Saturday, November 24, 2001, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



No chance of unity with Badal: Tohra
Tribune News Service

Kotfatha (Bathinda), November 23
In a significant development in the Sikh religio-political scene, the unity move initiated by Sikh clergy and other prominent people among all factions of Akalis today suffered a big jolt when former SGPC chief and President of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD), Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, said there was no “chance” of unity with Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister and head of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).

Mr Tohra, who was here to attend a religious function today, said the SHSAD could have an electoral alliance with any party, including the BSP and the Lok Bhalai Party, to give a crushing defeat to Mr Badal and the Congress in the coming Assembly elections. Criticising the appeal made by the Sikh clergy for Panthic unity, Mr Tohra said jathedars of Takhts never made appeals as they were supposed to issue edicts only. Moreover, there was no significance of the appeal made by the clergy as the Sikh Panth did not recognise them as “real jathedars” of Takhts.

Mr Tohra, while talking to mediapersons, said the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, never talked to him in connection with Panthic unity. He added that some prominent persons approached him in the recent past and told him that Mr Vajpayee wanted to meet him.

He pointed out that the SHSAD had already made it clear that if Mr Badal was in favour of Panthic unity then he (Mr Badal) should obey the edict issued by Akal Takht in 1998. He added that instead of obeying the edict issued in 1998, Mr Badal managed the removal of Bhai Ranjit Singh as Jathedar of Akal Takht.

Claiming that neither he nor any other member of his party would contest the election for the presidentship of the SGPC to be held shortly, he said his party could extend support to the present incumbent, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, or Mr Mal Singh Ghuman, Chairman, Marketing Board, Punjab. He added that his party would oppose any other candidate for the election if fielded by the SAD.

Mr Tohra said so far no member of the BSP leadership had talked to him in connection with an electoral alliance for the coming Assembly elections and added that he was in favour of such an alliance. He denied that he held any specific talks with Mr Badal when he visited him in Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in New Delhi a few days ago. He said it was only a courtesy call and he visited Mr Badal to ask about his health.


PAC now to meet on Nov 26 in Amritsar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
A meeting of the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) of the Shiormani Akali Dal (SAD), which was scheduled to be held here on November 25, will now be held on November 26 in 11 a.m. at Amritsar, according to Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, secretary-general of the party.

He said the PAC meeting would be followed by a meeting of members of the SGPC belonging to the party.

Commenting on Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra’s statement that unity among the Akali factions should be based on certain principles, Mr Dhindsa said that the SAD was all for unity but no conditions should be set. The main principle, which all Akalis had followed for the past several decades, was to defeat the Congress in all elections.

Meanwhile, Mr Dhindsa, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder and Mr Ranjit Singh Brahmpura today held a meeting with Mr Badal in his private room at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in Delhi. Various issues including the election of the SGPC President and unity among the Akali factions, were discussed. It was the first informal meeting of senior Akali leaders with Mr Badal after he was operated upon at the hospital.

The SAD’s manifesto and other committees are likely to be set up soon.

Mr Jaswant Singh Mann, secretary-general of the World Sikh Council, said more than 20 Sikh intellectuals and scholars met here today to discuss the Akali unity issue. They appealed to all sections of the Akalis to unite.

Mr Mann said there would be an opportunity on November 27 for all factions of the Akalis to unanimously elect the President of the SGPC to pave the way for unity. He said the concept of collective leadership could be evolved with the formation of an ad hoc working committee consisting of Akali stalwarts from all factions to work till October 13. A general House of United Akali factions could be formed thereafter, he said.


Akali unity central issue
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
After two setbacks in the recent past, the issue of unity among different Akali factions has again come to centre-stage.

A meeting between the President of the Shiromani Akali Dal( SAD), Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and former SGPC chief, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital a few days ago has made it a central issue not only among Akalis but also Opposition parties having a stake in the coming Assembly elections.

About a month ago, according to informed sources, certain well- wishers of the Panth had made an attempt twice to bring about unity in the Akali ranks. Following the green light from the top leadership of the SAD, they had met Mr Tohra to know his mind.

They had also made a offer of the presidentship of the SGPC, the allotment of the party ticket in the elections to 20 nominees of the Tohra camp and other political adjustments, including the reinduction of those who had earlier resigned from the Council of Ministers.

