Saturday, September 1, 2001, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Bathinda refinery ‘a Cong project’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 31
The Congress will not allow any slowing down of work on the Guru Gobind Singh Refinery at Bathinda claiming that the Rs 10,000 crore grassroots project was not only its brainchild but also approved by the party’s government at the Centre in 1996.

“We will not allow the present NDA government to fall a prey to the lobbies working overtime in pursuit of a monopolistic and non-competitive environment,” said Mr Surinder Singla, chief spokesman of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee.

Refuting the claim of the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, that the Shiromani Akali Dal government got the Bathinda refinery cleared, Mr Singla said that the project was the brainchild of the Punjab Congress of which he had been an active player. He was then a Member of Parliament and had taken keen interest in getting the project approved.

“We prepared the blueprint and got it approved during Mr P.V. Narasimha Rao’s government. In fact, the present Central and state governments have discredited themselves by delaying the completion of this project to the great financial loss to the fund-starved Punjab Government.

“The project was approved by the Foreign Investment Board of the last Congress government at the Centre in April, 1996. At that time an oil company from Saudi Arabia, in partnership with the Indian Oil Corporation, was to undertake the refinery work. The records of the Union Ministry of Petroleum bear testimony to this fact,” he said blaming the present SAD-BJP government in Punjab for failing to get the project commissioned in the stipulated period of three years.

“Delay in the completion of this refinery project has not only caused immense financial loss to the state but also denied thousands of unemployed youth an opportunity to earn their livelihood,” Mr Singla said claiming that the losses suffered by the state ran into thousands of crores a year.

The refinery should have been ideally commissioned latest by the end of 1999 as such projects normally took a maximum of three years for commissioning. At one stage even the PSIDC was willing for equity participation in the project before Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited decided to implement it on its own.

The Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, he said, would take up the issue at the National Development Council meeting in the Capital today opposing any move to slow down work on the Guru Gobind Singh Refinery. This was necessary as neither the All-India Congress Committee chief, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, nor the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president, Capt Amarinder Singh, was a member of the council.

The PPCC chief, he said, had already written to the Congress high command for taking up the matter with the Union Government. “Mrs Sonia Gandhi is very keen on the economic development of Punjab as the economy of the state has unfortunately slowed down a great deal during the past four and a half years,” said Mr Singla maintaining that both Mrs Gandhi and Dr Manmohan Singh would not only strongly oppose any move to slow down the work but also make it sure that the project was completed expeditiously.


United Cong attacks Badal govt
Tribune News Service

Payal (Ludhiana), August 31
It was a remarkable show of unity by the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC), here today, on the occasion of the sixth death anniversary of Beant Singh. Cutting across factional loyalties all leaders turned out to mark their presence at the rally which, virtually, marked the beginning of the election campaign.

Barring Mr Maninderjit Singh Bitta, former president of the Indian Youth Congress and currently the chief of the Anti-Terrorist Front, the speakers harped on the theme of unity and targeted the government of Mr Parkash Singh Badal for “corruption, incompetence and non performance”.

All senior leaders, including the PCC president Capt Amarinder Singh, former Chief Minister, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and Mr Jagmeet Brar, trained their guns at the ruling alliance, declaring a war on it.

Compared to the last year, attendance this time was much more, with the local grain market filled to its capacity by the audience. The organisers had done well as it was an orderly programme with seats reserved for MLAs, former MLAs and others.

Leaders from across the state marked their presence at the rally. They included Ms Jaswant Kaur, the widow of Beant Singh, the Congress Legislative Party leader in Punjab Assembly, Chuaudhary Jagjeet Singh, MPs — Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, Mr Balbir Singh and Mr Gurcharan Singh Ghalib Mr Gurmeet Singh who served as political secretary to Beant Singh, Mr Ashwani Kumar, chairman of the AICC Vichar Vibhagh (intellectual cell of the AICC), Mr Sushil Prashar, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Mr Pawan Dewan, Mr Roopinder Singh Gill, Mr H.S. Hanspal, Mr K.K. Bawa, the DCC (urban) president, Mr Surinder Dawer and the rural president, Mr Gurdev Singh Lapran, Mr Som Dutt, Mr Mohinder Singh, Mr Babu Ram Keshav, Mr Pankaj Prabhakar, Mr Amarjeet Singh Tikka, Mr Avtar Henry, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, Mr Harmohinder Singh, MLA, Raikote, Mr Tej Prakash Singh, Mr Darshan Brar, Mr Sant Ram Singla, Mr Virender Kataria, Mr Jagjit Singh Grewal, Mr Raja, Mr Bhupinder Singh Grewal and Mr Gurdip Singh were also present on the occasion.

All these leaders were keen to mark their presence with the All-India Congress Committee treasurer and in charge of the party affairs of Punjab, Mr Moti Lal Vora.


Cops conduct surprise checks
Kid’s statement recorded at ashram
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 31
The police today conducted surprise checks at an ashram near the Jalandhar Bypass, where minor children were allegedly being forcibly taught a questionable life style by a self-proclaimed saint, who had similar branches world over.

