Sunday, October 28, 2001, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SGPC executive to meet Vedanti today
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 27
The general House meeting of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), which is scheduled to be held before November 30, may be pre-poned. The election of the committee president and its executive will be held at the meeting. Sources said the House could be convened between November 20 and November 22.

The sources also said that the SGPC members who are to accompany the Sikh jatha to Pakistan would like to get the elections pre-poned as they would return to India on December 1. It is a routine that many members of the committee visit Pakistan along with the jatha.

The pre-poning of the election may ease the tension prevailing in the Panthic circles. Though the current crisis stands defused following the participation of Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi in the Political Affairs Committee meeting, yet Mr Badal wants to find a ‘permanent solution’ at the earliest so that the ruling SAD could chalk out a strategy for the forthcoming elections.

Meanwhile, the SGPC has decided to open its offices tomorrow as its entire executive, excluding Mr Talwandi, would meet Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti to seek ‘explanation’ on his oblique statement against Mr Talwandi on October 12, when Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, Officer on Special Duty to the Chief Minister was bailed out in the Bhaniara case.

However, sources said the visit of the SGPC executive was likely to be a ‘non event’ as Jathedar Vedanti had already denied issuing any statement against Mr Talwandi. Interestingly, seeking of an explanation from a Sikh high priest is unprecedented in Sikh history.

With the diffusion of current Panthic crisis, the SGPC executive may not like to initiate any action against Jathedar Vedanti. The sources close to Jathedar Vedanti said he had also softened his stand on Mr Talwandi. Sources further pointed out that Mr Badal had asked Jathedar Vedanti not to take any drastic action which could lead to yet another crisis.

Two out of five Sikh high priests, namely Jathedar Vedanti and Giani Bhagwan Singh, are already on extension and hence could not afford to annoy the ruling Akali Dal which controls the SGPC.


Centre, state fail to file reply
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 27
The Centre and the Punjab Governments, in spite of orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, have reportedly failed to file a reply in the sehajdharis case.

The court had directed the respondents to file detailed replies to the petition seeking quashing of Section 2 (Subsection 10-A) of the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925, which gives voting right to sehajdhari Sikhs, positively by October 15. Only the Chief Commissioner of gurdwara elections and the Sehajdhari Sikh federation have filed replies as per the orders of the high court. The next hearing of the case is stated for November 6.

Prof Jagmohan Singh, general secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), who along with Mr Baldev Singh Sehjara, member, executive committee of the SGPC, has filed the petition, said: “The conspiracy of the Union and the state governments is unfolding before people.”

Prof Jagmohan Singh said, “We are fighting the case of the entire Sikh community. We will leave no stone unturned to ensure that justice is done to the Sikhs and the nefarious designs of anti-Sikh forces are defeated.” He appealed to the former SGPC members and scholars to support them in this endeavour.

Though the election to the SGPC is scheduled to be held next year, the outcome of this petition in the high court will influence the election. It will also influence the Assembly elections as the BJP is in favour of sehajdharis and Mr Parkash Singh Badal is unable to decide which way to go. 


Alarming rise in air pollution
Pushpesh Kumar

Bathinda, October 27
With only a thermal plant and a few small-scale industries, one cannot even think that it will be such a polluted city in terms of air pollution. The city has been always on the receiving end in terms of civic amenities even though it boasts of a municipal council which, if the statements of officials are to be believed, is to be declared municipal corporation shortly.

It had aptly been named as the “dust bowl of Punjab” by residents of the district due to the air pollution and suspended particles.

The source of air pollution, apart from the fly ash emitted by the thermal plant, is the sand dunes on the roads. Vehicular pollution is also a source of air pollution in the city.

When the thermal plant was set up in the city, in 1975, the residents hoped that it would prove to be a boon for the industrialisation of the region, and it did happen to some extent.

But with an increase in the population of the district, the thermal plant has emerged as a major source of air pollution and the coal ash emitted by the four chimneys throw out fly ash continuously. While the GNDTP authorities have been denying repeatedly that the increase in the respiratory, skin and ophthalmic diseases was not due to the rain of fly ash, the residents had always raised fingers at them.

Sources said earlier the limit prescribed for fly ash was 350 mg/NM3, which would now be brought down to 150 mg/NM3.

Not only the fly ash emitted the thermal plant, the heaps of sand and dust scattered all over the city also add to the air pollution.

All roads of the city are covered with sand on both sides and vehicles passing on these lead to a rise in suspended particles.

Hundreds of minor accidents, which often go unreported, have been taking place in the city. Commuters, especially women, can be seen riding their vehicles with their faces covered with either a scarf of a “chunni”.

