Monday, November 26, 2001, Chandigarh, India

 

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P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


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Octroi: Cabinet meeting on November 28
Jupinderjit Singh and Ashok Kaura
Tribune News Service

Phillaur, November 25
Facilitated by the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s order of vacating the stay on the octroi abolition in the state, the Punjab Cabinet will take a final decision on the issue at its meeting scheduled for November 28. The meeting will be held at Chandigarh and is most likely to the presided over by Mr Balramji Dass Tandon in the absence of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal who is under treatment at a hospital in New Delhi.

Disclosing this to The Tribune, the Chief Secretary, Punjab, Mr N.K. Arora, said octroi abolition would be the main issue on the agenda of the meeting. He said earlier there were plans to hold the meeting in New Delhi but now it had almost been finalised that the meeting would be held at Chandigarh.

Mr Arora was here to preside over the passing out parade of Head Constables at Maharaja Ranjit Singh Punjab Police Academy today. Mr Arora dashed the hopes of the academy authorities regarding allocation of funds for conservation of Maharaja Ranjit Singh fort, in which the academy was situated, by revealing that no separate funds could be earmarked due to project for the financial constraints. He, however, assured the authorities that he would try to get some funds, adding that its possibility was remote.

Mr Arora also gave away the prizes to the best trainees in the academy. Head Constable Sunil Kumar was awarded the prize for being the all-round first.

With Mr Arora’s statement, the speculation over the state government’s next step regarding the octroi abolition has been put to rest.


 

PAC meeting today
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 25
Even as the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal has convened a meeting of the Political Affairs Committee and SGPC members here tomorrow, Bibi Jagir Kaur, former SGPC chief, met Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister in New Delhi to discuss the Panthic scenario. The annual election of the SGPC chief is scheduled for November 27 and Bibi Jagir Kaur is in the race for the coveted post.

The name of Mr Mal Singh Ghuman, SGPC member and Chairman, Punjab Mandi Board, is being considered by the high command for the post. Mr G.S. Tohra, former SGPC chief, has been suggesting that his party which has about 50 members in the House would not oppose if Mr Talwandi or Mr Ghuman were nominated for the post.

The PAC meeting is likely to be a routine one as its members would give all rights to Mr Badal to nominate the candidate. The name of the candidate would be brought from New Delhi in a sealed envelope which would be opened in the general house meeting of the SGPC on November 27.

Mr Sewa Singh Sekhwan, Cabinet Minister and member of the PAC, has refused to entertain any question about the probable candidate for the post of SGPC chief. He said the candidate would be selected as per the suggestions made by the members only.

The names of Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, officer on special duty to the Chief Minister, and Mr Sucha Singh Langah, Cabinet Minister, are also being considered for the candidature, but both of them are in the web of some controversy.

Meanwhile, Mr Talwandi has been trying to contact Jathedar Vedanti on telephone due to the recent controversy but the latter has refused to discuss the issue. Sources said that Jathedar Vedanti could hold an informal meeting with other high priests tomorrow.


 

Badal recovering fast: Dr Maini
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 25
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who underwent corrective surgery here on Monday for upper femur bone fracture on the leftside, is reported to be recovering fast.

Dr P.S. Maini, Chairman of the Orthopaedic Department of Ganga Ram Hospital who operated on Mr Badal, said. “He is better. We are just monitoring his condition to ensure that nothing goes wrong. Everything is fine.” Asked as to when Mr Badal would be discharged, Dr Maini said, “It is a major surgery. We normally discharge a patient at least a week after surgery. The stitches are opened after two weeks”.

On Mr Badal’s follow-up treatment, Dr Maini said, “It will depend on whether he requires orthopaedic help for his general condition; his treatment can be followed up at the PGI, Chandigarh, and I will also visit him once in a while”.

The Punjab Chief Minister’s recovery encouraged Dr Maini to visit Chennai for a day on Saturday, where he was invited to make a presentation on the management of a fracture at the IIT.


 

‘Only 41 pc of power produced is billed’
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 25
Nearly 59 per cent of the power produced in the country goes unmetered due to transmission losses and theft. The Union Ministry of Power has launched a campaign to create awareness among people.

Mr Kirpal Singh, Senior Manager, National Thermal Corporation (NTPC), stated this at a press conference here on Wednesday. Mr Gursewak Singh and Mr T.S. Kamboj, senior officials of the NTPC, were also present on the occasion. The officials were in the city in connection with the power awareness campaign launched by the Union Ministry of Power. Seminars and rallies were organised in different parts of the district as part of the campaign.