The police action comes in the wake of news reports that Baba Thakar Singh, the head of this sect, was allegedly indulging in human rights violations by keeping minor children confined in the premises of an ashram and making them undergo a hard meditation exercise in which even some physical pain was given to the children, who were in the ashram for more than five years.

The police action and the news report has once again highlighted the glaring example of human right abuse even though there is speculation that a well-connected group of persons was using its influence to get the controversial Baba go scot-free each time he was exposed.

Similar reports had appeared in vernacular and English dailies about one-and-a half years ago and the police had conducted similar checks that time also. However, no case was registered against the sect authorities and the practice continued unabated.

The police found 29 children in the age group of 8 to 10 years this morning. Interestingly, policemen in mufti were placed near the ashram at about midnight only much before the newspaper could hit the stands.

According to SSP Harpreet Singh Sidhu, the check (the police insisted it was not a raid) was held at about 7.30 a.m. He said the police could not find anything questionable or abnormal so far. Twentynine children were found in the ashram at that time. The police recorded their statements and also made a videotape of the action. A number of documents and photographs were seized from the ashram.

The police said the statements of the children were identical. They were repeatedly taking name of their Guru and saying they do not want to leave and get exposed to the outside world which was bad, harmful and full of vice.

The SSP said no ostensible offence was made out and the statements of the children have been sent to the DA (Legal) for advice.

The police in fact was caught in a fix as a case could be registered against the sect only if the parents of the children report that the children were kept in the ashram without their consent.


SGPC directive on Gurbani, Gurus
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 31
In a significant development, the Dharam Parchar Committee of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, has asked all concerned not to publish Gurbani or pictures of Gurus on marriage cards or calendars as it amounts to blasphemy.

Mr Waryam Singh, Assistant Secretary of the SGPC, in a press note issued here today said that the committee had to take this step following numerous complaints that many persons, especially the business community, published the pictures of Gurus on the calendars as part of publicity material which was highly objectionable. He said it was seen that such calendars were found abandoned here and there which hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community.

Mr Waryam Singh said that the SGPC was contemplating some concrete steps to stop the trend of publishing photographs of Gurus on calendars.


‘Commute’ Bhullar’s sentence
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 31
Sikh radicals and other organisations yesterday came out strongly against the death penalty awarded to Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar prime accused in a bomb blast case.

Dal Khalsa and Human Rights Forum advocates commuting of the death sentence and demanded the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to request the President of India for a mercy plea in view of the 200 years of coronation of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), decried the capital punishment and said this would lead to more acrimony among Sikhs against the state.

Mr Kanwar Pal Singh of the Dal Khalsa and Mr Jaspal Singh Dhillon, Chairman, Human Rights Forum, jointly called for abolition of the death penalty. Mr Jaspal Singh who met the convict, Davinder Singh Bhullar, at Tihar prison on Wednesday said the forum will shortly appeal to the apex court against the decision.

A common ground taken by all organisations against the death penalty is that the convict’s confession of the guilt was recorded before a police officer during the course of interrogation which they claim is insufficient ground for its being admissible guilt and therefore should not be made the basis to pronounce death penalty.

In a hard hitting statement, Mr Mann alleged that there were two sets of laws in the state. One is held for minorities and another for the majority community. Mr Mann said it seems the evidence had been concocted and extracted under coercion. He said while the international community is campaigning for the abolition of the capital punishment, our country continues the awarding death penalty.


Chohan case hearing on September 4
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 31
A local court today heard arguments for the grant of anticipatory bail to Khalistan ideologue Jagjit Singh Chohan and fixed September 4 for pronouncing of orders in the case. The arrest of Dr Chohan has been stayed till then.

Dr Chohan’s counsel today pleaded in the court of Additional Sessions Judge B.S. Mangat that the sanction of the state government should be taken prior to the arrest of Chohan. However, complainant Jagmohan Singh Saini stated that since he had named higher-ups as conspirators in the case he did not expect to get such a sanction. He said even if he did get sanction in the case it may take too long.

Earlier, a local court had issued arrest warrants against Dr Chohan for September 28 on a complaint filed by Congress legal cell leader Jagmohan Singh Saini. The court had directed the police to arrest Chohan and produce him in his court on September 28.

Earlier three persons, Mr Saini and his two employees Mithal Lal and Hakam Singh have recorded their statements in the case in the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate.

Mr Saini had filed a complaint under Sections 503, 504, 506, 124(a), 153(a) IPC 131(a) and (b) of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

According to the complaint, Mr Saini said Dr Chohan had openly espoused the cause of Khalistan at a press conference in Chandigarh after his return from abroad.

He said following the Dr Chohan phoned him and asked for his suggestions for making his dream of an independent Sikh state a reality.

Mr Saini said he had disassociated himself from the idea and decided to file a case against him.


Ramgarhias on OBC list

Chandigarh, August 31
Through a notification, the Punjab Government today included Ramgarhia, Tarkhan and Dhiman in the list of Other Backward Classes in the state for purposes of giving them special treatment for promoting their economic conditions and other interests. TNS


Aggrieved councillors approach minister
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 31
The thrashing of two municipal councillors belonging to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), including its group leader, Mr Krishan Kumar Garg, on August 28 in the local municipal council hall allegedly by a section of municipal councillors of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and their henchmen, may snowball into a major controversy. The senior party leaders of the BJP have approached the high command to take necessary steps in this connection.