However, according to the sources, Mr Tohra rejected the offer on both occasions. Among the mediators was Mr Jaswant Singh Kanwal, a well-known Punjabi writer.

The feeling in the Tohra camp is that the onus with regard to unity is on Mr Badal at the moment. The camp is in a position to dictate terms for unity. There are reasons for this. First, the political future of Mr Badal, his main supporters and also his son, Mr Sukhbir Singh, is at stake. With the split in Akali votes, major damage will be caused to the ruling Akali faction in the rural areas. In such a situation the Tohra camp, which was thrown out from positions of power three years ago by Mr Badal, has nothing to lose.

The loser will be Mr Badal and his colleagues. “In the absence of unity, if the Tohra camp or the Panthic Morcha succeed in bringing Mr Badal down from the pedestal of power, it will not merely be sweet revenge but also a major victory for that camp as it has suffered a lot at the political level because of Mr Badal”, said a Panthic political observer.

The latest formula for unity thrown up by certain well-wishers of the Panth consists of the sharing of power and positions at various levels. There are three politico-religious institutions of the Akalis. One is the SGPC, the second is Shiromani Akali Dal and the third Akal Takht. Since the SAD is in power, the office of Chief Minister is also with it.

Mr Tohra has already rejected the presidentship of the SGPC. He is not in the running for the office of Chief Minister. Rapproachement with him can only be possible by offering him the presidentship of the SAD and also appointing Bhai Ranjit Singh Jathedar of Akal Takht, said an Akali leader having close contacts at the top level in both camps. Mr Tohra had made the reappointment of Bhai Ranjit Singh a prestige issue, he said.

For the allocation of the party ticket, a parliamentary board headed by Mr Badal or some close confidant of his could be set up. The demand of Mr Tohra that Mr Badal should appear before Akal Takht for violation of its edict could be fulfilled with the appearance of all senior leaders to seek collective pardon for making various mistakes in the past. Bhai Ranjit Singh could be made Jathedar of Akal Takht after taking an undertaking from Mr Tohra that following collective appearance by senior Akali leaders at Akal Takht, he (Bhai Ranjit Singh) will not pursue the matter further.

Will this formula be acceptable to Mr Badal and his supporters? Akali unity, by and large, hinges on this question, according to those making efforts to mediate between the Tohra and Badal camps.


Parties prepare for SGPC poll
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 23
While the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal had convened a meeting of the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) here on November 26, the Panthic Morcha has called a separate meeting of SGPC members at Guru Arjun Dev Nivas (SGPC Complex) on the same day to chalk out a strategy for the annual election of the SGPC President and other office-bearers scheduled for November 27. Earlier, the PAC meeting was to be convened in Chandigarh on November 25.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Secretary-General of the SAD, after an informal meeting with Mr Parkash Singh Badal and other senior Akali leaders, told TNS that the forthcoming meeting of the PAC would announce the candidature of the next President of the SGPC.

He, however, said the party was unanimous on the stand that unity could not be forged on any pre-condition. Among those who attended the meeting with Mr Badal at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital were Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, Rajya Sabha member, Mr Kanwaljit Singh and Mr Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, both Cabinet Ministers, and Mr Barjinder Singh Hamdard, Managing Editor of a daily, Ajit. The meeting lasted over an hour.

Sources said apart from the unity appeal by Akal Takht, the issue of the annual election of the SGPC chief was also discussed at length. The sources pointed out that the ruling party was not in favour of reinstalling Bhai Ranjit Singh as Jathedar of Akal Takht.

Sources close to the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal pointed out that Bhai Ranjit Singh’s reinstallation could not come in the way of Panthic unity as the prevailing disunity could bring the Congress to power.

To another question, Mr Dhindsa said Mr Badal had been authorised to announce the candidate for the annual elections of the SGPC chief. Though Mr Badal would not be able to attend the meeting of the PAC, yet he would send the name of the candidate in a sealed envelope. Mr Dhindsa would preside over the meeting of the PAC in the absence of Mr Badal.