He said although the private sector could generate power, the tariff should be as per the recommendations of the government. He added that the producers of power would not be allowed to design tariff unilaterally.

He said there was an urgent need to form a national thermal grid so that power could be transmitted from one part of the country to other. He said at present the eastern sector was producing more power than it consumed while the states in the western region were in need of more power. But there was capacity of transmitting only 3000 MW while the need was to increase the capacity to 30,000 MW.



 

PSEB engineers to oppose Electricity Bill-2001
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 25
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) Engineers Association yesterday decided to oppose the introduction of the “Electricity Bill - 2001’’ and urge the central government to follow the path of internal reforms for strengthening the existing vertically integrated State Electricity Boards and to make these financially viable to ensure service to all consumers at optimum levels.

The Engineers’ Association, at a convention here on the issue, claimed that technocrats had not been consulted while preparing the draft of the Bill which would have far-reaching effect on the entire management of the power sector and the future development of the country.

Association President M.S. Bajwa and General Secretary Anil Miglani said engineers felt there was no need to a new statute through the enactment of the proposed Bill instead the existing provisions of the Electricity Supply Act 1948 and Electricity Regulatory Commissions Act, 1998 provided for needed reforms.

They said that the proposed Electricity Bill, 2001 would promote mushrooming of licensees in transmission, generation and distribution areas. The engineers said it was proposed that any licensee company could generate, transmit or distribute electricity for a limited period and even during this period its licence could be distributed and an administrator appointed. They said it was ridiculous as to how a licensee company would quit after developing its systems if no company came forward to purchase its systems.

The Association leaders said if the Electricity Bill-2001 was implemented the average electricity tariff in India was bound to rise to Rs six to Rs 10 per unit thus shutting off all commercial, industrial and agricultural operations. The Bill they said would result only in making all commodities produced in India costlier than those available through the World Trade Agreement in the future.

The leaders alleged the promoters of the Bill only had short term personal gains in view as they were visualising the prospect of huge kickbacks. They said the assets of the Indian power sector had a replacement value of Rs eight lakh crore whereas the promoters of the Bill wanted to sell of these assets at 10 per cent of their value. India has had a similar experience in case of Enron where kickbacks made the electricity tariff rise to a level of Rs 24 per unit, they added.



 

Panchayats identify problems
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 25
Even as the effective devolution of powers to panchayats is still awaited, a training programme to create awareness among elected representatives, particularly women, has revealed the issues that concern sarpanches and panches. These have been brought to the notice of the Punjab Government and also Unicef.

Unicef representatives were involved in the training programme initiated by the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID). This had financial and technical support of the William Bill Gates Foundation focusing on forming self-help groups, reproductive child health and schooling for the girl child. Women sarpanches and panches were particularly targeted for awareness about human rights, child rights, right to survival, protection, development and participation.

The report released by the CRRID spotlights village problems identified by women sarpanches and panches. These pertain to the menace of drug addiction, the deteriorating primary education system, poor state of the anganwari scheme, female foeticide and disbursement of development grants to panchayats on a political basis and not according to needs.

Men representatives in the panchayats expressed concern over the falling underground watertable, excessive use of chemicals in agriculture and the toxic effect on environment and health, apprehensions on the impact of the World Trade Organisation, rising numbers of small/marginal farmers and their marginalisation, indebtedness, migration to urban areas in search of gainful self-employment, problems of carriage, transport and storage of farm produce and the declining incomes from agriculture that adversely impact socio-economic life.

Women sarpanches and panches were particularly disturbed by the lack of infrastructure for imparting education at the primary level, the menace of copying, substandard textbooks, frequent transfers of school teachers and absence of playfields, drinking water and toilets. The report highlights the lack of confidence the powers that be have in the knowledge and experience of sarpanches and panches in running the show if all powers listed in the 73rd Constitutional amendment were to be transferred to them. ‘’This is a myth espoused by politicians and bureaucrats who were unwilling to share and decentralise the powers they enjoy’’, says the report.

Another major concern expressed by the elected representatives is the stranglehold of the bureaucracy — officials of the Department of Panchayats and Rural Development. The deep politicisation of the panchayati raj institutions often results in the suspension of ‘’inconvenient’’ sarpanches and panches that automatically denies the release of development grants to the villages concerned.

It is admitted that with the change in the socio-economic scenario the mindset, too, had to change at both ends — panchayats as also the government.

