Tuesday, October 16, 2001, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Akal Takht summons Charnjit
Sloganeering angers Vedanti
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 15
Akal Takht has summoned Mr Charnjit Singh of the Khalsa Action Committee for an explanation within a week for raising slogans against the ‘mild tankhah’ pronounced by the Sikh High Priests on October 12 on Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, Agriculture Minister, his son, Mr Kewal Singh Badal, Mr Amrik Singh Aliwal, a former Akali member of Parliament, and Mr Bhag Singh and Mr Surjit Singh, both leaders of the Akali Dal (Amritsar), for maintaining ties with excommunicated Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara.

Taking exception to the alleged ‘hooliganism’ in front of Akal Takht, Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti wrote to them that no Sikh could challenge the supremacy of Akal Takht and the ‘tankhah’ (punishment for religious misconduct) pronounced by the Sikh clerics.

When contacted, Mr Prithipal Singh, personal assistant to Jathedar Vedanti, confirmed that a show-cause notice was being sent to Mr Charnjit Singh tomorrow morning, who would be given one week to explain his position before the High Priests.

The Sikh Students Federation (Mehta) and the Dal Khalsa have already dissociated themselves from Mr Charnjit Singh as has one Mangal Singh who had put his signatures on a joint petition of the Khalsa Action Committee.

According to sources, leaders of the Shiromani Khalsa Panchayat, the Guru Granth Sahib Sewa Society, the Sukhmani Sahib Sewa Society, the Dal Khalsa, the Sikh Nari Manch and the Dharm Parchar Committee (women’s wing) are not being summoned for the time-being as their involvement in the incident has not been confirmed so far. However, the Akal Takht secretariat has been endeavouring to identify the persons behind the ‘sordid incident of hooliganism” on October 12.

The Akal Takht secretariat is also ascertaining if there was political motive behind the incident.

For the first time, slogans were raised at Akal Takht during the pronouncement of ‘tankhah’ since the inception of the institution (Akal Takht). It may be mentioned here that activists of the Khalsa Action Committee had alleged that favour was being shown to leaders of the ruling Akali Dal and the SAD (Amritsar) in the award of “tankhah. Some devotees has sought exemplary punishment for the Sikh leaders for violation of ‘hukamnama’.

The secretariat of Akal Takht is busy preparing a list of leaders of various Sikh leaders with direct links with Baba Bhaniara. The list is long.

Sources said a senior leader of the Punjab Youth Congress had expressed his desire to appear before Akal Takht. No other leader of the party had approached for atonement. Interestingly, Mr Buta Singh, senior Congress leader and former Union Home Minister, is likely to be summoned for the second time. Earlier, he was excommunicated from the Sikh Panth for executing the ‘kar sewa’ of Akal Takht at the behest of the Central Government in violation of Sikh tradition after it was damaged during Operation Bluestar. 


Summon Badal at Akal Takht: SAD (A)
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 15
Mr Gurjatinder Pal Singh Bhikhiwind, secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), has sought summoning of the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, at Akal Takht for visiting a ‘dera’ at Rakba village in Ludhiana.

Mr Bhikhiwind alleged that a section of press has published a picture of Mr Badal paying obeisance at the dera in violation of the ‘hukamnama’ of the Akal Takht. He further alleged that Swami Brahmanand, head of the ‘dera’ of Bhuriwale sect, has also authored a granth like Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara.

He said if second-rung leaders of the Akali Dal could be summoned at Akal Takht for violating the edict, why Mr Badal, who was heading the Akali Dal, should not be summoned. Mr Bhikhiwind alleged that the dal had been promoting ‘deras’ in gross violation of the ‘hukamnama’. Mr Badal upgraded the school at Barmi village near Raikot (Ludhiana) allegedly on the recommendation of Swami Greeb Dass.


Remanded for sacrilege
Our Correspondent

Kharar, October 15
The local police has arrested Baljeet Kaur of Gharuan village in connection with the incident of sacrilege of “bir” of Shri Guru Granth Sahib at the village on October 10 at Gurdwara Dera Jagga Ji.

Mr Preeti Sahni, Judicial Magistrate, Kharar, today remanded Baljeet Kaur in police custody till October 16.

Mr Baljeet Singh Sahota, Assistant Public Prosecutor, pleaded for the police remand on the ground that the accused had confessed to her involvement in the crime.


