Friday, December 21, 2001, Chandigarh, India

 

punjab
P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


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Cong may go in for new faces
To take up voters’ list issue with President
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 20
Serious irregularities in the electoral rolls, especially of Amritsar and Muktsar districts, as noticed by the Chief Election Commissioner, Mr J.B. Lyngdoh,has prompted the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee to take a delegation to the President to apprise him of “how the present SAD-BJP government in the state has politicised the state bureaucracy and made it commit such irregularities.”

Talking to TNS here this afternoon at the end of the two-day schedule of interviewing of aspirants for the Congress ticket for the coming Punjab Assembly poll, the PPCC chief, Capt Amarinder Singh, said that an appointment was being sought with the President and he would be told about the large-scale “irregularities” in the electoral rolls.

The interviews, he said, had been completed in a smooth manner. The State Election Committee and its interview panels would forward their comments and observations to the party high command where these would be discussed, reviewed and scrutinised at various levels before the formal list of the party candidates was made public in the last week of December or early next month.

Referring to the observations made by the CEC, he said: “It is not that we are charging the SAD-BJP government with committing these serious irregularities. But it is the Chief Election Commissioner, a constitutional authority, who openly expressed his deep anguish over the issue during his recent three-day official visit to the state,” the PPCC chief said, referring to certain cases of irregularity brought to his notice by party workers from various assembly segments of the state.

“In one case,” Capt Amarinder Singh said, “Mr Iqbal Singh, sarpanch of Kandu Khera, is also registered as a voter at another address at Tarmala. There are numerous such examples”.

“We plan to take a delegation to the President and present to him whatever information we can gather on the subject. Playing havoc with the voters’ list and politicisation of the bureaucracy as such serious and unprecedented things. One of the officials of Muktsar has reportedly proceeded on leave,” he added.

He produced a list of 20-odd voters who are registered at with the Kandu Khera and Tarmala polling booths.

Coming back to the selection of party candidates, the PPCC chief said: “We are expecting party guidelines on the selection criteria. Though the coming Assembly elections will witness a fairly large number of new faces being projected by the Congress, it is difficult at this stage to fix the exact percentage. In Madhya Pradesh, it was about 65 per cent.

“Believe me, we have had a very good group of first comers whom we interviewed during the past two days. It may be between 60 and 70 per cent of the total number of candidates. Our basic criteria will be young and new faces, with a neat and clean record and who are articulate and can deliver results. The rest will depend upon the party high command,” he added.

Capt Amarinder Singh himself appeared before a panel today to stake his claim to the party ticket from the Patiala Assembly constituency where his main opponent has been Mr Brahm Mohindra, also a former Minister and MLA. Both the PPCC chief and Mr Mohindra were briefly interviewed as both insisted on contesting from the same constituency.

The PPCC chief answered a variety of questions from members of the interview panel on why he wanted to contest from a “Hindu seat”. He reportedy told his interviewers that he belonged to a secular family and did not believe in any “Hindu or Sikh seat”. His wife was an MP from Patiala and his family had been representing this seat in the past also. At present, it was with the Shiromani Akali Dal.

Mr Mohindra, too, insisted on contesting from the same place, maintaining that the number of “winning” seats should be increased and not minimised by looking for “safe seats” by pushing out those who made them “safe”. He also reportedly questioned the panel on whether it was competent to consider him or any other aspirant for the party ticket from this particular seat or any other seat.

In fact, many of the members of the State Election Committee and those on the interviewing panels also appeared for interviews to seek the Congress ticket.

Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, a former Chief Minister, who did not make a formal application, was today a part of the interviewing panel. yesterday, she was absent as she had gone to Jalandhar to address a party workers’ meeting.

“The entire process is complete. We have interviewed almost all those who submitted applications. There were only a couple of absentees. In certain cases, some of the aspirants, who staked their claim to more than one seat, appeared before only one panel,” the PPCC chief said.

A meeting of the State Coordination Committee has been fixed for December 24 and a meeting of the Central Election Committee is tentatively expected to be held on December 27 after the conclusion of the Jor Mela at Fatehgarh Sahib on December 26.