Party sources said two senior district leaders of the BJP had approached the Punjab Local Bodies Minister, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, and others at Chandigarh last evening. The two leaders had also shown them the photographs of the beating up of the councillors.

Sources added that the local workers had decided to launch an agitation if the authorities concerned failed to take any effective action against those involved in the attack.

Mr Narinder Mittal, president, BJP (Bathinda Mandal), when contacted, said he was not aware of the full facts of the incident as he was away to Orissa. He added that by tomorrow the party would come out with its plan.

He pointed out that there was resentment among the party workers due to the incident, adding that efforts were being made to pacify them.

A senior leader of the BJP on the condition of anonymity said the unfortunate incident could reflect adversely on the SAD-BJP alliance in the Assembly elections.

He said he was being approached by workers from all over the state demanding the launch of an agitation so that the “izzat” of the party could be restored. He added that a major section of workers were not in the mood for any sort of “patch- up”.

Information gathered by the TNS revealed that workers of the BJP were also agitated over the fact that due to foul play of some Akalis, its candidate could not become the vice-president of the Municipal Council about an year ago.

They were feeling insulted due to another incident in which three councillors of the BJP were not allowed to enter the house where the dinner for the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, was being hosted by a businessman on August 11, though they were invited.

Meanwhile, Mr Gulzar Singh, a former minister and senior Congress leader, while talking to the TNS alleged that during the SAD-BJP government, corruption had trickled down to the grass-root level. He added that it was a tradition of Akalis that whenever someone tried to expose their corruption, they always tried to resist it in one way or the other.


BJP leaders seek removal of Nakra
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, August 31
Infighting among leaders of the district unit of the BJP became an open secret yesterday when dissatisfied senior leaders boycotted all meetings of various cells even after the invitation extended by Dr Ram Kirpal Sinha, national secretary of the BJP, who had come here to make the assessment of party performance.

The dissatisfied senior leaders, including Mr Mohan Lal Dua, Mr Sat Pal Khurana, Principal Dev Raj, Ranbir Singh and Mr Hari Dutt Kalia met Mr Ram Kirpal Sinha last night separately and demanded the immediate removal of Mr Hans Raj Nakra from the presidentship of the party district unit to save the party from disaster in the forthcoming assembly elections. They alleged that there was no coordination between the local minister, Mr Tikshan Sud, and the district unit president Mr Hans Raj Nakra. Both were promoting pro-Congressmen in their respective camps and had completely ignored the loyal and old workers of BJP. They further alleged that both the leaders had adopted Congress culture and had deputed their henchmen to collect money from the public even for petty works.

They alleged that the district unit was completely dominated by RSS men.


CM carrying on Cong legacy: Chandumajra
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, August 31
Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, General Secretary of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal and a senior leader of the Panthic Morcha today alleged that Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal was carrying on the Congress culture and legacy and had become heir apparent to the Congress.

The Indian federation was being turned into a unitary system, rights of states were being truncated and Mr Badal was becoming a party to all these, alleged Prof Chandumajra. He was hoodwinking people on issue of the river waters which he had sold out to the Centre by becoming signatory to the inter-state river waters dispute amendment Bill adopted by the Lok Sabha and supported by the ruling SAD-BJP combine, Prof Chandumajra said. By saying that his party won’t allow the Bill to go to the Rajya Sabha, Mr Badal was simply befooling Punjabis, alleged Prof Chandumajra.

The Chief Minister had gifted away Punjab waters to the Centre by striking a quid pro quo deal for promoting his family, he continued. Mr Badal was indulging in anti-“panth”, anti-Punjab and anti-people acts out of his love for son. The clout of the Punjabis had decreased during his regime, he said. What the Congress could not dare to do had been done by the BJP-led government in form of anti-Punjab decision about riparian rights, he alleged.

The Panthic Morcha would have poll pact with like-minded parties for defeating the ruling combine as well the Congress in the coming assembly poll, he said. The ruling and other parties were on the run and won’t be able to face the public, he claimed. Calling the Sangat Darshan programme a fraud with people, Prof Chandumajra asked Mr Badal to clarify as to where the money for these programme came at a time when Punjab was in a dire financial straits. the Panthic Morcha would prepare a list of government cheques which were bouncing and think of taking legal recourse for exposing Badal’s bluff added Prof Chandumajra.


Revolt against Baba Sarabjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 31
Thirteen saints belonging to the Sant Samaj owing allegiance to the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, have strongly opposed the decision of Baba Sarabjot Singh Bedi to lead the Shiromani Akali Dal (Panthic Morcha), a political outfit. They said being the chief of the Sant Samaj, an apolitical body, he should not indulge in partisan politics.

The saints held a meeting at Gurdwara Nanaksar here today and decided that five of them would approach the Baba and appeal him to withdraw from the morcha.

They suggested that the Baba should instead try for Panthic unity.


