Tuesday, October 23, 2001, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Talwandi, Tohra hold meeting
Tribune News Service

Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi
Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi

Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra

Amritsar, October 22
In a significant development, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, SGPC chief and Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, held a closed-door meeting at the SGPC-run dental college. Both were closeted for more than 15 minutes in the principal’s office after the meeting of the trust.

Significantly, Mr Talwandi missed the crucial meeting of the Political Affairs Committee which was held at Chandigarh today.

The meeting assumes significance in the wake of the speculations that Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, was contemplating change of guard in the SGPC. Bibi Jagir Kaur, a former SGPC chief, who discussed some important issues with Mr Badal yesterday had clearly announced that she was ready to contest the annual election of president of the SGPC scheduled for tomorrow.

In the prevailing situation, Mr Talwandi has been feeling ‘politically insecure’. It may be mentioned here that Mr Talwandi had issued many controversial statements which he had to withdraw later on.

Earlier, while coming to the rescue of Mr Talwandi who is under attack by his opponents for bestowing a ‘siropa’ to Kashmir Singh, an excommunicated Sikh from Canada, Mr Tohra said that he (Mr Talwandi) should not be held responsible for that as he (Kashmir Singh) was given the state honour as he had accompanied Mr Ujjal Dosanjh, the then Premier of British Columbia. He said Mr Parkash Singh Badal should be blamed for the violation of edict issued by Akal Takht. Mr Dosanjh was treated as a state guest. “Mr Talwandi might have presented siropa out of ignorance”, he said.


Sacrilege: Panthic Morcha to set up people’s panel
Tribune Reporters

Ludhiana, October 22
The Panthic Morcha will set up people’s commission, comprising three retired judges of high court, if Mr Parkash Singh Badal does not accept the three-member commission, set up by Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, president of the SGPC, to probe the incidents of burning of “birs” of Guru Granth Sahib and the sacrilege of the same in Punjab.

Stating this, Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi, convener of the Panthic Morcha, said today that the morcha would accept the judges appointed by Mr Talwandi and add another retired judge of the high court to the same panel and start the enquiry into the incidents of sacrilege.

Baba Bedi said the entire panth had accepted the panel of judges set up by Mr Talwandi and Mr Badal was just dilly-dallying at the behest of his masters in Delhi.

He was not sincere to the Sikh panth and bent on demoralising Sikh leaders.

He charged that Mr Badal was a party to the Baba Bhaniara episode and did not want to take action in the matter. The Chief Minister had not bothered to take action even in the Nirankari episode and, with the result, Punjab had to pass through a period of turmoil for one decade. “Mr Badal has not learnt any lesson from the past mistakes and is repeating the same”, he said.

Baba Bedi thanked the US Senate for condemning the attacks on Sikhs in USA after the September 11 attacks on New York and Pentagon and said it was a matter of great satisfaction that the US Senate had taken cognizance of the crime when one Sikh was killed there.

He said it was shameful that, contrary to this, in India in 1984 thousands of Indian Sikhs were massacred and not a word had been uttered in Parliament by any government to condemn the massacre of Sikhs.

Baba Bedi said the Sikhs would not accept Bibi Jagir Kaur as president of the SGPC. “She is discredited and is facing trial the connection with the mysterious death of her own daughter and has already been rejected by the Sikh panth. If she is made the president, the Panthic Morcha will agitate,” he said.

Meanwhile, senior Akali leader and member of the executive committee of the SAD (Panthic Morcha) Mr Charan Singh Lohara, today accused Mr Parkash Singh Badal of subverting the authority of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC).

In a statement here today, Mr Lohara pointed out, the SGPC was the highest religious body of the Sikhs and its decision should be binding on every Sikh. Referring to the reported reluctance of Mr Badal to accept the panel constituted by the SGPC president, to probe the controversy surrounding Baba Bhaniara, Mr Lohara said this was clear defiance of the SGPC, for which Mr Badal should be held accountable.

Mr Lohara alleged that Mr Badal was trying to shield Baba Bhaniara and his supporters as he was opposing the SGPC-constituted panel. Besides this, he was not too keen to constitute a judicial panel himself. Otherwise, Mr Lohara observed, Mr Badal should have once again approached the Chief Justice of Punjab and the Haryana High Court to spare on sitting judge for the probe.