 

Army, BSF review border security arrangements
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, December 20
Amidst speculations about a possible flare-up at border gaining momentum with each passing day, the Inspector-General (Punjab-Frontier) BSF, Mr Dilip Triwedi, today visited this frontier area along with the DIG (G) BSF, Mr R.A. Tiwari, and the local DIG, BSF, Mr A.K. Malik, and reviewed the security arrangements. The Director-General, BSF, Mr Gurbachan Jagat, who was scheduled to visit the area today, cancelled his programme due to some important engagement.

Mr Triwedi held a series of meeting with both senior Army and BSF officials to discuss the scenario in the aftermath of the December 13 attack on Parliament and reports pertaining to a massive built-up by the Pakistani army along the border in this sector.

According to the information, Pakistan army has stationed an armoured division accompanied by reserved infantry battalions along the border here. While talking to The Tribune at the BSF mess in Sector Headquarters, Mr Triwedi said the public need not be alarmed at the deployment of the forces along the Zero Line.

He said most of the activities on the border were part of the routine winter exercise as there was a possibility that insurgents or the anti-national elements might take undue advantage of the fog and cold weather conditions and might cut the cobra fencing or dug up a tunnel.

Mr Triwedi averred that the patrolling had been intensified to thwart any possible infiltration attempt. The Army officials, however, were tight-lipped about the developments taking place and termed the movement as a routine exercise whereas the BSF officials confirmed that they had intensified patrolling and had been told to take all extraordinary precautions.

Meanwhile heavy Army concentration along the border has evoked panic amongst residents of the border village here. Army men have reportedly joined the BSF sleuths manning the border and are constructing new bunkers and repairing old ones.

Residents of the villages along the Zero Line of the Indo-Pak border who had a taste of the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak conflicts recalled the days of terror when enemy had advanced considerably in the area which assumes significance from the strategic point of view. They asserted that they would not abandon their homes but would stand shoulder to shoulder with their Army brethren.

A senior Army official on the condition of anonymity confided that this time we would not be sitting like ducks but would give enemy a bloody nose.



 

PMET students await admission
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 20
Even as Baba Farid University is still deliberating over the completion of the admission procedure three weeks after the Punjab and Haryana High Court quashed a state government order withdrawing the minimum qualification marks for SC/ST candidates, those in the waiting list, who are to benefit from the judgement, are at a loss.

The government had held the PMET test on July 7 for admission to the state medical and dental colleges and had declared the result on the same day.

However, the admission process could not be completed as the government issued a notification in August withdrawing the minimum marks (40) needed for an SC/ST candidates to pass the test.

As the notification was issued when counselling for admission was on, some affected candidates from the general category approached the high court demanding quashing of the order.

Though it has been nearly three weeks since the high court quashed the government notification withdrawing the minimum percentage required for SC/ST candidates Baba Farid University is still to restart the admission process according to the previous notification.

Rohit Singla, an affected candidate from the general category, said it was surprising that the university was not processing their case despite the fact that many of the students, who stood to gain now, had already lost four months of study. “That means a lot in a professional course like the MBBS and I feel all students getting admission now would lag behind others by at least one semester”, he said.

Other students who stand to gain from the order are also in a hurry to take admissions as they feel they would find it difficult to cover up for the lost time. Students have accused the government of playing politics on the issue even though it has no business changing the rules and regulations once the admission process is already on.

Though the Baba Farid University Vice-Chancellor was not available for comments university official sources said they had not been able to restart the admission process because they were still to receive a copy of the high court judgement.

The sources said according to information received by them it was necessary to pore over the entire judgement before the admission process could be restarted. They, however, said the process would be started soon after the judgement was received by the university.

The high court had noted in its order in November-end observed that the state government notification on SC/ST candidates was arbitrary in nature and offended the principles of fairness, rectitude and stability in administrative or executive action. It also felt that the implementation of the notification would result in violation of the MCI norms, which were expected to be followed by all institutions.