Meanwhile, Mr Onkar Singh Arora and Mr Harbans Singh Manjpur, both executive members of the SGPC (close confidants of Mr Tohra), have said the emergency meeting of SGPC members belonging to the Panthic Morcha would be held here on November 26. Mr Arora said the meeting had been called on the directions of Mr Tohra.

In another development, the Sikh high priests have reportedly conveyed to Mr Badal not to re-elect Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi as the SGPC chief as he had used derogatory language against jathedars. Sources in the Akal Takht secretariat feel that if Mr Talwandi is re-elected as SGPC chief, he can initiate action against at least three jathedars due to the ongoing tussle.

Though Bibi Jagir Kaur has said she would honour the decision of the party high command regarding the candidature of the SGPC chief, yet some of her supporters have threatened to revolt if Mr Talwandi is re-elected.


WTO: Punjab may move SC against Centre
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 23
Though the Punjab Government has expressed satisfaction over the Centre’s stand at the WTO meeting in Doha, it may join some other states in moving the Supreme Court over the way the previous government had signed the WTO accord without consulting the states.

Mr Ramesh Inder Singh, Principal Secretary to the Punjab Chief Minister, said today at the Punjab Day celebrations in the India International Trade Fair that Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu governments might also join the Punjab government in moving the Supreme Court on the issue of signing the WTO.

Referring to a Punjab cabinet meeting held about a month ago, Mr Ramesh Inder said the ministers had noticed several areas of concern in the WTO agreement signed by India and had urged the Central Government to re-negotiate these and remove the disadvantages.

The ministers also noted that the state governments were not consulted when the WTO was signed.


Govt recruiting own men: Cong
Our Correspondent

Ropar, November 23
If voted to power in the forthcoming Assembly elections to the state, the Congress would review all recruitments made by the SAD-BJP government in the recent months. Apprehending that it will not be voted to power, the government is hurriedly trying to recruit kith and kin of its favourites.

This was stated by the leader of the Opposition (Congress), Choudhary Jagjit Singh, while talking to newspersons here today.

He was here to attend a state-level Congress rally which was organised as part of the poll campaign of the party in the area.

He said the Congress would appoint a commission to probe into the alleged acquisition of huge assets by Mr Prakash Singh Badal, disproportionate to his known sources of income.

The negotiations were going on between the Congress and the CPM and a compromise on poll alliance was expected soon, he added.

Other state Congress leaders, including Mr Avtar Henry, vice-president (PPCC), Mr Jagmohan Kang, general secretary (PPCC), Mr Manish Tiwari, former president of the All-India Youth Congress, Mr Shamsher Singh Dulo, MP, and Mr Davinder Singh Babbu, state president of the Youth Congress attended the rally.


Congress woos employees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
The Punjab Congress has started an elaborate exercise to woo government and other employees in the state.

Senior leaders of the party have been deputed to establish contact with leaders of various organisations of employees to know their demands, grievances and problems.

Mr Surinder Singla, a spokesman of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, said today that Mr Prem Gupta, a former trade union leader, had been told to coordinate the meetings with various sections of the employees.

He said the Congress was working on a package to be offered in the party’s manifesto to the employees. For this purpose, interaction with them was in progress, he added.


Panchayats must do own housekeeping: Chief Secy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
Elected representatives of the panchayati raj institutions have to learn to reduce their dependence on the government and be on their own and improve their housekeeping. This should be ensured without creating a vacuum as the government withdraws after the devolution of powers, as per the 73rd Constitutional amendment.

This piece of advice was given to sarpanches and panches by the Punjab Chief Secretary, Mr N K Arora, at a one-day conference organised by the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID) here today.

The conference was aimed at assessing the impact of the CRRID-sponsored training programme (in collaboration with UNICEF) on the elected representatives in making them aware of the provisions of the 73rd Constitutional amendment that empowers the panchayati raj institutions. It is another matter that functional powers, administrative and financial, have not yet been fully decentralised.

Referring to the presence of a large number of women sarpanches and panches, the Chief Secretary said if women, even if illiterate, could successfully run her own houses and look after her families, there was no reason why women could not play a more important role in running the panchayats and community development works.

The key trainers at the CRRID, Dr Kuldeep Kaur and Dr Kehar Singh, explained the salient findings of the training programme and the issues taken up at various camps. A detailed report on that was submitted to UNICEF in October last.