Don’t worship godmen, warns Kewal Singh
Pushpesh Kumar

Damdama Sahib (Bathinda), October 15
Giani Kewal Singh, Jathedar, Takht Shri Damdama Sahib, today appealed to the Sikh sangat not to worship humans claiming to be “gurus” and obey the edicts of Guru Granth Sahib.

He was addressing a large gathering of Sikhs while performing an ardas, seeking forgiveness for the “religious sins” of Punjab Agriculture Minister Gurdev Singh Badal and his son Kewal Singh Badal, junior vice-president of the SGPC, who were awarded a three-day tankhah (punishment) by the Jathedar of Akal Takht on October 12.

The two leaders completed their tankhah and left for Takht Shri Hazoor Sahib early this morning. Mr Gurdev Badal said he felt tension-free after completing the first leg of his tankhah.

Giani Kewal Singh said worshipping living gurus was the biggest bane. He said the Sikhs should come on one platform and fight against these so-called gurus who were posing a threat to Sikhism.

He asked for details of deras where gurus (humans) were being worshipped instead of Guru Granth Sahib. He warned of strict action against such deras and said the details of such “gurudwaras” would be sent to Akal Takht.

He said the Takht was not under any political pressure and the tankhah awarded to the five Sikh leaders was in pursuance of the powers vested in the Takht.

Later, he led a march in protest against the acts of sacrilege. SGPC members, students and residents of the area participated.

Mr Harsh Mehta, Additional Civil Judge (Senior Division), said he would be writing to the higher authorities against the SDM and the police as they failed to stop the activists from entering the court complex and bursting firecrackers.

A memorandum was submitted to the Governor of Punjab. 


SAD regains control over Takht Patna Sahib
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
The Shiromani Akali Dal regained its control over the management of the Takht Sri Harmandir Sahib, Patna, as its nominee and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee member from Faridkot, Mr Mohinder Singh Romana, was unanimously elected President of the Parbandhak Committee of the Takht at Patna today.

The election was conducted by the Additional Sessions Judge of Patna on the directions of the Bihar High Court.

Though elections were originally held on July 21 but were subsequently challenged by a section of the elected members. Of the 15 members, Mr Kalyan Singh of Chief Khalsa Dewan, who belongs to Ludhiana, was not given any voting right. Remaining all 14 members were present.

Mr S.S. Ahluwalia, a former MP, headed the Parbandhak Committee from 1984 to 2,000 before he dissolved the committee and appointed Maj Manjit Singh Sarla as convener of the ad hoc committee to conduct the fresh elections in a fair and free manner.

Initially when the meeting started, the name of Mr Mohinder Singh Romana was proposed by eight members and the remaining six proposed the name of Mr S.S. Ahluwalia, who, however, for unanimity withdrew his candidature and accepted the former as the new President of the Parbandhak Committee.

Interestingly of the five office-bearers elected today, three have the same name, Mohinder Singh.

Mr Mohinder Singh Chhabra was elected Senior Vice-President. Mr Tejinderpal Singh Dhillon was elected Junior Vice-President and his brother, Mr Mohinderpal Singh Dhillon, was elected General Secretary of the Committee. The post of Secretary went to Dr Kulbir Singh of Patna.

Mr Ahluwalia said that during his tenure as President of the Parbandhak Committee, he never involved any political leadership of either the Congress or the BJP in managing the affairs of the Takht Sri Harmandir Sahib, Patna, and expressed the hope that the new leadership too would rise above political considerations and keep the Takht out of politics.

The elections , which started at about 11 a.m. continued for four hours. Mr Harbhajan Singh Brar, President, Punjab Mazdoor Dal, hailed the unanimous election of Mr Mohinder Singh Romana, and described it as a strategic triumph for the Shiromani Akali Dal. 


Sex determination tests to be costlier
Gurvinder Kaur

Patiala, October 15
The recent Supreme Court ruling far from putting an end to sex determination tests through the ultrasound technique, has resulted in making the practice more lucrative for various diagnostic centres in the district.

A survey of the city and adjoining rural areas has revealed that the practice is going on. Those going for the sex determination tests pay up more than before. Earlier they had to pay Rs 600. Now they have to shell out more than Rs 1000. As many as 16 new ultrasound machines have been installed in and around Patiala in the past few months.