It is pertinent to refer to the warning the report contains on the lessons to be learnt from the recent panchayat elections in Andhra Pradesh — any attempt to deviate from the 73rd Constitutional amendment can effectively impede the objective of human development and improving the quality of life in rural India. Thus, panchayati raj institutions have to be strengthened — the sooner the better.



 

SAD rejects Tohra’s terms for compromise

Ludhiana, November 25
The Shiromani Akali Dal today rejected Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra’s conditions for a compromise ahead of the Punjab assembly elections due next year.

“We are ready for a compromise, but talks for it should begin without any pre-condition,” SAD Secretary-General and Union Minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa said here.

“The kind of conditions the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal is putting for talks is not acceptable to us. We will join hands with anyone who is against the Congress, but at a rally yesterday Mr Tohra targeted Mr Badal and did not even mention the Congress,” he said.

Mr Tohra has said a patch-up is not possible until Mr Badal apologised at Akal Takht for the “past wrong-doings”.

On whether both factions could put up a common candidate for the post of SGPC chief to be elected on November 27, Mr Dhindsa said, “They will have to support our candidate for the post. UNI


 

Probe sought into Kanjhla’s assets
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 25
The “Kanjhla Bhajao Halka Bachao” Front, yesterday demanded from the Punjab government a CBI probe into the moveable and immoveable property of Mr Gobind Singh Kanjhla, Minister for Social Security and Development of Women and Children, Punjab, which he allegedly has “amassed” by adopting “corrupt” measures. The front demanded probe into “misuse” of grants, released to the “unregistered” clubs by Mr Kanjhla.

The front held a meeting in gurdwara complex at Kanjhla village 10 km from here. The meeting also demanded removal of Mr Kanjhla from the Punjab Cabinet and his expulsion from primary membership of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). The meeting also urged the president of the SAD, Mr Parkash Singh Badal not to field Mr Kanjhla from the Sherpur Assembly.

The front also projected Mr Hardarshan Singh Rai for the Sherpur Assembly constituency of the SAD.

The conference was attended among others by Sant Baba Hakam Singh Ganda Singh Wala, convener of the “Kanjhla Bhajao Halka Bachao” front; Mr Raj Singh Kherri, ex-MLA of Bahujan Samaj Morcha; Jathedar Avtar Singh Dhalerkalan, president of SAD’s Ahmedgarh circle; Jathedar Gurmeet Singh, Mahmadpur president of SAD’s Sherpur Circle; Jathedar Joga Singh, president of SAD’s Dhuri Circle, Mr Bant Singh Punnewal, Director, Milk Plant, Sangrur; Mr Rattan Kumar Leela, Sarpanch of the Kanjhla village; and Mr Jaswant Singh Bhattal, a member of the front.

Mr Gobind Singh Kanjhla organised a pension camp in Kanjhla village’s government school today. He also laid the foundation stone to declare the upgradation of the school from high to senior secondary in the school complex.

Mr Kanjhla’s function was attended among others by Bibi Surjit Kaur Barnala, wife of Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, Governor , Uttaranchal, Mr Ranjit Singh Balian, Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development, Punjab; and Mr Sarvjit Singh, Deputy Commissioner.



 

Joginder may join politics
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, November 25
To clean a drain, one has to get unclean. This was the reply of a former CBI Director, Mr Joginder Singh, to the question whether he would join politics. He stressed on the need for speedy justice, pointing out that at present 3.25 crore cases were pending in courts with only about 12,000 judges to decide them.

He was speaking to newsmen here today on the occasion of the tenth annual function organised by the Old Students’ Association of Government Senior Secondary School, Lamini.

He was welcomed at the school by Mr B.R. Gupta, president, Mr Satya Pal Verma, general secretary, Mr B.D. Sharma, chief patron, and other office-bearers of the association.

He presented the “awards of excellence” to Mr Baldev Singh, Mr Ashok Chakravarti, Mr Mangat Ram Mahajan, Mr Parveen Kumar, Dr Tarsem Singh, and Mr Vijay Anand.

Mr Mohan Lal, Minister for Higher Education, Punjab, presided over the function.



 

CM failed to solve issues: Mann
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, November 25
“Mr Parkash Singh Badal has failed on all fronts during his tenure as Chief Minister. He has failed to get the just demands of Punjab, including the transfer of Chandigarh and other Punjabi-speaking area to the state and the fair adjudication of river waters issue conceded.” Mr Mann told mediapersons at Ram Sharnam near Shish Mehal today. 