Move to shift PSEB office opposed
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 31
Hundreds of residents of the local Parasram Nagar today held a rally in the locality and blocked traffic for more than three hours to press the authorities not to shift the office of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) from there to some other place.

Residents, including women, were protesting against the move of the PSEB authorities to shift the office from their locality to the Multania road.

The residents said if the office was to be shifted to some rented building on the Multania road then what was the need to shift it.

They said they would have to cover a long distance to pay bills and file complaints if the office was shifted to some other place. They alleged that the reasons for shifting the office as was given by the officers of the PSEB were not satisfactory. They alleged that there were some political persons behind the move.

Mr Vijay Sharma, municipal councillor of the area, while addressing the gathering said if the authorities had to make an office on the Multania road they could set up an extension office there. He said they were not against providing the facility to residents of the Multania road. But, were certainly against the shifting of the office to far-off place. He added that they would have to travel a long distance to deposit the electricity bills once the office was shifted.

Mr Anil Kumar Garg, Duty Magistrate, who reached the spot asked the people to stop the agitation and assured them that some solution to the problem would be found.

A senior official of the PSEB when contacted said that the office in Parasram Nagar was running from a rented building.

He said the owner of the building wanted it to be vacated, therefore they did not have any option but to shift it to some other place.


He worked for Sikh institutions
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 31
Rich tributes were paid to Jathedar Ranjit Singh Riar on his 11th death anniversary here on Wednesday. It was on August 29 , 11 years ago, that Jathedar Riar, the then President of the local unit of the Shiromani Akali Dal, was gunned down by militants outside the Sector 15 gurdwara.

Jathedar Ranjit Singh Riar had dedicated later half of his life in the service of the Sector 15 gurdwara and other Sikh institutions after retiring from government service in 1982 . His dedication and devotion to social service got him elected as the General Secretary of the Sector 15 Gurdwara Sri Guru Teg Bahadur. Later on, he was also elected General Secretary of the Coordination Committee of Gurdwaras and Sikh Institutions of the city. In recognition of his good work, he was nominated President of the local unit of the Shiromani Akali Dal.

During Operation Bluestar, he was taken in custody by the security forces and underwent torture after which his condition deteriorated and he was shifted to the Command Hospital for treatment. The family came to know o f his serious condition and moved a habeas corpus petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. In the meanwhile, the Chandigarh Administration ordered his detention under the NSA and sent him to Burail Jail where he was kept for 18 months. His house in Sector 15 was frequently searched by the security forces.

On the other hand, Jathedar Riar’s family continued its social work and contributed tremendously, especially for ‘dharmi faujis’ welfare fund. During Operation Black Thunder, he courted arrest along with Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

It was he, who was the brain behind a “serai” building for patients and their attendants after getting eight kanals of land allotted from the Administration. His other major contribution was Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Public School in Sector 15.

On August 29, 1990, when he was coming out of the Sector 15 gurdwara, which he had served for eight years, he was shot by a group of militants. After his death, the onus of carrying his work forward fell on the shoulders of his eldest son, Mr Gurpartap Singh Riar, the present chief of the local unit of SAD.


Book SGPC member’s son: Cong
Tribune News Service

Samana (Patiala) August 31
Congress workers today held a dharna in front of the tehsil complex in this town for three hours to protest against the police for not taking any action against the son of a SGPC member Gobind Singh Panjrath who they alleged had led a murderous assault on some workers on August 27.

The dharna was led by former Congress Kisan Cell President Harinderpal Singh Mann who accused the local police of sheltering Neeta, the son of the SGPC member, who, he alleged, had fired upon Congress workers in the township on August 31. The police did not allow the agitators to enter the tehsil complex following which they held a dharna outside it.

He demanded the immediate registration of a case against the SGPC member’s son saying if this was not done the people would lose complete faith in the law and order machinery.

The dharna was addressed by former legislator Baldev Singh Loomba, SGPC member Darbara Singh Seona and former municipal committee President Inderjit Singh Waraich. The speakers demanded an impartial inquiry into the case saying the shopkeepers in the town who had been witness to the assault made by the SGPC member’s son should be made part of the inquiry.

Meanwhile, the Sessions Court here has stayed the arrest of five of the accused in the case against whom a case under Section 307 (attempt to murder) has been registered. The court granted stay on the arrest of Sanjeev Kumar, Navjot Singh alias Jyoti, Gurpinder Singh, Rishu Verma , Ravinder Singh, Boota Singh and Jatinder Singh.

The counsel of the accused submitted that although a case had been registered under Section 307, not a single person had been injured on the side of the complainant. The counsel for the complainant, however, argued that his clients were saved because they were attacked when they were proceeding in the car and that they had left the car and ran away.


Woes of patients’ attendants

Jangveer Singh

Attendants of patients in the Government Rajindra Hospital have to travel long distances to purchase medicines, besides having to cope with the problem of stray dogs in the hospital corridors.

The biggest problem of the attendants is that they have to go out of the hospital premises to medicine shops on the Patiala-Sangrur road, even for small items such as bandages and syringes. It surprises them that there is no arrangement for an in-house chemist shop which could remain open during the night. Besides, there are complaints of ignorant villagers being overcharged or given substandard drugs by the chemists.