The Patiala Civil Surgeon’s office, recently made surprise checks of four ultrasound diagnostic centres and found that none of them was displaying any board stating no SDT test would be performed nor were they getting consent forms filled from the patients. All four were however let off with a warning.

The Health Department authorities have, however, registered 70 out of the 72 ultrasound centres under the Pre-Natal Detection Test (PNDT) Act 1994. At a meeting recently Civil Surgeon, Dr Inderjit Kaur Walia, also formed three committees to monitor the working of the ultrasound centres. The committees will send decoy customers, if necessary, to check whether the Supreme Court guidelines were being followed. Similarly the Senior Medical Officers of Rajpura, Nabha, Samana and Dera Bassi were advised to constitute their respective authorities and advisory committees.

However in the wake of strict guidelines being issued by the Indian Medical Association that it would not support any member of the medical community caught indulging in such illegal activities, the ultrasound centres are wary of any customer approaching them independently. Only cases referred by doctors are entertained. The cut of the doctor involved has also been increased keeping in view the risk factor.

Not only gynaecologists get a cut from diagnostic centres, but also social workers who bring customers.

However by the ban, Satya Devi, a resident of Upkar Nagar feels that a sex determination test is totally justified in her case. She has two daughters and her family desperately wants a male child this time. She says a boy will prove to be her old age security. “All people opposing these tests will not come forward to take care of me and my husband when we are old but my son will, so who are they to ban such tests”, she says.


PSEB faces financial blackout
P. P. S.Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
The Punjab State Electricity Board is facing a financial blackout. Given the staggering financial liabilities, amounting to approximately Rs 650 crore, there is an apprehension that this may even cause power blackout.

Taking cognizance of the grim situation, the Chief Minister has called an important meeting here tomorrow afternoon to find ways and means to enable the board tide over the financial crisis. The Chief Secretary was today appraised of the factual position by the board officials. The new Principal secretary, Finance, was also present.

Informed sources told TNS tonight that the board proposal is that it be paid out of the Rural Development Fund (RDF) that gets money from the purchase tax, which is 4 per cent. It is made up of market development fee and rural development fee of 2 per cent each. The daily inflow is estimated to be around Rs 2.5 crore. If that money is transferred to the board it can help, partially. The argument is that if agricultural production had increased resulting in higher contributions to the Rural Development Fund, the real force behind that is “free’’ supply of electricity to operate tubewells. There is ample justification to seek a share from the RDF, say sources.

Another proposal before the board is to seek a share out of the money, nearly Rs 150 crore, that is to be spent on the third phase of rural link roads at the rate of 20 km per Assembly constituency. The board is seeking around Rs 100 crore.

Unless the state government steps in, the board’s financial situation will further deteriorate affecting power generation and distribution, say sources. The state, after several rounds of discussions, had agreed on a payment of Rs 225 crore for the remaining months of the current financial year, beginning October 1. The board wants money to flow from this commitment.

So serious is the situation, the board proposes to apply a Rs 125 crore across-the-board cut in its current year Plan, pegged at about Rs 580-crore.

The board’s pending payments pertain to power purchase from various sources (Rs 450 crore), coal and railway freight (Rs 100 crore) and suppliers of various equipment (Rs 100 crore). It is with great difficulty that the board is maintaining the stipulated “advance’’ with the railways on freight charge account. That accrues “rebate’’ to the board. If the advance is not maintained, it not only looses on rebate but pays surcharge as well.

The board has been given ambitious plans, including rural electrification ensuring 24-hour power supply to villages besides some “free’’ units to urban and rural poor. Theft of power is another key factor resulting in heavy losses to the board besides out-dated transmission and distribution net-work.

It is in this backdrop that the Chief Minister will intervene to make more money available from the Finance department that is already facing constraints.


Tohra villain of panthic unity: CM
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, October 15
Mr Parkash Singh Badal Chief Minister, Punjab, today alleged that SHSAD President Gurcharan Singh Tohra was the real villain of the Panthic unity as he had rejected the unity move.

Mr Badal who was in Dinanagar for a sangat darshan programme told mediapersons that the dera chief Piara Singh and his followers would have to face consequences as per the law for alledegly committing the sacrilege.

