Thursday, November 29, 2001, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SGPC poll: SAD to discuss cross-voting
Sushil Goyal
Tribune New Service

Lehragaga (Sangrur), November 28
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) will convene a meeting of top leaders and office-bearers of the party soon to discuss the incidents of cross-voting and tearing of ballot papers by the party’s SGPC members. These incidents occurred at the SGPC meeting held at Amritsar yesterday in connection with the elections.

Talking to mediapersons after presiding over a sangat darshan programme on behalf of the Punjab Chief Minister in the assembly constituency of former Punjab Chief Minister, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal at the Government Polytechnic here today, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Minister and Secretary-General of SAD, accused Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra of becoming a hurdle in the unanimous election of the SGPC President.

Mr Dhindsa admitted that after the fielding of a candidate by the Panthic Morcha for the post of SGPC President the rift between the morcha and SAD had widened.

Regarding the alleged links of the new SGPC President, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, with the controversial Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara, Mr Dhindsa said Mr Badungar had clarified several times that he has not met the so called Baba for far. Besides, high priests had also expressed satisfaction over the reply of Mr Badungar on the issue, he added.

Mr Dhindsa claimed that only one or two members had participated in the cross-voting in the SGPC President’s election and not 10 as had been claimed by Jathedar Sukhdev Singh Bhaur.

He stated that the Punjab Government had decided to grant Rs 300 per acre without conducting gurdawri to those farmers whose standing crops had been damaged by the Ghaggar in Moonak subdivision of the Lehragaga assembly constituency.

At the sangat darshan, Mr Dhindsa distributed Rs 2.30 crore among 71 village panchayats for development works, while he gave Rs 27 lakh, Rs 22 lakh and Rs 20 lakh to the nagar panchayats of Lehragaga, Moonak and Khanauri, respectively.

On the occasion among others who were present included Jathedar Giani Naranjan Singh Bhutal, Jathedar Garja Singh Khandebad, Jathedar Sanmukh Singh Mokha, Jathedar Gurbachan Singh Fatehgarh, district president of the SAD, and Mr Sarvjit Singh, Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur.


Sacked SGPC staff to be reinstated
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 28
The 489 SGPC employees who were removed from service on December 12 last year are likely to be reinstated as the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission has dismissed the main petition in default today.

These employees were appointed between March 16, 1999, and October 31, 1999, without inserting any advertisement in newspapers, during the tenure of Bibi Jagir Kaur.

Mr Hardev Singh of Chowk Parag Dass in a petition filed with the commission had described the appointments as ‘back-door’ entry as no application was invited through the media as per the bylaws of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. The petitioner had filed the case against Bibi Jagir Kaur, the then SGPC chief, and Mr Harjit Singh, the then personal assistant to the SGPC chief and in charge establishment.

While dismissing the 489 employees vide an order dated December 21, 2000, the secretary had stated that the salaries of the employees had been stopped on the directives of judicial commission and they were asked not to mark their attendance on the register.

However, the Sikh judicial commission comprising Mr Manmohan Singh Brar (chairman), Mr Amrik Singh Randhawa and Mr Ajwant Singh Mann (both members) today dismissed the main petition. This would pave the way for the reinstatement of the employees. The judicial panel order reads, “The case is called several times, neither the petitioner nor any counsel on his behalf was present. The case is dismissed in default”.

The petition was filed on April 6 last year under Section 142 of the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925.


Badal has ‘closed door to unity’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28
The Panthic Morcha convener, Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi, today said Mr Parkash Singh Badal had lost the last chance for forging unity by making Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar President of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on Tuesday.

In a signed statement Baba Bedi said the appointment of Mr Badungar was also a rebuff to Sikh sentiments and smacked of ‘’dictatorship’’ as Mr Badal could not tolerate opposition from any quarters. He alleged that Mr Badal wanted to concentrate all powers in his hands. ‘’He has now closed the door to unity’’.

According, to the statement Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra and Mr Ravi Inder Singh had endorsed the views of Baba Bedi. In fact, party sources said that Mr Tohra would address a press conference in the office in Sector 4 at 3.30 pm. Mediapersons waited in vain for Mr Tohra for over an hour Mr Ravi Inder Singh was the first to arrive. Mr Chandumajra followed by Baba Bedi came later. Mr Chandumajra said he had no knowledge of Mr Tohra’s expected arrival or the press conference. Later, the mediapersons were handed over a written statement.

Mr Chandumajra said Mr Badungar was a nominee of Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara. Baba Bedi said no action had been taken by Mr Badal despite the registration of 14 cases of sacrilege allegedly involving followers of Baba Bhaniara.