Jagtar Singh, one such attendant, said that the Red Cross chemist shop inside the hospital premises should be adequately stocked or the hospital should make alternative arrangements as had been done at the PGI at Chandigarh. He said the Red Cross shop on the hospital premises was woefully under-stocked and most of the times did not even have bandages, plaster or syringes in its stock. Others said the old Red Cross shop which was located close to the Medical Superintendent’s office should also be restarted.

The other problems of patients is — surprise of surprises — stray dogs, specially at night. “I am afraid to visit relatives admitted in the hospital in the evening because of the stray dogs that have made the hospital their home”, said a regular visitor.

Attempts were made to eradicate this menace, in collaboration with the Municipal Corporation. But the new guidelines on the treatment to be meted out to the dogs now ensure that nothing drastic is done. These dogs also create unhygenic conditions in the hospital, frustrating the attempts of the administration to keep the hospital clean.

Rubbish and dry leaves continue to be burnt by the staff in the hospital compound causing pollution. Attendants say that this practice should stop. Visitors to the hospital are also irked by the fact that the STD booths on the hospital premises do not allow the users to take advantage of calling nearby towns on local call rates and are forced to use the STD codes.

If the attendants are forced to pay more to the STD booth owners, the situation in the emergency ward is no better. They complain that they are not allowed to use the telephone in the emergency ward which, they say, is monopolised by the doctors.


Peripheral colonies to get sewerage and water supply connections
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 31
Peripheral colonies in the city are in for sewerage connections and augmentation of water supply according to a scheme finalised with the financial assistance of HUDCO.

HUDCO is collaborating not only with the Patiala Municipal Corporation but also the municipal committees of Zirakpur, Dera Bassi and Samana for making sewerage and drinking water available to residents of the towns, especially in the unplanned colonies which have sprung up all over.

As regards Patiala, a Rs 27-crore scheme has been finalised in collaboration with the Municipal Corporation with HUDCO putting up 80 per cent of the cost and the corporation putting in 20 per cent of the money. According to Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board Superintending Engineer A.K. Bhandari, around 24 km of sewerage line would be laid under the scheme besides 92 km of water supply lines. He said to augment water supply 11 new tubewells would also be sunk along with seven overhead tanks.

The engineer said the areas which would be covered in the city under the scheme, were New Officers Colony, Sidhsar Colony, Hembagh Colony, Darukota, Bajwa Colony, Gurbaksh Nagar, Gulshan Nagar, Mathura Colony, Tejbagh Colony, Deshmesh Nagar, Ghumman Colony, Azad Nagar and Indira Colony.

Mr Bhandari said HUDCO had already conducted an appraisal of the project and that it was in the finalisation stage with only the financial details to be worked out. He said once started in a few months, the project would be completed in a three-year span. He said the project was likely to improve sanitary conditions in the peripheral colonies in which water supply would be augmented considerably. As regards laying of sewerage lines, he said the project would concentrate on laying the main circuits, adding the branch lines could be extended later also.

The project has been met with delight by residents of all the peripheral colonies who are suffering due to inadequate water supply, ‘specially during the summer season. The residents of such colonies also have to do with unhygienic conditions in the monsoon when lack of proper sewerage connections lead to various problems.

Identical schemes have been formulated for Zirakpur, Dera Bassi and Samana townships. In the case of Zirakpur, a Rs 4.66-crore scheme had been formulated in collaboration with HUDCO. He said the scheme involved a 38-km-long sewer line along with three tubewells and two reservoirs, besides 32 km of water supply lines.

In the case of Samana, a Rs 5.96-crore scheme has been finalised. This will cover the entire town as far as sewerage is concerned, involving laying of 28 km of sewer lines. Water supply lines of 21 km will also be laid along with two tubewells and one reservoir.

In the case of Dera Bassi, a Rs 2.17-crore scheme has been formulated which involves laying of 12 km of sewer lines.


A showpiece that reflects shame
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Despite being situated in the heart of the city’s VVIP area, the park in the exclusive Civil Lines locality here is a picture of neglect.

Its proximity to the residences of all top bureaucrats, including the Commissioner, Jalandhar Division, the Deputy Commissioner and the Senior Superintendent of Police, holds no meaning as this park has been crying for maintenance for several years. Interestingly, almost all officers and their families can be seen having their morning walk in this park, particularly as it is safe from the security angle. Yet none of them seemed to have even noticed its pathetic state.

The park was initially developed by the Horticulture Department about a decade back, but was later handed over to the local Municipal Corporation for maintenance. But in the name of maintenance, what any visitor is likely to confront in the park is nothing but flowerbeds covered by wild vegetation, broken pathways, presence of polythene bags and weeds in every nook and corner, which makes it difficult for people to have a stroll in the park. The condition of the park deteriorates during the summer for lack of water for flower-beds and lawns. What provides ample proof of the indifference of the authorities is the broken topiary structures of animals, the objective of which was once to enhance its beauty.