 

Octroi abolition benefits elude consumers
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, December 20
Though the octroi has been abolished in the state from December 1, its benefits are yet to reach the consumers. A survey conducted by a local NGO, Arpan, in Ropar district, has revealed that the abolition of octroi hasn’t resulted in the reduction of prices, especially of the non-durable consumer goods, as was being expected generally.

The traders were still charging local taxes from the consumers, largely due to the lack of awareness among them and lack of any action on the part of authorities concerned to pass the benefits to the consumers.

The survey conducted by Arpan revealed that the majority of retailers admitted that they had not reduced the rates after octroi abolition. Blaming the wholesalers for it, they alleged that wholesalers were still supplying the commodities at the earlier rates.

Octroi ranging from .5 per cent to 2 per cent was imposed on food items before December 1. Similarly, a tax of 5 per cent was levied on tobacco and other intoxicants and .5 per cent to 1 per cent on medicines.

However, the survey reveals that the rates of these items have not come down.

Retailers in response to the open-ended questions have alleged that the rates of these items are fixed by the companies and they cannot reduce them on their own.

The other major items, the rates of which should have been reduced after the abolition of octroi include books and stationery, lottery tickets, sports items, electric goods, cement and brick etc. Earlier an octroi of Rs 5 per bag was imposed on the cement bags. However, even after the abolition of octroi the rates of cements bags continue to persist at Rs 155 per bag.

Fuel oil and electronic goods are the only items whose rates have dropped after the abolition of octroi.

The parton of Arpan, Mr Kuldeep Chand, had demanded that the district administration should take action against the erring traders and pass on the benefits to the common man.



 

Languages Dept book denigrates Gurus
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 20
A book, “Sikhs”, published by the Punjab Government’s Languages Department, has far more offensive, derogatory and seemingly distorted references to Sikh Gurus, the historical past of the Sikhs, etc, than Prof Satish Chandra’s book, “Medieval India,” which kicked off a nationwide controversy and debate among academicians.

The book has been written by English writer A.H. Bingley and the department has taken pride in reproducing it. In fact, in the foreward the book has been mentioned as the most valuable work for the benefit of readers, scholars and research workers.

Prof Satish Chandra’s account of historical events pertaining to Guru Tegh Bahadur in “Medieval India,” published by the NCERT appears to be a minor distortion or aberration as compared to this book, which has “shocking” references not only to Guru Tegh Bahadur, Guru Gobind Singh and other Gurus but also to the Sikhs. Historical details about Guru Gobind Singh in Bingley’s book are contrary to those available in mainstream history books about the Sikhs.

Interestingly, the book had been reproduced when the late Giani Lal Singh, who was famous as a Sikh scholar and speaker, was the Director of the department. In the publisher’s note, Giani Lal Singh stated that “the idea behind the present venture is to make available these rare works to most libraries and readers.”

In the note he further states: “British and other Western scholars rendered great service to this land and their works still have great bearing on the language, culture and history of the Punjab. The Languages Department has planned to bring out reprints of the most valuable works, including the present one, for the benefit of most readers, scholars and research workers”.

It appears that Giani Lal Singh did not read the book. Otherwise, he would have never written his note. Only Sikh scholars can tell whether the book is a “valuable” work or a distorted and derogatory version of Sikh history.



 

Sachkhand to halt at Sirhind: SAD (A)
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 20
The Railway Minister, Mr Nitish Kumar, has agreed to halt the Amritsar-Delhi Shatabdi Express and the Sachkhand Express at the Sirhind railway station from December 30, claimed Mr Iqbal Tiwana, official spokesman of the SAD (A).

In a press note issued here yesterday, he claimed that a delegation of four MPs from Punjab consisting of Mr G.S. Tohra, Mr Sukhdev Singh Libra, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo and Mr Simranjit Singh Mann met the Railway Minister and he immediately ordered the stoppage of these trains at the Sirhind railway station.

