Monday, August 20, 2001, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



No follow-up of raid on chemists
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 19
Intoxicating drugs are available across the counter at grocery and provision stores, especially in rural and sub-urban areas.

The death of two more persons in Maqboolpura, known as the locality of widows has belied the claims of the Health Department that drug addiction has been eradicated from the state.

Though the Sikh high priests have repeatedly emphasised the need to eradicate the menace, but no concrete steps have been taken so for. So much so the state authorities have not sent any communication to the Civil Surgeon, Dr Ajaib Singh Sandhu, for prosecuting the chemists and medical practitioners, who were caught red-handed selling intoxicants to addicts.

Talking to TNS, Dr Sandhu admitted that intoxicating drugs were available at grocery and provision stores. He said there were as many as 1,581 registered chemist shops in the rural area, and 1,694 in the urban area of the district. He admitted that unlicensed chemist shops had mushroomed in the district.

Dr Sandhu said that he had also caught chemists selling medicines without bills and prescriptions. Dr Sandhu did not rule out the connivance of the lower staff of the Health Department in the sale of intoxicating drugs.

Despite repeated reminders by the Civil Surgeon, the state drug controller, Mr K.C. Baghat, has not given permission for prosecuting the chemists or un-registered doctors so far. During the raids, Kala Medical Store and Adarsh Medical Store (both of Majitha), Sukhwinder Singh, an unregistered medical practitioner in Maqboolpura locality, who was running his dispensary under the name of Lok Sewa Kendra, and Raju Medical Store were caught selling drugs to addicts.

He said rickshaw-pullers, truck drivers and working class people were the main consumers of intoxicating drugs. He said Jandiala, Ajnala, Majitha and Daburji and Khemkaran, all border areas, were the worst-affected areas.

Mr Ajit Singh, a social worker, urged the government to ban the drugs/medicines which were being used as intoxicants. He said at one time manrex tablets were being used by the addicts.

The huge quantity of intoxicating drugs recovered from the chemist and unregistered doctors during the raids included 10,864 capsules of parvon (proxyvon), without bills, 137 injections of morphine and other drugs. Sources in the Health Department said the menace of selling intoxicating drugs could not be curbed unless the NDP Act was amended.


Narcotics’ smuggling unchecked: Brar
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 19
Senior leader and chief whip of the Congress Parliamentary Party, Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar, today alleged that youths of Punjab had been failling prey to drug addiction as smugling of narcotics in the state had been going on unchecked due to active patronage of the authorities concerned.

Mr Brar talking to The Tribune said during the past more than four years, the trend of auctioning of police stations and ‘nakas’ had acquired alarming dimensions and the police-smuggler nexus had been harming the Punjab youths.

He said on the one hand, the police had been registering criminal cases under the NDPS Act against those who were not supporters of the SAD-BJP alliance, on the other, those who had been smuggling narcotics go scot-free.

He pointed out that drug addiction among youths which had witnessed an upward trend in the past four-and-a-half years had been claiming valuable lives destroying a number of families.

Mr Brar said the situation in Punjab had reached a point where drugs were easily available in colleges, schools, cinema, and other public places.

Regarding the controversy about Milkha Singh’s refusal to accept the Arjun Award, he alleged that like education, the NDA government had been saffornising sports also and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his associates were a mute spectator to all this.

He demanded that a high-level committee should be constituted to probe bunglings in sports. The committee should also be asked to suggest ways to improve the standards of sports in the country.

Mr Brar also demanded that all outstanding loans of farmers should be waived. He said the farmers were reeling under heavy debts due to wrong policies of the Central and state governments. He pointed out that during the past four years, hundreds of farmers had committed suicide due to economic crises. Mr Badal, who claimed himself to be a symphatiser of farmers, had done nothing to improve their economic condition.