Giving vent to their anger, several morning walkers expressed their dismay at the lack of maintenance of the park. “We come here to get ourselves rejuvenated but what is appalling is its present state. This is not happening at this place only, but in all parks of the city,” complained Manoj Arora, a regular visitor to the park and president of the Model Town Market Association.

Similarly, Mr Ishwar Chander, who had come with his family, said the place could be developed as a major attraction if the authorities concerned were able to pay more attention towards its upkeep and maintenance.

Admitting that the park needed more attention, Deputy Commissioner K. Shiva Prasad promised that the condition of the park would be improved within a few days.


3 samples show signs of contaminated water
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 31
Out of the five samples of water sent for testing following the Samana epidemic, three of them have shown signs of contaminated water.

Deputy Commissioner Jasbir Singh Bir said that the three samples that gave signs of unhealthy water were from Balmiki Mohalla, Gharawa Patti and Chakla Bazar. He added that tubewell No. 2, near the Municipal Committee and Subash Park, Samana, were the two areas from where the water had shown positive results.

Mr Bir said due to leakage of pipes, unauthorised connections and tullu pumps were found to be the major reasons for contamination of water.


Chief Engineer, Public Health, retires
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 31
Mr G.S.Bains, Chief Engineer of Public Health, Punjab, today retired after putting in 35 years of service in the department.

Mr Bains joined the department in October, 1966, and worked as an Assistant Engineer in the Union Territory of Chandigarh. From 1981 to 1985, he was sent to the Government of India on foreign assignment with the Government of Kenya where he worked as a senior engineer in the Ministry of Water Development, Nairobi.

He supervised the implementation of the Mombasa coastal water supply project covering the entire eastern coast of the country. Mr Bains also served on deputation with the Punjab Pollution Control Board from 1993 to 1999, first as Senior Environmental Engineer and then as member secretary of the board.

He took over the charge as Chief Engineer, Public Health, on April 1, 2001.


5 pc job reservation demanded
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 31
A deputation of the Punjab Pradesh Vimukat-Janjatia Sangh, led by Mr Buta Ram Singh Azad, president, All-India Taprivas and Vimukat Jatis Federation, and the sangh’s state body president, Dr Tarsem Singh Mahla, met the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, here today regarding their demands.

Their demands relate to 5 per cent job reservation and the allotment of plots for residential accommodation on priority.


Pensioners: issue notification on old age allowance
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 31Mr Yash Pal Ghai, additional general secretary of the Punjab Government Pensioners Association, has urged the state government to immediately issue the notification granting the benefit of old age allowance to pensioners of the age of 65 and 75.

The Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, had made an announcement to this effect while addresing a state-level pensioners’ convention at Fatehgarh Sahib on April 25.


PUDA raises 4.12 cr for medical institute
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 31
Decks for construction on the first phase of the Rs 300-crore Punjab Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) project here have been cleared with the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) raising funds to the tune of Rs 4.12 crore by auctioning its 44 prime commercial sites on the erstwhile Sugarcane Research Institute premises here on Wednesday.

The PIMS project is the brainchild of a former Chief Minister, the late Beant Singh, who launched it soon after assuming charge in 1992.

Though a few wings of the institute were constructed, yet largely its construction has been hanging fire since then for want of adequate funds which led the state government to direct the PUDA authorities to raise funds for the completion of the project by way of sale of government property under its Optimum Utility of Vacant Government Lands (OUVGL) Scheme.

Worried over the delay in the start of construction work on the PIMS, the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, held a meeting of the governing body of the PIMS on Tuesday in Chandigarh and reviewed the progress of generation of funds by PUDA.

At the meeting, which was also attended by PUDA Chief Administrator Mr K.B.S. Sidhu and the PIMS governing body member, Mr N.S. Rattan, the Chief Minister stressed the need for expediting the process of the generation of funds for early completion of the prestigious project.

Mr Sidhu assured that the funds required for the construction work would be made available to the PIMS strictly in accordance with the time frame fixed by the Chief Minister for the completion of the project. The PUDA authorities were planning to realise an estimated amount of Rs 25 to 30 crore from auctions for the project by the end of March, 2002, official sources said.

Mr H.S. Nanda, Additional Chief Administrator of PUDA, under whose chairmanship yesterday’s auction was held, said the entire amount of Rs 4.12 crore would be diverted towards the construction work on the project. He said it was the second sale of commercial sites in the erstwhile Sugarcane Research Institute popularly known as “Ganna Farm”, one of the few green spots in the city.

For the speedy generation of funds for the project and to attract more buyers, PUDA is likely to reduce rates of allotment of commercial and residential sites and a decision to this effect has already been taken, it is learnt.


New Commissioner of Faridkot Div
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 31
The following postings and transfers in the Police Department were ordered today on administrative grounds:

Mr Narinder Sharma is now DIG, Provisioning; Mr Hartej Singh Sekhon is SP, Headquarters, Jagraon; Mr R.L. Moonga is SP, Detective, Muktsar; Mr Kanwaljit Singh is SSP, Barnala; Mr Tulsi Ram is SSP, Nawanshahr; Mr Ishwar Singh is Comdt., 6th IRBN, Ladda Kothi (Sangrur); Mr Yurinder Singh, is Zonal SP, Special Branch, CID, Ferozepore; Mr Gurkirpal Singh is SP, Headquarters, Patiala; Mr Narjinder Singh Sekhon is SP, Detective, Fatehgarh Sahib, and Mr Mukhtiar Singh is SP, Detective, Kapurthala.