High priests approved probe panel: Talwandi
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 22
The SGPC chief, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, today asserted that the three-member probe panel appointed to look into the burning of holy “birs” was set up in consultation with the Sikh high priests, the Dharam Parchar Committee and executive committee of the SGPC.

Commenting on the reported remarks of the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who had favoured the enquiry commission to be headed by high court judge, Mr Talwandi pointed out that in case the Chief Minister desired to wind up the SGPC probe committee, the SGPC would bow to be wishes of the party chief. He, however, added that there was no controversy on this issue which had angered the entire panth.

The SGPC chief was talking to mediapersons here after the meeting of the Sri Guru Ram Dass Hospital Trust held at the Dental Institute.

The SGPC chief answering queries about his absence from the crucial meeting of the political affairs committee of the SAD being held today at Chandigarh, Mr Talwandi said he had conveyed his decision of not attending the meeting to the Chief Minister as he had already convened the meeting of the hospital trust.

Interestingly former SGPC chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra was present at the today’s meeting of the trust.

Commenting on the annual election of the SGPC president due next month, Mr Talwandi said it was the prerogative of the party high command to decide on the incumbent, though he did not rule out his bid for the second term as president.


Takht calls meeting of Nihang chiefs
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 22
Akal Takht has called a meeting of chiefs of various Nihang factions on October 29 here to discuss ‘Sikh maryada’ which is being violated by Sikh leaders.

This is for the first time that an exclusive meeting of Nihang chiefs has been called after the sordid incident of Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara as many Nihangs were among those who were frequent visitors to the dera of Baba Bhaniara. Akal Takht is also contemplating to summon those Nihangs who had established direct links with Baba Bhaniara. 


Government steps to tackle bio-terrorism threat
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 22
The Punjab Government has tied up with leading institutions to deal with threats pertaining to bio-terrorism.

The state government has put the authorities at Punjab Agricultural University, the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) and the Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology on alert in this connection. Besides, efforts have been made to contact the authorities at Panjab University here. Contact with the veterinary institutes at Izzatnagar and Meerut (Uttar Pradesh) has also been established.

Dr G.S. Preet, Director, Health Services, told TNS that the PPCB, PAU and the Thapar Institute had well-equipped laboratories to analyse material pertaining to bio-terrorism. He said that he had already spoken to the Vice- Chancellor of PAU, the Chairman of the PPCB and the Registrar of the Thapar Institute to put their staff on alert as suspicious-looking material pertaining to bio-terrorism would be sent to them for examination. He said that he would also talk to the Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University, which had a well-equipped physics laboratory and also ran a chemical engineering degree course.

He said so far no confirmed anthrax-infected material had been found in any form in the state. People should not believe any rumour in this connection. If any suspicious-looking material was found,they should contact the crisis management groups set up at the district level under the command of the Deputy Commissioners by the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal. He said there was no need to panic as anthrax was a fully curable disease and a lot of medicines were available in almost all cities and towns to tackle it.

Dr Preet said that this morning a meeting was called by Mr Badal to review the arrangements made to deal with the situation if anthrax bio-agents were found anywhere in the state. Among those who attended the meeting were the Punjab Chief Secretary, Mr N.K. Arora, the DGP, Mr Sarabjit Singh, the Principal Secretary, Health, Mr Rajan Kashyap, and the Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, Mr Ramesh Inder Singh.

Dr Preet said that while PAU had appointed Mr R.P. Saigal, Dean, College of Veterinary Sciences, as the nodal officer to coordinate with the crisis management groups, the other institutions would appoint the nodal officers by tomorrow. He said the groups would be told to contact the nodal officers in case of emergency.

He said that all medical officers in the rural areas had been told to approach the control room set up in the office of the civil surgeon concerned in case they received any report with regard to bio-agents dangerous to human life and livestock. The authorities at the district headquarters had been told to educate people in handling suspicious- looking material. Postal Department officials, who also attended the meeting, informed the Chief Minister, about the steps taken by their department to identify postal articles suspected to contain harmful material.


BJP leaders do stock-taking
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 22
The Punjab BJP leadership today reviewed the religio-political and socio-economic situation in the state besides the arrangements for the forthcoming meeting of the National Executive in Amritsar on November 2 and 3.

The state unit president, Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, presided over the meeting which was attended by the party’s office-bearers, MPs, ministers, MLAs, key leaders of the organisational wings, mayors, chairpersons of boards, corporations and improvement trusts, etc.