Meanwhile, the morcha convener announced a five-member committee to draft the party’s election manifests. The members are Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, Mr Gurdarshan Singh Grewal, Mr Manjit Singh Khera, Mr Gurdeep Singh and Mr Sukhinder Singh.

Mr Ravi Inder Singh said in reply to a question that it was a ‘’mistake’’ on the part of Mr Tohra to have gone to see Mr Badal in hospital in New Delhi. When Mr Chandumajra said this was ‘’off the record’’, Mr Ravi Inder Singh said, ‘’No, it is on record’’.


CM secured clean chit for Badungar: Bhaur
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, November 28
The SHSAD headed by Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra today charged the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, with “governmentising” Panthic institutions like Akal Takht and the SGPC.

In an interview with The Tribune, the SHSAD Secretary-General, Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, who had unsuccessfully contested the SGPC elections against Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, the nominee of the ruling SAD, said Mr Badal was not only responsible for damaging the sanctity of the Panthic bodies, but had also thrown a challenge to the entire Sikh community by nominating a person with “Bhaniara” links as President of the SGPC.

He said the propagation of the Sikh religion (dharam parchar), the main task of the SGPC, would be reduced to a farce under the presidentship of Mr Badungar, who, besides having links with Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara, was not a Gur Sikh in accordance with the Panthic traditions.

Mr Bhaur maintained that it was Mr Badal, who had “secured” a clean chit for Mr Badungar from the Jathedar of Akal Takht while some others, including a Cabinet minister and a vice-president of the SGPC, were given “tankhah” for the same crime. “Badal has managed to install a person of his choice as head priest of Akal Takht and pack the SGPC with his cronies to run these bodies according to his whims.”

To drive home the point that the decision of Mr Badal to nominate Mr Badungar did not have the sanction of even his own senior party colleagues, he observed that a person of the stature of Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, outgoing SGPC President and Chairman of the disciplinary committee of the ruling SAD-BJP, had torn his ballot paper during the election, saying that he would not cast his vote in favour of Mr Badungar.

On the prospects of unity between different Akali factions, he said no talks were going on for this purpose and the meetings between Mr Badal and Mr Tohra, a senior leader of the Panthic Morcha, in the recent past were purely incidental or courtesy visit after Mr Badal had sustained an injury. However, with Mr Badal deciding to field Mr Badungar, all doors for Akali unity had been closed. “The SHSAD had offered to extend support to the candidature of persons like Mr Talwandi or Mr Mal Singh Ghuman but Mr Badal continuing his disregard for “Panth parast” personalities had gone ahead with his autocratic style of working,” he alleged.

Asked if the division of Akali votes in the coming Assembly elections would not result in indirect benefit to the Congress, Mr Bhaur said he was confident that Panthic votes would not go the way of the ruling Akali Dal and all sincere Panthic forces, as well as the entire Sikh community, would rally round the Panthic Morcha. In a way, the real fight would be between the Panthic Morcha and the Congress, he claimed.


Badungar resigns as Badal’s OSD
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 28
Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, new SGPC President, has said his resignation as Officer on Special Duty to the Chief Minister had been accepted by the government.

Without naming Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi and Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, Mr Badungar said that some Akali stalwarts could not digest the fact that he (Mr Badungar) who was an Akali worker had been elected for the post. “They presumed that the post of SGPC chief was meant for stalwarts and workers had no right to even dream of the same”.

Meanwhile, the appointment of Mr Badungar has evoked a mixed response in the Sikh circles. Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta and Mr Maheshinder Singh Grewal — both Akali MLAs, and Mr Parmjit Singh Sarna, a former President, Delhi Gurdwara Management Committee, alleged that with the appointment of Mr Badungar, Mr Parkash Singh Badal had lost the ‘golden opportunity” for Panthic unity. They accused Mr Badal of doublespeak, saying that he had never been sincere on the unity.

Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal leaders charged that Mr Badal had lowered the prestige of SGPC by appointing his own OSD to the post.

The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee vice-president, Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, while coming heavily on the ruling Akali Dal, called for a separation of religion from politics. He said it was a matter of great concern that an Officer on Special Duty had been appointed SGPC chief.

However, the members of the Sikh Judicial Commission have hailed the appointment.


Badungar’s appointment welcomed
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 28
The election of Jathedar Kirpal Singh Badungar as President of the SGPC has been widely welcomed by the rank and file of SAD.