The UNICEF representative, Dr S K Chaturvedi, said after imparting training, one had to answer “what next?” The training had covered only 2 per cent of the panchayats. The rest had also to be tapped given the feedback on the immense benefits that accrued from the training programme.

The sarpanches suggested the setting up of a cell at each district headquarters for the coordinated functioning of programmes related to panchayati raj institutions given the multi-functional involvement of different departments.

The Principal Secretary, Mr J.S. Kesar, said village development plans should be prepared for integrated progress.

The Special Secretary, Planning, Mr H.I.S. Grewal, said funds and grants meant for the rural sector must be provided for the designated projects without diversion.

It was learnt that Punjab had not implemented the recommendations of the state Finance Commission on the devolution of powers to the panchayati raj institutions as also the local bodies.

The founder-director of the CRRID, Mr Rashpal Malhotra, introduced the theme of the conference.


Too few cops spoil the crime graph
Bipin Bhardwaj

Dera Bassi, November 23
Inadequate police staff, their long duty hours, the VIP security and poor transportation facilities has resulted in a sharp rise in the crime graph here.

The police sources say that, though the population has been rising manifold, the number of policemen in the subdivision has not increased accordingly. Besides, policemen have obsolete weapons and an inadequate number of patrol vehicles.

According to sources, against a population of 2,10,551, there are only 245 policemen in the subdivision, most of whom remain on escort duty with the convoys of the VIPs on the busy Chandigarh-Ambala highway.

The subdivision has two police stations, one at Dera Bassi and another at Lalru, besides three police posts at Lohgarh, Mubarikpur and Handesra. There has been only half the sanctioned strength in each police station for the past many years. “The shortage of staff has affected routine policing as well,” says a senior police official.

The Dera Bassi police station, which has two Sub Inspectors, six Assistant Sub Inspectors, 7 head constables, 18 constables and 50 Police Home Guards, besieged six special police officers, has only one light commercial vehicle.

The Lohgarh police post is manned by one SI, three ASIs, four head constables, 11 constables, 15 PHGs, 12 SPOs, all of whom have only one motor cycle. The Mubarikpur police post has one ASI, one head constable, one constable and 14 PHGs.

The Lalru police station has one out-of-order LCV and two motor cycles for one Inspector, five ASIs, five head constables and 21 constables. The police station also has 40 PHGs and eight SPOs. Only 12 policemen, including one ASI, two head constables, four constables, four home guards and two SPOs have been deployed at the Handesra police post.

Lack of men and vehicles has left the police unable to maintain law and order in 152 villages. Moreover, the vehicles are in a bad state, which further reduces the efficiency of the police.

Residents of the area have demanded a sufficient police strength to bring down the crime graph here.


Television powerful medium, says Ramanand Sagar
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 23
Noted film director Ramanand Sagar today said that the television had come to stay as a powerful medium for ‘information and entertainment’. He said, television had certain advantages over other media. At the same time, he said, it was wrong to think that the days of the big screen were over.

Sagar, who was here to receive an award from the Shaheed Memorial Seva Society, in an interview to The Tribune, disclosed that he was launching another television serial ‘Ankhen’ within a few months. ‘Ankhen,’ he said, had a nationalistic theme, like his sixties movie ‘Ankhen’ starring Dharmendra and Mala Sinha.

The noted film director, who courted popularity after the screening of his two television serials the Ramayan and ‘Sri Krishna’, thought that his purpose was no longer to provide entertainment alone. “I think I should inform and create awareness among people and that is what I am trying to do with ‘Ankhen’, he explained. He argues that ‘Ankhen’ is a thematic title that he was given to his serial. It revolves round espionage by enemies from across the country.

Sagar denied that he had jumped into the bandwagon of making films or serials with a nationalistic theme as they were an instant success. “I am a staunch nationalist and want to start a patriotic movement in the country”, he disclosed, while regretting that people, particularly the youth were not inclined towards nationalism. “No matter, what your religion, caste, language is, you are an Indian and it is this belief I want to reinforce”, he said.