Frenzied betting over Chhota Shakeel’s fate
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 19
The bookies today had a field day as uncertainty over the fate of Chhota Shakeel, who was reported to be found dead in Karachi on Friday evening, persisted Speculations became more rife and betting more intense after he rang up a television news channel to claim that he was very much alive and at present living in Singapore with Dawood Ibrahim. The entire episode is reported to have cost crores of rupees to punters who had put money on his death. This also led to suspicion that the entire drama might have been stagemanaged to rob punters of their money.

The betting started in the morning itself after the news of his death spread. Sources among local bookies disclosed that betting network remained same as that of the cricket. The rates were reported set in Dubai at 10:1 in favour of his death. That means those who put Rs 10 for his death would get ten per cent extra. And those who put Rs ten for his being alive would get Rs 100 in return.

The punters are intrigued, suspecting foul play given his influence in the betting world. Chhota Shakeel is reported to running one of the biggest betting networks in South Asia with headquarters in Dubai. The rates for all bets, mainly cricket are settled there only. It is suspected that the entire drama relating to his reported death might have been enacted by Chhota Shakeel himself to mint money.

As the news spread that he was dead, bookies reported start ringing up the punters offering Rs 10 for each Rs 100. Since it was announced that he had already died, most of the punters put the money for his death. In Punjab, with main betting centres of Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Ferozepoure and the union territory of Chandigarh the punters are said to have lost not less than Rs 10 crore.


Traders’ ultimatum on octroi abolition
Tribune News Service

Mandi Gobindgarh, August 19
The Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal, the state level-body of traders today gave an ultimatum to the state government to abolish octroi by September 2 failing which it would launch protest rallies at municipal committee and corporation offices on September 3. Later, if required it would resort to jail bharo agitation.

The traders are ready to compensate the local bodies through alternative methods but the harassment of traders and corruption in the name of octroi were intolerable to the trading community.

In the state-level traders convention held here today, Mr Amrit Lal Jain, president, Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal, said, “The traders’ protest against the state government would continue till it abolished octroi as promised in the election manifestoes. The governments of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, UP, Uttranchal, Rajashthan, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi have already abolished octroi.”

He reminded Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to take back the cases registered against the traders in Ludhiana, Patiala, Mandi Gobindgarh, Pathankot and other cities during different agitation programmes. The CM had promised to take back these cases, but nothing has been done in this regard, he said.

Mr Jain regretted that increased checking under the ST Act, Section 14 (B), had led to large-scale corruption. The government had failed to abolish “Inspector Raj” in the state resulting in harassment of industrialists and traders. He said,‘‘The CM had promised to check the raids on traders after 15 per cent increase in the sales tax collection.

However, despite more than 39 per cent increase in sales tax, from Rs 1982.30 crore in 1999-2000 to Rs 2757.52 crore, the state government is resorting to arm-twisting tactics.’’

Traders’ representatives demanded cut in sales tax on yarn and hosiery goods from 4 to 2 per cent, on electronic goods from 12 to 6 per cent, on sports goods from 3 to 2 per cent and to abolish sales tax on gur, rakhi and plastic goods. The C- form and Central Sales Tax should be also abolished.

They said,‘‘The government has failed to implement the recommendations of Asim Dass Gupta committee regarding the uniform sales tax resulting in heavy losses to the Punjab traders.’’

Mr Jain urged the government to create awareness among them about the VAT system, to be implemented in April 2002.

The government should cut down the electricity charges for industrial and commercial consumers on the pattern of domestic consumers, besides revoking minimum charges.

The government should consider privatisation of electricity generation and distribution as the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) had failed to fulfill its duty. He asked the state government to raise the issue of 30 paise duty on petrol as there was a cess of Rs 1 per litre, already imposed for the development of national highway. There was no justification in 30 paise duty on petrol, he said.

Among others Mr Piar Lal Seth, senior vice-president, Pratap Chand Bhutani, Tarsem Jain, Sunil Mehra, Rajinder Singh Soch ( general secretaries), Baba Ajit Singh, Bal Mukand Aggarwal, Om Parkash Gupta, Parkash Chand Garg, Ravi Passi, Sunil Prabhakar and Mahinder Aggarwal also addressed the convention.