Mr Didar Singh Bhatti and Mr Rajesh Pal Singh Lally (both Akali leaders) and Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhatti, district president, Youth Akali Dal, in a joint statement issued here today, appreciated the choice of Mr Parkash Singh Badal and said that Jathedar Badungar was the most suitable leader dedicated to the cause of Sikhism. The leaders said the election of Mr Badungar as SGPC president would further help in strengthening the base of SAD in the state and brighten the chances of the party in the coming elections. They said the Jathedar Badungar was a tested Akali leader who had always been in the forefront of all movements launched by the party for the just demands of Punjab.

Mr Daleep Singh Pandhi, former minister and a senior Akali leader, expressing his thanks to Badal, said that humble workers of the party were being given due recognition at higher levels, which would help in broadening the base of the party. Jathedar Swaran Singh Chanarthal, president, District Akali Jatha, Fatehgarh Sahib, also welcomed the election of Jathedar Kirpal Singh Badungar. 


SGPC Secy complains against Talwandi
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 28
Even as the Jathedar of Akal Takht is likely to convene a meeting of the Sikh clergy shortly, Dr Gurbachan Singh Bachan, Secretary, SGPC, has reportedly lodged a complaint against Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, a former SGPC President.

According to sources, the Sikh high priests would contemplate action against Mr Talwandi for his alleged “unsavoury” remarks against the Sikh clergy in the past.

The sources pointed out that Dr Bachan today met Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, and urged him to initiate action against Mr Talwandi for using “unparliamentary” language against him during the proceedings of general house of the SGPC, considered a “mini parliament of the Sikhs”.

Dr Bachan said that it was a serious offence to utter derogatory words in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib and the high priests themselves were eyewitness to the sordid incident.

Senior leaders of the ruling Akali Dal have also decided to meet Mr Parkash Singh Badal in New Delhi for initiating disciplinary action against Mr Talwandi for allegedly tearing his ballot paper yesterday in protest against fielding Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar for the post of SGPC chief.

Meanwhile, the directive of Akal Takht on “bailing out” Mr Badungar for visiting the dera of an ex-communicated Sikh, Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara, has come under cloud after the publication of his (Badungar’s) picture in a section of the press.

However, sources close to Mr Badungar said that they would file a defamation case in the court against the Editor and publisher of the newspaper, describing the picture as a “super-imposed” one.


‘Talwandi’s outburst part of his nature’
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 28
Mr Mall Singh Ghuman, Chairman, Punjab Mandi Board, today maintained here that yesterday’s reaction of Jathedar Jagdev Singh Talwandi, ousted SGPC President, was part of his (Talwandi’s) nature. He was referring to Jathedar Talwandi’s tearing of ballot paper, outbursts and walkout during SGPC President’s election at Amritsar yesterday.

However, skirted the query about taking any disciplinary action against Mr Talwandi, who though being Chairman of SAD’s Disciplinary Committee, had violated party discipline by opposing party’s nominee Kirpal Singh Badungar.

Mr Ghuman, whose name had also been doing rounds in political corridors for the coveted post of SGPC presidentship, however, admitted that the opportunity for Panthic unity stood missed with yesterdays election.

Earlier, Mr Ghuman inaugurated a storm water sewerage. He distributed Rs 27.5 lakh compensation to victims of thresher accidents and other agro related accidents. So far Rs 85.5 lakh had been distributed in Jalandhar division, he disclosed.


Deletion of Sikh movement questioned
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 28
The Guru Gobind Singh Foundation today claimed that the NCERT had hastily deleted references of the Sikh movement towards “regional independence” from its history books being taught at the school level.

In a statement here the foundation president, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, said a portion ordered to be deleted in Medieval India (Class IX book) referred to the Sikh movement in this age moving towards “regional independence”.

Dr Ahluwalia said it was not clear why the portion reflecting a historical truth had been deleted. Certain Sikh circles had hailed the deletion of derogatory portions relating to the Sikh Gurus and history. Though NCERT had published these portions. “Reference to orientation of the Sikh movement towards ‘independence’ in the medieval age, which was later on realised by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, should be immediately restored”, Dr Ahluwalia demanded.

The president of the foundation said “it was an undisputed fact that Jassa Singh Ahluwalia had liberated Punjab from Afghan rulers who had annexed the region into their empire.”

He said, “seeing the issue in this context the year 1761 and not 1857 marked the first war of independence fought and even won by the Khalsa, who wrested back Punjab from the Afghan rule.”

Dr Ahluwalia said, “whether 1857 was a mutiny, revolt or the first war of independence was a debatable issue but the liberation of the Punjab from foreign rule was an undisputed fact”. NCERT and the universities should reflect this fact in their history books, Dr Ahluwalia added.


