Monday, August 27, 2001, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



River waters: Badal sets record straight
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
The feud between the Akalis and the Congress over the issue of sharing of river waters in the state has sullied the water with political mud since 1955. Politics has clouded up even rational thinking in Punjab and Haryana over the emotive issue, what to speak of reasonable sharing of water that continues to flow and flood unsuspecting people in the two states.

The incomplete SYL Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal, built across the natural topography obstructing the flow of surface and sub-surface water, is more harmful than if completed and commissioned. As a consequence of fight over water engineers (count migrant labour as well) have lost lives, politicians votes and people their peace.

The issue periodically re-surfaces in either of the two states’ Assemblies or on political platforms. It has found an echo in Parliament too. Leaders of all hues use strong language to stake claims over ‘’ownership rights’’ and quote ‘’riparian laws’’ in support of their respective shares. The states have gone to the highest court of the land. Prime Ministers and Chief Ministers, political stalwarts, engineers and bureaucrats, have met, discussed, disagreed throwing the contentious water into the buckets of commissions and tribunals. This has gone on for decades. Yet the issue remains in deep water. Stagnant.

The latest controversy over certain ‘’amendments’’ in the Interstate Water Disputes Act,1956, first aired by Congress MP, Jagmeet Singh Brar, has fuelled political passions. Politicians, anybody and everybody who knows or knows not the facts speaks up, often out of turn, to mark his presence. So much so that the Punjab Vidhan Sabha last week was thrown into deep waters by the Opposition, read the Congress, which refused to relent allowing the House to conduct business unless the issue of water was taken up first and government stand made clear.

Sensing the mood, the Leader of the House, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, relented. His condition was that no one will interrupt any speaker and members will show patience and perseverance to listen to the ‘’truth’’. Caught off guard by this, the Congress raked up a non-issue: Sonia Gandhi resolution passed in the Budget session demanding it be withdrawn. The matter drowned in water and the House adjourned sine die.

Mr Badal has a comprehensive brief on the subject, all related issues and is prepared to take on anybody who cares to listen, ponder over the facts and analyse the chronology of events. The Congress, it now transpires, never wanted the Chief Minister to speak in the Vidhan Sabha on record for posterity. Frankly, over the water issue, neither the Akalis nor the Congress can be absolved of the muddle created, so far. it is time the two sides sat together and agreed to joint approach.

There are as many interpretations of the various awards and decisions announced from time-to-time over the years, on the available data with each state showing up its own, as there are, perhaps, ripples in the river waters to be shared.

Mr Badal, told The Tribune, today that right from the time when Mr Gulzari Lal Nanda, who was the Union Minister of Irrigation and Power, in 1955, Punjab has been discriminated against when it came to sharing of Ravi and Beas waters. After the reorganisation of Punjab in 1966, he continued, as per the Notification by the Centre in 1976, when Mrs Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister, a decision was taken on allocation of water from the ‘’divisible pool’’ of 7.22 million acre feet (MAF) after Delhi’s share was determined. This decision of March 24, 1976, was announced as Punjab and Haryana had failed to resolve the same within the stipulated two years with the latter approaching the Centre.

Mr Badal categorically said, ‘’as Chief MInister I served a notice on Haryana under 80 Code of Civil Procedure on March 17, 1979, followed by a suit in the Supreme Court, challenging the validity of 1976 Notification. Haryana too went to the Court demanding implementation of the same Notification’’.

Unfortunately, an agreement was reached on December 31, 1981, by the then Punjab Chief Minister, late Mr Darbara Singh with Haryana and Rajasthan in the presence of Mrs Gandhi, depriving Punjab of legitimate share, he added.

Mr Badal said then came the Rajiv-Longowal Accord of July 24, 1985. In the intervening period of militancy. Water issue remained dormant. Following the agreement between the leader of a political party, SAD, and the Prime MInister, late Mr Rajiv Gandhi, the Interstate Water Disputes Act, 1956, was amended to incorporate Ravi-Beas Waters Tribunal. The Vidhan Sabha repudiated the agreement of December 31, 1981. It also declared the White Paper of April 23, 1982 as ‘’redundant and irrelevant’’. Tribunal was constituted in 1986 in pursuance of the Accord. The Tribunal report was available in January 1987.