SAD may revive youth wing
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 19
The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal may revive its youth wing with a view to infuse fresh blood in its ranks before the forthcoming Assembly elections.

The Youth Akali Dal headed by Mr Amrik Singh Aliwal was disbanded about eight months ago.

Indications to this effect were given here by Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, General Secretary of the party to a question, he said his party was committed to giving the party ticket to the young during the coming elections.

Mr Sukhbir Singh was in the city in connection with a state-level rally of Dalits organised by Mr Gulzar Singh Ranike, state minister, and other leaders. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Sukhbir Singh said his party was committed to the uplift of the lower strata.

Replying yet another question, he said the Assembly elections would be held on schedule. He alleged the Congress wanted to keep its flock together. Hence, it was spreading the word that the poll would be held ahead of schedule.

Asked whether he was in favour of Akali unity, he commented that the entire Panth was already united. He, however, hastened to add that his party was not ready to forge unity with any breakaway Akali faction.

In yet another significant statement, he said Mr Sardul Singh Sham was president of the Amritsar unit of the party as he was duly elected to the post. However, he evaded a direct answer on the ongoing tussle between the Kairon family and Mr Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, Cooperation Minister. He said: “I don’t want to discuss such issues”.


Give ticket to local leader: Cong men
Our Correspondent

Ropar, August 19
Congress workers of the Nangal Assembly constituency at a meeting at Nangal today, demanded that the party ticket in the forth coming Assembly elections should be given to some local leader. The meeting which was attended by about 300 Congress workers, was the first overt activity of the district Congressmen in view of the Assembly elections. It also assumes significance as the AICC observer, Mr Deepak Malhotra, was in Ropar to assess the position of the party in the district.

The meeting which was held at Navuljit Mandir was attended by the prominent Congress leaders from the Nangal Assembly constituency, including Mr Ram Prakash Bali, ex-MLA from the area, Mr Ranjit Singh Saini, president, Nangal Municipal Council, Mr Ravinder Dewan, Mr Ashok Saini, Mr Suresh Malik and Mr Pratap Saini.

The leaders present at the meeting stressed the fact that the party high command in the state should select only a local Congressman for representing the party in the elections to give a tough fight to the already announced candidature of the SAD-BJP alliance, Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, Food and Civil Supplies Minister.

Some of the Congressmen present vociferously recommended the name of Mr Ram Prakash Bali as the Congress candidate for the coming elections. They also threatened to go on fast if the party high command selected an outsider to represent the Congress.

Mr Bali, however, said he had met the party president on the issue. He had assured him that the sole criteria for distributing party ticket in the Assembly elections would be based on the sentiments of the local Congressmen.

The today’s meeting was aimed at thwarting the renomination of Mr Bhupesh Sharma, secretary PPCC, from the area. Mr Bhupesh who was the Congress candidate from the area in the last Assembly elections had lost the election to Mr Madan Mohan Mittal.


‘Secret pact’ between CM, Cong
Our Correspondent

Mansa, August 19
Former Punjab minister, Baldev Singh Khiala, a rebel Akali MLA, while talking to mediapersons here today accused Mr Parkash Singh Badal of having a secret understanding with certain leaders of the Congress.

He said Mr Badal had an alliance with the capitalists’ lobby.

Mr Khiala, who has won elections from Joga assembly constituency of the district four times as SAD nominee, said Mr Badal had entered into an agreement with Mr Harcharan Singh Brar, former Chief Minister Punjab, not to oppose each other in the forthcoming assembly elections and due to this understanding they did not oppose each other during the past 20 years.

Mr Khiala said the Panthic Morcha would contest all seats in the forthcoming elections of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha. He said the morcha would enter into an alliance with the parties opposing both SAD and Congress.

The former minister said a dialogue with Bahujan Samaj Party Chief Kanshi Ram and Lok Bhalai Party chief Balwant Singh Ramoowalia had already started.