He also announced a grant of Rs 2 lakh for the local KMRD Jain College, Rs 1 lakh for Government Girls School and also issued a cheque for Rs 1 lakh for the Ram Sharnam Ashram. 


 

Ramoowalia to field 90 candidates
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, November 25
Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, president of the Lok Bhalai Party, while talking to this correspondent here today said the Akal Takht Jathedar should not intervene in Akali politics by making a call to unite them as more than 60 per cent of the Sikhs belonged to parties other than the Akali Dals. He said that his party would field 90 candidates in the coming Punjab Assembly election.


 

Price of acting according to conscience
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 25
Bashir Malik is an alien among his own people. Rather he is an outcaste. He has been disowned by his brothers and sisters. So much so, he could not attend the funeral of his mother, who passed away in 1993. Nor could he perform the last rites of his uncle, who had adopted him as his son and bequeathed his property in his (Malik’s) name. Yet Malik stands firm in his resolve not to compromise.

Bashir Malik, an Indian Information Services (IIS) officer, is currently the News Editor, Doordarshan Kendra, Srinagar. On Friday he was presented Shiromani Patarkari Rattan Award by the Shaheed Memorial Sewa Society here for outstanding service to the nation by trying to present an accurate picture of situation in Kashmir against all odds. Reporting Kashmir is no easy job. In fact he has been doing this job for the past 12 years. Ever since the eruption of militancy in Kashmir. When even the neutral media people left the valley or succumbed to the militants dictates, Bashir Malik stood his ground.

Militants had already killed several persons belonging to the state-run media. So reporting for All India Radio and Doordarshan was almost suicidal especially for a person whose relations were spread across the valley. Malik belongs to Anantnag, the fountainhead of militancy where Qazi Nisar, who later was gunned down by the Hizbul Mujahideen and Shabir Shah belonged to same area. Hence impact of militancy during early nineties in Anantnag was too intense.

Yet Malik decided to rebel. He started reporting for AIR. He presented quite a contrary picture of events as reported by other independent media. Obviously this was not liked by the militants, who had already intensified their movement with deadly overtones. Everyone who dissented was eliminated. Malik’s family started receiving threats. So did Malik. He would receive at least 100 threatening calls in a day. He disclosed, “sometimes I would change my telephone numbers after every week, besides regularly changing my residence.

Recalls Malik, “in the beginning I did feel certain predicament as what to do. Because on one side was my family, my close relatives, parents, brothers and sisters and on other my conscience, which refused to succumb to the pressures of fundamentalism and secessionism. I opted for the latter, because I could not kill my conscience, come what may”. At times he would feel alone. Because, militants had issued a fatwa of social boycott against him and the fatwa exists till date.

Malik cannot forget certain moments of his life, when it was very difficult to control himself. Once, when his mother died and he could not attend her funeral and the second time when his uncle passed away. “I was only about 50 km away when my uncle and my mother were being laid to rest, yet I could not join the mourning...I was made to mourn, grieve and weep all alone”, he recounts, but not with regrets. As he believes such phases are only momentary.

Malik married a Sikh woman Gurjit Kaur, who is also an IIS officer. She has always stood by her husband. While Malik reported for AIR, she reported for Doordarshan from Srinagar only. Now she is posted in Delhi with the Press Information Bureau. They have a daughter Ana and two sons Suhail and Vikas. Malik says he wanted and tried to rise above the parochial and chauvinist considerations and to a great degree he has succeeded. “Moreover, I wanted to tell the world that not all Kashmiri Muslims are fundamentalists or secessionists. There are several others like me who can die for India and in fact hundreds have sacrificed their life for the country”, he concluded, while adding, “this award by the Shaheed Memorial Sewa Society is an acknowledgement of those sacrifices and the vindication of the stand I took 12 years ago”.


 

24 more cows die, raising toll to 49
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 25
With 24 more cows dying yesterday, the toll has risen to 49 at the “Gaushala” run by the Sri Devi Talaab Mandir Committee at Bulandpur village near here where 55 more animals are battling for life after having “poisonous” feed since Thursday.

Death of so many cows has cast a shadow on the management of the “Gaushala”, the samples of the fodder and the viscera of animals sent to the Punjab Veterinary Department laboratory here following the death of 25 cows on Thursday, has revealed that the animals died after having “poisonous” food and fodder, allegedly supplied by some visitor on the Divali day.