A few months ago the Improvement Trust authorities had stated that a high-capacity vacuum cleaner had been bought which would be used to clean the roads, but it has been used sparingly.

When the state Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, held his first-ever sangat darshan in the city in August this year, the municipal authorities had faced a tough time cleaning the roads of the city. The roads have not been cleaned thereafter.

Mr Sharat Chandra Mahajan, Chief Engineer, GNDTP, when contacted said the quality of the coal being used in the plant had been improved.

The flue gas system, which was used on an experimental basis at the plant, was found to be successful in controlling the air pollution and the same had been recommended to the higher authorities for approval.

The air pollution from the plant had been reduced considerably with the efforts of the electricity board authorities, he said.

No official of the Punjab Pollution Control Board of the Municipal Council was available for comments.

Mr R. Venkatratnam, Deputy Commissioner, when contacted said every effort was being made to control the air pollution in the city.

The municipal authorities had been directed to clean the roads of the sand and sprinkle water on the roads that were under repair, he said.


Sukhbir’s unique idea for bypoll
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 27
Shiromani Akali Dal general secretary and former union minister Sukhbir Singh Badal today mooted a unique idea for bypolls. Talking to newsmen here, Mr Badal said when an Assembly seat fell vacant due to the resignation of an MLA or due to other factors, then the party who held that seat should be allowed to nominate its candidate. This would save energy, money and time spent on bypolls.

When asked whether he was being groomed as heir-apparent to his father Parkash Singh Badal, Punjab CM, Mr Sukhbir Singh said his father was still more active than many and he could not even dream of replacing him.

On the demand of Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President, SAD (A), for excommunication of Mr Badal for visiting the dera of Sant Bhuriwale and bowing before the granth of Bhuriwale Sant Brahamanand in Ludhiana district on October 14, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal alleged that the opponents of the CM were always on the lookout for deriving political mileage from religious issues.

On the sacrilege of the holy Granth Sahib, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal declared that the government would not allow anybody to vitiate peace in Punjab. About the BJP’s demand for a share of 33 seats in the coming poll, he quipped everything would be settled amicably.

He expressed satisfaction on the speedy procurement and lifting of paddy from mandis. 


Kairon’s trip for cure criticised
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 27
Mr Charanjit Singh Channi, Congress MP from the Hoshiarpur Parliamentary constituency, has criticised the decision of the SAD-BJP government of sending Mr Adesh Partap Singh Kairon, Excise and Taxation Minister, Punjab, who is also the son-in-law of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, for treatment to Rochester in the USA, with $ 32,000 and two attendants by ignoring all rules and norms.

Mr Adesh Partap Singh Kairon is bed-ridden with a spinal ailment. Mr Channi alleged that while public money was being misutilised for the medical treatment of the son-in-law of the Chief Minister who was rolling in wealth, government employees, including retired ones, had not been getting reimbursement of their medical bills for the past around three years.


Kanshi exhorts workers to gear up for poll
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, October 27
The BSP supremo, Mr Kanshi Ram, while addressing the meeting of sector in charges of the local Assembly segment and party workers here at Kumar Hotel on Thursday exhorted them to gear up for the ensuing Assembly elections.

He said the BSP would win at least 60 seats and would ‘install’ a Jat as the Chief Minister.

The BSP leader said the party ticket would be allocated on the basis of population of a particular ‘biradari’ in the Assembly segments. With a view to bring other castes into the BSP fold on the pattern of Uttar Pradesh the party will organise a ‘saini sammelan’ on October 28 at Langroya village. Balmiki Jayanti will be celebrated at Amritsar on November and Chonkarian Jathere Mela on November 18 at Jadla village, he further added.


Self-help groups a boon to women
Surinder Bhardwaj

Fatehgarh Sahib
The setting up of self-help groups (SHGs) to make women and poor persons self-sufficient, particularly in the rural areas of this district, is proving to be a boon. The scheme not only encourages the habit of small savings among them, with the saved amount being made available to the members as loan, but also strengthens the women empowerment and literacy drives.

Mr Vikas Partap, Deputy Commissioner, says poor women in villages are given priority while setting up SHGs. He says they are organised in groups by various government departments, including the Rural Development Department, and voluntary bodies under the guidance of officials of NABARD. Women are persuaded to go in for small savings, according to their capacity, and the collected amount is kept in the bank. A model code of conduct and rules are framed by the SHG members regarding the convening of monthly meetings, collection of savings, loans, etc.

He says at present 153 SHGs are working in the district. Out of these 84 enjoy the bank loan facility. The minimum loan amount is Rs 12,000 and the maximum Rs 1.20 lakh. The average loan per SHG is Rs 35,350. Interestingly, loan recovery is 100 per cent.