The press note also claimed that due to consistent efforts of Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, Indian prisoners lodged in Pakistan jails were got released. Mr Mann has further approached the Defence Minister to take up the matter of remaining four prisoners with the Pakistani authorities so that they may also be released.

The party criticised Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, president, Lok Bhalai Party, for making a false claim regarding the release of the prisoners. The party has appealed to the people not to fall in the false propaganda of opportunist leaders. 


 

CM flayed for using foul language
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 20
Mr Ravi Inder Singh, a former Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, today assailed the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, for his alleged use of foul language against his detractors.

In a statement Mr Ravi Inder Singh said instead of having a dialogue Mr Badal had resorted to indiscriminate use of foul language and levelled baseless allegations against his political opponents.

He said, “This shows his utter frustration, his faith in his own political future and his confidence in his party machine, which is quite indicative of the events that could unfold in the near future. I do not want to stoop and comment on what he has said but challenge him to reveal the evidence to prove it so that the people of Punjab would know the truth”.



 

Protest against inflated power bills
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, December 20
The residents of the local Parasram Nagar, Partap Nagar and Jogi Nagar today held a rally against inflated electricity bills and urged the authorities concerned to reduce the amount from the bills.

Consumers of the Punjab State Electricity Board, who came to deposit the electricity bills at the sub-divisional office (sub-urban), did not get any positive response from the authorities when they asked about the additional Rs 120 charged on each bill.

Residents alleged that earlier also some additional amount was charged from them. The authorities had stated that the surcharge would be adjusted in the subsequent bill, but nothing was done.

The employees collecting the bill amount avoided reply to the queries of the customers and asked them to first pay the full amount. The residents added that if they did not want to pay the full amount they should contact the higher officials.

The attitude of the employees made the residents furious and they started protesting. They held a rally for about two hours and reportedly asked all consumers not to deposit the bill amounts till the surcharge was withdrawn.

However, the authorities concerned were adamant and said they would not accept amounts less than those on the bill. Later, the local officials held consultations with their seniors and apprised them of the situation.

Sources said the senior officials asked the employees to collect the bills minus the surcharge. The decision had been taken to avoid any unruly scene. The residents ended their rally when they were asked to pay the bills minus the surcharge.

Mr R.K. Goel, Assistant Engineer (sub-urban), when contacted, said the local office was not responsible for adding surcharge. He added that only those customers whose power supply had been disconnected due to non-payment of previous bills had to pay the additional amount. He said as per the rules of the PSEB a fee of Rs 120 was charged for reconnecting the power supply.



 

‘Punjab only state to increase pension’
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 20
Punjab is the only state in the country which has increased pension and sanctioned various benefits to pensioners who had attained the age of 65 and 75. This decision of the government has benefited more than one lakh pensioners and had put an additional burden on the of Rs 14 crore on the treasury, Capt. Kanwaljit Singh, Minister for Finance, said while addressing a state-level seminar on the eve of senior citizens day celebrations at Bachat Bhavan here today.

He said the government had benefited every section of society by initiating various public-oriented schemes. Even Class IV employees were income tax payees, he said.

Lashing out at the Congress, he claimed it did not have any concrete policy, programme or issues. He said Punjab was the only state where all villages and every ward of the council had got grant for development.

He said during the five-year rule of the SAD-BJP government projects worth Rs 16,000 crore had been set up whereas during the past 50-year -rule of the Congress, projects worth Rs 15,000 crore were set up.

Bibi Satwant Kaur Sandhu, Minister for Pensioners Welfare, said senor citizens and pensioners were an important part of society and played an important role in the development of society. She assured the pensioners that the pending demands would be conceded at the earliest.

Balwant Singh Sodhi, president of the Pensioners Association, urged the government to increase their medical allowance.



 

Bhattal ‘appears’ before Vigilance
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 20
The former Punjab Chief Minister, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, was today called by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau for recording her statement in connection with the “funds withdrawal case”.