Addressing the gathering the Chief Minister said Rs 1000 crore were being provided for the Shahpur Kandi barrage project and the work will be started shortly.

Mr Badal was accompanied by Mr Sucha Singh Langah, PWD Minister, Master Mohan Lal Minister for Higher Education and Ms Roop Rani MLA Dinanagar.

Mr Badal arrived here yesterday and held a meeting with BJP, and Akali leaders to review preparations for Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s coronation anniversary celebrations to be held on November 13 at Amritsar.


Corner meetings to drum up support for Amarinder
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 15
The Punjab Congress may claim to be riding the crest of a popular wave which it feels will bring it back to power in the state, but it still needs to hold corner-level meetings for as long as a fortnight to ensure a respectable attendance at a rally being held by it in the hometown of its President Capt Amarinder Singh on October 28.

The rally, which was earlier planned for October 16, was postponed as another programme in the city was clashing with it and local Congress workers felt they would not be able to draw crowds without proper preparation.

Ensuring a good attendance at the rally is important not only from the point of neutralising senior Congress leader Brahm Mohindra who has launched a virtual election campaign although his appearances are mainly restricted to religious functions, but also to showcase the support enjoyed by the PPCC chief to central leaders, including AICC General Secretary Moti Lal Vora, who are expected to attend the function.

Party MP Preneet Kaur has picked up the guantlet on behalf of her husband and is leaving no stone unturned to ensure a good gathering at the rally being held in Chhoti Baradari area of the city. The MP has been presiding over corner meetings being held in most of the wards of the city to appeal to the people to attend the October 28 rally. Mrs Preneet Kaur is attending nearly four to five functions in this regard almost everyday.

The District Congress Committee has also made the corner meetings a virtual forum to launch the election campaign of Capt Amarinder Singh from the Patiala assembly seat. DCC (Urban) President Ved Prakash Gupta and senior leader K K Sharma besides others are already projecting Capt Amarinder as the party candidate from the city seat. All local leaders have been given targets to secure the presence of number of people for the rally.

Sources said this profile building was likely to culminate in the October 28 rally where party leaders were likely to ‘’unanimously’’ voice their demand that the PPCC chief stand for election from the Patiala assembly seat. The sources said the high command would also be presented with a view that Capt Amarinder was the best choice for the party seat from the city.

Party sources said the district and city leaders had started working for the candidature of Capt Amarinder Singh after an informal campaign launched by Mr Brahm Mohindra for the Patiala seat. They said a view point had emerged that Mr Mohindra’s campaign should be nipped in the bud by forcefully projecting the candidature of the PPCC President for the party ticket from the seat. The party has also given the responsibility of starting the unofficial poll campaign of the PPCC President to his wife Preneet Kaur, who is also the Lok Sabha member from Patiala. 


Cong flays Fernandes’ reinduction
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 15
Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee President Capt Amarinder Singh today deplored the reinduction of Mr George Fernandes as Defence Minister in the Union Cabinet saying that it was a shameful and unpardonable act on the part of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.

A statement released on his behalf by Congress chief spokesperson Sant Ram Singla here, said persons who had been caught while accepting bribes were being given premium postings instead of registering criminal cases against them.

It said the entry of such a person in the Union Cabinet would endanger the security of the state and was a threat to the democratic institutions and would set wrong precedents. It said the Venkataswamy Committee enquiring into the Tehelka scam had testified the authenticity of the Tehelka tapes by saying they were not doctored or tampered with.

It said the tapes has shown that the defence deals were negotiated at the residence of the Defence Minister. It said it was surprising that while many heads rolled in the Indian Army and officers concerned had been court-martialled the main accused were being allowed to go scot-free.

The PPCC President said it was a matter of shame on the part of the NDA government, which had boasted of giving a transparent and value based system of governance, had crossed all limits of decency and was flouting all rules and regulations.


CPI panel for tie-ups formed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
The Punjab unit of the CPI today constituted a three member committee of the party to make efforts to form a united front of secular, democratic and left forces to defeat “ communal” ruling SAD-BJP alliance in the coming Punjab Assembly elections.

Mr Bhupinder Singh Sambar, Mr Piara Singh and Mr Jagroop Singh have been taken as members of the committee.