The activities of SHGs include the sale of fancy items, opening of kiryana shops and cosmetics stores, dairying and knitting.

He says NABARD plays an important role in better coordination among various government agencies engaged in the formation and linking of SHGs. Efforts are being made to encourage women to benefit from reservation for them in elected institutions.

He says the district administration gives preference while sanctioning grants to those women sarpanches and panches who personally visit government offices for the redress of their grievances and do not depend on male members of their families in this regard.

Mr K. L. Jham, AGM, NABARD, says SHGs are encouraged to undertake self-employment ventures. The aim is to cover all villages of the district under this programme to ensure the mass participation of women in the transformation of society. Literacy and women empowerment campaigns have also been undertaken.


Ranjit Singh celebrations to be broad-based
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
The Punjab Government has decided to broadbase the concluding programme of the bicentenary celebrations of the coronation of Maharaja Ranjit Singh by spreading it over 10 days from November 9.

The Chief Minister said on November 11, a “dhadi darbar” competition would be organised at Badrukhan village in Sangrur by Punjabi University, Patiala. On November 13, a colourful ceremonial procession would be taken out from Darbar Sahib to Ram Bagh in Amritsar after performing kirtan and ardas at the Golden temple.

Union Defence Minister, George Fernandes, will be the chief guest He would also release commemorative coins of the times of the Maharaja. An exhibition of rare artifacts would be organised at Summer Palace at 1 p.m. A “dhadi darbar” would be held at Manji Sahib Hall on the same day.

A kabaddi match and Maharaja Ranjit Singh Memorial Hockey Tournament would be organised on November 15 at Amritsar.

A martial art, horse show and tent pegging programme would be organised on November 16 in the forenoon followed by a play on Maharaja Ranjit Singh at Guru Nanak Dev Auditorium, Amritsar. There will be a sangeet sammelan and a kavi darbar at Amritsar on November 17.

The Chief Minister said Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee would be the chief guest at the concluding function on November 18. He will also lay the foundation stone of Maharaja Ranjit Singh Panorama at Amritsar. 


101 Dalit girls married off 
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 27
As many as 101 Dalit girls were married at a mass-marriage function organised by the Punjab Scheduled Caste Vikas Manch under the state government’s shagun scheme here today.

The chief guest, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, Minister for Local Bodies and Labour, while blessing the newly-wed couples announced the construction of a community centre for Dalits here. Mr Tandon announced Rs 5100 as shagun to the couples. He also gave utensils and furniture to them.

Lauding the role of social organisations, Dr Baldev Raj Chawla, Minister for Health and Welfare, said the shagun scheme should be implemented all over the country to stop the social evil of dowry. Mr Raghunandan Lal Bhatia, MP, also blessed the couples.


Art of effigy-making dying
Jaswinder Paul Singh

Bathinda, October 27
Is the art of making effigies of Ravana, Meghnad and Kumbhkarna which are burnt on the Dasehra day, dying? The answer is in the affirmative if feelings of the local effigy-makers are any indication.

A cross-section of the effigy-makers said the art might die due to indifferent attitude of the people and in the absence of any government aid. They said although they earn handsomely, yet their future was uncertain.

The invasion of the cable TV in Indian homes is one of the major factors for the loss of interest in the effigy burning. Most of the people prefer to watch serials depicting the story of Ramayana instead of going to see the burning of effigies.

Moreover, the effigy-makers feel that it is an expensive occupation. They say erecting effigies involves a lot of hard work and money.

Radhe Shyam, who has been making effigies for more than 15 years, said he would charge Rs 30,000 from the contractor for making the effigies. He said he along with three other artists had been working hard for more than a month to make the effigies of Ravana, Meghnad and Kumbhkarna.

He said he visited the city every year during these days. He belonged to Tohana in Haryana but in order to earn some quick bucks he came here, he said. Although he earned quite a lot when the festival was round the corner, yet it seemed the situation would not last long he feared.

Others in the profession also share these fears. Kala Ram said organisers of the Dasehra festival generally faced the shortage of funds. He said the cost of raw material had increased manifold in the past few years, but the number of customers had decreased, therefore they could not increase the prices of the effigies.

He said earlier he earned huge profits by selling the effigies, but now the profit was marginally low. If the situation continued for next few years, many of effigy-makers would quit the profession.

Radhe Shyam said he would make five effigies in place of three this year. But he refused to give details of the effigies. He said people would come to know about two new effigies on the Dasehra day itself. The effigies would be the first to have been ever made in the country, he claimed.


14-yr-old reunited with family
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 27
Sarvesh Pathak (14), who ran away from his home in Uttar Pradesh after his mother beat him up about four years ago was reunited with his family members yesterday by volunteers of the local Dost Welfare Society, a social organisation.

