Monday, December 10, 2001, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



CPM rules out tie-up with Cong
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
The CPM will neither enter into any alliance nor form a front with the Congress party to contest the coming Assembly elections in Punjab. This was made clear here today by Prof Balwant Singh, Secretary of the party’s state unit.

The party would put up candidates in constituencies which it considers to be strongholds. Revealing the party’s strategy, Prof Balwant Singh said the primary aim was to defeat the ruling SAD-BJP alliance.

The party’s effort would be to work for the consolidation of secular votes against the SAD-BJP alliance. It would support CPI candidates. Besides, it would help candidates of other “secular” parties, he said.

When asked about any possibility of electoral adjustments with the Congress, he said the CPM was for the non-division of secular votes, and it would want other “secular” parties to do the same.

When asked about the recent division in party ranks, Prof Balwant Singh, said it was unfortunate that such developments had taken place. “Certain top members of the Politburo tried their level best to accommodate the breakaway group led by Mr Mangat Ram Pasla but all such efforts were negated by Mr Pasla and his associates”, he added.

“At one stage, I had offered Mr Pasla my post (Secretary of the state unit) and asked him not to break the party”, Prof Balwant Singh said. But this offer was also declined. When asked about Mr Pasla’s allegation that the party had abandoned its original policies and programmes, Prof Balwant Singh said Mr Pasla had been supporting all policies and programmes for several years. He even supported the latest party line. If he had felt that the party had deviated from the political line, he should have not supported the draft resolution at the previous meeting of the Central Committee held in Delhi and should have given a dissenting note.

The policy of keeping a distance from the Congress and Akalis in Punjab, propounded by the Pasla group, amounted to supporting the Akalis indirectly. The first target of the CPM was communal forces represented by SAD and the BJP. It could be possible only if the Left parties extended their support to secular parties to wipe out communal forces, he added. Asked that about the allegations that party owned properties worth crores in Chandigarh, Prof Balwant Singh said Mr Pasla had remained associated with the construction of party’s headquarters, known as Cheema Bhavan and also the newspaper building here. Mr Pasla even went abroad twice to seek financial help from supporters for the construction of party buildings, he added.


Sangat Darshan despite CM's absence
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, December 9
Ministers and MLAs of the ruling party with the help of the district administration are continuing with sangat darshan programmes in their respective segments, even in the absence of Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

A sangat darshan programme was organised at Khalsa College, Garhdiwala, a reserved constituency of the district, yesterday. Mr Balbir Singh Maini, State Minister for Higher Education, Mr Sohan Singh Bodal, MLA from the constituency, Mr Varinder Singh Bajwa, president, district unit of the SAD, and local leaders participated.

Mr Iqbal Singh Sidhu, Deputy Commissioner, Hoshiarpur, presided over the programme. Sarpanches and panches of the area were present. According to sources, the programme was to be presided over by the Chief Minister, but due to his hip injury he could not participate.

Mr Iqbal Singh Sidhu said the first phase of the 59.50 km-long kandi canal had already been completed and was providing irrigation to thousands of hectares of land in the kandi tract, which was previously totally depended upon rains. Construction on the 70 km-long second phase of this project would be started shortly. This phase would cost Rs 1471 million and provide irrigation to 29,527 hectares.

He said Rs 9 crore had been spent for the repair of hospital buildings. Work on the district administrative complex was in full swing.

Mr Balbir Singh Miani said a sum of Rs 224 crore was being spent on the overall development of kandi area in the district.


Seven of family die in car mishap
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, December 9
Seven members of a local family, including three children and two women, were killed in a road accident when the Maruti car in which they were travelling collided head-on with a tanker on the Malerkotla-Nabha road at Amargarh village, 8 km from here, this morning.

The deceased have been identified as Ram Saroop Gupta (60), his wife Krishna Gupta (55), his son Ashok Kumar Gupta (35), his daughter-in-law Neha Gupta (32), his grandson Allu Gupta (1) and his granddaughters Simran and Satya.