Addressing a press conference here today, the CPI Secretary, Dr Joginder Dayal, said his party considered the Congress as a natural ally of the party in the coming assembly elections. Besides, it would negotiate with the CPM, BSP and other parties for electoral tie-up. There would no political deal with any Akali faction, including the Panthic Morcha, for election purpose, he added.

The party has decided to hold public rallies at Sangrur, Bathinda, Amritsar and Jalandhar next month, he added.

Dr Dayal said that the SAD leadership led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal was trying to divide Punjabis on communal lines to consolidate its position among Sikh masses. Mr Badal was playing a very dangerous game just to be Chief Minister for a second term. Mr Badal’s party has already started recruiting “ marjivaras”( those prepared to sacrifice their lives) for this purpose, he alleged.

He said various deras run by so-called babas enjoyed the patronage of politicians of various hues. Such patronage should end. “My party was totally opposed to the philosophy of such deras,” he added. The government’s duty was to promote scientific thinking among people and not the babas who mislead people in various ways.

He said Mr Badal should put pressure on the Union Government to safeguard the national interest and not blindly implement the WTO agreement. There was no use in moving the Supreme Court, as decided by the SAD, against the WTO. Pressure should be on the Union Government to get the WTO agreement amended in favour of Third World countries in the coming round of WTO negotiations.

Dr Dayal said the state was on verge of financial bankruptcy. It was facing a crisis on the agricultural front and farmers were committing suicide. Owing to the large-scale sale of spurious pesticides in the cotton belt, pest attacks on the cotton crop could not be contained.

Squarely holding the USA responsible for the present situation in the Arab countries, Dr Dayal said it had played political games in that region in the past 25 years. And now it was paying a price. America was directly responsible for the creation of the Taliban. The BJP-led Government had surrendered to the West . Its consequences could be fatal for the country. 


CPM to keep off Cong, Akali parties
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
Mr Balwant Singh, Secretary of the Punjab CPM unit, has said his party would neither enter into electoral alliance with the Congress nor the Akalis.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Balwant Singh said he was trying to form a united front of the secular and democratic forces which would contest elections on its own.

He stated that the primary objective of the front would be to defeat the ruling SAD-BJP alliance, which he said was communal and pursuing “anti-people policies”. He hoped that the CPI would join hands with his party for the poll keeping in view the larger interest of the people.

To avoid a split in secular votes in the assembly elections, he opined that wherever necessary the CPM-led front would not hesitate to support Congress candidates but any decision would be taken as per the constituency. His party would like someone from the working class should be elected Chief Minister. In case no one from that came forward the party would opt for someone having proven secular and democratic credentials.


Minister ‘misleading’ Aggarwals
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 15
Various organisations of the Aggarwal community have condemned the statements of certain Punjab ministers in which they had asked the Aggarwals to vote for the Akali-BJP alliance in the coming Assembly elections. Aggarwal leaders said their’s was a non-political organisation.

A meeting of different associations of the Aggarwal community was organised by the district unit of the Aggarwal Sabha in the city today. Those who attended the meeting included office-bearers of these organisations were Mr Kewal Krishan Aggarwal, Mr Kulwant Rai Aggarwal, Mr Anil Kumar Bhola and Mr Naresh Kumar Aggarwal, President of the district unit of the Aggarwal Sabha.

They said Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, Punjab Minister for Science and Technology, was misleading the Aggarwal community by claiming that he was the patron of all such organisations. He said he could be the patron of such organisations being a member of that community but not as a cabinet minister.

They said various organisations were formed to look after the welfare of the community. He said members of the community could have different political inclination therefore, nobody could direct all the Aggarwals to vote for a particular party.

Mr Kewal Krishan Aggarwal said Mr Garg was playing a political game in the name of welfare of Aggarwal community. He said that it was for the members of the community to decide about their franchise right. He added that their votes could not be “purchased” by anybody.


Rs 19 lakh relief for 38 war widows
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, October 15
Ikkwanja Brigade in collaboration with the Gurdaspur district administration on Sunday organised an ex-servicemen's rally and medical camp at Sujanpur cantonment to honour war widows of the district.

Nearly 1200 ex-servicemen and war widows participated in the rally which was inaugurated by Brig ABS Kundra, SM Officiating General Officer Commanding, Gurj Division. A sum of Rs 19 lakh was distributed among 38 war widows of the Sikh regiment. The amount was contributed by the Sikh Regimental Centre, Ramgarh cantonment. The ex-servicemen were also provided medical advice and medicines free of cost by the civil and Army doctors.