Mr Dharmveer Walia, president of the society, said the boy ran away from his home and boarded a train without knowing where it was going. He alighted at Jind, Haryana.

Sarvesh, who broke into tears while hugging his father, said that for two years he worked in various parts of Haryana. Then one day, he boarded another train and reached Bathinda.

Mr Walia said the boy had come to them about two years ago and demanded a job. Keeping his tender age (12 at that time) in mind, he was attached with the canteen contractor of the local engineering college. The boy was brought up like a child of the family, he said.

Mr Sanktha Parsad Pathak, who is a taxi driver in Mumbai, said members of the society contacted his family at his native Jaunpur village in Uttar Pradesh.

They said that ever since they had met the boy, they were suspicious that he may have run away from his family. But he would refuse to give details of his native place.

Later, members of the society came across another resident of the native village of Sarvesh, who worked at the local thermal plant and asked him to call his parents.

Mr Pathak, controlling his emotions, thanked members of the society, particularly Mr Walia and Mr Babu Ram for reuniting his son.


One succumbs to dengue fever
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, October 27
Contrary to the claims of the district health authorities, a case of death due to dengue fever has come to light here.

A local resident, Tara Singh Walia (74), reportedly died of dengue fever at CMC, Ludhiana on Wednesday.

Mr Kewal Singh, son of the deceased, said his father had been suffering from fever and was admitted to a local private nursing home where he was given treatment for typhoid fever on Monday. But when the condition continued to deteriorate, he took his father to CMC, Ludhiana on Wednesday where he died of dengue fever in the evening as recorded in the death certificate given by the hospital.

According to Dr Gurbux Singh, who gave him treatment here, the symptoms of fever and bodyache are similar in typhoid and dengue.


1 killed, 4 hurt in car-truck collision
Our Correspondent

Mansa, October 27
A person was killed and four others were injured when a Maruti Esteem car, in which they were travelling, collided with a truck on the Mansa-Sirsa road near Fatta Maloka village in the district last night.

According to information reaching here today, the car driver while, trying to save a neelgai collided with a truck coming from the opposite side.

The deceased have been identified as Gopal Shashtri of Delhi, while the injured have been identified as Mr Tirlochan Singh, Mr Mohan Lal, Mr Kamal Kumar and Mr Rajesh Kumar, car driver, all residents of Sirsa in Haryana. They were going back from here in a Maruti Esteem car after attending a marriage party.

The police has registered a case.

In another incident, Jodha Singh (29) of Talwala village in the district died in the Civil Hospital here last night.

It has been revealed that the deceased took some insecticides in a fit of anger after having a quarrel with his father. He was rushed to the rural dispensary at Boha and later referred to district hospital, Mansa, where he died.


Shahi Imam asked to apologise to Shabana
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 27
“Savera”, a society for social awareness, has deplored the derogatory remarks made by the Jama Masjid Shahi Imam, Syed Ahmed Bukhari, against the film actress-turned-social activist and Rajya Sabha Member Shabana Azmi and demanded an apology from him.

In a press note issued here on Thursday, Dr Ajay Bagga, general secretary of “Savera” said that a meeting held under the presidentship of Dr Harish Ohri, Mr Jasbir Singh, Mr Joginder Singh, Mr Harish Saini, Dr A.S. Bhatti, Mr Surinder Saini among others, expressed shock at the views expressed by the Shahi Imam.

According to him Shahi Imam’s reference to Ms Azmi in derogatory terms in the television programme “We the People” on Star News reflected the vulgarity of Syed Bukhari’s mind. In the land of Gurus and other prophets women deserve to be treated with respect and the Shahi Imam should have shown the same towards Ms Azmi, said the press note. Even in Islam, women are accorded a place of honour, it added.


Brawl at temple creates tension
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 27
Tension prevailed for some hours near Mandir Sri Naina Devi here today when members of the mandir committee reportedly threw the cycles and scooters out of the mandir complex which were parked there last night by a former cycle stand contractor by allegedly breaking open the lock of the gate.

Talking to The Tribune Mr R.P. Goyal, president of the managing committee of the mandir, said till last night the part of the complex was in their possession but at mid-night, Mr Baikunth Raj Sharma, who claimed himself to be the cycle stand contractor of the mandir entered the complex by breaking open the locks and parked cycles and scooters there. He said when the matter came to the notice of the committee members this morning, they opposed the possession of the site by Mr Sharma and evicted him.

Mr Goyal said the committee informed the police about the trespassing following which police officials came. However, when a police officer made an objectionable remark, members of the committee raised slogans against the police, but the situation was brought under control by a senior police officer.