Despite the fact no reference was made to the Tribunal on SYL canal, it chose to make certain comments that continue to make waves. A final word is yet to be heard on the Tribunal findings because in the intervening period its members left. Some broad agreements reached among chief ministers of states concerned in 1992 at the behest of the Ministry of Water Resources also remain aborted. Mutual agreement being reached by the states is doubtful. It is a big political gamble that no party is prepared to take.

On the latest amendments in the Interstate Waters Dispute Act, ripped up by Mr Brar following approval by Parliament, Mr Badal is clear. There is no dispute over the control of head works. ‘’I have reiterated for decades that not a single drop of water will flow from Punjab. Who is not familiar with the struggle and sacrifices made by us on water issue?”, he stressed.

In fact most of the amendments that have been carried out are quite in conformity with the Justice R S Sarkaria Commission recommendators in respect of interstate river water disputes. His report was accepted with slight modification.

Those recommendations were endorsed by the Inter-state Council on the basis of a consensus paper. The fifth meeting of the standing committee was held on November 10, 1997, with the Minister of Home Affairs in the Chair.

Mr Badal quoted the international doctrine of riparian rights to justify Punjab’s stand.

On the ‘’mystery’’ of Rs one crore having been received from Haryana by the Akalis, the Chief Minister pointed to the proceedings of the Vidhan Sabha, wherein, he had categorically stated all facts. ‘’If you recall, it was Haryana’s Congress Chief Minister, Mr Banarsi Das Gupta, who on September 9, 1976, wrote to the then Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Zail Singh the following letter: ‘I am directing my Irrigation Department to place a sum of Rs One crore for the time being at the disposal of the Punjab government so that the necessary organisation is set up and work is started. The procedure for the transfer of further amount required for construction can be finalised by the officers of the two states by mutual discussion’’’’.

Mr Badal also reproduced the reply of Giani Zail SIngh, dated, September 26. It reads, ‘’You will kindly appreciate that some work of the investigation is necessary before actual construction at site and if you agree, we can put staff in position to take up this work in hand immediately and meet the expenditure out of the amount of Rs one crore so kindly offered by you’’.

At this the Chief Minister referred to the clod-breaking ceremony at Kapuri by Mrs Gandhi in the presence of the Punjab Congress men while Akalis launched their morcha against the SYL.

‘’Who is bartering away the interests of Punjab? Throughout it were the Congress Chief Ministers. Our record is straight. Our struggle is known. Our sacrifices are on record. Water is Punjab’s life-line. Can I cut that umbilical cord? It is our religion to protect Punjab’s interests. That includes water. Akalis speak with one voice at all forums. The Congress has no policy. Its leaders take different stand in Punjab, in Haryana and in New Delhi. Can anyone trust them?’’ Mr Badal emphasised.


Badal’s stand on waters issue ‘political stunt’
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Sriganganagar, August 26
Terming the statement of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on the issue of sharing river waters with Rajasthan as “political stunt “, the local farming community has declared that it was high time that the riparian issue was settled once and for all since rivers were a national treasure and deserved to be shared among the states as per their requirements.

Accusing Mr Badal of “harping” on the decades-old issue, the local leaders have said it was revived at election time for garnering votes in Punjab. The Chief Minister stated in the state Assembly on Friday that Rajasthan had no claim on the waters from rivers in Punjab and even the 8 MAF water being given at present was at the cost of Punjab farmers. The river waters issue is currently being argued before the Indus Waters Commission by Punjab and Haryana.

The statement has touched a raw nerve in the farming community for whom canal water from Punjab is a veritable lifeline. The local MP has said if the waters issue was not solved, it will be a great loss to the farmers of northern Rajasthan. The local MLA, Mr Radhesyham, has also joined issue with Mr Badal. He said the SAD - BJP combine was working towards harming the interests of Rajasthan’s farmers.

He said if the Chief Minister was so concerned at saving the precious waters why were these being allowed to flow to Pakistan unregulated. Mr Badal, while he was on a visit to Sriganganagar recently, had assured the people that Punjab would give every drop of water due to the state. Why is he issuing contradictory statements now, he questioned.

Mr Subash Sehgal, president of the Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, said more than 25,000 cusecs water from the Sutlej had flowed to Pakistan on August 14 and 15 from the Ferozepore head.