Brig M.M. Chaudhary, Brigade Commander, Captain SPS Panesar, Deputy Director Sainik Welfare, Gurdaspur, Lt Col Sagar Singh Salaria and Lt Col Prabhat Singh Jasrotia also addressed the rally. Lt Col Salaria is the father of martyr Shaurya Chakra winner Lt G.S. Salaria. Lt Col Jasrotia is father of martyr Captain A.S. Jasrotia. The Deputy Commissioner, Gurdaspur contributed Rs 25,000 for medicines. Punjab Departments of Fisheries, Sericulture, Horticulture, Banking and Small Scale Industries had put up stalls. They offered suggestions to ex-servicemen. Grievances of the ex-servicemen were heard and remedial measures suggested by the Deputy Director, Sainik Welfare Board, Gurdaspur.


Focal point needs focus on basics 
Anita Tayal

Roads full of potholes, cracks and depressions, electricity poles literally falling down and dark streets without lights, mark the Industrial Focal Point on Sirhind Road here.

The condition of this focal point is such that it cannot be counted among industrial areas. The industrialists have been demanding basic amenities at the focal point and despite repeated representations from the plot-holders, no effort has been made by the authorities.

The focal point is at present under the control of the Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC). Industrialists allege neglect by the corporation, and demand the facilities that were promised to them before they set up their units in this area. According to the SDO of PSIEC, Mr Naresh Kumar Saldi, under the rules, the focal point was to be handed over to the Municipal Corporation five years after its inception. He said that talks were going on with the Municipal Corporation but it was not taking any initiative in this regard.

According to municipal officials the parent body running the focal point should first make basic amenities available to the industrialists, including recarpeted roads and working street lights. They maintain that the PSIEC should tell the Municipal Corporation whether the industrial area is in a developed condition to be handed over to the corporation as required under the rules.

The industrialists lament that they are the sufferers in this conflict. According to Mr Murali Lal Goel, President of the Industrial Focal Point Association, whoever takes charge of the Focal Point, the industrialists should not be deprived of amenities. He said that the 30 per cent subsidy which the Punjab Government was supposed to give to the plot-holders, had not yet been paid, though it had been sanctioned.


CITU to gherao ministers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
The President of the Punjab unit of the Centre of Indian Trade Union (CITU), Mr Balwant Singh, said today that the union would gherao ministers whenever they would visit industrial centres in the state. He said while hundreds of mills in the state had turned sick, the Punjab Government was paying no attention towards this problem.

He said the government was making false claims with regard to the development in the state. As hundreds of labourers had become jobless because of closing of industrial units in the state, they were fighting a hard battle for survival. He said that because of the implementation of the WTO agreement in the country, the small scale industry in Punjab had been ruined.

He was accompanied by Mr Raghunath Singh and Mr Vijay Mishra at the press conference. They said the cycle industry in the state was about to collapse. It was getting raw material at a very high cost which could lead to its doom.


March against terrorism
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, October 15
Hundreds of the Punjab Youth Congress (PYC) workers today held an anti-terrorism march to register their solidarity with the US-led forces fighting against Taliban in Afghanistan.

The workers led by Mr Raman Dutt, vice-president of the PYC, burnt the effigy of Saudi terrorist Osman bin Laden near Nehru Garden Chowk and raised anti-Taliban slogans. Addressing the gathering, Mr Dutt said Laden was trying to incite the youth in the name of ‘jehad’, but he would not succeed in his aim. 


Dental check-up campaign concludes
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 15
More than 1.50 lakh children from primary schools of various blocks got their teeth checked up during the one-month awareness campaign organised by the Health Department here.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, while speaking on the concluding day of the campaign at Government Senior Secondary School, Sanaur, advised the ruralities to get their teeth checked up regularly. He also inaugurated an exhibition on the occasion. The Chief Coordinator of the National Oral Health Care Programme, 2001, Dr Sudhir Pathak said the organisers had set the target of getting about 60,000 children checked up.