Controversy over Dasehra Utsav
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 27
That Mr Sewak Ram Bhola, a Congress leader and municipal councillor, presided over a function organised in connection with the Dasehra Utsav yesterday has caused a flutter in the Akali circles here. The function was organised by Mr Vijay Kumar Sharma, municipal councillor and a close confidant of Mr Chiranji Lal Garg. Mr Garg, state minister, claimed that though Mr Sharma was still his confidant, he (Mr Sharma) has marginalised him politically.

It is learnt that due to his proximity with Mr Garg, no action has been taken against Mr Sharma despite the fact that he has been booked in number of criminal cases.

Sources say Mr Sharma invited Mr Bhola as chief guest at the Dusehra function instead of Mr Garg following differences with the latter over the foundation stone laying ceremony of a railway overbridge which was performed by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on October 30.

Mr Sharma, when contacted, said he invited Mr Bhola, as he expected him to donate money to his club. He added that politically he was still close to Mr Garg.


Dogra Regiment’s golden jubilee function today
Our Correspondent

Somewhere in the Western Sector, October 27
The battle hardy elite 16 battalion of the Dogra Regiment will celebrate its golden jubilee here tomorrow. The Vice-Chief of the Army Staff, Lieut-Gen N.C. Vij, the GOC-in-C of the Western Command, Lieut-Gen Surjit Singh and the Chief of Staff of the Western Command, Lieut-Gen H.S. Kanwar, will join in the celebrations.

The spokesman of the Dogra Regiment told The Tribune that the regiment was raised at the Yol camp on May 22, 1949, consequent to the merger of princely hill states in the Union of India which included the state forces of Suket, Sirmour, Mandi and Chamba. These troops were grouped together to be enrolled in the Indian Army to raise this magnificent battalion of the Dogras.

The history of the Dogras is replete with incidents of bravery, and sacrifice. They have participated in all wars, including the fight against insurgency, during the past 50 years of its raising at Yol Cantonment, near Dharamsala.

Retired Dogra Regiment officers, jawans and visiting senior officers will join in the day-long celebrations.


Burglary in post office averted
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, October 27
Makhan Singh, a chowkidar at the local main post office, averted burglary in the post office on the evening of October 25.

According to post office sources, the chowkidar detected some persons attempting to break open a back door of the post office. He raised an alarm. As a result, the burglars, who according to the chowkidar, were about four in number, ran away.

The burglars left behind gas cylinders and a gun used for breaking open iron doors.

After that the chowkidar called the Deputy Postmaster and a few other officials of the post office who reported the matter to the police.


Death sentence awarded

Ahmedgarh, October 26
An accused in the murder of four persons has been awarded death sentence by an additional sessions court here. According to the police, Resham Paul of Maholi Khurd village, a daily wager at the PSEB grid, Bishangarh, had killed Gurmel Singh, Mohinder Singh (both PSEB employees), Paramjit Kaur and Malkiat Kaur with a .303 gun, which had been provided by the police to one of his relatives for defence against terrorists. After going through the evidence, the court awarded the sentence.


Missing boy untraced
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, October 27
Mystery shrouds the disappearance of Manjinder Singh (11), a student of Class V of a school at Ghot Pokar village. The boy, who came to play here on October 18, has not so far returned to his home.

The father of the boy, who is working in Italy, has come to his village after getting the news of his son’s disappearance.

According to Mr Sukhdev Singh, SSP, it is neither a case of kidnapping nor one of ransom or dispute. He, however, expressed surprise at the fact that the boy had not been traced although all houses in the village had been searched. An attempt by the police to search tanks and gutters in the village has also yielded no results.

The SSP said police parties had also been sent to various water channels in the area.


Forcible conversion alleged
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 27
BJP activists staged a dharna in front of the Bhana Mal Trust building here following a clash with Christian activists holding the Christian Revival Conference at the venue.

The BJP activists alleged that participants at the conference were speaking against a particular religion and forcing the people to convert.

But Mr John Sameual, an organiser, refuted that it was a prayer meeting and nobody was asked to convert nor did anyone speak against any religion.

He said the BJP activists, numbering about 100, forcibly entered their premises and smashed the furniture and tore the tent.

Police personnel reached the venue immediately.

Mr Rajinder Mittal of the BJP while denying they had resorted to violence, stressed that their dharna would continue till the Christians stopped the conversion of the religion of poor people.


Astrology conference in Jan
Our Correspondent

Moga, October 27
The Principal of the local S.D. College for Women, Mrs Surinder Pal Brar, has been invited by Vishva Jyotish Vidyalaya in international university of astrological science, to participate in the 25th International Astronomical and Astrological Conference to be held in Kolkata in January.