He said a perusal of records from Punjab shows that more than 1.40 lakh cusces of water had flown to Pakistan in July and August. He said more than 1 lakh cusces of water was released from the Ropar head when the reservoir level was quite low. Why was this water not released to Rajasthan, he asked.

The farming community of Rajasthan, especially in Sriganganagar and Hanumangarh, is hurt by Mr Badal’s statement because the SAD leaders have always been reassuring them at public gatherings that Punjab will give them all the water they need, though they also tell the farmers of Punjab that their needs come first.

Sources conversant with the issue feel that this was nothing but an effort on the part of Punjab to exercise control over the flow of waters of the rivers. That was why the charge of the Harike, Ropar and Ferozepore heads had never been relinquished by the state to the BBMB despite various agreements and the intervention of the Centre on many occasions. This, the sources said, had greatly affected a chronic droughtprone state like Rajasthan.

For Rajasthan, the dispute is nothing new. Old timers recall that Maharaja Ganga Singh of Bikaner had somehow managed to convince the British that a major part of Bikaner could be irrigated by waters from the Sutlej. He commissioned a survey by a renowned engineer, L.W. Standley, in 1903 who recommended its feasibility. This was subsequently incorporated in the Sutlej Basin Plan Proposal.

Predictably, even then the Punjab Government opposed it claiming that Rajasthan did not have any share in the waters of the Sutlej. This did not deter the Maharaja who single-mindedly pursued the matter which was solved with the signing of a treaty between the erstwhile states of Bikaner, Punjab and Bahawalpur in 1920. This cleared the decks for the construction of a canal — a lifeline today known as the Gang (Bikaner) Canal.

Similarly, the same objections were raised at the time of the conception of the Bhakra Dam project. But the Maharaja convinced the then Punjab Chief Minister, Sir Sikander Hyat Khan, that Rajasthan was entitled to a share of waters from the project.

When the project was revived after Independence, Punjab again raised objections that Rajasthan had no claim, but could not succeed since it had already been accepted and incorporated in the original plan by the efforts of the Maharaja. In the ensuing years, Punjab was to hand over the charge of the water heads to the BBMB under Section 76 the Reorganisation of States Act, 1966, but failed to do so. The Centre subsequently intervened, but backed out due to “ political compulsions”.

Rajasthan has been pursuing this point for the past 30 years, but to no avail. The matter was brought to the notice of the then Prime Minister in 1972 who referred the matter to the Chief Minister and Power Ministers concerned and asked them to sort it out in two months’ time. Since there was no unanimity on the issue, the matter was referred to the then Union Irrigation Minister in 1973 who also could not suggest a way out.

The matter was raised again in 1977 when the then Prime Minister directed Punjab to hand over the charge of the three heads to the BBMB, but Punjab failed to comply. Due to political pressure, when the centre again decided to sort out the matter in 1979, the logic of handing over the charge to the BBMB itself started getting questioned.

The problem defies solution even after so many years thereby affecting Haryana and Rajasthan.


Interest on coop loans must be cut: Badal
Our Correspondent

Sangat Mandi (Bathinda), August 26
The Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has said the rate of interest on cooperative loans should be reduced and the Union Government should give an aid of Rs 200 crore to eliminate non-performing assests of cooperative banks in Punjab.

Mr Badal while addressing mediapersons here today said the economy of the state was not picking up well and to boost agriculture, the rate of interest on the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund should be reduced to 4 per cent from the current 10.5 per cent.

Officials of various agriculture development banks have been stating that if their non-performing assests kept increasing the way they are, Nabard would stop advancing loans to them. Earlier, the Nabard had stopped advancing loans to Bihar and Assam.

Mr Badal said he had no role to play in the prosecution of Mr Bikramjit Singh as he was an IAS officer and only the Union Government was empowered to speak on the issue.

On the cotton crisis triggered by the American bollworm and the defrauding of labourers by “babas”, he said he was not aware of the activities of these “babas” and denied that he had given a grant of Rs 2 lakh to Ujjwala Nand Giri of Maur Mandi.

Attacking the Congress, he alleged that the Rajasthan feeder was built by the Congress and the water of the state was given to Rajasthan and then the SYL-canal was a “gift” the Congress.


Octroi to go in a month: Tandon
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, August 26
Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, Local Bodies and Labour-cum-Employment Minister, Punjab today addressing a gathering of industrialists at the Local Industrial Estate assured them that the octroi would be abolished within a month.