Expediate work on approach roads: DC
Our correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 15
Mr Vikas Partap, Deputy Commissioner, Fatehgarh Sahib, directed the district heads of the concerned departments to utilise the grants up to one lakh within a period of three months and ensure the quality of the development works.

While presiding over the monthly development meeting in Bachat Bhavan, today, the deputy commissioner took the serious note of the unnecessarily delay in the completion of small development works and submission of utilisation certificates and asked the Deputy Economic and Statistical Advisor to regularly monitor this work. Mr. Vikas Partap directed the Executive Engineer, PWD Roads and Bridges, to expedite the work on the approach roads to the new overbridge constructed at a cost of Rs 9.22 crore over railway line at Sirhind as early as possible.

The Deputy Commissioner while presiding over another meeting of District Agriculture Production Committee, directed the Chief Agriculture Officer to hold the block-level farmers training camps in the villages and give field demonstration to the farmers regarding the latest alternative sowing techniques of wheat in the paddy fields , so that the burning of the paddy straw in the fields could be stopped completely. He also stressed upon the need to educate the farmers for the judicious use of the pesticides and fertilisers to reduce the cost of productions.

Reviewing the progress of different pension schemes of the Welfare Department, the Deputy Commissioner asked the District Welfare Officer to improve the coordination with the banks to ensure the early delivery of the pensions up to June, 2001, to the beneficiaries which had already been sent to the banks by the department. He also directed to ensure the resumption of the pensions in those discontinued cases which on verification found eligible at the earliest.

Among others who attended the meeting include Mr Amarbir Singh Sidhu Assistant Commissioner (G), Mr Tejinder Singh Dhaliwal, SDM, Fatehgarh Sahib, Mr Nirbhai Singh, SDM Khamanon, Mr Amarjit Singh Sahi, SDM, Bassi Pathana, and Ms Raghbir Kaur Khera, SDM, Amloh.


Ayurvedic Directorate ‘doing good work’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
The Punjab Civil Ayurvedic Medical Services Association at its meeting held here today under the chairmanship of Dr Manjit Singh, expressed its total satisfaction over the working of the Director, Punjab Ayurvedic Department.

The association also took exception to “baseless propaganda” launched by certain self-styled leaders of the association against the Director and maintained that a lot of good work was being done by the Directorate, including establishment of medicinal plantboard, hebal garden, vanaspati ban, drug testing laboratory, and panchkarma unit.

The Association also expressed its satisfaction over the purchase of new medicines. It also decided to call on the Chief Minister and the Health Minister to aprise them of the “nefaious activities” of these so-called and “self-styled” leaders.


ESI employees not paid salaries
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 15
More than 12 staff members of the Employees State Insurance attached to Tuberculosis hospital here have not been paid salaries for past three months.

The spokesman for the ESI staff said here today that they had made various representations to the Director at Chandigarh to release their salaries but to no avail.

The spokesman said there was a medical, four staff nurses, a radiographer, a lab technician and other Class IV employees who continue to discharge their duties at the hospital in spite of delay in the payment.

According to informed sources, the Director, ESI, at Chandigarh has been trying to get the budget approved by the government but due to financial constraints it was not being cleared.


2 booked under Dowry Act
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 15
The Sadar police has registered a case under the Dowry Act against two persons, including the husband and sister-in-law of a 26-year-old woman, who was allegedly burnt in a locality in the city last night.

According to a complaint filed by the mother of the victim, her daughter Sonia was being tortured by her in-laws ever since she was married for bringing insufficient dowry. The complainant said she was informed last night by her daughter’s in-laws, who reside in Dhiru ki Majri, that she had died after being electrocuted.

The complainant, however, alleged that when she arrived at the house of her daughter’s in-laws, she could smell kerosene from the body of her daughter following which she decided to approach the police.

The postmortem report which was released this evening stated that the victim died due to shock following burn injuries. It, however, ruled out the possibility of death due to poisoning. The viscera of the victim has, however, been sent for chemical examination at the request of the police. The Sadar police station has registered a case under Section 304-b/34 IPC against the husband of the accused — Jaspal Kala — and her sister-in-law Bholi. The victim has left behind a four-year-old daughter.


3 injured in attack
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 15
Three persons were injured when some unidentified persons attacked them at Sular village on the outskirts of the city in the early hours today.