Mr Kulshinder Singh, DSP, said the family was returning to Malerkotla from Ambala after attending a marriage when a milk tanker (HR-37-A-8579) going towards Nabha hit the Maruti car (PB-29-2323). All members of the family were killed on the spot.

The driver of the milk tanker has been identified as Rafique Mohammad of Khurd village. He has absconded. The police has registered a case.

A postmortem examination on the bodies of the deceased was conducted at the local Civil Hospital. Mr NC Garg, SMO, Civil Hospital, said most of the victims had died due to head injuries.

In the mishap the entire family, barring Babla Gupta (11), daughter of Ashok Gupta, had been wiped out. She had remained at home as she had to appear in an examination.

The entire town was engulfed in grief on hearing of the tragedy.


IMA tells doctors to fight foeticide
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 9
Doctors of Punjab have expressed solidarity with Union Health Minister Dr C.P. Thakur’s letter urging doctors to take firm stand against sex determination and female foeticide.

Dr Surinder Singla, senior Vice-President of the Punjab unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), stated today that the Punjab unit of the IMA and the Punjab Civil Medical Services Association (PCMSA) praised the Union Health Minister’s letter guiding doctors in their professional duties as per medical ethics and guidelines of the Medical Council of India.

Dr Singla said the Punjab IMA, a body of private and government doctors, had already issued directions to members to help the authorities implement properly the Pre-Natal Diagnostic (PNDT) Act-1994 and fight against the practice of female foeticide and crime against women.

Dr Singla said the Punjab IMA had been against the female foeticide. The association recently organised a state-level conference with the theme “Female foeticide — a crime — let us fight it out”, he added. At this conference even it had been suggested to derecognise the degrees of the doctors, involved in the practice of sex-determination and female foeticide.

Dr Singla, who is also general secretary of the state unit of the PCMSA, said members had been told to avoid the misuse of Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act-1971 and help the government enforce the PNDT Act. He said the association would not defend a doctor booked under the PNDT Act or the MTP Act-1971.

Dr Singla said the Punjab IMA and the PCMSA also appealed to the doctors not to violate the code of Medical Council of India while on their professional duties. He also asked the doctors community to expose the “erring” doctors, who violated the MTP Act and the PNDT Act.


BJYM seeks 10 Assembly seats
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, December 9
The Punjab unit of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), a youth wing of the BJP, has demanded the ticket for 10 Assembly seats for the coming elections from the BJP.

This was stated by state morcha president Sukhminder Paul Singh Grewal while talking to this correspondent here today. Mr Grewal said the BJP was demanding 10 more seats from the Shiromani Akali Dal than its present 23 Assembly seats. Mr Grewal said the youth could contest on these 10 seats.


Without help, they wage a brave battle
Gayatri Rai

Bathinda, December 9
Manga Singh, a 22-year-old youth lost one of his arms in an accident six years back. The disability did not shatter his hope in life and he started plying a rickshaw to make both ends meet.

Karamveer lost both his arms when he met with an accident while working in fields. His brothers abandoned him. He fought his battle alone and now earns a living selling lottery tickets.

Vijay (34) used to do farming in his native village in UP, when 13 years back in an accident he lost his right arm. Instead of living on pity, he chose to work.

Manga, Vijay and Karamveer are among a few brave persons who are physically challenged, but have no dearth of confidence. They did not ask for help. Nor did they chose to beg. They preferred hard work instead.

No government agency ever came forward to help them. The artificial limbs these people have are not being used by most. They complain that these are not of good quality. In a few cases these had caused skin infections.

Vijay says his artificial arm becomes totally non-functional in summers due to sweat. Moreover, these are not flexible and cannot bend. It is not possible to work with these artificial limbs.

Most of the disabled work as labourers, pull rickshaws, run stalls, work at construction sites or brickkilns or sell vegetables.