Members surprised at PPSC chief’s “inaction”
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 28
Three members of the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) have indirectly questioned the credentials of the Chairman of the commission, Mr Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu, by saying that they were surprised why he was not initiating any action against PPCC president Capt Amarinder Singh and others who had accused the commission of indulging in rampant corrupt practices to fill up various posts.

In a letter to the Chairman yesterday the members — Amarjit Singh Chawla, R. C. Gupta and Ms H. K. Randhawa — also reminded the Chairman that they had requested him to call a meeting to discuss the issue so that an appropriate action could be taken in the matter.

They said, “We wish that the allegations are false, but we are surprised why you have not initiated any action against the persons who have made such a damaging allegations”.

The letter, which was procured by TNS, came soon after the members had questioned the manner in which the Chairman had gone in for selecting candidates for PCS Judicial posts. The members were annoyed when they came to know that the juniormost member, Paramjit Singh Dhillon, had been associated with the selection process excluding all of them.

The members said since they were not associated with any selection process of the commission, except at the time of interview, they felt it was the responsibility of the chairman to either deny the charges or file a defamation suit against the persons who had levelled the allegations.

The members said they were perturbed since the allegations of corruption were made by responsible persons. They said Capt Amarinder Singh had accused the Commission of having institutionalised corruption in the selection of candidates for top government posts. A figure of Rs 50 lakh had also been quoted by Capt Amarinder Singh for candidates aspiring to be selected as DSP, they added.

The members said in such circumstances it was important that a meeting of the commission be called in this connection for which requests had already been made many a times.


24-hr power supply by 2012
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, November 28
The Central Government has formulated an integrated action plan to generate 1 lakh MW more electricity daily to provide an uninterrupted power supply in the country by 2012.

Under the scheme, 48,000 MW electricity would be generated by National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC), National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), Power Financial Corporation (PFC) and Power Grid Corporation (PGC) and the remaining by private companies and state electricity boards.

Work under the plan has already begun.

This was stated by Mr Kuldip Singh, Chief Construction Manager, NTPC, while speaking at a seminar in the Adesh Institute of Engineering and Technology here, today. He disclosed that units in the Special Economics Zones (SEZ) and industries entities may also be allowed to establish captive power plants by the governments. Measures would also be taken to promote state sector projects which were languishing or could not make progress due to inter-state disputes.

He said special committees has been constituted to organise seminars, lecturers and debates in educational institutions and rural areas to make the people aware about the welfare programmes of the government and to get their suggestions in this regard.


Badal favouring constituency farmers: Rinwa
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, November 28
The PPCC election campaign committee member, Dr Mohinder Kumar Rinwa, former MLA and Secretary, PPCC, talking to mediapersons here, criticised Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, for putting off recovery of loans of farmers in his home constituency.

Expressing resentment, Dr Rinwa said with this action Mr Badal had shown that he was the Chief Minister of “his area alone” and not of the entire state. He alleged even as the cotton crop in this cotton-producing border belt of Punjab had been damaged badly, yet the farmers of Fazilka had not been paid any compensation. Their loan recovery had also not been postponed, as a result of which the farmers were facing a grave financial crunch.

The cotton crop in villages of Barenka, Roopnagar, Bakenwala, Koilkhera, Lakhewali Dhab, Kheowali Dhab, Bodiwala Pitha, Khui Khera, Katehra and Shajrana had been ruined by the American ballworm. The loss to the farmers of these areas had not been assessed correctly due to the “indifference” of the government.

He demanded postponement of recovery of bank loans and a compensation of Rs 10,000 per acre to farmers whose crops had been damaged. Accusing the government of adding to the miseries of the farmers, the PPCC leader said while the farmers were getting a low price for cotton, the government had imported large quantities of cotton.

Flaying the SAD-BJP government for its “anti-farmer” and “anti-people” policies, Dr Rinwa alleged that Mr Badal had ruined the economy of Punjab as it would require about another 50 years to repay the hefty loans of Rs 35000 crore secured on the pretext of development. He alleged that the bulk of government funds had been misappropriated by ruling party politicians and their “blue-eyed” officers.

Dr Rinwa accused ministers, legislators and politicians of the ruling coalition of involving in preparing “false” votes when the revision of the voter list was in progress. The names of Congress workers were being deliberately deleted. The former MLA said surprisingly organised theft of government wood in bulk was being carried out in Fazilka area despite Mr Surjeet Kumar Jyani, Forest Minister, representing this constituency. He said certain relations of a minister and BJP activists were found involved in illegal felling of trees and theft of wood and were fined.


Minister flays Cong, BSP on EVMs
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 28
State Tourism Minister Chowdhary Swarna Ram today criticised PPCC President Capt Amarinder Singh and BSP supremo Kanshi Ram for opposing the use of electronic voting machines in the coming Assembly elections in Punjab. The minister said, It was the privilege of the Chief Election Commissioner to use or not to use these machines.