Bitta not to contest poll
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 19
Former President of the Indian Youth Congress and chief of the Anti-Terrorist Front, Mr Maninderjit Singh Bitta announced that he would not contest the forthcoming Assembly elections.

Talking to this correspondent here today, he said he would rather dedicate himself to fighting terrorism which had assumed alarming proportions.

Taking exception to the flying of the Pakistani flag alongside the Indian flag at the Wagha-joint checkpost on the eve of Independence Day, Mr Bitta sought registration of sedition cases against those responsible for this “rebellious act”.

He said the Anti-Terrorist Front would not tolerate such acts. He sought identification of such ‘anti-national’ forces. He said he would send a communication to the Prime Minister and the President for a CBI inquiry into the incident.

Mr Bitta said the candlelight vigil at Wagha must be stopped as activists of the Hind-Pak Dosti were indulging in political gimmickry at the cost of those who had made sacrifices for the sake of the country.

The chief of the Anti-Terrorist Front asked the president to form a national government comprising persons who had done India proud. He suggested that the “heroes” like Mr K.P.S. Gill, Mr J.F.R. Jacob, Governor, Punjab, Mr Jagmohan, Mr Khairnar and Justice Barocha should be inducted in to such a government.

Mr Bitta said the Anti-Terrorist Front would organise seminars on the plight of freedom fighters. The first such function would be held at the historic Jallianwala Bagh here shortly.


Sainiks try to burn CM’s effigy, arrested
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 19
Twelve Shiva Sena activists were arrested today to avoid any unsavoury situation on the call of the sena to burn the effigy of the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, near Harmandar Sahib. The arrested activists include Promodh Singh Babla, Sukhdev Sandhu, Baldev Bhardwaj, Jugal Lumba, Chander Shakar Baba, Ashwani Dhunu and others.

Cases under Sections 107 and 151, IPC were registered against them at the Civil Lines police station. More than 250 activists started a protest march from the Islamabad area and proceeded towards Shani Mandir near Harmandar Sahib to burn the effigies. The arrests were made in view of the large gathering at the Golden Temple on the occasion of ‘masya’ and installation anniversary of the Guru Granth Sahib.

The effigies were seized by the police. The activists wanted to give a memorandum to the governor alleging that false cases were being registered against the Shiv Sena.


CPI flays NDA policies
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, August 19
Dr Joginder Dyal, secretary of the state unit of the CPI, while talking to mediapersons here yesterday criticised the NDA Government and said its policies had put the nation’s economic independence, secular democratic set up and sovereignty in danger by following policies of privatisation under WTO pressure, safforanisation of education and compromising security of country.

He criticised Mr Parkash Singh Badal for using public money on inserting advertisements highlighting himself as the best Chief Minister of Punjab. Meanwhile the CPI would contest 30 seats and was in a favour of the formation of a formidable secular front in the state, he said, and appealed to Mr Kanshi Ram, BSP supremo, to be a part of the proposed “secular front.”


30 Cong men resign
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, August 19
Thirty Congressmen, all office-bearers of the Block Congress Committee, Kapurthala, have sent their resignations to Captain Amarinder Singh, President of the PPCC, to register their protest against the removal of Mr Desh Bandhu Sharma from the post of president of the Block Congress Committee.

Captain Amarinder had appointed Mr Rajinder Paul Sharma as president of the Block Congress Committee in place of Mr Desh Bandhu Sharma.

Those who sent resignations to Captain Amarinder include Mr Gopal Krishan Puri, senior vice-president, Mr Kalyan Singh Kapoor, Mr Kewal Singh Nahar, Mr Dalbir Singh, Mr Naresh Anand, and Mrs Balbir Kaur Dhinjan, vice-presidents, Mr Paramjit Singh, Mr Suresh Chopra, Mr Narinder Verma and Mr Pawan Verma, general secretaries, Mr Manoj Kumar Tony, Mr Yashpal Anand and Mr Bhupinder Anand, secretaries, Mr Kamaljit Singh, Mr Sukhwinder Kumar Sukhi, Mr Gaurav Sharma and Mrs Charanjit Kaur, organising secretaries, Mr Sushil Kumar and Mr Suresh Kalia, legal advisors and 11 members of the executive.