The police has done nothing except registery of a case, the role of those managing the affairs of the “Gaushala” has raised a lot of dust, particularly after the death of 24 more cows today and following alleged efforts to conceal the happenings at the place, even as the “Gaushala” in charge Anil Dewedi, said the cows died after having “poisonous” feed and fodder supplied by a person on the day of Divali.

He said initially the feed had been rejected by the gaushala authorities. However, what makes the affair controversial is the death of so many animals for the second time yesterday. Gaushala authorities also failed to explain as to how more cows died after a gap of two days, when they had claimed on the very first day that the reason behind death of 25 cows was supply of poisonous fodder and as to why same “poisonous” fodder was given again to animals.

Meanwhile, 55 more cows fell ill yesterday morning and were being treated by doctors. The police has not register fresh case yesterday and Mr Balkar Singh, SHO (Sadar), was not even aware that more cows died yesterday.


 

Dermatologists’ conference concludes
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, November 25
The two-day 27th North zone conference of the Indian Association of Dermatologists, Venereologists and Leprologists (IADVL) organised by the local Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital which concluded here today underlined the need for more counselling centres to control the spread of HIV/AIDS. For this programme full-time medical social workers should be trained for counselling adults and other persons.

They should perform the job at the doorstep of the people. Speaking on the occasion Dr R.C. Sharma, Principal, Government Medical College, Shimla stressed change in physical, chemical and biological environment which also were causes of HIV/AIDS. He said technology could only examine a patient but cannot cure. Dr N.L. Sharma, Professor Head of the Skin Department of the same college wanted effective steps to check the problem.

He said that an estimated 4.50 million HIV cases had been detected so far and the number was increasing. Maharashtra was at the top in this connection.

Dr V.K. Jain from PGI Rohtak stressed treatment through syndromic at primary health centres which proved more useful.

He also stressed for early and prompt change in sexual behaviour which caused 80 per cent of the problem.

Dr S.K. Malhotra from Government Medical College, Amritsar dwelt on surgical procedures for the management of vitilego skin grafting, concluding the conference Dr Gurinderjit Singh, President (IADVL) speaking on baldness shared his experiences about different surgical and non-surgical methods for the cure of this problem. He said grafting could make the life on person concerned healthier.

Among others who spoke on the occasion include Dr Rakesh Bharti, Deputy Medical Commissioner, Health Systems Corporation Amritsar and Dr B.B. Mahajan, Organising Secretary of the Conference Organising Committee. Dr Rajesh Rani Gupta, Chairperson of the organising committee praised the participants. More than 250 delegates from different parts of the country took part in it.



 

Dharnas against supply of contaminated water
Our Correspondent

Bhuchu Mandi (Bathinda), November 25
Residents of the township held a march on Friday night to protest against the supply of contaminated water and raised slogans against the President of the Municipal Committee and the district administration. They also staged dharnas in front of the residence of the Executive Engineer of the council.

Sources reveal that residents are being forced to use contaminated water since the water supply of the town has got mixed up with the sewage. Despite several complaints no action was taken so far, the sources add.

Sources further add that the ground water also contains high contents of fluoride and had been declared unfit for human consumption. As a result, those selling mineral water and “pure” water had started making money cashing on the poor water supply, sources said.

Mr Gulzar Singh, a former minister of Punjab has also pointed towards poor civic amenities in the town. The ministers and officials of the government have been making tall claims of improvement in the water supply situation and using liberal funds but the practical situation was just the other way round, he alleged.

Sources said some residents who have been drinking this water are undergoing treatment for various ailments in private hospitals. Hardly anyone is going to the government hospitals due to lack of medical staff.

Ms Santosh Garg, President, Municipal Committee, when contacted said the complaint of contaminated water had been received only yesterday and appropriate action would be taken at the earliest. However, the problem was being blown out of proportion, she said.

Dr Avtar Singh Sidhu, District Health Officer said water samples had been collected and water supply stopped from the municipal tanks. Only super chlorinated water was being supplied to the residents. Chlorine tablets had been distributed and residents have also been asked to use boiled water and take other necessary precautions to avoid disease, he said.

Mr R Venkatratnam, Deputy Commissioner, admitted that reports of supply of contaminated water had been received. A team of health officials has been deployed to monitor the situation. No patient has been admitted to any hospital for treatment of water-borne disease, Mr Ratnam said.