Talking to newspersons here, the minister asked Opposition leaders not to meddle in the Election Commission’s functioning. He defended government’s right to transfers and promotions of officers.

The minister said the distribution of grants was necessary for development projects and the government would abide by the directives of the Election Commission. The grants were not pre-poll sops as alleged by our opponents, he added.

He flayed Congress and the BSP leaders for raising non-issues. He said these parties had got rattled by the popularity of the SAD-BJP government which was all set to capture power again.

Mr Mall Singh, Chairman, Punjab Mandi Board, Ghumaan was also present with the minister.


Newborn dead: case of negligence against docs
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 28
A criminal case has been registered against Dr T. Bhatti and Dr Inderjit Kaur Khurana here for allegedly causing the death of a newborn within three days of his birth in September last year due to negligence.

In an FIR registered against the doctors, it was alleged by Mr Parsan Singh, father of the deceased, Dr Khurana kept the newborn in her hospital for about 14 to 15 hours but could not diagnose the ailment from which the infant was suffering.

He said he was blessed with a son on September 7, 2000, and was told by Dr Bhatti that both mother and the baby were healthy.

On September 9, he was asked by Dr Bhatti that his wife would be discharged by evening and was asked to deposit Rs 2,500 as hospital charges.

He said when he returned with the money, he found his wife was asleep and the baby and his in-laws were absent.

When he asked about their whereabouts, Dr Bhatti told him she had sent the baby to a hospital being run by Dr Khurana for check-up. Upon reaching the hospital, he was told by a compounder that the baby was alright but some fluid was being injected into his body.

He alleged that his repeated pleas to the compounder for meeting Dr Khurana did not yield any result. He said after the death of the baby, Dr Khurana came out and asked him about the ailment from which the infant was suffering.

He alleged that after a few days, he was approached by someone for not taking any legal action in this connection.

Mr Parsan Singh, a Head Constable, had to approach the high court for getting a criminal case registered against the doctors.

Police sources said a case under Sections 304-A and 34, IPC, has been registered.

Dr Khurana, when contacted, said the baby which remained in her hospital for about 10 hours died due to pneumonia despite the fact that the baby was given the best possible treatment. She added that no negligence on her part or members of her staff was found in an inquiry conducted by a panel of medical specialists constituted by the Civil Surgeon, Civil Hospital, Bathinda. Dr Bhatti could not be contacted.


Birs, gutkas burnt in accidental fire
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, November 28
Two “birs” of Guru Granth Sahib and five “gutkas” were reduced to ashes when a gurdwara in Surewala village of this district caught fire accidentally last night.

Mr Kultar Singh, district police chief, said that a 90-year-old man of the village used to hold daily prayers in the morning and evening at the gurdwara as there was no permanent granthi.

Last night, he held the evening prayer with the help of candlelight as there was no electricity in the village. He allegedly forgot to blow off the candle before leaving. During the night, the gurdwara caught fire and the religious books got burnt.

The incident came to light in the morning when villagers saw smoke coming out from the place. The SDM and DSP reached on the spot on getting information to verify whether there was any mischief behind the incident. The lock and doors and windows of the gurdwara were found intact.

He said a member of the SGPC and other prominent persons were called on the spot and the lock was opened before the village panchayat. It was concluded that fire was accidental.


Rs 2.6 cr grant for Mahavira samiti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28
The Punjab Council of Ministers at its meeting held here today, under the chairmanship of Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, Local Bodies Minister, decided to release a grant of Rs 2.60 crore to the Bhagwan Mahavira 2600th Janam Kalyanak Samiti for the purchase of land and construction of a memorial.

The council also approved the inclusion of Sain along with Nai in the list of backward classes in Punjab.

It also passed a resolution expressing gratitude to the Prime Minister for the Rs 1,500 crore bonanza during his visit to Amritsar in connection with the bicentenary celebrations of the coronation of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

It gave its approval to a sales tax tribunal for the expeditious recovery of blocked government revenue. The tribunal will be headed by a sitting or a retired judge of the high court.

It approved the transfer of 2.5 acres to the Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India, Kanpur (ALIMCO), out of 21.31 acres of the Pepsu Townships Department. ALIMCO will pay Rs 15 lakh for the establishment of a centre at Rajpura for manufacturing artificial limbs.

The council remitted stamp duty in the case of transfer by the owner of agricultural land and rural residential property to his Class I heirs (as defined in Schedule I under Section 8 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956) during his lifetime. This remission will be applicable to rural agricultural land and rural residential property outside the lal lakir only.