He said that arrangements to abolish the octroi in the state had been finalised. He said that the government would not retrench any employee after the abolition of the octroi.

He was here to speak at a function organised by local industrialists for highlighting their problems.

Mr Nand Lal Gogia an industrialist highlighted the problems faced by the industry. He said the number of units at the local industrial estate had been increasing but facilities were inadequate.

A several industrialists blamed the administration for the bad condition of the industrial estate. They said that they were paying house tax, Sales Tax, octroi and other major taxes to the government. But the government has done nothing for the improvement of the industrial estate.

The President of the local Municipal Council Mr Kewal Jindal said that as the industrial estate was the property of the Industries Department so it was the duty of the Industries Department to provide basic facilities to the industrialists there.

Industrialists Mohan Lal, Munish Jindal, Hasib Farooq, Vinod Jindal were also present on the occasion.



Charges against cops concocted: K.P.S. Gill

New Delhi, August 26
Welcoming government’s proposal to provide relief to security force personnel accused of having committed human rights violations while fighting militancy in Punjab, former state DGP K.P.S. Gill tonight said the charges against them were “concocted” and that they should be “honourably exonerated.”

Mr Gill told Star TV that the charges against the personnel had been “falsely” made out as those relating to human right violations and a lot of “false evidence had been collected.”

“What judicial process are you talking about ?” he shot back when asked whether he was questioning the whole judicial process since the cases had been registered on court orders.

“The whole process was a negation of the rule of law.... That is why this (NDA) government has realised the mistake,” he said. PTI


NFL dumping toxic waste near Sutlej
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, August 26
The Nangal-based plant of National Fertilisers Ltd (NFL) produces lakhs of tonnes of coal slurry as waste which is highly toxic. It has been deposited by the NFL authorities in ponds on the banks of the Sutlej. However, due to the reducing storage capacity in ponds the authorities have even dumping the the slurry in kutcha pits near residential areas.

Environmentalists allege that the slurry contains chemical pollutants like ammonia, HCL and arsenic. These metals which have been dumped in the ground will ultimately reach and damage water sources.

On Environment Day this year, a function was held by the Pollution Control Board authorities at the NFL. Representatives of various major industries were also invited.

Though the function was meant to create awareness regarding pollution caused by the industries, no one from the public or the media had been invited.

The authorities of a cement plant took a sample of the slurry to test its utility. It was found that it had a high-calorific value of 8000, which makes it an excellent burning material.

The cement plant uses about 1,000-1,200 tonnes of coal everyday. The plant authorities were of the view that it could be used as a supplement to coal. They have decided to buy 1.5 lakh tonnes of coal slurry from the NFL to test it in their kilns. 



New hope for heart failure patients
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
Heart diseases have assumed epidemic proportions in Punjab. Many big heart institutes have been flourishing in this region because of the high incidence of serious heart ailments among Punjabis. It is even higher than in the case of European countries.

Abnormal dietary habits, changes in the life-style, the casual attitude towards personal healthcare, no exercise, etc, are the main reasons for the problem. However, the most recent dimension is that the heart problems have been reported from the rural areas in big number.

Earlier, agriculture was a labour-intensive job. But it is no more so. Moreover, stress had been earlier limited to the urban areas. Now even villagers live under great stress because of changing lifestyles and ambitions.

Interestingly, the profile of heart patients in the state is also changing rapidly. Earlier, a heart attack before the age of 30 in the state was unthinkable. However, now it has become quite a normal phenomenon. One can find many cases of heart problems in the age group of 30 to 40 and even below that age.

These are the observations of Dr T.S. Kler, Senior Interventional Cardiologist at the Escorts Institute of Research and Heart Diseases, New Delhi. Dr Kler was here today to deliver the keynote address on the diagnosis of heart problems from the ECG to the general physician of this region. The talk was arranged by Dr U.P. Singh, a local heart specialist.

When asked about new developments in heart treatment, especially in cases of chronic heart failure where interventional procedures like angioplasty and even surgery were not effective, Dr Kler said that there was new hope for patients of refractory heart failure. There were 24 million people suffering from such failure in the world. The number in India was in the range of 4 million, he added.