Meanwhile, the following IAS and PCS officers have been reshuffled.

Mr C.S. Srivastava is Commissioner, Faridkot Division, Mr Satwant Singh is Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development), Hoshiarpur, Mr Kirpal Singh is Joint Secretary, Education, Mr A.S. Bhatti is PSO to the Commissioner, Ferozepore Division, Ferozepore; Mr B.S. Dhaliwal is Land Acquisition Collector, Department of Industries, Mr Harjinder Singh is Land Acquisition Officer, Improvement Trusts, Patiala, Faridkot and Ferozepore Division with headquarters at Ludhiana, Mr Mohinder Pal is Joint Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana, Mr G.S. Khera is PSO to the Commissioner, Jalandhar, Mr J.C. Sehharwal is Subdivisional Magistrate Jalalabad, Mr Navtej Singh is Assistant Commissioner, Nawanshahr, Mr Bikramjit Singh Shergill is Assistant Commissioner, Sangrur, and Mr Gurmit Singh is Assistant Commissioner, Muktsar.


Register cases against bank officials: DC
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 31
Mr Sarvjit Singh, Deputy Commissioner, yesterday directed the SSP, Sangrur, to register cases against the bank officials who do not open accounts of pensioners whose pensions had been sanctioned by the Department of Social Security.

This direction was given by the Deputy Commissioner while presiding over a “sangat darshan” programme here.

He also warned the officials of the Social Security Department that they would also face action if they did not issue pensions to the eligible persons. He also urged the public not to bring court cases to the “sangat darshan”. He asked the people to take the cases relating to atrocities on women to the police women cell. Nearly 60 complaints and representations were presented, out of which 20 were settled on the spot, while remaining were sent to the department concerned.


Petrol station murders: 4 held
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, Aug 31
The sensational double murder and robbery incident at Jackson Petrol Station near the Jalandhar bye pass on the morning of August 20 has turned out to be an in-house conspiracy. The Ludhiana police today claimed to have arrested four persons, including an employee of the petrol station, who allegedly committed the crime.

While the brutal manner in which the murders were executed was hair-raising experience in itself, the arrest of all the accused has brought out a shocking revelation that the accused killed the two persons for a paltry share of Rs 2,300 each, as a small sum of over Rs 9000 was stolen from the petrol station. Interestingly, the accused were not even honest among themselves as one of the conspirators, Sonu, received only Rs 100.

Addressing a press conference here today, SSP Harpreet Singh Sidhu said on the basis of scientific information, the police got vital clues and succeeded in cracking the case in 10 days only. He announced a reward and appreciation for three policemen for solving the case. Constable Visakha Singh has been recommended for promotion and given a cash award of Rs 5000. Inspector Wazir Singh, in-charge, CIA staff, has been given a reward of Rs 10,000, while DSP Manjit Singh Dhesi has been awarded with an appreciation letter.

The accused have been identified as Roshan Lal, Balwinder Singh alias Bindi, Satpal alias Sonu and Shamsher Singh alias Sheru. The police claimed to have recovered an iron rod used by the accused to club two persons to death. It has also recovered some shoes, owned by the accused, whose footprints matched with those found at the crime scene. The fingerprints of the accused have also matched the discovered ones.

Disclosing the story behind the crime, Mr Sidhu claimed that Roshan Lal, who had been working at the petrol station as a sweeper for the last 7 years, had complete knowledge regarding the cash, which was usually kept in the office at the petrol station during the night time.

He allegedly conspired with Bindi, Sonu and Sheru who were working as a cutter master in a hosiery, cable operator and helper at Pepsi godown, respectively. According to the SSP, all the four entered the petrol station by scaling the wall and allegedly first killed Kewal Krishan, a servant, and then after breaking open the lock of the outer main door entered the building and allegedly murdered the watchman, Ram Kishan.

The SSP said the police received information about the possibility of the involvement of some insider. Working on it the police found vital clues about the involvement of an employee who was missing from the scene on that fateful morning. Sources said the accused employee was seen at the petrol station in the afternoon only.

The police is also learnt to have been helped immensely by the later fight between the accused as one of them, Sonu, was only given a share of Rs 100 from the booty.


Wheat theft racket unearthed
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, August 31
The police has unearthed a racked involving theft of wheat from a godown of the local Punjab Agro Industries Corporation Limited. The theft was being committed in connivance with officials of the corporation.

Mr Sukhdev Singh, SSP, while talking to mediapersons here today said Sub-Inspector Skattar Singh, Station House Officer of the local city police station, on tip-off yesterday laid a naka in front of the godown of the corporation and intercepted a vehicle laden with 28 bags of wheat weighing 14 quintals. The vehicle was coming out of the godown of the corporation.