Ms Rita Chugh, a school teacher, daily goes to school on a rickshaw pulled by a man with one arm. She says, “In the beginning I was doubtful if he could manage to pull the rickshaw through heavy traffic on Mall Road, but he is quite perfect in his work.”

Manga, talking to this correspondent, said a few days back he had gone to the local Welfare Department to fill a pension form but was told that the forms were not available. The employees there even refused to guide him on the matter.

They were totally unaware about the fact that December 3 was being observed as the World Disabled Day. Although the Centre has launched a scheme to provide loans to the handicapped, who’s responsibility is to create awareness among those for whom the schemes are made. Most handicapped belong to backward sections of society. Due to poverty and illiteracy, they know little about these schemes.

The officials concerned of the Local Welfare Department, Social Security Department and Red Cross, when contacted, said regular camps for distribution of artificial limbs were being organised in the district. They said nobody had ever brought any complaint about the quality and functioning of the same.

Only seven handicapped persons in the district had applied for loan, they added.


Minister lays stone for water project
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, December 9
Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, Minister for Science and Technology, Punjab, laid the foundation stone for a water supply and sewerage project here today. Addressing a gathering on the occasion, Mr Garg said during his recent visit to Amritsar, the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, had announced a development package of Rs 1,500 crore for the over-all progress of Punjab. He added that under the same package the district had got Rs 2.46 crore for the water and sewerage project as the first instalment from HUDCO.

He said two projects — one worth Rs 26.23 crore for increasing the water supply capacity in the city and the other worth Rs 16.04 crore for improving the sewerage system had been prepared. The local municipal council would contribute 20 per cent of the amount while the remaining would be provided by HUDCO as loan. The projects would be completed within three years.

A water tank having a capacity of three lakh gallons for the Kamala Nehru locality and a water main from this tank to the main waterworks would be built at a cost of Rs 1.75 crore.

Water supply facilities for Harbans Nagar, Mati Dass Nagar and the trans-railway colonies would be built at a cost of Rs 90 lakh.

He said for the Parasram Nagar, Partap Nagar and Jogi Nagar localities, an underground reservoir having a capacity of four lakh gallons, a water tank having a capacity of one lakh gallons and a water main from the waterworks to this water tank would be built at a cost of Rs 2.85 crore.

To improve the sewer system here an instalment of Rs 1.1 crore had already been received from HUDCO, he said. Mr Gulzar Singh, district president of the BJP, Mr Daljit Singh Brar, president, city Akali Dal, Mr R. Venkatratnam, Deputy Commissioner, Mr Bhupinder Singh Bhullar, President, Municipal Council, Mr Sukhmandir Singh, SDM, besides other officials were present on the occasion.


Minister “beats up” Sarpanch
Our Correspondent

Dhuri, December 9
Mr Gobind Singh Kanjhla, Minister for Social Security, Punjab, and his gunmen today allegedly beat up Mr Charanjit Singh, Sarpanch of Gurbuxpura village, near Sherpur at the residence of the minister in Kanjhla village, about 12 km from here.

Narrating the incident to The Tribune, Mr Nirmal Singh, brother of the Sarpanch, said over telephone tonight that his brother Charanjit Singh along with three other members of the village panchayat had gone to the residence of Mr Kanjhla in connection with some village work. It was there that his brother was beaten up by Mr Kanjhla and his gunmen. They were charged with collecting money for getting appointed an anganwari worker in the Social Security Department.

Mr Nirmal Singh said that later Mr Kanjhla took Charanjit to various villages of his constituency, including Changli village, from where he was sent to the Sherpur police station in the evening. He further said that his brother was now in the custody of the Sherpur police.

However, when contacted over telephone today late night, Mr Kanjhla denied the allegations and claimed that no such incident had occurred at his residence. Besides, no such person had met him today, he added.


Patients ignored for Barnala’s sake
Our Correspondent

Barnala, December 9
A large number of patients coming to the Civil Hospital, Barnala, for treatment had to face inconvenience for about five days during which Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, the Uttaranchal Governor, stayed in his native town.