 

God’s chosen Ragi
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 25
Preparations are being made here to observe the 11th death anniversary of Bhai Bakhshish Singh, the renowned Hazoori Ragi, kirtaniya of divine hymns of Guru Granth Sahib composed in different ragas and singer of other forms of spiritual music, in a befitting manner on Tuesday (Nov 27). God had bestowed on Bhai Bakhshish Singh a vibrant, captivating and golden voice most appropriate for singing Gurbani according to the classical specifications laid down for different shabads.

The Ragi had a wonderful memory and he knew shabads by heart, says Prof Bakhshish Singh, his admirer who has retired as Director of Correspondence Courses from Punjabi University. His pronunciation, clarity of words and the right emphasis on words and phrases conveyed clear receptivity to the sangat. His kirtan created a celestial atmosphere synchronising with the gist of the holy hymns.”

He lifted the listeners to divine heights. He ferried them across the ocean of life to Sachkhand, illumined their minds and made them feel one with the eternal Supreme Lord.

“Bhai Bakhshish Singh was a simple and pious person immersed in Gurbani. He combined true devotion with humility and did selfless service to the sangat at numerous places, enthralling people with his God-given ability. We could see a rare glow on his face while he was singing hymns. He won numerous, richly deserved honours, laurels and awards from Sikh institutions, organisations and the sangat. He gratefully accepted these as a devout ‘Dhadi of the Guru’ and did not desire anything beyond the grace and blessings of the Lord.”

“To sum up”, says the Professor, “Bhai Bakhshish Singh’s classical kirtan was like waves in the ocean which brought peace to millions of souls seeking the grace of the Lord. We had the proud privilege of having him for Gurbani kirtan at our residence on the Punjabi University campus where we spent 17 years,” Prof Bakhshish Singh recalls. The memorial function will be held at 51, Sirhind Road, Hargobind Nagar in the city.



 

Railways promotee officers threaten stir
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 25
More than 8,000 members of the Indian Railways Promotee Officers Federation have threatened to resort to direct action in case their issues are not resolved at the earliest.

At a meeting of the Promotee Officers Association of the Indian Railways held at Diesal Component Works (DCW) here recently, the officers protested against the alleged discriminatory policies adopted by the Railway Administration towards the Promotee Officers of Indian Railways. The general secretary of the association said an agitation would be launched to draw the attention of the government towards their genuine demands.

The demands include higher grade for Assistant Group B officers at par with the Group B officers of the Accounts Department, reducing the time span during promotion of Group B officers and upholding the present 50 per cent quota of promotee officers for induction into Group A.


 

Minister for check on infanticide
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 25
Mr Gobind Singh Kanjla, the Punjab Minister for Social Security, Women and Child Welfare, said here on Friday that though the state government was trying to enforce various laws enacted to curb child labour and female infanticide, the help of social service organisations and various self-help clubs was needed to eradicate these social evils.

Mr Kanjla, who had come here in connection with the state-level celebrations of the children welfare day, while talking to mediapersons said “aanganwadi” workers had been directed to create awareness among the masses and rural people about the ill-effects of female infanticide and the declining sex ratio in the state.

Mr Kanjla, who visited the Mahanat Gurbanta Dass School for Deaf and Dumb and Blind Children, announced a grant of Rs 1 lakh for the school and Rs 5,100 as appreciation prize for the children who had taken part in the cultural programme.

Ms Seema Jain, Director, Social Security, Punjab, gave details of various welfare schemes being run by the department. Mr R. Venkatratnam, Deputy Commissioner, was present on the occasion.


 

Lawyers to strike work today
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 25
The District Bar Association at an emergency meeting here yesterday decided to strike work and march in the markets of city tomorrow to protest against the apathetic attitude of authorities concerned towards improvement of the approach roads to the judicial complex here. A day-long dharna would also be staged in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office.

Mr Mithu Ram Gupta, President, Bar Association, Bathinda district, in a press note issued here yesterday said that district authorities had turned a deaf ear towards the plight of judicial complex, which was marked by bad approach roads and poor sanitation arrangements.


 

Pensioners for hike in medical relief
Tribune news Service

Chandigarh, November 25
The Punjab Government Pensioners’ Association has urged the state government to enhance the medical allowance of the pensioners from Rs 250 to Rs 300 per month.

In a memorandum submitted to the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Mr Yash Paul Ghai, additional general secretary of the association stated that the fixed allowance of Rs 250 per month was inadequate to meet the ever-increasing cost of medicare.