Ms Bhattal, however, denied that she appeared before any officer of the Vigilance Bureau today. "My lawyer may have appeared on my behalf as the case is going on," she said, maintaining that she remained busy throughout the day today in connection with the interview of aspirants to party tickets for the coming Assembly elections. “I returned home only at 5.30 p.m.,” she said.

Sources in the Vigilance Department, however, maintained that she appeared in person along with her counsel. When contacted, the Additional Director-General of Police,Vigilance, Mr S.K. Verma, confirmed tat Ms Bhattal was called for her “statement” and she appeared with her counsel today.

The Vigilance Bureau had made a reservation at the UT Guest House where besides Mr Verma, another officer, Mr Rohit Chaudhary, was also present when the statement was being recorded. The sources maintained that she was actually summoned for December 18 but she could not make it that day and appeared today.

The Vigilance officials maintained that it was a “routine exercise” and there was no other specific purpose of calling her except to get her statement.

It may be mentioned that a Bathinda-based lawyer had filed a case against Ms Bhattal that she had withdrawn a grant meant for sports activities from her fund but did not disburse it.



 

Khalra case eyewitness stages dharna
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, December 20
Mr Kuldeep Singh, main eyewitness of the Khalra murder case, today staged a dharna in front of the office of the local SDM to lodge his protest against the non-release of his monthly salary since December, 1999.

Mr Kuldeep Singh is an SPO with the Punjab police. On orders of the Supreme Court, he has been given CRPF cover for protection.

Payment of his salary has been stopped since December 1999 and repeated requests to the authorities have yielded no result. He threatened to sit on dharna daily for fours hours.



 

Bar meets DC in lawyers’ case
Our Correspondent

Mansa, December 20
The District Bar Association, Mansa, at its meeting held today decided to extend its strike until names of Mr Vijay Kumar Singla and Mr Jaspal Goyal, lawyers, were deleted from the FIR registered on December 13 on the complaint of Mr Jatinder Singh Saggu, Tehsildar and Mr Jai Chand Parinda, Naib Tehsildar and suspension and transfer of both Sub-Registrars ordered in view of corruption charges against them.

Lawyers held a rally in the district court complex here today and raised slogans against the Deputy Commissioner, for “inaction” on the issue. Later on, all Bar members met the DC, Ms Raji P. Srivastava, and demanded withdrawal of the case against its members.

Mr Ajit Singh Bhangu, president of the Bar, gave a call for Mansa bandh for tomorrow. Meanwhile, deed writers here have also extended their strike for indefinite period. Mr Jai Chand Parinda, Naib Tehsildar, said the lawyers were involved in the incidents which took place on December 13.

Deed writer Sat Pal Singla, arrested in connection with the case, has been remanded in judicial custody up to December 28.



 

Security up at stations, airports

Hoshiarpur, December 20
The attack on the Parliament House in New Delhi has caused a sense of alarm in Punjab, where security has been tightened at railway stations, airports, bus stands and government buildings, a senior police official said today.

"Mobile patrolling has been intensified to keep a watch on any anti-national elements in the state. Trains are being thoroughly checked and security around government buildings and other vital installations has been tightened," the IGP (Jalandhar Zone), Mr J. Virdi, told reporters here.

“We are taking no chances with security, especially after last week’s terrorist attack on Parliament. We have also alerted and put more security to guard rail tracks, which terrorists might target,” he said, adding that at present no terrorist outfit was active in the state. PTI



 

Sehgal's appointment hailed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 20
The DAV management here today got together to express its happiness over the appointment of Justice D.V. Sehgal, senior vice-president of the DAV Managing Committee, as Lok Pal, Punjab, at a felicitation function organised by MCM DAV College, Sector 36, on the college premises.

Speaking at the function, Justice P.C. Pundit said that the appointment as Lok Pal demanded great strength of character to ward off pressure and perform in a judicious manner despite the post being a political one.

Congratulating Justice Sehgal, the vice-president of the committee, Principal B.S. Behl, said that the appointment to the coveted position was not only an honour to the individual but to the DAV management as well.

The Editor of Dainik Tribune, Mr Vijay Sehgal, said that the appointment was a moment of pride for all DAV institutions.