Dr Kler said that by installing biventricular pacemakers in such patients, the quality of their lives could be improved a lot. Even research corroborated that . Dr Kler, who was the first doctor in India to install such a pacemaker, said that he had so far installed 13 pacemakers and the results had been very satisfactory. It was a new technique in the country. However, the cost — between Rs 2.50 and Rs 3 lakh — was quite high. In fact, surgery did not cost much as compared to the pacemaker.

The installation procedure was not complicated. It could be performed with local anaesthesia. Three wires — one in the right upper chamber, the second in the right lower chamber and the third in the left lower chamber of the heart — were fixed in such a way that the contraction of the right and left chambers of the heart were completely synchronised to enable the heart to pump adequate blood to restore normalisation in breathing, etc.

However, such pacemakers could not be installed in all cases of chronic heart failure. It had been estimated that 30 to 40 per cent of the patients with refractory heart failure could be helped by using to such pacemakers.

Dr Kler said that as heart treatment had become very costly and beyond the reach of the common man, there was an urgent need to take preventive measures to check heart disease.


Panthic Morcha stir from Sept 10
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, August 26
Mr Dhyan Singh Mand and Mr Jaskaran Singh, vice-president and general secretary, respectively, of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) today declared that the Panthic Morcha would launch an agitation against the “sell-out” of the river waters riparian rights of Punjab to the Centre by the Punjab CM, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, as well as against the Union Home Ministry’s move to grant amnesty to those policemen and officials who were responsible for killing of Sikh youths in fake encounters.

The programme of district-level protest dharnas of cluster of districts would start from September 10 from Ferozpore and would culminate in a state-level rally at Ludhiana on September 30, stated Mr Mand, also a member of the executive committee of the morcha.

Giving details about the programme, Mr Mand and Mr Jaskaran Singh said while a dharna for the Moga, Faridkot and Ferozpore districts would be held at Ferozpore on September 10, those for Bathinda, Muktsar and Mansa districts would be held at Bathinda on September 11 to be followed by one at Sangrur on September 12. Dharnas for Fatehgarh Sahib and Patiala districts would be held at Patiala on September 14, for Jalandhar, Nawanshahr and Kapurthala districts at Jalandhar on September 17.


Helping victims of road mishaps
Parmod Bharti

The district police, in cooperation with social organisations, has started a project on road safety.

Under the project, the police, with the help of educational and social organisations, has launched a comprehensive awareness drive to educate the public, especially school and college students, in road safety measures by organising seminars, talks by experts and declamation and painting contests in educational institutions. It has also set up three first-aid posts for accident victims along the 90 km stretch from Ropar to Phagwara on the main Jalandhar-Chandigarh road falling in the district.

The posts have been set up at Kathgarh, Nawanshahr (SSP’s office) and Khatkar Kalan. These posts have ambulances, trained police employees and the wireless facility apart from stretchers, ropes, oxygen cylinders, etc.

The ambulance for the Kathgarh post was donated by social activists and has been in use for about eight months. While the ambulance for the Nawanshahr post was provided by the Punjab Health Systems Corporation, the local Rotary Club donated an ambulance for the Khatkar Kalan post. A local philanthropist, Mr Hardev Singh Kahma, donated money for the construction of the post at Khatkar Kalan.

The posts at the SSP’s office and Khatkar Kalan were inaugurated by Mr J.P. Birdi, IG (Zonal), Jalandhar, about three months ago.

Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, says the police is also planning to set up a first-aid post at Dhahan Kaleran village shortly.

He says during the past six months 90 accidents took place in which more than 100 persons were injured.

The SSP says that a District Police Road Safety Society has been constituted to meet and monitor the recurring expenses on the posts and ensure their proper functioning. Besides, the police has got installed cat’s eyes, markers, signboards, etc, on different roads and helped accident victims and their dependents get compensation under the law. 


PSEB engineers resent govt move
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 26
The executive committee of the Punjab State Electricity Board Engineers’ Association has expressed concern about the move of the state government to undermine the statutory autonomy of the PSEB vested under the Electricity (Supply) Act, 1948.

Mr M.S. Bajwa while presiding over the meeting of the association said the PSEB was an organisation earning an annual revenue of about Rs 5,000 crore and this aspect needed to be taken in account. Mr Bajwa said all the statutory provisions also needed to be implemented.

