests were a “criminal misuse” of scientific advance.

He said the IDPD, Punjab, would organise public awareness programmes in collaboration with other social organisations on the issues of sex determination and female foeticide in September throughout the state.


Bar seeks CBI probe into missing girl case
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, August 14
The case of the missing girl of an employee of the judicial courts here took a new turn today when the District Bar Association demanded a CBI inquiry into it. The president of the association, Mr Sarabjit Singh, in a press note issued today stated that members of the local Bar were not satisfied at the way the local police was handling the case. The police was under political pressure to save the accused in the case, they alleged.

Members of the Bar have threatened to move the high court and go on strike on August 16 if the girl remained untraced till then.

Later, Mr Sarabjit Singh, while talking to the correspondent, criticised the local politicians for failing to take up the issue of the missing girl at any level. Despite the fact that the girl has been missing for the past about one month and her father openly accusing certain influential persons, no politician has come to his aid.

Sangeeta (name changed) (18)has been missing since July 16. According to the complaint to the local police the father of the girl has alleged that his daughter has become a victim of a racket being run by certain influential people of the town in which young girls were being exploited. He has accused four local youth Atul Kakkar, Lalit Sharma, Ashok and Sushil of abducting his daughter.

Meanwhile, a case has been registered under Sections 363 and 366 of the IPC against all four accused in the case. One of the accused Lalit Sharma was arrested and remanded in police custody till August 17. The other three accused were still on the run. The police has also decided to display the photograph of the missing girl in newspapers to gather information about her.

The SSP Ropar, Mr GPS Bhullar, when asked stated that the charges of the association were baseless. He said the inquiry into case was being carried out under the supervision of the DSP (Headquarters).


UK police keen on grasping Punjabis’ psyche
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
The British police is keen to interact with the Punjab police more often so as to understand the psyche, culture and general attitude of the people of this border state, says Mr Sarabjit Singh, Punjab Director-General of Police, who returned here after a 14-day tour of Britain.

Mr Sarabjit Singh said he had meaningful interactions with various heads of police organisations there. His visit was hosted by the South Yorkshire Police headed by Mr Michael Hedges, the Chief Constable, based at Sheffield.

Mr Sarabjit Singh also visited the West Yorkshire police headquarters at Weikfield, inspecting various training facilities available at training school there. He also visited Birmingham for interaction with West Midlands Police where his host was Sir Edward Crew, the Chief Constable of West Midlands. West Midlands is the second largest police force in the Britain after the London Metropolitan Police.

Bhangra and traditional dances were the highlights of his welcome at Willenhall police station.

Mr Sarabjit Singh also inspected the Central Motor Way Patrol Group Centre and air operations unit where he was given an aerial presentation by the Chief Superintendent, Mr M. Doyal. A public disorder management demonstration was organised at Casford Training Centre.

The Punjab DGP also visited Stoke Heath Prison and inspected various facilities, including the young offenders , rehabilitation system. He interacted with officers and men of the London Metropolitan Police where Mr John Stevens, Commissioner, was his host.

Mr John Stevens expressed his desire to visit Punjab to have the first hand knowledge of various Punjabi communities.

Mr Sarabjit Singh also interacted with various heads of communities at Huddersfield and Sandwell and a member of the House of Lords, Lord Mayor Sohan Singh, and Lord King Tarsem, Mayor of Sandwell.

Various issues pertaining to cooperation between the police forces of Britain and Punjab were discussed.

The British police showed keen interest in issues like forced marriages and illegal migration. Senior police officers from the UK are expected to reciprocate his visit.


Dharna over failure to nab kidnapper
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 14
On a call by the “Sunil agwah action committee”, members of political parties, employees and the local Beopar Mandal today staged a dharna in front of the district administrative complex here against the failure of the police in tracing the year-old Dalit boy, Sunil Kumar, who was abducted on July 19 by a woman from a temple near the main bus stand here.

At the dharna members of Sunil’s family were also present. The dharna was led by Mr Pali Ram Bansal, convener of the action committee. Mr Pawan Kumar advocate, Secretary of the PPCC, Mr Jeet Singh Alloarkh, district president of the SAD (A), Mr Kaur Sain, a local CPI leader, Mr Avinash Sharma, a PSEB employee leader, Mr Harinderpal Singh, president of the local unit of the SAD (A), and Mr Sat Pal Satyam, leader of the Beopar Mandal, also participated.

All speakers condemned the police for not being able to trace the boy, despite having a photograph of the kidnapper.

He said the action committee had announced a prize of Rs 20,000 for providing a clue on whereabouts of the kidnapper.