Four persons identified as Sashi, driver, and Pawan Kumar, both residents of Gurdaspur, Baldev Singh, security guard of the corporation and a resident of Babehali, and Kala Masih of Kalanaur were arrested in this connection. No document pertaining to the ownership of the wheat was found from them.

The SSP said the alleged kingpin of the racket, Sharma, an Inspector with the Corporation, absconded from the scene. The interrogation of the accused led to the recovery of another 42 bags of wheat weighing 27 quintals which were stolen from the godown. A case has been registered under Section 379, 411 and 409, IPC.


Red light car confiscated with poppy husk
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 31
A Maruti Gypsy with a red light blinking overhead and which was smuggling 476 kg of poppy husk was confiscated by the district police here today.

The Gypsy was stopped and searched by a police party led by Mr Ashish Kapoor, DSP, Samana, during a naka near Dedna village, falling under the jurisdiction of Ghagga police station.

On searching the vehicle, it was found that the Gypsy was carrying 14 bags of poppy husk, weighing 476 kg.

The police has arrested Iqbal Singh of Hoshiarpur, while his accomplice, Harinder Singh escaped. An FIR has been lodged at Ghagga police station under the NDPS (Preventive) Act. 


FIR against 2 rice mills
Our Correspondent

Nabha, August 31
The Nabha police has registered an FIR against two rice mills in the town on a complaint by the District Manager, Markfed, Patiala, to the SSP, Patiala.

In the complaint, the District Manager said Markfed had purchased paddy from the market under the central pool and entrusted it to rice millers for custom milling. M\s Akash Rice Mill, Nabha, was given 15,884 bags of paddy worth Rs 97.08 lakh during 1997-1998 and 18,582 bags worth Rs 78.24 lakh during 1999-2000.


BHMS students hold dharna, block traffic
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, August 31
The traffic on the Civil Lines road was disrupted for about two hours today following a dharna near the Circuit House here by more than 200 students of Guru Nanak Homoeopathy College, Ludhiana, after their talks with the Medical Education Minister, Punjab, failed over the postponement of their final examination scheduled to start on September 10.

The students were demanding that the final examination to be conducted by the Council of Homoeo-pathic Systems of Medicines, Punjab, on September 10 for the Bachelor of Homoeopathy Medicine and Surgery (BHMS) degree course should be postponed since the Vice-Chancellor of the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Dr J.S. Gujral, had reportedly declared that the council could not award degrees to the students.

Mr Gujral had reportedly admitted that the council had no right to award the degrees to the students after the formation of the university by the state government. Though the varsity had decided to grant affiliation to the new batch, which would take admission from the current academic session in six private colleges throughout the state, more than 800 students of previous five batches were virtually confused after the varsity and the council had failed to resolve the issue for the past three years.

The students had submitted a memorandum in this regard to the Punjab Medical Education Minister, Mr Manoranjan Kalia, asking him to intervene in the matter. Subsequently, Mr Kalia instructed the Principal Secretary of the department to arrange a special meeting at Chandigarh on September 5, which would be attended by the Vice-Chancellor and the Chairman of the council to sort out the issue for once and all.

The assurance of the minister, however, was rejected by the students. They held a dharna near the Circuit House for about two hours and raised anti-government slogans.

Later, dharna was lifted when Mr Pawan Uppal, SP, reached the scene and assured the agitating students that their demands would be conveyed to the state government through the Deputy Commissioner.


Shifting of teacher’s post resented
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 31
Resentment prevailed among residents of Bhairupa village in the district due to the shifting of one post of mathematics teacher from Government Girls High School of the village to some other school.

The sarpanch and panchayat members of the village in a letter to the District Education Officer (DEO) said at least 494 students studied in the school. Which had only three mathematics teachers.

They said as per the official orders one of the posts has been shifted to government school at Sema village. They said that the students were facing difficulties due to the less number of teachers. They urged that if there was a need of mathematics teacher at Sema village the government should make some other arrangements.


NAAC team to visit Punjabi University
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 31
All offices and teaching departments of Punjabi University will remain opened on September 1 and 2. Giving this information, Dr B.S. Bhatia, Registrar, said that the offices would remain opened on these days as a team of National Assessment and Accredition Council (NAAC) would visit the university campus on September 2. The team would stay till September 6. In lieu of the working days on September 1 and 2, the university offices and teaching departments would remain closed on September 10 and 11.


Non-teaching staff observe strike
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 31
Non-teaching employees of various private colleges of the city today observed a strike in their respective institutes to press the authorities to accept their demands.

The call for the strike was given by the state unit of Private College Non-teaching Employees Union.

Mr Amarjeet Singh Khullar, president of the DAV College unit union addressing the agitating employees said the government should accept their genuine demands.

He urged the authorities that arrears of the revision of grades should be paid in one instalment. He said the present system of paying the arrears in more than one instalments created problems for the employees.

Mr S.K. Garg said the government should implement the revised pay scales. He said the HRA should be given at the revised scale. 


Traders not to stage protest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 31
A deputation of the Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal led by Mr Amrit Lal Jain today called on the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and announced its decision not to go ahead with the proposed statewide protest on September 3.

The deputation urged the Chief Minister to abolish octroi in the state keeping in view the hardship faced by the trading community.

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