The functioning of the Civil Hospital was adversely affected during these days because of a medical team of the hospital comprising a medical specialist, a surgical specialist, a blood bank technician, a pharmacist, a Class IV official and a driver had to remain on VVIP duty round the clock. Moreover, some doctors of the hospital had to be part of the VIP food testing team.

Several OPD patients and others remained unattended as specialists, too, had to be on VVIP duty. The functioning of the departments of Medicine, Surgery and ENT was also affected during this period. An orthopaedic patient complained to this correspondent that the X-ray of his foot could not be done as he was told by the hospital staff that the radiologist was on VVIP duty.

Mr Barnala arrived in the town on Tuesday and stayed here till Saturday. He was on a private visit to his native place.

Medical and Health Department sources said three makeshift medical teams from Government Rajindra Hospital, Patiala, also remained with the Governor during his stay.

Apart from this, a medical team from Dehra Dun also accompanied Mr Barnala.


Toilet converted into storeroom
K.K. Goyal

At the subdivisional administrative complex, where the officers and judicial courts at the subdivisional level were shifted on October 3, 1985, two toilets — one for men and the other for women — were provided on the ground floor near the main entrance.

The toilet provided for use of women remains unused till today as it has been converted into a storeroom attached to the Assistant District Attorneys working in judicial courts.

At present the space is being used for storing case properties to be produced in judicial courts. As a result there is no toilet for women on the ground floor and women visiting the complex have to face a lot of hardship. Sometimes under compulsion they are forced to ease themselves in the open.

It is not understood why the authorities have not so far taken steps to ensure the provision of toilets. A visit to the women’s toilet revealed that the sanitary fittings provided in the toilet have been removed, thereby resulting in wastage of public money spent in providing these.

Ms Rekha Sharma, who heads the district Istri Sabha, has demanded immediate vacation of the toilets and restoring it for the use of women. She also demanded stern action against those responsible for its conversion into a storeroom. Ms Sharma stated that the loss caused to the state should be recovered from the illegal occupants.


Municipal contractors fear delay in payments
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 9
Civil work contractors here have started putting pressure on the Municipal Council authorities for payment of the amount spent by them on the development works.

Official sources said presently the development works worth Rs 2 crore were being executed by the contractors. A major portion of these related to pre-mix carpeting of various roads and streets in the city.

A leading contractor told TNS on the condition of anonymity that when the Municipal Council authorities had been finding it difficult to make payment of salaries to its staff after the abolition of octroi then how it would be able to make payment of development works running into crores of rupees to contractors.

He added that almost all contractors had slowed down the pace of execution of the works allotted to them. He said the authorities had been urged to make their payments at the earliest.

Mr A.K. Singla, Municipal Engineer, said the tenders pertaining to development works worth Rs 50 lakh were floated yesterday and almost all contractors showed keen interest in executing the development works. He added that the contractors had been ensured that they would be paid in a proper manner without any delay.

The Municipal Council authorities admitted that last year when the octroi posts were not auctioned to private contractors, almost all civil works contractors boycotted the tenders. They feared that they would not be able to get their payments.

Mr Bhupinder Singh Bhuller, President, Municipal Council, said all development works in the city would be carried out as per schedule and the contractors would be made timely payments.


Competitions mark eco mela
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, December 9
The three-day 11th environment mela concluded here this evening. It was organised by the Phagwara Environment Association in collaboration with other voluntary bodies.

The Tourism Minister, Mr Swarna Ram, gave away prizes. Mr Guljit Singh Sethi, managing partner, Indian Auto Industries, presided over the mela. Mr K.K. Sardana, president of the association, said the concluding day was marked by bodybuilding competition, pollution check camp, blood group testing camp, healthy baby competition, science mela and flower arrangement competition.