Mr Satyam said in case the police failed in locating the boy in a week, the local Beopar Mandal would observe a bandh. The date for the bandh would be announced after a meeting of the executive committee of the Beopar Mandal.


Honoured for helping to nab corrupt
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 14
Under its drive to arrest corrupt government officials, the Vigilance Department has arrested nine persons during the current year and cash awards of Rs 25,000 have been given to those who helped in arresting them.

Official sources said Mr Karnail Singh was awarded Rs 25,000 yesterday as he had helped in arresting Sadhu Singh, Junior Technical Promotion Officer, Punjab Khadi Gram Udyog. The officer had demanded a bribe to clear a loan application moved by Mr Karnail Singh and was caught accepting a bribe of Rs 400.

Mr Harpreet Singh, a resident of Faridkot, was also awarded Rs 25,000 yesterday as he had helped in arresting Maninder Singh, Manager of Punjab and Sind Bank, Bajakhana (Faridkot) branch. The Manager had demanded a bribe for clearing the second instalment of a loan of Mr Harpreet Singh. He was arrested under the Prevention of Corruption Act while accepting a bribe of Rs 3,000.

Mr Hemraj was also awarded Rs 25,000 as he had helped in arresting Vinod Kumar (AG-2), district office, FCI, and Surinder Kumar of the same office, who had demanded Rs 400 from Mr Hemraj to clear his bills. They were arrested while accepting the bribe.

Besides, the department has also arrested Pawan Kumar, assistant controller, Market Committee, Faridkot, Surinder Pal Sharma, Kanungo, Mansa, Daulat Ram, Senior Assistant and reader to ADC, Bathinda, Amrit Pal Singh, veterinary officer, Mansa, Gurcharan Singh, ASI, in charge, Kot Shamir chowki (Bathinda), Sardool Singh, Junior Assistant, Government Senior Secondary School, Pukhi Kalan (Faridkot), Jasbir Singh, patwari, Talwandi Sabo (Bathinda), Asha Rani, clerk, employment office, Talwandi Sabo (Bathinda), and Darshan Singh, Junior Engineer, PSEB, Kot Shamir subdivision (Bathinda).


I-Day programmes on Lashkara
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
Punjabi digital channel Lashkara, will telecast a special programme on Independence Day titled ‘Jashn-e-Azadi’ anchored by famous Punjabi singer Hans Raj Hans. The programme will be telecast at 9.30 pm.

Another programme ‘India Di Shaan Vakhri’ will be telecast at 8 pm in which the anchor will pay tributes to martyrs at Jallianwala Bagh.

Yet another programme ‘Punjabi Di Shaan Maharaja Ranjit Singh’, based on the freedom struggle will be telecast at 8.30 pm in which Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee will pay his tributes to the martyrs.


I-Day message
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
A special message by the Chief Minister of Punjab, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, on Independence Day will be relayed on Lashkara Channel at 7.57 a.m. The message will be again relayed at 9.55 a.m., 12.26 p.m. and at 7.02 p.m.


Man, daughter die in house collapse
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 14
A father and his two-year-old daughter here killed when the roof of their house at Baltana village in Dera Bassi subdivision collapsed in the early hours today following torrential rains.

Vikram Singh and his daughter Kaku were killed when the wooden planks supporting the room in which they were sleeping collapsed at around 3 a.m. today.

Ghaggar, which is flowing above the danger mark in the district, today flooded Nanhera village in Rajpura subdivision following heavy rain since yesterday.

The district administration has sounded an alert. Water from the Sukhna choe is also flowing into the district after the Chandigarh administration released water from it when the water level in the choe crossed the danger mark.

Deputy Commissioner Jasbir Singh Bir stated that water had flooded fields of Nanhera village. Mr Bir said the situation was, however, under control.

Meanwhile, the Tangri and the Markanda, the two other major rivers which crisscross the district, are flowing below the danger mark. Official sources said the position was being closely monitored as water could still accumulate at Khanauri where the Ghaggar crossed through syphons beneath the Bhakra main line canal. They said it would take at least 48 hours for the rain water to reach Khanauri. 


1 killed, 4 hurt as jeep, truck collide
Our Correspondent

Abohar, August 14
Five persons travelling in a jeep were injured, one of them seriously who died later, when it collided with a truck near Sayyedwala village on Abohar-Sriganganagar road today.

Sources said Ramlal (Bakainwala), Om Parkash (Jandwala Meerasangla), Mohan Lal (Abohar), driver Vijay Kumar (Dharamkot) and Narinder Singh (Bhai ki Talwandi) were admitted at the local civil hospital. Narinder Singh succumbed to injuries later on.

Luxmi Devi of Jaswant Nagar locality here was electrocuted while trying to remove an electric fan at her residence today, sources said. 