He said with the same purpose in mind, he had made ‘Bach ke rehna,’ a serial children. The serial tries to inculcate the moral values among the children to make grow into human beings with a strong moral character.

When asked as to why he had left films and gone in for making television serials, Sagar remarked smilingly, “I cannot leave films, because cinema is in my blood. I am only catering to popular demand”, he claimed. He did not agree that he had switched over to making serials as it required low investment with massive profits.

Ramanand Sagar was conferred with the Shiromani Hindustan Rattan Award by the Shaheed Memorial Seva Society. He also presented various other awards conferred by the society to other eminent people at a colourful function organised at Guru Nanak Public School.

The award was conferred among others on Mr Om Prakash Munjal, Mr B.R. Chopra and Milkha Singh. The society also presented Hindustan Rattan Award to former CBI Director, Mr Joginder Singh and Kartar Singh Pehalwan, Maharaja Ranjit Singh Memorial Award to Mr Ravi Chopra and Mr K.S. Aulakh, Vice-Chancellor of Pnjab Agricultural University.

Others honoured on the occasion included former Chief Minister, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, local MP Mr Gurcharan Singh Ghalib. Rajya Sabha member Lala Lajpat Rai, senior journalists Mr K.S. Chawla, Mr Gurinder Singh of Ajit, late Mr R Dhiman and Mr Bashir Malik, news editor Doordarshan Kendra, Jammu.


Clerical staff strike enters sixth day
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 23
The pen-down strike by the clerical staff of the health department in the state entered the sixth day today. The staff have been protesting against the alleged illegal appointment of two senior assistants by the Director, Health and Family Welfare, Punjab.

They sat on a dharna at the Civil Surgeon’s office and held a rally. They also raised slogans against the Punjab Health Minister and Director Health, Punjab, demanding cancellation of the appointment orders of the two directly recruited senior assistants.

A state-level meeting of the association has been convened at the Civil Surgeon’s office at Ludhiana tomorrow.

The post of a senior assistant could only be filled through promotion. The names of these two candidates for appointment as senior assistants had been sent to the Punjab Health Department by the Punjab State Subordinate Services Selection Board, though the Health Department had never sent any requisition for this purpose to the board, Mr Jagdev Singh said.

Mr Jagdev Singh, state general secretary of the Punjab Health Department Subordinate Offices Clerical Association, said that as per the reports from all parts of the state, the pen-down strike was complete in the offices of Civil Surgeons, medical colleges, dental colleges, hospitals and primary health centres.

Among others who addressed the dharna were Mr Surinder Kumar Sharma district general secretary and Mr Ram Lal ‘ senior vice-president of the district unit.


Fulfil demands, say medical teachers
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 23
The issue of nominating a professional as a Director was highlighted by the activists of the Medical and Dental Teachers’ Association at a protest rally held today to protest the indifferent attitude of the government towards their demands.

Dr Baljeet Singh Dhillon, general secretary of the state unit also pointed out the deplorable condition of the medical college, particularly the roads and street lights.

He said while the Radio-Diagnosis Department of the Medical College, Amritsar was not receiving any X-ray films, those in Patiala and Faridkot were being supplied these films.

Their demands include promotion of teachers, redesignation of doctors according to the Medical Council of India (MCI) and the Dental Council of India ( DCI) norms.

The association also demanded financial autonomy for the principals so that they are able to spend the funds raised through the NRI seats for improvement of academic and hostel facilities.


Medical teachers stage dharna
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, November 23
Medical teachers of Government Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital here staged a dharna in front of the hospital to protest against the failure of the state government to accept their demands. Their main demands include filling of vacant posts, promotion of teachers on the PGI pattern, posting of the Director, Medical Research and Education, from the medical profession, supply of equipment, medicines and utilisation of fees charged from the patients for their welfare in the hospitals. They also held a rally.

Addressing the protesters, Dr Tejbir Singh, Member, State Medical Teachers Association, said if no steps were taken immediately the Medical Council of India (MCI) could decrease the medical seats of the students in all three state medical colleges. The MCI could even derecognise the colleges. He disclosed that the MCI had already informed the Government Medical College, Amritsar, authorities to reduce five postgraduation seats to two of MS in eyes. He regretted that the doctors serving on one post for the past 15 years had not been promoted.