Vishva Jyotish Vidyapeeth has decided to honour eminent personalities from various walks of life with the Bharat Mata Award. The inaugural ceremony of the conference will be presided over by the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee.


Sugar magnate cremated
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 27
Gian Singh Sandhar, Joint Managing Director, Wahid-Sandhar Sugars Ltd, Phagwara, was cremated today at his native village Nihalgarh near here. The sugar magnate died at Ludhiana two days ago. The Punjab Tourism Minister, Mr Swarna Ram, a former minister, Mr Joginder Singh Mann, the Chairman-cum-Managing Director of Wahid-Sandhar Sugars Ltd, Mr Jarnail Singh Wahid and the Chief Executive-cum-Director of the local mill, Mr Arun Bhagat, were among those who attended the cremation.


Farmers seek relief for damaged crop
Our Correspondent

Mansa, October 27
A large number of farmers under the banner of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, Lakhowal (BKU (L) staged a protest march here today to demand compensation for the damage caused to the cotton crop by American bollworm.

The march which started from the railway malgodown concluded at the District Courts complex.

Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, state president of the (BKU (L), demanded compensation of Rs 15,000 per acre for those farmers who suffered losses in this cotton belt.

He said although the government had announced the minimum support prices of oilseeds, it did not enter the market for its purchase and the farmers had to suffer in the mandis while selling the same. He pointed out that farmers had spent a huge amount for purchase of insecticides to fight the attack of American bollworm but that did not prove effective.

Later Mr Manjit Singh Qadian, State general secretary of the BKU (L), announced that a rally in this regard would be organised at Muktsar on October 29.


Rice millers cry for payments
Our Correspondent

Kharar, October 27
The local rice millers are facing a financial crunch as the Punjab government has failed to make payments amounting to Rs 4 crore on account of rice supplied by them to the Central pool during this season, which started on September 21.

Giving this information here today, some local millers said they had supplied around 150 wagon loads of rice to the Food Corporation of India. The FCI had already made the payment of the rice to the Punjab government but the Food and Supplies Department had not made payments to the millers.

They said they were facing acute financial shortage. They urged the government to look into the matter.


MC nod to Rs 60-cr development works
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, October 27
Development works worth Rs 60 crore were approved unanimously in the absence of Opposition councillors during an emergency meeting of the House of the local Municipal Corporation here today. The Punjab Medical Education Minister, Mr Manoranjan Kalia, who is opposing the resolution favouring permanent allotment of the official residence to the BJP Mayor, boycotted the meeting.

A majority of the Akali councillors too chose to boycott the meeting, alleging that the BJP Mayor, Mr Suresh Sehgal, had intentionally not included the proposals for various development works of their respective wards in the agenda. Besides, they were not informed 72 hours in advance before the scheduled meeting.

Mr Kalia, an ex-officio member, left the House in a huff after he realised that the Mayor had got included the proposal favouring permanent allotment of official residence to the latter without the prior approval of the party.

“The proposal was never discussed at the party meeting attended by the Mayor, BJP councillors and party office-bearers held on Thursday to prepare the list of development projects. By including this in the agenda, Mr Sehgal has just tried to bypass the party, which is highly deplorable,” the minister alleged.

At the meeting, Ms Kanchan Sharma, BJP councillor, raised an objection to this proposal and argued that if the Mayor could be allotted official residence, then all 54 councillors should also be allotted plots for performing their duties as an elected representative.

The Mayor immediately approved her suggestion and said all proposals pertaining to the allotment of plots and residences would be sent to the Local Bodies Department for approval.

Mr Joginder Singh Toni, an Independent councillor and close aide of the Mayor, without naming Mr Kalia, alleged that a BJP minister in connivance with civic body officials was trying to encroach upon a piece of land in a park situated in the local Udham Singh Nagar. Subsequently, the Mayor warned the officials present at the meeting to refrain from supporting the alleged moves of the minister.

Mr Kalia refuted the allegations and said that the Mayor, Mr Suresh Sehgal, with the support of some Independent councillors, was trying to tarnish his image by hurling baseless allegations.

Mr Gurcharan Singh Narula, leader of the 10-member Akali group of councillors, alleged that the Mayor had adopted an indifferent attitude towards the development works in their wards.

“We have decided to boycott the meeting since Mr Sehgal has failed to include proposals of development works in the agenda.

We will take up the matter with the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, during his visit to the city on November 4, he said.


Regularisation of staff brews trouble
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, October 27
Contrary to the Punjab Government instructions to all heads of departments to regularise the services of work-charged and daily-wage employees against vacant posts, the Local Bodies Department has ordered the stay of the appointment of the work-charged employees who had already been regularised by the local Municipal Corporation authorities about 10 days back.