Mini bus operators threaten agitation
Our Correspondent

Mansa, August 14
The mini bus scheme introduced by the Punjab Government to provide livelihood to kin of victims of terrorists, ex-servicemen and unemployed youth, is proving to be a failure due to the “callous” attitude of the government, alleged Mr Jatinder Agra, president, Punjab Mini Bus Operators Associations (PMOA), while talking to mediapersons here today.

He accused the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, of not fully implementing the decisions taken during his meeting with bus operators on May 7. He said the plying of mini buses in the state was no more viable, due to a steep rise in the price of diesel and enhancement of road and special taxes by the state government.

Mr Agra said on an average, a mini bus operator incurred a loss of Rs 58,000 per annum. To press their demands, the mini bus operators of the state would stage a demonstration at Chandigarh on August 21, he said.

He said in case the government failed to redress their grievances, they would be left with no alternative but to take their vehicles off the road.


Dang quits legal services authority
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 14
Mr Satya Pal Dang, veteran CPI leader, resigned from the Amritsar District Legal Services Authority (ADLSA), saying the legal authority had not held any seminar for legal redressal since its inception in September last year.

Not a single meeting of the legal authority had been held so far, he alleged. The only meeting called had been cancelled.

He has sent his resignation to Justice H.S. Bedi, Punjab and Haryana High Court, the Executive/Chairman, Punjab Legal Services Authority, and others.


Furniture of tubewell corporation attached
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
On the orders of the Debt Recovery Tribunal, Jaipur, the authorities here today attached property belonging to the Punjab State Tubewell Corporation to recover dues totalling Rs 18.78 lakh.

The case for recovery was filed before the tribunal by the Bank of India from which the corporation had secured a loan in 1987 to sink tubewells in Hoshiarpur district.

Informed sources said that the furniture of the corporation at its office in Sector 26 here was attached by the authorities.

Employees faced a lot of problems in the absence of furniture. They said the authorities should have attached the official vehicles of the top officials of the corporation. Two cars of the corporation were being used unauthorisedly by a senior IAS officer, they alleged.

The employees said that the corporation had recently secured Rs 50 crore from the Punjab and Sind Bank as a short-term loan. The corporation was to pay about Rs 1 crore as interest on this loan to the bank. However, the loan had been diverted to some other department. While the corporation’s own machinery worth several crores of rupees had been virtually reduced to junk, it had engaged private parties to sink tubewells at very high rates, the employees further alleged. 


New SDM for Sangrur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
The Punjab Government ordered the following transfers and postings today:

Mr Neel Kanth has been posted as Subdivisional Magistrate, Sangrur, in place of Mrs Indu Malhotra; Mr G.S. Chahal will be the new SDM of Talwandi Sabo; Mr Kulbir Singh goes to Nakodar Subdivisional Magistrate; Mr G.S. Khera will be the new Subdivisinal Magistrate of Dasuya; Mr Bhagwant Singh has been posted as Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development), Hoshiarpur; while Mr M. Kumar becomes the Assistant Commissioner (General), Jalandhar.


Rally held against ITI fee hike
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 14
Students of the local ITI today held a rally here to express resentment against the increase in fees and the shifting of some of the trades to the non-functional ITIs in the district.

The students shouted slogans against the authorities who were responsible for the increase in the expenditure of the ITIs which had made it difficult for poor students to continue their studies.

The rally was a part of the ongoing agitation of the students to press for acceptance of their demands. They said they would continue their struggle until the authorities listened to their grievances.

The Convener of the union of the ITI students, Roop Singh said according to rules, every student was liable to pay Rs 300 per annum as material charges but the department was charging Rs 1800 from them.

He said posts of instructor, which fell vacant due to employees’ retirement or transfer, were not filled. Due to this students of some trades were facing difficulties.

Jagsir Singh, secretary of the union, said the authorities were shifting some of the trades to those ITIs which did not have the proper teaching faculty and other basic facilities. The shifting of trades to such ITIs was not useful to students, he said.

He said the wrong policies of the government had deprived many students of proper instruction. The students would meet the senior officials of the department at Chandigarh and urge them to fulfil their demands.


Nathana ITI to be reopened: CM
Our Correspondent

Nathana (Bathinda), August 14
The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, said the Industrial Training Institute (ITI) at Nathana would be opened and admissions would be done from the next academic sessions.

Mr Badal who was here today at his “Sangat Darshan” programme said the technical courses would be started in consultation with the officials of the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) and the Director Technical Education, had been directed to cooperate with the HPCL officials.

The technical courses at all ITIs of the state would be remodelled so as to cater to the needs of the local industry, he said.

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