 

“Issue identity cards by Dec 31”
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 25
Mr Sajan Chatterjee, Deputy Election Commissioner, Government of India ordered Jalandhar Division officials to issue photo identity cards to new voters after the publication of the voters lists.

Mr Chatterjee was addressing officials of Jalandhar Division where preparation of I-cards and the voter list was reviewed. Mr Satish Chandra Commissioner Jalandhar Division, Ms Usha R. Sharma, Additional Chief Election Commissioner, Punjab, Mr Kulbir Singh Sidhu, Deputy Commissioner, Gurdaspur, Mr Iqbal Singh Sidhu, DC Hoshiarpur, Mr Vivek Aggarwal, DC Kapurthala, Mr R. Shivaprashad, DC Jalandhar, Mr Jagjit Singh, DC Nawanshehar, Mr Narinderjit Singh, DC Amritsar, and others officials related to election process attended the meeting along with representatives of the Haryana State Electronics Development Corporation, a nodal agency for the Election Commission of India.

Mr Chatterjee directed that photo identity cards be issued up to December 31, 2001. Ms Usha R. Sharma informed that up to November 7, 2001 1,16,22,837 photo identity cards were issued whereas only 39,83,802 cards are to be issued.



 

Date extended for photo I-cards
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, November 25
Mr A. Venu Prasad, District Election Officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner, has extended the date for preparing photo identity cards for those who could not avail this opportunity in Panjgrain and Faridkot Assembly constituencies till now.

Under the Panjgrain segment, the photo identity cards will be prepared for two days from November 26 at different villages, including Sikhanwala, Chahal, Bir Chahal, Chameli, Nathewala, Dhulkot, Nangal, Devivala, Sirsiri, Panjgrain Khurd, Ghaniyawala, Demru Kalan, Demru Khurd and Sahuke.

Similarly, the photo identity cards of Faridkot constituency will be prepared for two days from November 28 at the local Nagar Council office. The Deputy Commissioner said any voter not having the card would not be allowed to cast the vote in the forthcoming Assembly elections.


 
 

Gang forcing kids into begging busted
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 25
The police today busted a gang, which forced kids into begging and arrested Gurjant Singh, resident of Raghu Bangi village and Chhinder Singh of Ablu Khurana village cases under Sections 363-A, and 370, IPC, have been registered. A teenaged boy, Sonu, was also freed from their captivity.

The SSP in a press note issued here today said they used to travel to other cities under the garb of beggars and the kids were lured by them to the city and were forced into begging. The kids were taught tricks of begging and playing street plays or to pose as “madaris” and the culprits pocketed the earning. Their area of operation was the centre of the city, educational institutes and the Gole market of the city. One of the kids rescued from the net of the culprits belonged to Jwala Ji, he said.

In another case, the police has identified a gang of cheats who used to promise youths jobs in foreign countries. Amrik Singh, a travel agent from Ludhiana and his wife Balwinder Kaur had cheated four youths of this area, promising jobs in the foreign lands and pocketed Rs 20 lakh. They had collected Rs 5 lakh each from Nirbhai Singh, Kashmir Singh, of Bhagwan Pura village and Babu Singh, and Teja Singh of Behniwal (Mansa) village. A case under Sections 420 and 506, IPC, has been registered.



 

FIR in land grab case eyewash?
Rashmi Talwar and Pawan Kumar

Amritsar, November 25
Following a public hue and cry over case of land grab reportedly by a powerful political family, a case under Sections 379, 448, 427 and 34 IPC has been registered against Puran Chand and others. Puran Chand is an employee of Mr Surinder Singh Kairon, a close kin of the Chief Minister Mr Parkash Singh Badal. The event was reported in the Tribune columns on November 21.

However, no arrest have been made so far.

Mr Satya Pal Dang CPI leader in a statement here today claimed that the registration of the case seemed to be mere eyewash.

Mr Dang alleged that no complainant was present when the report was lodged and the statements were recorded only on the basis of a general written complaint by the aggrieved party. He added that no police official had yet made a site survey or held an investigation of the trespass.

Mr Dang also pointed out that no sections under arms act/illegal arms possession Act or threat to kill were included despite such allegations.


 

Quack arrested
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 25
The local police has arrested Amar Chand of Teona village, for allegedly selling drugs.

Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, SSP, in a press note issued here today said the accused posing as a qualified doctor was running a dispensary and selling medicines at rates higher than prescribed. At least 300 tablets were seized from him. A case under Section 420, IPC, has been registered against him at the Sadar police station.