The Mayor of the MC, Mr Suresh Sehgal, has told reporters here that he would approach the Local Bodies Minister, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, for withdrawal of the stay order since it was difficult to implement it at this stage. The four employees’ unions have threatened to stop water supply and lifting of garbage if the authorities failed to withdraw the stay order.

The Punjab Government, after reviewing the policy of regularisation of the work-charged staff, the daily wagers and other categories, had issued instructions to all departments in January to absorb all such employees. Who had completed three years of service against the existing vacant posts.

But the MC authorities failed to implement the orders for about eight months forcing the employees of the Horticulture, Sewerage, Water Supply and Sanitation Departments to go on strike for about 20 days against the indifference of the civic officials. Subsequently, the then Principal Secretary of the Local Bodies Department, Mr Rajesh Chhabra, intervened and asked the then Commissioner, Dr Roshan Sunkaria, to regularise 54 work-charged employees without further delay the matter.

Now, the Director, Local Government, Mr J.B. Goel, has ordered the MC authorities to stay the regularisation of the work-charged employees, landing the civic officials in a state of dilemma since the appointment letters had already been issued to these employees. According to sources, the recent orders only mentioned that the earlier order on the regularisation of the work-charged employees was herewith stayed and no further effort should be made for the implementation of the same till further directions.

“We will seek fresh instructions from the department in this case since the appointment letters had already been issued to 54 work-charged employees and it is difficult to stay regularisation process at this stage,” said Mr Sehgal.

Mr J.B. Goel was not available for comments.


Be public friendly, Bhatti tells cops
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, October 27
The Additional Director-General of Police and Director of the Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur, Mr D.R. Bhatti, has called upon police personnel to effect a change in their tactics and behaviour so as to become more public friendly.

He was delivering the valedictory address at a specialised course on “police practical work and police rules”, organised for SSPs, Additional SSPs, and commandants in the academy today. Emphasising on the need to enhance the police image Mr Bhatti urged them to use scientific investigation techniques, apply police rules and cultivate good public relation.

Global terrorism with special reference to biological, chemical, and nuclear threats, cyber crime, information technology for law enforcement, were the main topics discussed during the course.

Later, Mr Bhatti interacted with the police officers to get a feedback on the practical utility of the course. Mr S.S. Bains IGP (retd), Mrs Anita Punj, IPS, and Mr Kamal Kumar, D.D. (Admn), also addressed the participants.


Revised PSEB timings from November 1
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 27
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) today revised the timings of peak load restrictions with effect from November 1 in accordance with the change in sunset timings. The PSEB officials have in a statement said the peak-load restriction hours on large supply consumers will be advanced by 30 minutes.

The revised timings will be from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. for consumers of South, North, West and the Border Operation Zones while 6.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m. will be the revised timings for the large-scale consumers in the Central Zone. The revised timings will be effective till January 31 next year.


Journalist assaulted
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 27
A correspondent of Hindustan Times sustained injuries when he was beaten up by kin of an Akali leader last night. The incident took place when the scribe stopped the assailants from bursting crackers in the middle of College Road. Angered over his “objection”, they allegedly started beating him.

At around 10.20 pm when Manmeet Singh, working as a trainee staff reporter with Hindustan Times, was passing through College Road on his scooter, a cracker burst just above his head. When he objected to some youngsters bursting crackers there, they started abusing him and about six to seven persons manhandled him and tore his clothes. The assailants threatened him saying that they were related to Mr Gurmail Singh, owner of a local chemist shop, who enjoys political support of the ruling Akali party.

Immediately after the incident, Manmeet Singh lodged a complaint with the police. He also mentioned that from the conversation of the assailants he could make out that they were related to the owner of a local chemist shop.

After receiving the complaint, police officials visited the spot and verified the facts. When they decided to register an FIR, Mr Gurmail Singh reportedly called the police officials to arrange a compromise. ASI Inderjeet Singh who received the phone call has mentioned the details of the phone call in ‘zimni’ of the case.

But when Manmeet Singh and his colleagues did not agree to the suggestion, the police registered an FIR under Sections 341, 323 and 149 of the IPC.

In a medical examination of Manmeet Singh conducted at the local Civil Hospital, doctors found bruisers on several parts of his body and a grievous injury on his ear that has temporarily impaired his hearing. When the matter was brought to the notice of the SSP, Mr Harpreet Singh Sidhu, he said the culprits would be punished as per the law.