Houses they decline to live in
Sumer Garg

Allottees of more than 30 dwelling units (one-room sets) constructed by the Punjab Panchayati Raj Department for Scheduled Castes families in Gharachon village on the Sunam-Patiala road have declined to stay in them.

The allottees say they have been unable to shift to the houses as the government has not provided electricity, sewerage, roads, drains and the drinking water facility in the area. They have, therefore, been compelled to use the houses merely for storing straw, cowdung cakes,etc.

As the allottees are not living in the houses, the area is covered with wild growth and frequented by stray animals. It is also reported that anti-social elements sometimes seek shelter there.

Cracks have developed in a few houses, which may collapse if maintenance is not undertaken by the allottees or the government authorities.

Two allottees told this correspondent that the houses were now in bad shape and required repairs. Allottees and villagers accuse the state government of failing to develop the area even after 23 years.

They allege that materials used in the construction of the houses were of poor quality .Besides, the houses had been built in a low-lying area.

Mr Paramjit Singh, sarpanch of the village, said land for the construction of these houses had been provided by the panchayat. He urged the state government to provide the necessary facilities to the allottees and undertake immediate repair work on the houses.


Journals' publication stopped
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 19
The Chief Khalsa Dewan, which runs a number of educational, religious and social organisations, has stopped its weekly and monthly journals which were being published for more than 100 years.

Mr Bhag Singh Ankhi, Secretary (honorary), confirmed that the Chief Khalsa Dewan had written to the District Magistrate for suspension of the publications for the time being due to scarcity of funds and Mr Santokh Singh Tapasvi, Editor, Khalsa Advocate, and Mr Darshan Singh Dhanjal, Additional Editor, relieved of their services.

Mr Tapasvi alleged the Chief Khalsa Dewan had already collected huge amounts from different institutions for running the journals which were got deposited in the banks in the shape of FDs. However, Mr Ankhi said the journals had proved to be a “white elephant”.

Mr Tapasvi further alleged that the publication of the journals was stopped with a view to relieve him. He said the Chief Khalsa Dewan would resume publications after all legal formalities.

Mr Ankhi said that funds would be raised before the publication of the journals was resumed.


Pannu’s son elected Sarpanch
Gurbax Puri

Naushehra Pannu (Tarn Taran), August 19
Mr Navamarbir Singh Pannu, son of the late Balbir Singh Pannu, who was a Senior President of the SGPC, supported by Mr Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, won the crucial byelection for the post of Sarpanch of this village by a margin of 878 votes, defeating Mr Ranjit Singh, a confidant of Mr Surinder Singh Kairon, a close relative of Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

Mr Pannu got 2,397 votes while the defeated candidate got 1,597 votes. The entire constituency was converted into a police cantonment. Mr Kairon tried to enter one of the booths but he met with opposition. Later, he was able to enter some booths with the help of the SSP, Mr Jagdish Mittal.

Mr Brahmpura condemned the role of the district administration and the police. He alleged that seven presiding officers were changed at the eleventh hour when election material was being distributed. The byelection was necessitated due to the death of Balbir Singh Pannu in a road accident.

The Brahmpura and Kairon groups are at loggerheads for a long period, which can cause serious damage to the ruling party’s prospects in the Majha region in the forthcoming Assembly poll.


Include Jats in OBC list, says BKU
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 19
In a significant development, the Bharti Kisan Union (BKU) has decided to launch a peaceful ‘morcha’ (agitation) for acceptance of the demands of farmers.

After paying obeisance at Akal Takht here today, Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, Mr Manjit Singh Qadian and Mr Bhupinder Singh Maheshvari, president, general secretary and secretary of the union, said it would force the state and central government to include Jats in the category of Other Backward Class (OBC) on the basis of their dismal economic condition.