The Principal of SGGS College, Mr P.S. Sangha, said that Justice Sehgal had earned the position by working hard and would uphold truthfulness and give justice as Lok Pal.


 

Hijack accused plea against CBI custody
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 20
The two prime accused in the hijacking of IC-814 Indian Airlines plane from Kathmandu to Kandahar in December, 1999, today filed an application in the court, claiming that the CBI wanted to procure their custody on the excuse of identifying one of the militants who was killed in the recent attack on Parliament, who the CBI believed was one of the hijackers.

The application, which was filed in the court of Designated Judge S.N. Aggarwal through counsel of the accused, H.V. Rai and Brijinder Singh Sodhi, claimed that they feared that the CBI wanted to procure their custody with regard to the case pertaining to the attack on Parliament in order to identify the body of the slain terrorist.



 

Stitching centres opened in 72 villages
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 20
The Umeed Khanna Foundation has started stitching centres in all 72 villages of Sangrur subdivision.

Mr Arvind Khanna, chairman of the foundation, said these centres were started to ensure the empowerment of rural women and help facilitate income generation among adolescent girls.



 

Safai karamcharis’ plea to govt
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, December 20
A ‘mahapanchayat’ of safai karamcharis from all over the state held at Kotkapura yesterday, urged the government to take over the charge of all nagar councils. The panchayat said due to limited financial resources, the nagar councils were not able to meet the demands of its employees. Mr Parkash Chand Gaichand, president of the state Safai Karamcharis Union, demanded that all employees be adjusted in other government departments and their emoluments paid.



 

7 municipal councils get Rs 97 lakh grant
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, December 20
The state government has provided Rs 97.55 lakh, including Rs 60 lakh for development works at Kotkapura, to seven municipal councils, three of Faridkot district and four of Muktsar district to compensate them for the loss suffered due to abolition of octroi in the state.

An official press note issued here today stated that Mr A. Venu Parshad, Deputy Commissioner, Faridkot, handed over cheques for Rs 12.49 lakh, Rs 20.76 lakh and Rs 5.45 lakh to the presidents of municipal councils of Faridkot, Kotkapura and Jaitu, respectively.

The cheques had been distributed as grant by the state government to compensate for the loss suffered by the councils due to the abolition of octroi and to fund various development projects. The municipal council, Kotkapura, had been provided an extra grant of Rs 60 lakh for sewerage project and Rs 50,000 for repair of roads in the city.

Employees of the councils would also be paid salaries out of these grants. The grants had been given on the basis of monthly reports of the councils about details of revenue from octroi collection.

Mr Parshad, while addressing a meeting of municipal councillors at Faridkot, said Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, had earlier promised to provide grants every month to municipalities and municipal councils in the state.

He said during a ‘sangat darshan programme’ at Faridkot recently Mr Badal approved the demand of 11 panchayats for financial help for repair work of distributaries. A grant of Rs 27.25 lakh had been provided for the purpose to the respective panchayats, he added. He said the Canal Water Users Association and the XEN, Punjab State Tubewell Corporation, would supervise the work.

Mr Kanwaljit Singh Cheema, Deputy Commissioner, Muktsar, in a press note issued here today said four municipal councils of Muktsar district had been given Rs 53.85 lakh. He said municipal councils of Muktsar, Malout, Gidderbaha and Bariwala had been granted Rs 16.72 lakh, Rs 23.33 lakh, Rs 12.70 lakh and Rs 1.10 lakh, respectively.




 

Five MCs given financial help
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 20
To provide alternative financial assistance to the municipal councils of the state to compensate for the revenue loss in income due to the abolition of octroi, cheques amounting to Rs 109.30 lakh equal to the loss occurred during December have been presented to the executive officers of the five municipal councils of the district at a function held here yesterday at Bachat Bhavan.