Interaction with PAC
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, December 9
Three Assistant Directors of the Council for Advancement of People’s Action in Rural Technology (CAPART), Mr Bhivor Mittal, Ms Amratya Bagul and Ms Tulika, yesterday held a comprehensive interaction with activists of the People’s Action Group (PAC) at the Community Polytechnic at the nearby Palahi village to promote three schemes — O.B. (Organisation of Beneficiaries), PC (Public Cooperation) and ART (Advancement of Rural Technology). Funds for the same would be given by NGOs and voluntary institutions.

The main emphasis will be on below poverty line (BPL) groups. The O.B. projects are fully subsidised.

The experts underlined the importance of worm compositing and culture from green waste, dung, organic farming and eco-friendly, water-recharging, non-commercial plantation.


Woman shot, husband booked

Jalandhar, December 9
Mystery surrounds the death of a woman who was found murdered today at her residence in the Gopal Nagar locality here.

The crime was detected in the wee hours when Manoj Nanhe, husband of the victim, Ritu Sharma (29), came back home and found his wife murdered and informed the police, the police said, adding that the victim’s body had a bullet wound in her temple.

The body was later sent for a postmortem.

Meanwhile, Raman Kumar, brother of the deceased, filed a complaint with the police alleging involvement of Manoj and his mother in the crime. A case under Sections 302 and 34 of the IPC and the Arms Act has been registered against the suspects.

The victim was married to Manoj three months ago and he was allegedly in the habit of beating and harassing Ritu, Raman Kumar said in his complaint. PTI


Conference on statistical techniques held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
A three-day national conference on Mathematical and Statistical Techniques was organised at Patiala by School of Basic and Applied Science, Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology, Patiala, concluded today. It was presided over by the TIET, Director, Dr M.P. Kapoor.

The conference was sponsored by UGC and the State Bank of Patiala. Mr N.S. Deshpande, DGM, Patiala Zone and Mr V.A. Ghai, AGM were present on the occasion. More than 48 renowned scientists attended the conference from India and abroad. Dr G.S. Gaire (USA) and Dr R.D. Dubey (Canada) delivered practical oriented talks on different techniques used in Applied Mathematics.

Dr G.s. Bhatia, coordinator and Dr H.S. Kasana, Chairman gave the brief overview of the topics covered in the conference.


PCCTU plans state-level rally on December 14
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
A state-level rally of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) would be organised on December 14 in the constituency of the Punjab Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, at Banur.

The rally is being held in protest against the non-implementation of the pension-cum-gratuity scheme through the government treasury. Their protest completed seven days today.

This decision was taken at a meeting of the joint action committee (JAC) of the managements, principals, teachers and non-teaching staff held at Doraha to decide the future course of the on-going agitation, today.

Meanwhile, principals and managements endorsed the decision to participate in the strike call given by the PCCTU scheduled for tomorrow at the Matka chowk in Chandigarh.

The committee also decided to extend the ceasework call to December 18 to condemn the arrest of members of the PCCTU executive, who were remanded to judicial custody till December 18. Earlier, the ceasework call in private-aided colleges was slated to conclude with tomorrow’s rally in Chandigarh.

Sources said the JAC unanimously resolved that students studying in these colleges would not be at a loss in any way as a fallout of the on-going teachers’ strike.

They added the members of the four federations which had joined hands to lodge their protest would willingly forgo their holidays to compensate students for any loss they have suffered on account of the strike.

The meeting at Doraha was attended by representatives of the management federation which included Dr Ishar Singh, who, is also the chairman of the JAC, and Mr Subhash Kumar.

The principals, federation was represented by Mr P.S. Sangha of Chandigarh, Mr Tarsem Bahia from Khanna and Mr S.S. Chattha from Jalandhar.

The teachers were represented by acting president of the PCCTU, Mr Gurnam Singh Kahlon, and the general secretary, Mr J.S. Randhawa, while the non-teaching staff was represented by Mr Raj Kumar Singla and Mr Pawar.

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