Mr R.S. Sohal, senior vice-president of the association said in the past three years, lack of autonomy and bureaucratic manipulations have landed the PSEB in financial bankruptcy. He said there was an immediate need to exercise restraint in order to restore full autonomy and ensure the generation, transmission and distribution of power efficiently.

Lack of finances due to concessional tariffs did not leave any funds to renovate and improve the existing distribution system, said the members of the association. The executive committee has, therefore, decided to defend the autonomy of the PSEB and to take up the issue with the Punjab Government in order to save the organisation from far-reaching fall out of the short-sighted policy.

The engineers, showing their concern over a directive from the state government regarding withdrawal of powers of posting and transfers, said under Clause 79 C, the PSEB was fully empowered to govern the officers and employees of the board including their salaries, allowances and other conditions of service.



2 more held for beating up cops

Kapurthala, August 26
The police today arrested two more persons involved in the alleged beating up of three police officials in the district court complex on August 8.

The arrested accused have been identified as Ranjodh Singh and Sarabjit Singh.

Both accused had fled after beating up the police officials who had refused them to meet undertrial prisoners brought by the police from the district jail for producing them in the court, the police said.

The police has already arrested the third accused undertrial prisoner Jaspal Singh who had managed to fled taking advantage of the commotion that arose between the undertrial prisoners and the police.

Four other accused involved in the beating up of police officials were already arrested by the police on the day of incident and have been identified as Sukhbir Singh, Pardeep Pal, Harvinder Singh and Sapandeep Singh, all undertrials.

All accused had allegedly beaten three policemen when the latter refused them to meet the prisoners brought from district jail for producing them in the court of civil judge on the premises of court complex. PTI


Rights panel takes up widow’s complaint
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 26
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed the Secretary Finance, Department of Banking, Government of India, to look into the complaint of a widow, Mrs Kamla Rani, whose husband Ram Nath, was an employee of State Bank of India here.

The widow had approached the NHRC for reimbursement of the medical expenses incurred on the treatment of her husband which has been pending for many years.

Mrs Kamla Rani said while her husband was working with the bank, he fell seriously ill and a large sum of money was spent on his treatment. She said the bank had not reimbursed the dues even after her husband died. The medical bills were verified and approved by the Medical Officer of the bank and were also cleared by the branch manager of the bank, she added. Mrs Kamla Rani has been pursuing her claim for many years, but without any result.


Boat tragedy mission chief to visit Pak
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, August 26
Mr Balwant Singh Khera, Chairman, Malta Boat Tragedy Probe Mission, will leave for Pakistan tomorrow. He will make coordinated efforts with Pakistan and Sri Lanka governments for bringing to book culprits of the boat tragedy.

Mr Khera said here today that during his one-week stay in Pakistan, he would meet Minister Omar Asgar Khan and officials of Overseas Pakistan Foundation. NGO’s in Italy had done a commendable job in locating the wreckage of the boat and bodies of victims and it was our mission to get the guilty punished, he added.


SAD-BJP nominee wins MC bypoll
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, August 26
The SAD-BJP nominee, Mr Maam Raj Gandhi, retained the post of councillor in the Dera Bassi Municipal Council defeating his Congress rival Mr Sarwan Kumar Saini in a byelection held for Ward No. 6, here today.

Total votes cast were 935 of which 787 were cast in favour of Mr Gandhi while his rival Mr Saini could get only 135 votes. The third Independent contestant, Mr Rakesh Sharma, could get only seven votes while six vote polled were declared invalid.

The elections took place due to the death of winning candidate’s son Mr Brajesh Gandhi, who was the councillor from Ward No. 6 earlier and who had died because of a massive heart attack a few months ago.

The byelections were marred by allegations about violation of model code of conduct and reported rigging by the workers of both the parties in the police station on the premises of local Government High School.

Mr Deepinder Singh Dhillon, a treasurer of the legal cell of District Congress Committee, alleged that the ruling SAD-BJP alliance used unfair means to carry out bogus polling in connivance with the local police. He alleged that the SAD-BJP alliance even called Mr Jassa Singh, SHO, Lalru police station, to pressurise the voters.

On the other hand senior Akali leaders, including Mr Jagjit Singh Dalli, president of the civic body, clarified that the rival group was levelling allegation against them as they were seeing the defeat ahead. The voters started gathering at the counters of the parties early in the morning.