The BKU leaders said the Ramgarhias, despite their sound economic condition, had already been included in the list. They alleged that this was great injustice to the farming community which was under debt.

Earlier, the BKU leaders were presented with ‘siropas’ (robe of honour) at Akal Takht.

Mr Lakhowal announced that his party would give political support to any party on certain conditions. He said his party would opt between the ruling SAD-BJP and the Congress on the basis of their election manifesto. It may be mentioned here that the BKU had supported the ruling Akali Dal in the previous elections.

Mr Lakhowal sought a CBI inquiry into charges of corruption against politicians and bureaucrats.

Meanwhile, Subedar Tarlochan Singh Mamdot of the BKU has alleged that the ‘hukamnama’ issued in 1998 for imposing a ban on the publication of Guru Granth Sahib by private publishers is being violated. He has alleged that copies of the holy granth are available in the market at different rates.


Punjab Law Forum office-bearers
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 19
The following have been elected office-bearers of the Punjab Law Forum (PLF) at a meeting of lawyers and law graduates from different cities of Punjab held here today under the chairmanship of Mr M.L. Angi, president of the PLF. chairman — Mr M.L. Angi; president — Mr Charanpal Singh Brar; secretary — M.M. Behl; senior vice-president — Mr Birinder Singh Dhillon; vice-president — Mr Surjeet Singh Sidhu and joint secretaries — Mr Chander Mohan and Mr H.P. Singh Rakhra.

The following have been elected members of central working committee of the PLF: Mr Avtar Singh Brar, Mr Surinder Singh Maanshia, Mr Surinder Iqbal Singh, Mr Rajinder Sharma, Mr Paramjeet Singh, Mr Vikas Sharma, Mr Sanjeev Goyal, Mr Balbir Singh, Mr Gurtej Singh, Ms Manjit Kaur, Mr Babulal, Mr Dalchand, Mr Rajesh Mittal and Mr Gurjinder Singh Pandher.


Bahujan morcha to hold rallies
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, August 19
The Bahujan Samaj Morcha will take out cycle/scooter ‘chetna’ rallies on September 2 in Assembly constituencies and hold five conferences by September 23 to awaken the Dalits, the poor and the Backward Classes against the “anti-Dalit policies” of various parties and governments.

This was stated here today by morcha chief and a former MP, Mr Satnam Singh Kainth. The zonal rallies will held at Patiala, Amritsar, Ludhiana and Banga on September 8, 15, 22 and 23, respectively, said Mr Kainth.


Sangat ‘denied’ Badal’s darshan
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 19
The All-India Fertilisers Ltd., SC, ST, BC and Minority Employees Welfare Union, here stated that the representatives of the association were not allowed to meet Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal during his ‘sangat darshan’ programme in the city held recently.

In a press note issued here yesterday, Mr S.S. Kailey, president of the association, said their representatives had gone to submit a memorandum to the Chief Minister about some cases of atrocities against women employees. He said the statement of Mr M.S. Kalyan, former MP, regarding the discontinuation of benefits of reservation to the “creamy layer” of society was misleading.


Fair dedicated to mentally challenged
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 19
A fair dedicated to the service of humankind was organised here by Sahara Jan Sewa, a non-government organisation. The fair was for the mentally challenged and neglected of section society.

First these persons were provided with breakfast. Then their hair and beards were trimmed and their nails cut.

Thereafter, they were given bath with medicated soap and new clothes to wear.


Medical camp organised
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 19
The Young Blood Club, a local NGO, today organised a medical check-up camp at Sevian village in the district. In a press note issued here, Mr Gopal Rana, president of the club, said Dr Khurana, an eye specialist, Dr Ashok Goyal MD, Dr Jagpal Chahal, MS, and Dr Sunil Chauhan, an orthopaedic surgeon, examined the patients. He said nearly 1,200 patients were examined during the camp.