Mr Vikas Partap, Deputy Commissioner presided over the function and gave the cheques. Out of the total amount, the Deputy Commissioner handed over cheque for 14.75 lakh to the Executive Officer Municipal Council of Sirhind, for Rs 83.08 lakh to the Gobindgarh Municipal Council of Rs 3.39 lakh to the Amloh Municipal Council, Rs 4.77 lakh to the Bassi Pathana Municipal Council and of Rs 3.31 lakh to Khamanon.

Addressing the function, Mr Vikas Partap said the pace of the development would not be allowed to be affected.



 

More women join liquor trafficking
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, December 20
The subdivision has become a safe haven for drug and liquor traffickers.

There has been an alarming rise in the smuggling of illicit liquor and countrymade foreign liquor for the past one month and the police has arrested more than 50 persons in this connection.

According to sources, in the majority of cases, young women have been arrested on the charge of possessing illicit liquor.

On September 27 Usha was arrested and 150 litres of illicit liquor was seized from her. Similarly Chander Kanta, Leelo, Vikaso and Sunita were arrested and huge quantities of liquor seized from them. The arrested women mostly belong to the Sujanpur area.

According to a survey of the 250 cases registered so far at Police Station Sadar, about 70 per cent are under the Excise Act.

Besides more than 200 cases under the excise act are pending in various courts and the women involved are facing trial.

The village, Chhani Bali, on the Pathankot-Jalandhar national highway about 15 km from here, Chakki, Sujanpur and Dida are dens of liquor traffickers, where a particular community is manufacturing and selling illicit liquor on the roadsides.

More than 200 families are involved in trafficking causing loss of crores to the state exchequer. The government has apparently done nothing to rehabilitate the community.



 

Dealer booked for selling expired pesticide
Our Correspondent

Fatehabad, December 20
A local pesticide dealer, M/s Rakesh and Company, has been booked for causing damage to standing mustard crop of a farmer who had used expired pesticide bought from it.

The police has booked the dealer firm, under Sections 7, 10 and 55 of the Essential Commodities Act and provisions of the Pesticide Act, 1968. The police is investigating the case.

Mr Dalip Singh, a farmer from Bhodia Khera village, had mustard crop on 12 acres. To save his crop from “tela”, a pest that usually attacks mustard crop, he purchased seven bags of a pesticide powder, “Phenwal”, from the dealer at the local grain market. Being an illiterate person he could not notice the expiry date mentioned on the bags and the crop was damaged when he used it.

Mr Dalip Singh brought the matter to the notice of the dealer but the latter refused to pay heed to his complaint. The farmer then complained to the Agriculture Department, which investigated the case and found that the dealer had sold expired pesticide to the farmer, which had damaged his crop.



 

4 booked in FCI scam

Sangrur, December 20
The Punjab police today claimed to have unearthed a Food Corporation of India (FCI) scam worth above Rs 1 crore and booked four Assistant Managers and 169 members of a limited company engaged in the loading and unloading of foodgrains of the FCI.

The Sangrur police said here that the Assistant Managers are Harihar Singh, Sita Ram, Khushali Ram and Bhagwan Dass who in connivance with the president of the Paledar Cooperative Society, Teja Singh, and members prepared a forged record to dupe the FCI.

The society was registered on March 31, 1994, with its president Teja Singh for the loading and unloading of the foodgrains and was assigned the right to work of the FCI in 1995, the police added.

Another similar society titled as the Punjab Pradesh Paledar Union was registered with the FCI with same objects a few years earlier.

However, with officials of the FCI with hand in glove with the society led by Teja Singh on behalf of fake record they managed to draw the employees provident fund (EPF), the police said adding that even the culprits managed to draw the EPF of a few years even prior to its being registered in 1994 and managed to be enrolled as the permanent workers of the FCI. The scam was unearthed when Amrik Singh, president, Punjab Pradesh Paledar Union, lodged a complaint with the Sangrur police that 112 of his society members have been debarred of the EPF. PTI



 

Telecom man arrested in cheating case
Our Correspondent

Mansa, December 20
The CIA staff have busted a gang engaged in duping people of money who were aspiring to become inspectors, deputy superintendents of police or join the Haryana Civil Service. This was stated here today by Mr Dilbagh Singh Gill, SSP, at a press conference.