To avoid any untoward incident adequate security arrangements were made by the local administration but the police personnel, headed by SHO Harbhajan Singh and ASI Ram Dyal Singh, failed to restrict the workers of the parties to enter the school premises and allegedly helped them in violating the code of conduct.

Over 100 workers belonging to both parties entered the school premises, a restricted area 100 metres from the polling station, when ASI Karam Singh had left the school main gate leaving two cops behind.

The irate workers exchanged arguments and raised slogans against each other over bogus polling. The members of the Congress Party and the BJP and SAD alliance levelled cross allegations against each others for producing ‘‘fake’’ voters.

After over one hour, the agitators were dispersed only after Mr Paramjit Singh, Naib Tehsildar, reached the spot and brought the situation under control. He, however, denied any violation of model code of conduct.



States' DGPs to meet in Delhi
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, August 26
The Punjab DGP, Mr Sarabjit Singh, will raise several issues at a national meeting of DGPs of all states which will be held on September 5 in New Delhi. The meeting will be presided over by Union Home Minister L.K. Advani.

Mr Sarabjit Singh said this here last night. He said some people wanted to disturb peace in the state by trying to bring some hardcore terrorists from abroad, but the police was on constant vigil. He said there was complete co-ordination between the police chiefs of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal, Rajasthan, Utter Pradesh.


Two wagons derailed
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, August 26
Two wagons of a goods train drailed from the dead track meant for shunting purpose, minutes after it was thoroughly examined to be fit. One of the wagons has been dangling over the Damoria bridge here since today afternoon. The incident took place when the train, examined during a routine inspection and was found fit by shunting staff, was returning to the main platform from the dead track.

According to railway sources, a three-member railway inspection committee, which was probing the cause of derailment, has found that the shunting staff had not adopted technical methods, including vacuum test, while examining the train, leading to the incident.

A detailed report would be submitted to senior railway officials at Ferozepore.


139 pass out of police centre
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, August 26
Mr Iqbal Singh Sidhu, Deputy Commissioner, took salute from 139 trainees of capsule course No. 12, conversion course No. 2 and batch No. 233 wireless during an impressive passing-out parade at the Police Recruits Training Centre, Jahan Khelan, 8 km from here, today.

Addressing on the occasion, Mr Sidhu said the policemen should perform their duties in the field with honesty, dedication and bravery. He also announced that a grant of Rs 1 lakh would be given to the centre to improve its infrastructure.

The Deputy Commissioner gave away prizes to Sarabjit Singh Jal for winning all-round first, Harjinder Singh Jal for all-round second, Rajinder Singh PTL for first in PPW and Balbir Singh HPR for first in turn out in capsule course No. 12, Parminder Singh MKT for all-round first and Nanak Singh PTL for all-round second in conversion course No. 2 and Kuldip Singh 1365/W for first in indoor subject and Varinder Kumar 2975/W for first in outdoor subject in batch No. 223 of wireless. Mr R.S. Khatra, Commandant of the centre, also spoke on the occasion. 


Sewerage choked; CPI men on fast
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 26
Alleging partiality towards the wards of ruling party members, Mr Amarjit Singh Asal, secretary of the district CPI, today announced a chain fast at Kot Khalsa against the alleged high-handedness of the Mayor, Mr Brij Mohan Kapoor.

He said the Mayor was sanctioning works of his party members while the Kot Khalsa area where Gurdwara Bohri Sahib existed was facing a sewerage blockage.

The clogged water had started entering houses and the road leading to the gurdwara, too, was blocked with at least a foot deep filthy water.



Case registered against scribe
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 26
The police has registered a case under Sections 452, 384 and 506 of the IPC and Section 3 of the SC/ST Act, 1989, against a Malout-based journalist of a Hindi daily being published from Chandigarh.

The case has been registered on a complaint by Mr Chhabil Singh, an Akali leader and chairman of the Adwardganj.

Meanwhile, members of the Working Journalists Union, Malout, have condemned the registration of the case.

They alleged that the complaint was lodged by Mr Chhabil Singh to teach Mr Gupta a lesson who had published a news about the organisation headed by Mr Chhabil Singh.


IMA conference
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
More than 1,000 delegates from Punjab, Haryana and Delhi will participate in the 56th conference of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Punjab (PIMACONE-2001), to be held at Doraha (Ludhiana) on November 18.