The meeting decided to set up 46 committees to oversee the arrangements in Amritsar with overall command vesting in the Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Dr Baldev Raj Chawla.

The meeting passed a resolution commending the steps taken by the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to maintain law and order, and communal amity despite provocations like incidents of sacrilege. The resolution condemned the Congress for vitiating the atmosphere by its alleged acts of sacrilege and trying to divide Hindus and Sikhs. It also cautioned against the designs of the Panthic Morcha.

The BJP condemned acts of terrorism at home and abroad urging the Prime Minister to act fast and attack training camps in Pakistan besides liberating PoK.

Through another resolution, the government was complimented on the smooth paddy procurement operations and its pro-people policies that helped farmers and traders.

Mr Rinwa recounted the achievements of the SAD-BJP government and called upon the party workers to put their act together preparing for the National Executive meeting and later the Assembly elections to defeat divisive forces by ensuring the victory of the SAD-BJP government.


Sarpanches not in real sense
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 22
It has been nearly three years since Lakhwinder Kaur of Kalla Bhaini village in the Patiala district was elected Sarpanch but she has still to learn anything about the running of the panchayat. She doesn’t really need to as the whole work is taken care of by her husband Balkar Singh, who for all practical purposes is referred to as the “sarpanch”.

The situation is even worse at Nanansu village in Sanaur block. De facto Sarpanch Balbir Singh doesn’t even feel the need to tell that his wife was elected to the seat reserved for a Scheduled Caste candidate. He tells about the work being done by him and rivalries he is engaged in without even mentioning the name of his wife.

Forty-year-old sarpanch Amarjit Kaur of Pratapgarh village in Bhunerheri block, whose husband is also illiterate like her, relies entirely on her son and other panchayat members to run the panchayat affairs. She is only taken to the city to whenever funds have to be taken out for some development work.

Similar is the case at Seona village where also both sarpanch Mukhtiar Kaur, a Scheduled Caste, and her husband Bant Ram are illiterate and afraid of taking out any grant for development work, fearing that they may be accused of misusing it. Development work is at a standstill in the village with panchayat members being divided into two groups and spending most of their time in making allegations and counter allegations at each other.

All these women and many others in the district elected to the office of sarpanch have still to be liberated in the true sense. The system seems to have overtaken them and most are functioning as rubber stamps, to be used at the will of their husbands or panchayat members. Lakhwinder’s mother Tej Kaur seems to express succinctly when she says “government ne pata nahin ki ulta rivaaz chhed dita” (by making women sarpanches). Talking to TNS, while the sarpanch remained inside the house, she says women cannot run ‘sarpanchi’ and that her son is doing the required work effectively.

As most of the women who have been elected sarpanches, especially in villages reserved for members of the Scheduled Castes, running the panchayat is virtually impossible. “God looks after the work,” says Balbir Singh, de facto sarpanch of Nanansu, who relies heavily on his daughter who is studying in class IX to explain things to him as he is himself illiterate. In such a situation the survey revealed that the gram sevaks and the panchayat secretaries virtually dictate how the panchayat is to be run.

The panchayat secretaries, who are supposed to assist the sarpanch, virtually dictate terms to those who are illiterate and don’t understand the work.

Factional fighting and in some cases even the stopping of the development process is noticeable in some villages where the women sarpanches remain in the shadow of their husbands and families.

Sources said the matter was not helped by the complete lack of interest of the administrative system in creating awareness among the women sarpanches regarding their rights or even training them to run the panchayats. A social worker stated that even Block Development and Panchayat Officers (BDPOs) rarely visited villages regarding the functioning of the village panchayats.


No state honours for martyr
Tribune News Service

Jaffal Jhingar (Jalandhar), October 22
A pall of gloom has descended over this tiny village with the spreading of the news about the death of a local youth Manjit Singh who made the supreme sacrifice while fighting ULFA militants at Dibrugarh in Assam on Saturday morning.

Manjit Singh, a soldier with the 15 Sikh Light Infantry, was part of an Army team which was attacked by a group of armed ULFA militants. Two militants, Vidut Baruha and Apoorva Kunwar, were killed by the jawans in the encounter while Havildar Major Singh was injured.

Kamaljit Singh, father of the deceased who is a small farmer, was virtually numbed by the sudden death of his young unmarried son. He was shocked into silence when relatives and friends tried to console him. Amandip Kaur, a plus one student and a younger sister of Manjit Singh, too, was inconsolable.