Booked for burning wife
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 27
Palwinder Kaur (25) was set on fire by her husband Santokh Singh, a resident of Fateh Singh colony here, on October 24. Palwinder Kaur in her complaint to the police last evening said that her husband Santokh Singh had illicit relations with his sister-in-law, a widow of his elder brother. On her objecting, the relations, both husband and sister-in-law poured kerosene on her and set a fire. She received critical burns and is under treatment at Guru Nanak Dev Hospital. No arrest have been made.

Meanwhile, the police arrested Sarabjit Singh of Patti Pala village near Majitha, and Gora Singh of Dhanou Kalan here and recovered illicit liquor from them. A case has been registered under the Excise Act.

In yet another incident, three persons, Tony, Hartej Kumar and Sonu attacked Deepak Sharma of Tundatalab and injured him on head by sharp edged weapons. Gambling was said to be the behind the incident. A case has been registered under Sections 323, 324 and 34 of the IPC D-division at police station. Jewellery and Rs 6000 in cash were stolen from the house of Dalip Singh of Mahidya Kalan. A case has been registered under Sections 380 and 457 of the IPC at Lopoke police station here.


Man kills wife
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 27
Pritpal Singh of Lohara village has allegedly shot dead his wife, Harjit Kaur after being allegedly caught red-handed with his paramour by his son and wife.

The incident occurred last evening at his Janta Enclave house that he had reportedly given to his paramour.

Police sources revealed that after a heated argument, in a fit of anger, he allegedly shot his wife with a licenced .315 bore rifle at her neck. His son informed the police of the crime.

The accused was married to Harjit Kaur in 1983 and they have two sons and a daughter.

A case under Sections 302 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code and 25, 27 and 54 of the Arms Act has been registered.


Cop found dead
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, October 27
Mukhwinder Singh, Head Constable, posted at the Bhikiwind police station was found dead at his native village Pandori Gola, 4 km from here, last night. The police has lodged a complaint under Section 174 of the Cr PC. The post-mortem was conducted at the local Civil Hospital.

According to the police, heart failure was the cause of the death. 


Undertrial escapes
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, October 27
Surinder Pal, a murder case undertrial lodged in the sadar police station allegedly escaped with the help of a sentry at the police station here today.

Surinder Pal, a resident of Kudka village, was booked under Section 302 of the IPC in a case pertaining to the murder of Joginder Kaur of nearby Kot Rani village. The sadar police had brought him from the jail on remand for interrogation. According to police sources, Surinder Pal escaped with the help of sentry Bhajan Singh. Bhajan Singh has been detained.


Women’s youth festival opens
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 27
The four-day women’s ‘B’ division youth festivals of the Guru Nanak Dev University opened here today. Mrs Swadesh Chopra, director of the Him Samachar Group of Newspapers inaugurated this festival by lighting a candle.

Addressing the participant students, Mrs Chopra called upon the students to take part in extra-curricular activities as these helped prosper hidden talent. She said young girls should come forward to find out solution to problems faced by society. There was no substitute for ‘hard work’ and no shortcuts in life. So they would have to work hard they will have to work hard to achieve desired goals.

Prof Jagjit Kaur honoured Mrs Chopra by presenting her with Phulkari a symbol of Punjabi culture and a memento. Mr Bikram Singh Ghuman, Dean Students Welfare university and Mr Baljit Singh Sekhon, director, Youth Welfare of the university, honoured Mrs Jagjit Kaur.

Mr Sekhon said that in addition to sports, they had also topped in cultural field in the country by lifting the All-India Inter-varsity National Youth Festival trophy. He claimed credit for producing folk-singers like Hans Raj Hans, Malkit Singh, Jasbir Jassi, Gurpreet Ghugi, Balwinder Vikki (Chacha Raouniki Ram) and Miss Satinder Kaur (Lishkara-Alfa TV).

More than 900 student-artistes from different colleges of Jalandhar, Kapurthala and Nawanshahar are participating in various items.


Rs 9 crore grant for medical colleges
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 27
The Punjab Government has decided to give Rs 9 crore for upgradation of three medical colleges of the state, located at Patiala, Faridkot and Amritsar.

This was stated by the Punjab Health Minister, Mr Manoranjan Kalia, at a press conference after inaugurating an ENT seminar at Government Medical College, here today. Mr Kalia said the amount would be spent to increase facilities in those centres.

He said another amount of Rs 9 crore would be spent to provide basic amenities at all medical and health institutes. He said the facilities would comprise medical and health related equipment, medicines and other related infrastructure.

Mr Kalia said the government would open a new medical institute at Jalandhar which would have more facilities than the PGI, Chandigarh. He said the institute, involving an investment of Rs 67 crore in phase I of the project, would be inaugurated by the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, on November 4.

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