The council approved the extension of the date up to December 31, 2001, to afford another opportunity to the allottees of evacuee land to deposit the outstanding instalments.

It decided to enhance the limit of sales of stamps/stamp papers by stamp vendors in a single transaction from Rs 1,000 to Rs 50,000.

The council also approved the proposal to levy lumpsum entertainment duty on the sport of “go karting” at the rate of Rs 800 per car per month through the promulgation of an ordinance. Suitable amendments to the Punjab Entertainment Duty Act, 1955, will also be made.


‘Strengthen cooperative movement’
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 28
The Cooperative Department has to play a vital role to fight the onslaught of the WTO on agriculture and milk sector, firstly by creating capital and then economising on the cost of production, said Mr Suresh Kumar, Registrar, Cooperative Societies, while addressing a gathering at Nabipur village, 10 km from here, after inaugurating the 24th branch of Fatehgarh Sahib Central Co-Operative bank today.

Besides quality control in the milk sector, aggressive marketing and strong base in credit sector are the factors which would make the cooperative movement stronger in the liberalised and globalised economy.

He said the Co-operative Department has also to play a bigger role for the development of the state. The total business turnover of all cooperative institutions in the state is Rs 1,25000 crore, which would increase to Rs 1,31000 crore by the end of this year. He termed it as “Cooperative capitalism”, which can help to tide over the pressure of the WTO.

The main motive of the Cooperative Department is to strengthen the farming community economically and save it from the clutches of commission agents.

Mr Vikas Paratap, Deputy Commissioner, in his address appreciated the role of the Cooperative Department in the development of the district. He said that loans to the tune of worth Rs 97 crore are being sanctioned to farmers through the Fatehgarh Sahib Central Cooperative Banks, PAD banks and 114 Primary Agricultural Societies working in the district. He urged the people to strengthen the cooperative movement.

Dr S.K. Batish, District Registrar, Cooperative Societies, said Fatehgarh Sahib Central Bank’s turnover has reached up to Rs 168 crore.


Army man’s body sent to native village
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 28
The mortal remains of gunner (GD) Bikramjit Singh of 92 Medium Regiment, who died on the Indo-Pakistan border during Operation Meghdoot because of excessive cold on Sunday, was sent to his native village in Gurdaspur district today.

Senior Army officials, including Col Sanjeev Sood and Subedar Major Charan Singh, laid wreaths on the body which was brought to the N-Area here by a IL-76 plane of the Indian Air Force this evening. The body was later taken to Sangrawan village by road.

The 20-year-old gunner was a member of the ‘Deg Teg Fateh’ family and was remembered by Col Rakshit Sukesh, Commanding Officer, and all ranks of the regiment. 


Women ‘can’ help contain foeticide
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 28
Women can play a great role in containing female foeticide which is registering an upward trend. This was stated by Mr J.R. Kaundal, Secretary, Department of Social Security, Women and Child Development, Punjab, who was addressing a seminar on women empowerment organised at the local Red Cross Bhavan today.

Mr Kaundal said female foeticide was creating imbalance in population which could lead to serious repercussions for the coming generations. He said women could arrest this trend by moulding the thinking of people.

Mr K. Shiva Prasad, Deputy Commissioner, said society was changing slowly in favour of the female child which was a positive indication.


Recruitment rally for Sikhs, Dogras
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, November 28
A team from the Punjab Regimental Centre will conduct a recruitment rally for Sikhs (other than Mazhabi and Ramdasia) and Dogras for recruitment in Punjab Regiment. According to an Army press note, desirous candidates who are at least Matriculate should report at the recruitment office from December 3 onwards. All candidates who qualify the physical and medical tests will be required to appear in a written test on December 31. According to the information, preference would be given to sons of the war widows, ex-servicemen, and serving personnel of Punjab Regiment and potential sportsmen.


Raising Day celebrated
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, November 28
The 28th Battalion of the Punjab Regiment celebrated its 14th Raising Day in this sector. Sports and cultural activities were the highlights of this day. Col Rakeshwar Singh, Battalion Commandant, said the Punjab Regiment was one of the oldest of the Army. As many as 15 dependents of the soldiers of this regiment, who had laid down their lives in 1962, were honoured on the occasion.

Army men of this regiment had been honoured with one Kirti Chakra, seven Sena Medals, nine commendation certificates of the Chief of the Army Staff, seven commendation certificates of the Western Command, 11 of the Eastern Command and 14 of the Northern Command.


The Hindu’ invites Muslim ire
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 28
The Anjumane Dawtey Islamia Committee, Punjab, today flayed the English daily, “The Hindu”, for publishing photo sketches of Hazrat Mohammed Sahib and Khalifa Abu Baqr.