He said the police had arrested Dalip Singh an employee of the Telecom Department posted at Ludhiana, who was the kingpin of the gang. Investigations so far made by the police reveal that the accused along with his wife Jasbir Kaur of Guru Nanak Colony, Ludhiana, and Jagjit Singh of Amritsar used to collect money in the name of ministers and high dignitaries.

They had promised the allotment of a petrol station to Mr Amrik Singh of Dharampura village, Mansa district, and for the purpose struck a deal for Rs 35 lakh and collected Rs 15 lakh from him. They collected Rs 15.75 lakh from Ms Surjit Kaur of Rampur Mander village in the district to get her son appointed as DSP in the Punjab police. In all they collected more than Rs 60 lakh but failed to provide the promised jobs to any of the aspirants.



 

Patwari booked
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, December 20
A patwari , Jaswinder Singh, and Gurmeet Kaur of Balle Chak village, have been booked under Sections 420 467, 468 and 120 of the IPC for allegedly getting 7 kanal land resgistered in the name of Gurmeet Kaur.


 

Unsafe school building being demolished
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, December 20
The building of Shaheed Sipahi Sandeep Singh Government Senior Secondary School at the Paras Ram Nagar locality here which was declared unsafe a few year ago and about which The Tribune also published a news report in March is being dismantled.

Dismantling is in progress with students taking examination in the same building. The first floor of the building is being broken. According to sources, rules for the construction of buildings were flouted and cheap material had been used. The map of the building was also not approved by the authorities.

Mr Harjit Singh Sidhu, Principal, said according to the guidelines of the district authorities and a resolution passed by the Parents Teacher Association and the School Development Committee, the building was being demolished. He said the new building was under construction and would be completed soon.



 

Adopt modern techniques to face WTO: panel

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 19
The small scale sector is competent at the international level. It doesn’t afraid of foreign products and WTO impacts, if the government provides level playing field, better infrastructure, inputs at international rates and amend the existing laws, said Dr Sham Sunder Aggarwal, National President the Laghu Udyog Bharti, addressing a state level seminar of small scale industrialists, at Sirhind.

He urged the industrialists to adopt aggressive approach and modern techniques to face challenges of the WTO in the era of globalisation.

In the prevailing circumstances, how we can compete with the world with old laws. Labour laws don’t allow us to retrench any labourer, we are not getting regular power supply. Even we cannot install our own generators and we had to take permission from the government. We get the loan from financial institutions at 16 per cent to 18 per cent where as in foreign countries they get it at 5 per cent only, he said. He urged the government to concede the genuine demands of the industry.

Unemployment is the major problem the country is facing at present. It is only the small scale sector which is providing employment so the government should strengthen this sector. It is unfortunate that this sector has to face the wrath of 52 departments whereas they have no role to play but inspectors of these departments harass the industrialists on one or the other pretext. He demanded that government should curb the inspector raj and there should be only one register for all departments. The government should provide better infrastructure and maintain law and order. “We don’t want regulators, we want facilitators,” he said.

He said due to their efforts the Centre formed a separate ministry of this sector and now a separate department in the ministry for the tiny units having turnout of up to 25 lakh has been constituted.

Mr Balwant Rai Gupta, state President, appealed the traders to come under the banner of this organisation so that they could raise their problems forcefully. At the recent meeting, the Chief Minister had accepted various demands of various industry organisations and these would be implemented soon.

Mr Vikas Partap, Deputy Commissioner, highlighted the rural focal point scheme of the government and urged the industrialists to derive benefit of this scheme by opening their units in the rural focal points and the land was provided on the nominal lease rates by which initial cost was saved. This sector was on the crossroads and passing through recession. He assured help to the industrialists.

Dr Raghbir Suri, President, Industrial Association, Harikrishan Bimbraw, President, District Laghu Udyog Bharti, Varinder Rattan Secretary District Beopar Mandal and Ashwani Gupta also highlighted their problem.



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