Manjit Singh was cremated without any state honours. Those who represented the district administration were a Superintendent of Police and the Deputy Director of the Sainik Welfare Board, Col Manmohan Singh. Political leaders, except a Congress leader, Mr Kanwaljit Singh Lalli, were conspicuous by their absence.


PCMSA flays move to privatise health services
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 22
The Punjab Civil Medical Services Association (PCMSA) has condemned the move of the Punjab Government to allow private entrepreneurs to set up diagnostic centres (clinical laboratories) in government hospitals and community health centres in the state.

Stating this here today Dr Surinder Singla, general secretary of the PCMSA, said the state president, Dr Hardip Singh, had sent communiques to the Punjab Chief Minister and the Punjab Health Minister to immediately withdraw the move.

Dr Singla said the Managing Director of the Punjab Health Systems Corporation had invited applications from private parties/professionals to set up ultrasound centres, CT scan, X-ray, ECG and EEG, etc in more than 150 government hospitals and community health centres in the state. As per the conditions space, electricity and water, etc would be provided by the government whereas the infrastructure and machinery would be arranged by the private parties. In view of this, the PCMSA had asked the state government why it was unable to purchase the ECG, EEG and X-ray machines when lakhs of rupees were lying unutilised in government hospitals, he added.

Dr Singla said the PCMSA felt that it was a major step towards the privatisation of the health services in the state in which the patients would be “looted” mercilessly by the private entrepreneurs. He further said the step of the government would also prove “suicidal” not only for the patients, but also for the Punjab Health Department.

Dr Singla, who is also the senior vice-president of the Punjab unit of the IMA, made it clear that the IMA, Punjab, had not hailed the proposed the setting up of private diagnostic centres in the government hospitals. He said even Dr O.P.S. Kande, state president of the IMA, Punjab, had dissociated himself from the statement by saying that it was an individual view of Dr Raman Aggarwal, Chairman, College of General Practitioners, IMA, Punjab, and had sought an explanation from Dr Aggarwal for issuing such a statement on behalf of the IMA, Punjab.


Enclosure awaits panthers
Gurvinder Kaur

About a year ago, an enclosure intended to house a pair of panthers was inaugurated by Mr Surjit Kumar Jyani, Punjab’s Minister of Wildlife, in the deer park of the Bir Moti Bagh sanctuary. The enclosure still awaits the arrival of panthers.

The project was launched with much fanfare on November 14, Children Day, last year. A foundation stone with a plaque in black marble was put up near the enclosure.

The arrival of the panthers would have given the status of a mini zoo to the deer park as it would have fulfilled the condition of having at least three types of carnivores. It already has a crocodile and a pair of Jackals.

In a city starved of recreational facilities for children, the panthers would have been a major attraction. Meanwhile, a group of Assamese macaque monkeys and a pair of jackals continue to occupy the cages meant for the panthers.

The veterinary surgeon and in-charge of the park, Mr Surinder Singh, says that it may still take two or three months for the formalities to be completed. When asked whether a period of nearly one year was not sufficient for the purpose, he replied that permission had to be obtained from the Central Zoo Authority (CZA), Delhi, which inspects the infrastructure before granting permission. He, however, added that the formalities had nearly been completed and that the park would soon be converted into a mini zoo.

The proposed expansion of the avairy also hangs fire with two enclosures meant for exotic species such as the Silver Pheasant and the White Pea-Fowl lying empty for want of a covering. Estimates regarding the net or the covering of the cages have not yet been passed although these had been submitted long ago.

Lack of beautification and landscaping in and around the park and the deplorable condition of the road leading to it are major deterrents to the visitors. Mr Surinder Singh clarified that flower beds would be laid soon and the area around the zoo would be developed. He, however, admitted that the road leading to the park, had never been repaired ever since it was built about 10 years ago. Floods in the rainy season every year worsen the condition of the road. He, however, said that a proposal to raise the level of the road was under consideration. Meanwhile, an estimate for the repair of the road had been submitted to the PWD authorities.

Meanwhile, as the authorities concerned move at a snail’s pace to get the panthers, visitors to the park are amused to see monkeys and jackals in the “panther enclosure”.



Badal, Dhindsa to call on PM today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 22
The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, accompanied by the Union Chemicals and Fertlisers Minister, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, will call on the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, tomorrow to ensure his participation in the concluding function of the bicentenary celebrations of the coronation of Maharaja Ranjit Singh on November 13 at Amritsar.