Syed Nazir Ahmed, president of the committee, has demanded action against the paper and an apology from its publisher, editor and others. Since Islam was against idol worship, there were no photographs, pictures or sketches of Hazrat Mohammed Sahib, he asserted. To publish sketches of the Hazrat and the Khalifa tantamounted to sacrilege, he added.


Nagar kirtan held
Tribune Reporters

Jalandhar, November 28
Thousands of devotees participated in the “nagar kirtan” which was taken out by several Sikh organisations here today to mark the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.

The procession started from Gurdwara Devan Asthan, Central Town, and passed through main bazars. Huge welcome gates were erected in the main markets, while many social organisations put up stalls for providing “langar”.

The main attraction of the procession were children playing “gatka”. The procession, which was preceeded by “parbhat pheris” concluded at Guru Devan Asthan in the evening.

Phagwara: A procession was taken out here on Wednesday on the eve of gurpurb. It started from Gurdwara Nimmawala Chowk, passed through bazars and concluded at the same gurdwara.


Half day on Nov 29
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28
The Punjab Government today declared a holiday for the second half of November 29 in all offices, boards, corporations and educational institutions in the state (excluding Mohali) to enable the employees to participate in the ‘nagar kirtan’ on the occasion of the birthday celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev, according to a press note.


Kisan morcha
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 28
A batch of 500 farmers would leave Ludhiana on December 2 to join the Kisan morcha at Abohar demanding compensation for the loss of cotton crop due to sale and use of spurious insecticides in the cotton belt of Punjab.

This was stated by Mr Sukhminder Singh Qadian, President of the Ludhiana unit of the Bharti Kisan Union, in a press note here today.


Bathinda octroi revenue up
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 28
The daily revenue earned through the octroi in the city has shown an upward trend ever since it is being collected by employees of the municipal council. The contract for the collection of octroi by private parties ended on November 15 and was not extended further reportedly in view of the proposed octroi abolition in the state.

The average revenue earned through octroi per day was to the tune of Rs 2.75 lakh when it was being collected by private contractors. It increased to Rs 3 lakh after employees, of the council had started collecting octroi. Between November 16 and November 25 the municipal council collected Rs 30,80,539 lakh through octroi while it was Rs 27,58,900 lakh in the corresponding period last year.

Sources said had there been adequate staff, more revenue could have been generated.


DC orders inquiry
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 28
Taking suo motu notice of the news item published in The Tribune, Mr Vikas Paratap, Deputy Commissioner, has ordered an inquiry into the alleged allegations against certain officials of the Rural Development Department for demanding a commission from the funds released by the CM for the development works at a sangat darshan programme.

The inquiry would be conducted by the ADC (D). The Deputy Commissioner has asked the ADC (D), to submit the report within a week. The Deputy Commissioner said no one would be spared and all the funds have been released and administrative sanctions have been given to all the panchyats for carrying out the development projects sanctioned during sangat darshan programme of the CM. He said that all the officials have been directed to submit the utilisation certificate within three months. He urged the village panchayats to bring to his notice, if any official demands commission or bribe.


More women taking to crime
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 28
The police has arrested 11 persons for their involvement in various crimes, including two women for smuggling of narcotics. As much as 80 kg of poppy husk, one .12 bore pistol, two cartridges and 5 lt of illicit liquor has been seized from their possession.

Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, SSP, in a press note issued here today said it has been found out that more and more were getting involved in crime. This year, till now, 14 women had been arrested for various crimes.

Near Tarkhanwala village of the district, Guddi Kaur of Bhaini Bhagha and Chinderpal Kaur of Maanwala were arrested for smuggling narcotics and 20 kg of poppy husk seized from them. Cases under Sections of 15 and 85 of the NDPS Act were registered against them at Rama police station.

The police also arrested Piara Singh of Chak Fatehsinghwala and Saudagar Singh of Ramnagar and seized 15 kg of popy husk from them. The police also arrested Rehman Singh of Shergarh and seized 20 kg of poppy husk.

Under the Arms Act, police arrested Sukhpal Singh of Smallsar village (Moga) and seized a .12 bore pistol and two cartridges from his possession. A case under Section 25 of Arms Act was registered against him at Rampura police station.

The police has arrested three persons under gambling Act and seized Rs 1000 from them. They were identified as Rajinderpal Singh of Goniana Mandi, Kallu Ram of Kilianwali and Satpal of Patti Mehraj.

Under the excise Act, the police had arrested Bharka Singh of Machana and seized 5 lt of illicit liquor from him.