In another incident, Harmel Singh of Rajgarh village has been arrested and 15 kg of poppy husk seized. At least 250 gm of opium have been seized from Jagsir Singh of Rama Mandi. Cases have been registered under the NDPS Act in this connection.

Buta Singh of Guru Teg Bahadur Nagar was arrested and a pistol and four cartridges were recovered from him.


 

65 containers of tar seized, 3 held
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 25
On a tip off, the Barnala police yesterday seized 65 containers of tar and arrested three contractors of government works under Sections 420, 409, 467, 468, 471 and 34 of the IPC.

Stating this here yesterday the police said those arrested were Birbal Dass, Manjinder Singh and Jagpal Singh, all residents of Barnala. It further said the containers of the tar had been seized from the godown of Birbal Dass. Each container contained 135 kg of tar.


 

House burgled
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 25
Diamond worth Rs 80,000 and gold jewellery and cash were reportedly stolen from the house of Sikander Lal Ghai of Putlighar area here last night. Mr Ghai and his family had gone to their relative’s house at Ram ka Bagh at midnight when they returned home, they found the locks broken.

The police has seized 25 gm of charas, 18,000 ml and 15,000 ml of illicit liquor from Bittu, Vimal Kumar and Ajay Singh, respectively.


 

Redesignate posts, say non-medical teachers
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 25
The Punjab State Non-Medical Teachers Association has alleged that it is being given step motherly treatment by the Medical Teachers Association and urged the government to undo the injustice done to them by redesignating their posts on the lines of medical teachers, besides accepting their other demands. In a statement here yesterday association secretary Dharm Paul alleged that some senior activists of the Medical Teachers Association holding influential positions in the Medical Education Department were allegedly trying to misguide the government by misquoting facts to deprive benefits to the non-medical teachers.

Dr Paul claimed that there were meagre promotion avenues for non-medical teachers as compared to medical teachers who were being promoted as assistant professors after putting in three years of service while most non-medical teachers did not get even a single promotion throughout their service tenure.

The association demanded that in future it should be a party to all future negotiations on the demands put forward by the medical college teachers to watch the interests of the non-medical teachers. It also demanded the redesignation of the posts of non-medical lecturer to senior lecturer as had been done in the case of medical lecturers with effect from 1991. They said the pending cases of pay scale revision and time scale placements of non-medical teachers with effect from January, 1996, should also be decided without further delay.



 

Kamla Nehru College wins trophy
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 25
Kamla Nehru College, Phagwara won trophy at the folk art competition held here to mark the 32nd foundation day celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev University. Prof Prem Kumar Dhumal, Himachal Chief Minister awarded the trophy to the winners.

Master Mohal Lal, Minister for Higher Education, Punjab and Vice-Chancellor of the varsity Dr S.P. Singh were also present. Mr Dhumal also inaugurated yesterday an exhibition of folk art, photography and paintings.

In these competitions B.D. Arya College for Girls, Jalandhar cantonment was given the runners-up trophy while BBK DAV College for Women finished third. B.D. Arya Girls College, Jalandhar cantonment was also adjudged for displaying overall best art stall in the exhibition.

In photography competition Shikha Arora of BBK DAV College for Women, Amritsar was awarded the trophy for standing first while Kumar Sanbhav of DAV College, Amritsar got second and Shikha Arora third prize.

In painting competitions Varinder of KMV, Jalandhar won the top spot while Sital Kaur of DAV College, Jalandhar was second and Shalini Aggarwal of APJ College, Jalandhar got third position.


 

Interview for JBT course on November 27
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 25
Mr Jaswant Singh Dani, District Education Officer, in a press note issued here today said the applicants for junior basic teacher and elementary teacher training courses who were not called for the interview earlier were now being invited for the same.

The date for the interview is November 27 at the office of Chairman, Departmental Selection Committee (Bathinda)-cum-Deo (primary) at 9 a.m.

He added that those who failed to appear on that day would not be given another chance. He said the applicants who had already appeared in interview for the same were not needed to come again.


 

Seminar on craze for male child held
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 25
A seminar on the theme “Craze for Male Child is Major Cause for Population Growth in India”, was organised at DAV College, Hoshiarpur, today. Prof Kapil Chopra said craze for male child among Indians had led to the rise in population. Dr Janmit, Principal of the college, said this could lead to social and demographic problems.

Mr Kamal Chaudhary, president, DAV College Management Committee, and Prof Tracy Kohli also spoke. The seminar was organised by the NCC unit of the college.



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