According to Dr O.P.S. Kande, president of the Punjab unit of the IMA, the theme of the conference will be “Female foeticide — a crime: let us fight it out”. Dr Baldev Raj Chawla, Health Minister, Punjab, is expected to be the gust of honour.


Campaign against foeticide soon
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 26
A special campaign will be launched soon to create awareness about the declining sex ratio and female foeticide. Efforts will also be made to strictly implement various Acts formed to curb this menace. 

Mr R.L. Kalsia, Director, Social and Women and Child Development, Punjab said this while addressing a seminar.


Demand for pension scheme
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, August 26
The Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union has urged the Punjab Government to implement the pension-cum-gratuity scheme for the employees of the non-government colleges by the end of this month.

Stating this here yesterday, Prof Jaspal Singh Randhawa, general secretary of the union, said the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has asked the Finance Department to implement the scheme on a priority basis.


New FCI Director
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, August 26
Mr L.R. Vasudeva has been appointed Director of the Food Corporation of India (FCI). A notification regarding the appointment of Mr Vasudeva was issued on Thursday by the Central Government.


62 cases settled at 2 lok adalats
Our Correspondent

Dhuri, August 26
Two lok adalats were held the subdivisional judicial complex here yesterday. Mr Manjinder Singh, Civil Judge (Senior Division), and Mr R.K. Gupta, Civil Judge (Junior Division), presided over the adalats. As many as 80 cases were presented before the adalats, of which 62 cases were settled on the spot.


Teams to ensure sale of pesticides
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, August 26
The Punjab Government has deployed special district-level teams to ensure the sale of quality pesticides in the state. During the past few months, 1600 samples of pesticides of different firms had been taken. Out of these, 52 samples were found to be of substandard quality. Action was being taken against the erring sellers, said Dr S.S. Bains, Director, Agriculture, Punjab, while talking to mediapersons here on Friday. He further said the Deputy Director, Plant Protection, had also been deployed to help the teams.

Meanwhile, the sale of pesticides of two firms, Messers Swastik Pesticides and Chemicals and Agro Aid Private Limited of Muzaffarnagar (UP) and Vadisha (MP), had been banned in the state, the Director said. 


Two arrested in fraud case
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, August 26
The Sadiq police on Friday arrested two members of a 36-member gang near Dera Baba Ram Singh in Pipli village on the Faridkot-Ferozepore road. They were held for defrauding various nationalised and private banks of Punjab, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir and West Bengal for the past five years.

They have been identified as Gurpreet Singh, alias Happy, alias Ajit of Faridkot and Dharminder, alias Sonu of Zira, Ferozepore. Two Maruti cars, two jeeps, a fictitious permanent account number card and a registration copy of the Income Tax Department, along with five rubber stamps were seized from them. The district police chief, Mr Gurpreet Singh Gill, said five of their accomplices, however, managed to escape. A case has been registered against the accused.


1 arrested for supplying smack to jail inmates
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, August 26
The police has arrested Jaswinder Singh for allegedly supplying smack to his brother Sukhvinder Singh, an undertrial in the Muktsar jail, and seized 50 gm of opium and 230 milligrams of smack.

The police sources said the accused had been supplying narcotics to his brother in the jail for the past about 6 months. His brother was facing a trial for murder.

The sources said the undertrial was selling the narcotics to other jail inmates. The police was suspecting that the narcotics were being supplied from the outside and the activities of the inmates and the visitors to the jail were being kept under tabs.

Mr Kultar Singh, SSP, while talking to TNS here today said the jail superintendent was taken into confidence to nab the suspect. The accused confessed to that he used to buy the smack from Negros who were residing at Panchkula.


Two bodies found
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 26
An unidentified body was found in a field near Lal Singh basti of the city yesterday. Volunteers of the Sahara Jan Sewa, an NGO, took the body to Medical College, Faridkot, for a post-mortem.

In another incident an old man was crushed to death by a train last evening. The volunteers also took the body to Government Hospital for a post-mortem. After the post-mortems the bodies were cremated by the volunteers.


Educationist dead

Moga, August 26
Mr Pritam Singh Sandhu, a retired principal and an educationist, died here early today. He was 71 and is survived by his wife and two sons.

He was associated with Dev Samaj Higher Secondary School for more than 35 years and served as Principal for 13 years. He retired in 1988. He was cremated this afternoon. PTI

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