The two Dal leaders may even suggest to the Prime Minister to fly straight to Amritsar on his return from the USA in case he has an extended stay there.

The Maharaja Ranjit Singh celebration committee has already drawn an ambitious three-day programme which will get under way on November 11 when the Union Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, takes the salute at a march past from contingents of defence forces, BSF and the police before the start of the procession.

Several Union Ministers, including the Information and Broadcasting Minister,Mrs Sushma Swaraj, and Chief Ministers, including Dr Farooq Abdullah and Mr Om Prakash Chautala, are expected to join the celebrations on November 12 while the Prime Minister is scheduled to be the chief guest on the last day when he is expected to address a public rally.

The SAD-BJP alliance is mobilising people to make it a bigger rally than the “sadbhavana rally” at Killianwalli last month.


Yoga camp held for cops
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 22
Prof M. Lal, a renowned yoga trainer, conducted an orientation camp for the Punjab Police jawans here late last evening.

Dr Jatinder Jain, SSP, who inaugurated the camp, said a medical examination of the police personnel was conducted in the recent past and most of them were found to be suffering from hypertension, obesity, nervousness and diabetes. Most of these diseases were attributed to the lifestyle and odd working hours of the police, he said.

Long working hours, lack of balanced diet and inadequate sleep were other factors leading to these disorders. The modern lifestyle, which depended excessively on various gadgets had made people lethargic, the SSP said.

Professor Lal, while demonstrating various asnas, said no special equipment was required for simple yoga exercises. A team of experts demonstrated various asnas. Some of the yoga exercises were so simple that they could be practised while sitting in the office, he said.

Professor Lal said no asna should be done within four hours of taking meals and special attention should be paid on breathing. In most of the exercises, one had to breath in while stressing up muscles and breath out while relaxing muscles, the Professor said.

The police personnel showed special interest in exercises which help relieve back-ache, neck problems and also reduce waistline and obesity.

Professor Lal said the increasing crime graph reflected the increasing frustration in society. Crime resulted from either human fears or greed, which could be lessened by yoga exercises, he said.

Dr Jain said two police officials would be sent to the Delhi camp office of Professor Lal on a special training, who would then train officials and jawans here. The video cassettes and books on yoga would also be bought. 


Gratuity rates for prisoners raised
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 22
The Punjab Government today revised the gratuity rates paid to prisoners in lieu of work done by them in jails.

According to the Minister of Defence Services Welfare, Jails and Freedom Fighters Welfare, Mr Ajit Singh Kohar, Rs 8, Rs 10 and Rs 12 per day would be paid to unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled workers, respectively. Earlier the rates were Rs 7, Rs 8 and Rs 10 per day.


Scribe dead

Moga, October 22
Mr Gurmukh Singh Chawala, a journalist attached with the Punjabi Tribune, died in a Ludhiana hospital last night following cardiac arrest. He was 52 and is survived by his parents, wife, a daughter and two sons. He was the founder president of the Sukhmani Sahib Seva Society. UNI


‘Desi’ cotton getting high price
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 22
Even as the production estimates of cotton crop in North India, comprising Punjab, Haryana, Sriganganagar and Hanumangarh circles of Rajasthan, have been coming down day by day, the prices of desi variety of cotton have been showing upward trend due to increase in its demand in domestic and international markets.

For the first time in the cotton history of North India, the prices of desi cotton has almost become equal to the prevailing prices of “narma”. Presently, the prices of desi cotton have been ranging from Rs 1,775 to Rs 1,900 while the prices of “narma” have been ranging from Rs 1875 to Rs 1975.

Mr Ashok Kapur, president of the Northern India Cotton Association, said desi cotton was in great demand in foreign countries. He said Japan had been purchasing desi cotton in huge quantity.

He said on the one hand, the demand of desi cotton had gone up while on the other the production of desi cotton had come down drastically in the North zone. He said as per estimates, about 3 lakh bales of desi cotton would arrive in the market in the current season against the production of about 6.5 lakh bales last year.

He said this was for the first time that desi cotton, whose minimum support price (MSP) had been fixed at Rs 1,175 per quintal had been fetching more than Rs 1750. On the other hand, the “narma”, whose MSP was Rs 1,675, had been fetching between Rs 1,875 and Rs 1,975.