Auction for 58 shops on Aug 24
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, August 19
In a desperate attempt to sell shops in the Nehru Shopping Complex, the Improvement Trust is embarking on a plan whereby a number of shops could be auctioned.

The auction, which is scheduled to be held on August 24, will, for the first time, put 58 shops for auction in the complex which has, till now, auctioned nearly 60 of more than 400 shops.

The multi-storeyed complex had fell short of buyers due to the government condition of payability only by taxable money (white money). Consequently, the trust had relaxed terms and conditions to make the offer easier and attractive.

This time again, the trust was forced to further relax its conditions and hence the first deposit amount has been reduced from 25 per cent to 15 per cent, said the trust Chairman, Mr Bakshi Ram Arora, while talking to this Correspondent.

The trust has also approved the slashing of the interest payable from 17 per cent to 12 per cent, besides increasing the instalments payable to the trust. In all, 45 large and 13 medium/small shops are to be auctioned.

The number could be increased or exchanged for another shop in the same complex, if so desired. Mr Arora said the owners seeking permission to pull down walls to make one big unit would also be accommodated. The reserve price of the ground and first floors have also been reduced from Rs 24.6 lakh to Rs 20 to 21 lakh each.

Besides, the trust has decided to give the second and the third floor in the complex on a rental basis of Rs 15 per square foot. Some shopkeepers of the complex alleged that the trust was trying to accommodate a few favourites by announcing the rental schemes. It is learnt that some of the previous owners had failed to pay the instalments on shops and the trust had planned to resume their shops.


Decision on octroi soon, says minister

Hoshiarpur, August 19
Any decision on abolishing octroi will be taken after receiving the Shaker Committee report. This was stated by Punjab Local Bodies Minister Balramji Dass Tandon while talking to mediapersons here today.

He said the committee would submit its report within two or three days. The same would be discussed by the Cabinet and a decision taken accordingly.

Mr Tandon said abolishing octroi was not in the election manifesto of the BJP. It was later included in the common manifesto of the SAD-BJP. He made it clear that none of the permanent octroi employee in any municipal council or corporation would be retrenched after the abolition of octroi. UNI


Four arrested, opium seized
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 19
The district police has arrested four persons and seized 2.4 kg of opium from their possession.

This was stated in a press note issued by Dr Jetinder Kumar Jain, SSP, here today.

He said a police party arrested Gurmail Singh of Kamal village and Tahel Singh of Kutti village for possessing opium.

A case under Sections 18, 61, 85 of the NDPS Act has been registered against them at Talwandi Sabo police station.

The police arrested Dara Singh of Talwandi Sabo and Lakhveer Singh of Matharoo Maur village and seized 200 gm of opium from each.

The police arrested Rakesh Kumar of Jon Singh Wala village and Shivraj Singh of Gahiri Butar under the Prevention of Gambling Act and seized Rs 680 from their possession.

The police arrested Balwant Singh of Lahiri village and recovered a pistol and three cartridges from his possession.

A case under Sections 25, 54, 59 of the Arms Act has been registered against him at Talwandi Sabo police station.

The police arrested Sadhu Singh of Gahiri Butar and seized 15 litres of illicit liquor from his possession.

A case under Sections 61, 1, 14 of the Excise Act has been registered against him. Vinod Kumar, a local resident, was arrested and a stolen scooter and Rs 15,000 were recovered from his possession.

A case under Section 379 has been registered against him.


Four held for sacrilege
Our Correspondent

Barnala, August 19
Four persons, Bhuppa Singh, Major Singh, Pappu Singh and Mrs Tej Kaur, have been arrested by the police for burning a copy of Guru Granth Sahib at Pakho Kalan village about 20 km from here, today.

Talking to The Tribune here today, Mr Ajaib Singh Kaleka, SSP, said Jagga Singh, another alleged accused in the case, was still absconding.

Mr Kaloka said the suspects arrested in the case would be produced in the local court tomorrow.