Dr Tejbir Singh said, at least 25 per cent post of the doctor had been lying vacant for the past many years, in violation of MCI norms. He alleged that crores of rupees collected from the NRI seats quota had not been utilised to provide medical facilities in the medical colleges.

He said if the state government failed to accept their demands the teachers would go on mass casual leave from December 1in all state medical colleges. A meeting of the medical teachers’ body had been convened at Chandigarh on November 26 to finalise the strategy. Dr Jaswant Singh and Dr Avinash Gupta, president and secretary of the Medical Teachers Association of the local college, respectively, also spoke on the occasion.


Complete bandh in Noormahal
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, November 23
Residents of Noormahal observed a complete bandh in protest against the police lathi charge on the mob indulged in stone throwing incidents at Guru Har Rai Gurdwara, Noormahal, last night.

The trouble arose when some followers of the gurdwara objected to the playing of ‘dhol’ by some followers of a “mazar” situated near the gurdwara.

The SDM Phillaur, Mr Sandeep Hans, and the DSP, Mr Satinder Singh today convened a meeting of prominent citizens of the town and appealed them to restore peace and communal harmony in the town. Former MLA Gurdwinder Singh Atwal attended the meeting.

The DSP told this correspondent that both parties concerned had assured the administration to maintain peace in the town. Both officials had summoned a meeting of prominent citizens on Monday to find out a permanent solution to the problem.


Court workers booked for misplacing file
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 23
A case under Section 409 of the IPC has been registered against Satpal, record keeper, and Sham Lal, assistant record keeper, of the Judicial Courts here for their alleged involvement in misplacing a file pertaining to a case decided about more than three decades ago.

Police sources said a case was registered against Satpal and Sham Lal on a complaint by Mr Jasmail Singh, a resident of Balluana village of this district.

In his complaint moved to the Punjab and Haryana High Court he alleged that a civil suit in connection with a piece of land was pending in a Bathinda-based court.

A file number 252 dated November 4, 1960, which was summoned in the case was found missing, he added. Mr Jasmail Singh alleged that both Satpal and Sham Lal misplaced the file in connivance with Surjit Singh, Neta Singh and Sukhmander Singh after taking bribe from them.

Police sources said on the directions of the high court to the District and Sessions Judge and then on further directions of the Civil Judge (Senior Division) the case was registered against the accused.


Forum orders PSEB to pay compensation
Our Correspondent

Mansa, November 23
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Mansa, while giving its decision on a complaint filed by the gram panchayat of Thuthianwali village of the district, has issued directions to the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) to pay compensation of Rs 12,000 to the panchayat for the board’s failure to provide 24-hour power supply.

According to the gram panchayat it had deposited Rs 10,000 in 1996 with the board to get supply of electricity for 24 hours as per the PSEB policy. However, the board did not do the needful even after five years. In reply, the PSEB said the gram panchayat did not supply the required labour free of cost.

After hearing both parties, the forum held the board liable for deficiency of service and directed it to pay Rs 12,000 to the gram panchayat as compensation and Rs 1,000 as the cost of litigation.

The forum also directed the board to provide 24-hour power supply to the village as per circular No RE 4-96 of the board. The forum has given 15 days’ time to the PSEB to comply with its order.


Jatha to leave for Pak on Nov 27
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 23
Mr Bakshish Singh Dhaowali, member, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandak Committee (SGPC), will lead the Sikh jatha to Pakistan on November 27 instead of November 25 on the occasion of the Gurpurb celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev.

Dr G.S. Bachan, SGPC secretary, in a press note stated that all visa formalities had been completed and the Pakistan Government had changed the schedule due to special reasons. It stated that desirous pilgrims should reach the SGPC office now on November 26.

The Sikh jatha is scheduled to visit Gurdwara Nankana Sahib, Gurdwara Sacha Singh, Panja Sahib and Dera Sahib, Lahore, and will return on December 6.


WB to support health project
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
The World Bank has decided to support a Rs 422 crore project for the upgradation of the healthcare system and infrastructure in Punjab. The Punjab Health Systems Corporation (PHSC) is the nodal agency.

The Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Mr Rajan Kashyap, said under the project 154 secondary-level health institutions would be strengthened. The PHSC had already spent Rs 310 crore, till date, against an allocation of Rs 422 crore.


Dermatology meet
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, November 23
The 27th North Zone conference of the Indian Association of Dermatologists, Venereologists and Leprologists (IADVL) will be held at Faridkot on November 24 and 25.

Dr Gurinderjit Singh, President of the IADVL (NZ), will deliver a lecture on “Recent trends in hair transplantation”. The spotlight will be on mini as well as micro grafting, which requires the use of the latest techniques for giving bald patients a completely natural look.


Financial aid for Bedi’s family
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 23
Deputy Commissioner Jasbir Singh Bir today presented a cheque for Rs 31,000 to Atam Parkash Singh, a son of Journalist Balbir Singh Bedi who died recently.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had, while accepting the demand of the district unit of the Punjab Union of Journalists, granted Rs 31,000 to the family of the late journalist from his discretionary fund.


41.22 cr for improving water supply
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 23
Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, Punjab Minister for Science and Technology, said yesterday that Rs 41.22 crore had been sanctioned for the district from the funds announced by the Prime Minister on November 18. He said Rs 25.22 crore would be utilised to improve the water supply system and Rs 16 crore would be spent on improving the drinking water supply in the city.

Mr Garg, talking to mediapersons here yesterday, said the works would be completed in the next three years. In the first phase, Rs 10.32 crore would be spent and the work would be started within 15 days, he said.

Mr Garg said Rs 140 lakh would be spent on increasing the capacity of the water treatment plant, Rs 70 lakh on the construction of a water tank, Rs 20 lakh on hotline connections and about Rs 45 lakh on machines. Mr R. Venkatratnam, Deputy Commissioner, said Rs 175 lakh would be spend on the improvement of water supply in the local Kamla Nehru Colony area. He said this would benefit Ajit Road, Bhaghu Road, Shant Nagar and Jhugar Singh area of the city. The Deputy Commissioner said Rs 285 lakh would be spent on civic amenities in the Paras Ram Nagar area of the city.

He said at present the city was being supplied about 20 lakh gallons of water daily, which would be increased to about 50 lakh gallons with the completion of the schemes. 


Barnala to have 7-digit phone nos
Our Correspondent

Barnala, November 23
An open-house session was held at local telephone exchange yesterday. G.S. Gill, General Manager, Telecom, District Sangrur, was the chief guest. Eminent lawyers, doctors and principals of reputed colleges and schools and many public personalities attended the session.

Addressing the session, Mr Gill said all telephone numbers of Sangrur district were going to be changed into 7-digit number shortly. It would enable subscribers of the district to dial any number within the district without dialling any code. In the first stage, the telephone numbers of the local SDCA would be changed to 7-digit number by prefixing ‘39’ before the old number w.e.f. 2400 hours on 23.11.2001 he added.

He said the STD code of Barnala would also be changed from ‘1679’ to ‘167’. Telephone numbers of Sangrur, Sunam and Malerkotla would also be changed in a phased manner, he added.

He said cash counters had been opened at Sangrur, Barnala, Malerkotla, Dhuri and Sunam. Application forms for new telephone connections were available at all exchanges free of cost.

In 70 exchanges of the district, new telephone connections were being provided within 7 days. Only installation charges were being taken at the time of registration and the security would be charged in the first bill of the subscriber, he added. Mr Gill said the ISDN facility, STD PCO’s and leased lines were available on demand here. Call waiting and morning alarm facilities were also available without any registration charges in SSA, Sangrur.

The Sangrur exchange had been upgraded to new Technology with extra large capacity at a cost of Rs 20 lakh. Distinguished ringing had been introduced for incoming local and long distance calls. The Internet service would now be available at faster speed due to the in built network synchronisation there was a target to provide 36,000 new telephones in SSA Sangrur, in this financial year Telephone connections would be provided on demand throughout the district by the end of this financial year, he added.


Promotion date

Chandigarh, November 23
The date of promotion of Mr G.S. Raju, Joint Director, Industries, Punjab, as Additional Director Industries, Punjab, is March 22, 1999, and not as published in a news item in The Tribune dated November 23.