In the latest bulletin, the Northern India Cotton Association has projected that production of cotton crop in the current season would be as high as 22 lakh bales. The initial estimate worked out by the association was of 30.15 lakh bales.

Mr Kapur pointed out that further reduction in the production estimates could not be ruled out. He added that daily arrival in the Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan markets was about 8,000 bales in the current year as compared to arrival of 13,500 bales daily in the markets last year.

He added that up to September 30, the total arrival of cotton bales in the markets were 60,000 as compared to 85,000 bales last year in the corresponding period.

He said as per the association’s report, the loss of production of cotton was maximum in Haryana. Position of production of cotton in Sriganganagar circle of Rajasthan was also bad while in Punjab there was no major set back to cotton crop and it was estimated that about 10 lakh bales would be produced in Punjab in current year as compared to about 8.5 lakh bales last year.


EPZ for basmati sought
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 22
Mr D.S. Bains, Managing Director of the Punjab Markfed, has called for the establishment of an export processing zone in the state for promoting the export of basmati rice.

Markfed has already engaged a Dutch company, M/s Cebeco, as consultant for undertaking the study as a part of the Punjab Government’s programme for setting up an export promotion zone.

In a talk with the TNS here yesterday, Mr Bains opined that there was a need for diversification of crop from non-basmati to basmati rice. This was particularly desirable in view of huge stocks of non-basmati rice lying in the stores. He said surplus basmati so produced should be exported besides domestic marketing since there was ample scope for broadening the marketing base both within and outside the country. There was also a need for qualitative improvement at a reduced cost of production which calls for providing better quality seeds and using latest agricultural practices for improving the yield, he added.

The increase in yield would result in reduction of per unit cost of production, thus becoming more competitive.

Basmati should be promoted as a national product by highlighting its characteristics of aroma and nutritious values and a joint campaign by producers, merchants, exporters and associations together could increase the consumption of basmati rice globally. Besides improving marketing intelligence network, levies, cess and taxes also needed to be rationalised to boost exports.


Voter list revision from Nov 3
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 22
The Chief Electoral Officer, Punjab, Mr Gurjit Singh Cheema, said today that a special revision of the voter lists would start on November 3 in the state.

Announcing the schedule in this connection, he said that the voter lists would be published on November 3. Claims and objections pertaining to these lists would be heard from November 3 to 29 during working hours in the offices of the electoral registration officers at their respective places. A special campaign to enrol claimants in the voter lists would be held on November 10 and 11 and again on November 24 and 25.

Claims and objections would be disposed of on January 5 and the finalised voter lists would be published on January 7.

The required forms for filing claims and objections would be available with the designated officers at polling stations.


Term of planning panel extended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 22
The Punjab Government today issued a notification extending the term of the Punjab State Planning Commission till June, 2002. It is headed by the Chief Minister and its vice-chairman is the Finance Minister.


CBI warrants against DSP, 2 others
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 22
A local CBI court today issued non-bailable warrants against a DSP and two other police officials, including an Inspector and a Sub-Inspector, in a case involving the disappearance of Sant Chanan Singh and five of his relatives during 1993.

The next date of hearing, against DSP Gurmeet Singh, Inspector Sube Singh and Sub-Inspector Sukhdev Raj Joshi, has been set for November 19. Earlier non-bailable warrants had been issued against the police officers on August 19 and September 18, but they could not be produced in the court.

A case was registered against the police officials after the Punjab and Haryana High Court handed over the case to the CBI for investigation.

Meanwhile, the Patiala police arrested Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Bhag Singh, Assisant Sub-Inspector (ASI) Sher Giri and two others for graft.

Others arrested with the DSP and the ASI includes Charan Singh, a rerited Head Constable, and Pawan Kumar, a city resident.

Lost children recovered
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, October 22
A police party headed by ASI Sukhdev Singh of Kasturba Chowki, Rajpura, handed over three lost children to their parents. Manoj (9), Kamal (7) and Satta (6) had disappeared on October 19. A complaint was registered by their parents with the police in this connection. Later information from Dhoori about three unidentified kids led the police to the place. Within 36 hours, the kids were reunited with their parents.

The children had reportedly ran from their home and boarded a train following a scolding from their parents upon getting bad results in exams. 


Travel agent disappears with lakhs of rupees
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, October 22
A travel agent, Sanjeev Kumar, who allegedly lured people with promises of sending them abroad, has reportedly disappeared with lakhs of rupees.