Five persons against whom a case was registered on Saturday at Tapa police station under Sections 295, 436, 148 and 149 of the IPC were allegedly involved in the burning of the holy granth in a bid to grab the premises of Jathedar Mehar Singh, alias Leela, an activist of Baba Budha Dal.


Agitating teachers to move court
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 19
Hundreds of candidates who were not called for JBT interviews allegedly on flimsy grounds have decided to move the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The decision was taken at an emergency meeting held here today by such candidates.

The candidates, including some national players, have complained that the certificates of sports, NCC, NSS and other activities were not considered while preparing the merit list. Officials of the department concerned had asked the candidates that they should bring such certificates at the time of interview only. The candidates said if they were not invited for interviews, how could they produce the certificates.

Mr Raminder Singh, district president of the Punjab State Services Federation, alleged such an approach would only discourage sports persons.

A national player and a postgraduate, Ms Shalini Sharma, said she was disappointed at the apathy of the state government towards sportspersons as her sports certificates were not considered for the interview call. Ms Parminder Walia said she had a number of certificates in various spheres, but yet she was not called for the interview.

The federation claimed that more than 17,000 candidates were rejected on one or the other pretext, though they fulfilled the qualifying criteria. It alleged that the procedure for preparing the merit list was faulty and needed to be rectified. Mr Raminder Singh urged the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal to direct the officials concerned to give a chance to all candidates to appear in the interview.

The candidates said those with B.Ed and postgraduate degrees were asked to apply for JBT teacher’s post by the department. They had sent demand drafts in the name of the department, they added. 


Hold interview for B.Ed teachers: union
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 19
The state government, which is still occupied with the issue of unemployed ETT teachers, is now facing stir threat from unemployed B.Ed teachers of the state. The teachers have threatened to start agitation on state level if they were not called for the interview for the posts of ETT teacher.

The teachers had a grudge that they were being ignored whereas the state government had given assurance to the unemployed ETT teachers that all of them would be appointed on the posts meant for them.

At a meeting held here today, the problems of teachers were discussed. Mr Narotam Singh, president of the district unit of the union of unemployed B.Ed teachers said the B.Ed teachers, who could not appear in the interview for 7,230 posts of ETT teacher recently, should also be called for interview. The union demanded issuing of two separate merit lists for male and female candidates who were called for interview. The teachers demanded that an interview should be held at the earliest for the 2,089 posts of B.Ed teachers announced by the state government in June 2001.


Pvt schools want tax exemption
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, August 19
The Punjab Private Schools Organisation, representing nearly 20,000 private schools of the state, has urged the state government to exempt the schools from various taxes imposed upon these.

The organisation’s newly appointed chief patron, Principal, P.L. Kheti, while talking to newsmen here today, demanded the withdrawal of house tax imposed on urban private schools, commercial tariffs of power bills and water supply bills and special road tax imposed on school vans.

Mr Kheti thanked the Punjab Government and the Punjab School Education Board Chairman, Dr Kehar Singh, for initiating the implementation of demands of the organisation, which were accepted by the state Education Minister Tota Singh on December 12 last year.

Mr Kheti said an educational conference of the organisation was yesterday held at Rajpura, at which the participant pledged to work against the evil of copying. He said they had also decided to work for 100 per cent literacy in Punjab.


Barnala opens PTU study centre
Our Correspondent

Barnala, August 19
Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, Governor of Uttaranchal, inaugurated a Punjab Technical University (PTU) distance education study centre here today. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, Punjab Technical Education Minister, said PTU had set up 75 distance education study centres in the state to provide technical education to rural youths.


Contests on population explosion
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 19
The District Population Control Organisation (DIPCO) today organised essay writing and painting competitions at a local school on the theme of population explosion.

Manpreet Singh won the first prize in the essay writing competition and Mehma Singh was the winner in the painting competition. In a press note issued here today, Mr Rakesh Narula, president of DIPCO, said the competitions were organised under the awareness campaign against population explosion.

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