Couple held with fake passports
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 28
A couple was booked by the Immigration Department at Wagha last evening for allegedly carrying fake passports. The accused, Sudhir and his wife Harisha, both residents of Malka Gaj, Delhi, were caught at the immigration office during checking.

A case has been registered under Section 420 of the IPC at Gharinda police station here.

In another incident Rs 30,000 were looted by two youths from Manjit Singh of Krishan Nagar on the Attari-Chabal road. The accused were on a scooter. A case has been registered under Section 356 of the IPC at the Sadar police station.

Meanwhile, on the complaint of Poonam Rani, wife of Parveeen Sabarwal, a resident of Azad Nagar, Sultanwind Road, the police has registered a case against 10 persons for allegedly abducting her husband.

Parveen Sabarwal is a labour director in the Food Corporation of India.

In another incident Kabal Singh and Kala Singh were arrested by the police for possessing illicit liquor. Nearly 15,750 ml of illicit liquor were seized from them. A case under the Excise Act has been registered.


Two convicted in forgery case
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, November 28
Mr Karnail Singh, Judicial Magistrate (First Class) today convicted Jaswant Singh and Jagir Singh of Jamalpur village for mis-appropriation of funds and forging a cheque belonging to the complainant.

According to police sources, the complainant, Mr Mangal Dass, of Jamalpur, had stated that his house was damaged in the year 1996 due to heavy rains and the government had given grants through cheques.

He had alleged that the compensation amounting to Rs 3000 was misappropriated and encashed by the two.

Acting upon the complaint, the police had registered a case under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC against five persons.

The Magistrate, while pronouncing the judgement acquitted three persons.


Science exhibition
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 28
In the present age of competition only those could survive, who had complete knowledge of information technology, said Mr M.P. Arora, Additional Deputy Commissioner, while presiding over the functions on the second day of the state-level science exhibition-cum-competition being organised by the District Education Department here today.

The science quiz and declamation contests for the students as well as for science teachers were organised.

According to Mr Adhiatam Parkash, press secretary of the department, in the quiz and declamation contest for the students category Mr Arun Aggarwal and Jaskirat Kaur of St. John’s School, Bathinda were declared first, Mr Mukesh Mahajan and Gagan Preet Singh of DAV Senior Secondary School, Batala, were declared second and the third position was won by Sahil and Jaspreet Singh from Roop Chand Jain Senior Secondary School, Ludhiana.

In teacher’s category Devinder Singh from Government High School, Baraichan, in the district was declared first, Ms Manu of Government Senior Secondary School, Kalyan, Patiala, was declared second and the third position was won by Satnam Singh from Guru Harkrishan Public School, Ludhiana.

Mr H.S. Bhullar, DEO (S), said there was great enthusiasm among the students and the teachers for his exhibition. The ADC gave away the prizes to the winners. 


Medical teachers put off mass CL protest
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 28
The Punjab State Medical and Dental Teachers Association today decided not to go ahead with its mass casual leave agitation on December 1 following a meeting with the Principal Secretary, Medical Education, yesterday in which he assured the association that its demands were under consideration by the government.

In a statement here, the association chairperson, Dr Kiranjeet Kaur, general secretary, Dr B.S. Dhillon, and local unit secretary, Dr B.S. Sohal, said the Principal Secretary had told a delegation of the association that the Departmental Promotion Committee had been called and the redesignation of senior lecturers was under consideration.

Association leaders said they had also demanded an inquiry into the pick-and-choose policy adopted by the government in case of accelerated promotion of two non-medical teachers, who had been promoted though they did not fulfil the government rules or UGC conditions.

The association also took a serious note of the ‘misleading tactics’ being adopted by the Director, Research and Medical Education, to scuttle and sabotage the ongoing agitation of medical teachers. It said besides the core committee constituted by the association to talk to the government, no other organisation had been authorised by it to negotiate on behalf of medical teachers.

They said the government had been giving repeated assurances to them, but they would go in for an agitation due to the undue delay in implementation of the assurances. They said the core committee had decided to hold a ‘Lok Chetna’ rally at the government medical colleges at Patiala, Amritsar and Faridkot on December 12. It said the date for the mass casual leave would be decided after the rally. 

Punjab wins award
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28
Punjab has won the best display award in the India International Trade Fair-2001, which concluded yesterday. Mr Kulbir Singh, MD, Punjab Small Industries and Export Organisation (the agency engaged in execution, fabrication and display of Punjab pavilion), stated in a press note that of the 19 participating states, Punjab has bagged the best pavilion award followed by Gujarat and Rajasthan, which bagged the second prize jointly.

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