A complaint in this regard was registered with the police by Ms Swaran Kaur of Guru Arjan Dev Colony, Rajpura. According to the complainant, Sanjeev Kumar had come to live in their neighbourhood along with his wife, Jaswinder Kaur, sister-in-law and her husband, four months ago. One day, Kumar’s wife and sister came to Swaran Kaur’s house and told her that he sends people to the USA and Australia through legal visas. They offered to send her sons to the foreign land on the charges of Rs 5 lakh per person, out of which Rs 1.5 lakh was to be paid in advance.

On October 4, with the neighbours as witness, Swaran Kaur paid him Rs 3 lakh for her two sons, Kashmir Singh and Seva Singh. Their tickets were promised by October 17. But the family ran away and for a week there has been no trace of the agent.

Many others have also been reportedly duped by the agent. He took away passports of all these people.



Held for cheating PMT candidate
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 22
The district police today arrested Gurdev Singh Ronana for allegedly cheating Ms Nidhi Sukhija of Rs 50,000 by promising to get her admission to a medical college in the Pre-Medical Test conducted by Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar.

The culprit, who claimed to have served as Assistant Commandant, Home Guards (Amritsar), said he had developed contacts with senior officials in the GNDU and could help her pass the PMT, if she paid Rs 1,00,000. Ms Sukhija, who passed her plus two exam from Faridabad, came to the city to prepare for the PMT exam in 1998.


Zonal youth festival begins
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, October 22
The Panjab University zonal youth festival started here today at the DAV College for Women with more than 500 participants from various colleges of the region.

Mrs Kiranjeet Saiyunwala, a social worker, and Mr Ashok Gupta, president, Municipal Committee, Ferozepore were the guests of honour.

Results: Essay writing: Pushpa Sharma (DAV College, Ferozepore) 1, Rajbir Kaur (Goj Chand College, Abohar) 2, Harleen Kaur (SD College, Moga) 3. Poem writing: Gopi Chand College, Abohar, 1, SD College, Moga, 2, SBBSNG College, Sukhanand, 3. Story writing: Gopi Chand College, Abohar, 1, SD College, Moga, 2, SBBSNG College, Sukhanand, 3. Group shabad: Dev Samaj College, Ferozepore, 1, Gopi Chand College, Abohar, 2, SBBSNG College, Sukhanand, 3. Vaar Singing: Gopi Chand College, Abohar, 1, Dev Samaj College, Ferozepore, 2, MMD DAV College, Gidderbaha, 3.

Shabad (individual): Vani (SD College Moga) 1, Ramandeep (SBBSNG, Sukhanand) 2, Shalini (MMD DAV, Gidderbaha) 3.


Tiny tots bloom in fancy dresses
Padmini Jain

A fancy dress competition and group dances presented by Mukat Public School saw tiny tots dressed as unrecognisable creatures. The school wore a festive look with excited toddlers waiting for their turn on the stage.

Mrs Gayatri Kaushal, Principal of the school, inaugurated the competition. Among more than 80 participants were “dancers”, “snowgirls”, “drunkards”, but the most popular ones were George Bush and Osama bin Laden. There were five Osamas.

The winners in Group A were Radhiaka of I B, dressed as “Adimanav”, Ankita Saini as mobile phone, Jasleen Kaur as a fairy.

In Group B (Class III and IV) Sanjana Saini dressed as Nagin stood first. Harneet Bhatia dressedas a mad woman was second and Avi Chawla as Jesus Christ was third. In Group C the winners were Isha Apoorva, Madhur Sibbal and Preetinder Kaur. In group dances Nursery B won the first prize followed by LKG B and VKGD.


A travel agent is believed to have disappeared after collecting lakhs of rupees from different persons on the promise of sending them abroad.

Mrs Swaran Kaur of Guru Arjan Dev Colony has registered a report with the police that Sanjeev Kumar who had come to live in their neighbourhood four months ago, had told her that he sent people to Australia and the USA through legal channels, and offered to send her two sons abroad for Rs 5 lakh each. On October 4, she paid him Rs 3 lakh to send her two sons abroad. He promised them tickets by October 17 but had disappeared leaving no trace behind.

Many others had also been duped by him with promises of sending them abroad. He also took the passports of all these persons. Among them are Tejpal Singh, Lakhwinder, Sucha Singh, Sahib Singh, Kashmir Singh, Neeraj Patel and Billu Singh.

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