2 women held in land grab case
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 23
A case of land grab through forgery and impersonation had come to light here and the police yesterday nabbed two women Shakuntala and Harbans Kaur, in this connection while the prime accused Kirpal Singh was on the large.

According to information available today, Baldev Kaur of Sarhal Mundi village and her daughter Daljit Kaur had a seven kanal and 11 marla land at Hajipur village. It was transferred in their name after the death of Ajit Singh, the husband of Baldev Kaur, in 1985.

However, they came to know that Harbhajan Singh had got prepared a power of attorney of the land in his name through forgery on July 21 last year. The racketeers had shown Shakuntala as Baldev Kaur and Harbans Kaur as Daljit Kaur while preparing the document of power of attorney. These impersonators had affixed their thumb impressions on the papers. While Harbhajan Singh had signed as witness, a nambardar, Niranjan Das, attested the fake deed. However, the brain behind the fraud is said to be a property dealer, Kirpal Singh, who is at large after pocketing Rs 13 lakh. The impersonator women were allegedly given Rs 44,000. However, they pleaded that they were duped into putting their thumbs on documents as Kirpal Singh had told them that the papers were meant for arranging bank loan for getting them buffaloes. While the two women had been remanded till November 26, other four racketeers are yet to be arrested.


5 booked for forging papers
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, November 23
The Dhar Kalan police has booked five persons, including complainant’s sister and her son and a Lambardar, on the charges of impersonation, fraud and cheating under Sections 420/467/468/471 and 120B of the IPC.

Mrs Kanta Devi of Trehti village in her complaint addressed to the SSP, Gurdaspur, stated that she purchased seven kanals and 16 marlas from Mr Saran Dass on June 6 last year for Rs 1 lakh.

She said Dutt Singh, her nephew, forged a power of attorney on her behalf on February 16 last year and sold half of the land to her mother, sister of the complainant, Kaushalya Devi, and the remaining to Balraj Singh. The forged documents were attested by Lambardar Kashmira Singh and Romesh Chander, she alleged.


Children’s science congress held
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, November 23
The Punjab State Council for Science and Technology organised a district-level National Children’s Science Congress on the topic of the “indigenous scientific knowledge for better tomorrow” at Government Co-education Senior Secondary School here yesterday. As many as 14 teams participated.

While Anita of Government Co-education Senior Secondary School, Basant Singh of Government Senior Secondary School, Rahon, Mandip Singh of Hindu Senior Secondary School, Banga won the first three positions respectively, in the category A (age group 14-17 years). In category B (11-14 years age group) Vipin Kumar of Hindu Senior Secondary School, Banga, Jasmseet Kaur of JSFH Khalsa High School, Nawanshahr, and Deepak Gupta of Hindu Senior Secondary School, Banga, won the first three positions, respectively.

Mr Gurmail Singh Sahlon, Deputy District Education Officer, presided .


Puar inaugurates varsity contests
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 23
Guru Nanak Dev University here today organised Punjabi folk art, on the painting and photography competitions at Heritage Centre as a part of its 32nd foundation day celebrations. Prof Joginder Singh Puar, former Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, Patiala, inaugurated the competitions.

Prof Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh will preside over these celebrations at Guru Nanak Bhavan auditorium. Master Mohan Lal, Minister for Higher Education, Punjab, will inaugurate an exhibition of books, portraits and manuscripts while Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers will preside over the play ‘Sarkar-e-Khalsa’ about Maharaja Ranjit Singh at Dashmesh Auditorium. This is for the first time that the university has decided to celebrate its annual foundation day on a large scale. Punjabi folk art competition-cum-exhibition depicting utensils, ornaments, handicraft, phulkari charkha and other artefacts in this exhibition was the main attraction of these celebrations. Dr Gurmeet Singh, convener of the exhibition, said more than 31 colleges participated in this competition and displayed rare articles relating to Punjabi culture. In the evening a “kirtan darbar” was held at the Sangat Hall of Guru Nanak Bhavan of the University. Bhai Jagir Singh of Chandigarh, Bhai Nirmal Singh, Hazuri Ragi, Bhai Harnam Singh of Srinagar and Bhai Surinder Singh Jodhpuri recited the ‘gurbani kirtan’.

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