The victims, all of whom have been admitted to Government Rajindra Hospital, have been identified as the couple, Mr Satinder Singh and Ms Karamjit Kaur, and their son, Khushwant Singh.

The police said the reason for the attack, which occurred at 2.30 a.m. today, was still not clear, as no robbery had taken place. However, the injured were suspecting a property dispute with a relative as the reason for the attack. A case has been registered at the Sadar police station.


105 kg of poppy husk seized, 5 held
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 15
The police claims to have arrested five persons allegedly involved in the smuggling of narcotics and has seized 105 kg of poppy husk from their possession.

A press note issued here today said Ashok Kumar resident of Killianwali and Major Singh of Koreana were arrested from near Jaga Ram Tirth village while they were trying to smuggle 50 kg of poppy husk. They were carrying the poppy husk in a jeep which was also impounded by the police. A case under Sections 15, 61 and 85, NDPS Act has been registered against them at Talwandi Sabo police station.

Major Singh was booked earlier also for smuggling poppy husk. A case was registered against him at Talwandi Sabo for smuggling 10 kg of poppy husk. He was granted bail in that case.

The police arrested Harbans Singh of Seego village for allegedly carrying 35 kg of poppy husk from near Seego village. A case has been registered against him at Talwandi Sabo police station.

Kaka Singh of Kutti was arrested from near Rajgarh Kubo village for carrying 15 kg of poppy husk while Balkaran Singh of Kotshamir was arrested for carrying 5 kg of poppy husk.

The police has arrested Raja Singh and Jugraj Singh against whom a case was registered at Thermal police station on May 22 this year. They were allegedly carrying 15 kg of narcotics substance.

Similarly Grudial Singh and Bhola Singh against whom a case for smuggling of narcotics was registered at Nathana police station about five months ago were arrested yesterday.

Under the Excise Act three persons have been arrested and cases registered against them. The police has also seized 14 litres of illicit liquor, 50 kg of lahan and unearthed an illegal distillery. The alleged culprits have been identified as Nachhatar Singh of Kothaguru, Ajit Singh of Mehraj and Inder Singh of Bir Talab.

The police has arrested Malkit Singh of Nangla for illegally possessing a .315 bore pistal and four cartridges.

Under the Satta Transactions Act, three persons have been booked and cases registered against them. The police confiscated Rs 1335 from their possession. The alleged culprits have been identified as Jagdish Singh of Pakka Kalan, Jai Kishan and Janak Raj both of the city.


Dowry case

In a dowry-related incident, the police has registered a case of abetment in suicide against the in-laws of Parveen Rani, who died due to severe burns in the Government Rajindra Hospital on Monday. According to sources, Parveen recorded a statement to a magistrate alleging that her in-laws used to torture her for bringing insufficient dowry.


Amir Singh (40) of Michingan village, near here, was got electrocuted when he tried to start tubewell. In another incident, Nagdesh Singh (18), a resident of the Moti Bagh locality here, died after consuming poison.


Prisoner escapes
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 15
A prisoner reportedly escaped from the Central Jail here today. Sources in the jail said the prisoner was found to have escaped during the day.

It was noticed during the evening attendance of the prisoners that one of them was missing. He has been identified as Raju. The police has launched a manhunt for him. He is allegedly involved in various criminal acts.


Lecturers to go on leave on Oct 19
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 15
College teachers will go on mass casual leave on October 19 and converge at Banur, the constituency of Punjab Finance Minister Captain Kanwaljit Singh, for courting arrest.

Stating this here today at a meeting to mobilise union members of this area, Prof Jaspal Singh Randhawa, general secretary of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union, said the protesters would assemble in front of Government School, Banur, and block traffic on the Chandigarh-Patiala road. Saying that pension and gratuity were linked to each other as per a Bill passed by the Punjab Vidhan Sabha in 1999, he criticised the Finance Minister for his attempts to dissociate gratuity from pension.


Special children participate in contests
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 15
Deaf and dumb students of the Ram Kali Welfare Handicapped Sewa Society participated in painting and dance competitions organised at Lakhshmi palace here today.

More than 900 physically challenged students took part in the painting competition while another 200 participated part in the dance competition. Giving this information, the Society Secretary and Principal of Ram Kali School, Mr Asutosh Kumar Bajpai said such activities were necessary to create confidence among these special children so that they could progress in life and achieve higher goals.

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