Saturday, December 29, 2001, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi




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Poll takes back seat as war clouds hover
Hussainiwala (Ferozepore), December 28
The news of assembly elections in the second week of February in Punjab has not excited villagers here. What is perturbing them most at the moment are the war clouds hovering over them.

Fog hampers security operations
Somewhere from the border region (Amritsar), December 28
Misty conditions and a thick blanket of fog in the border belt have added to the problems of the security forces manning the frontline defence positions.

Punjabi hospitality resurfaces
Ferozepore, December 28
The movement of troops along the Indo-Pak border has fired patriotism among the masses as they have started organising “langar” on roads and started digging bunkers near the zero line.

Indo-Pak tension worries Dhaliwal
Chandigarh, December 28
Mr Herb Dhaliwal, Canadian Minister for Fisheries and Oceans, has expressed concern over the growing tension between India and Pakistan and asked the two countries to sit together to work out a solution to their problems.

In hurry to board last bus
Wagah (Amritsar), December 28
With the last bus services scheduled to operate tomorrow between India and Pakistan, people were in a hurry to board the last bus before the cancellation of services becomes effective from January 1.

Mela echoed with Badal’s name
Fatehgarh Sahib, December 28
His physical absence notwithstanding, Punjab Chief Minister and President of the Shiromani Akali Dal Parkash Singh Badal, was the rallying point at all political rallies held in this historical town yesterday.

Fatehgarh Sahib



Akalis complete full five-year term
As one punches the computer keys to capsule the key events of 2001, one is reminded that this is the last year of the SAD-BJP combine’s five-year term. Therefore, it will be appropriate to have a quick run of its five-year rule, recapitulating what stands out and what is outstanding.

A year of “Captains” and Badungar
Patiala, December 28
The year 2001 belonged to the “Captains” of this district. Finance Minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh started the year on a happier note. He later started concentrating on his constituency in the wake of internal wrangling in the party, the other captain, PPCC chief Capt Amarinder Singh, consolidated his hold over the party with the blessings of the party high command.

Assembly staff taken unawares
Chandigarh, December 28
The decision to convene a special session on December 31 to meet a constitutional requirement has caught the Punjab Vidhan Sabha staff unawares. So much so that most of the members of the Watch and Ward staff are on leave to exhaust their quota of leave. There are some who are availing themselves of the Leave Travel Concession.

Finance Dept told to withdraw order
Ropar, December 28
The Chief Minister, Mr Prakash Singh Badal, has asked the Finance Department to withdraw its directive aimed at recalling states employees from the Bhakra Beas Management Board. Sources told TNS that after the publication of news item regarding the issue in The Tribune, Mr Badal directed the Chief Secretary to withdraw the said directive of the Finance Ministry.

Punjab Cong poll panel meeting today
New Delhi, December 28
The screening committee of the Congress for Punjab, which is to decide the party’s candidates for the forthcoming assembly poll, will meet here tomorrow. AICC Treasurer Motilal Vora, who is in charge of Punjab, said at tomorrow’s meeting the committee members would talk to all members of the Punjab Congress Election Committee over the choice of candidates.


BJP to focus on ‘Punjabi ekta’
Chandigarh, December 28
The BJP national secretary, Mr O. P. Kohli, in charge Punjab affairs, has held prolonged election-related discussions with the state president, Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, ministers, Balramji Das Tandon and Madan Mohan Mittal and general-secretary (organisation), Mr Avinash Jaiswal, here in the past two days. He has also reviewed the strategy on the sharing of seats with the SAD.

Election scene hots up
Bathinda, December 28
The election scene in the district has started warming up with the announcement of dates for the coming Assembly elections by the Chief Election Commissioner late last evening.

Panthic Morcha to contest all seats
Ludhiana, December 28
The Panthic Morcha has decided to contest all 117 seats in Punjab. A crucial meeting of the morcha was held today at Mansooran, near here, under the chairmanship of its convener, Baba Sarabjot Singh Bedi.

Mann warning on war
Ludhiana, December 28
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) chief, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, today warned the government against war with Pakistan, saying it would shatter the country’s economy and lead to disaster. He criticised the BJP for “creating war hysteria for its vested partisan interests”.

SAD rebel Kangar to contest against Maluka
Rampuraphul, December 28
Rebellion formally raised its head in the Shiromani Akali Dal today when a senior leader of the Youth Akali Dal and a former member of the zila parishad, Mr Gurpreet Singh Kangar opened his election offices at three places in this Assembly segment after publically declaring that he would contest the coming Assembly elections against the state Power Minister, Mr Sikander Singh Maluka, who has been renominated by the party from this seat.

CEC’s directives hasty: YAD
Phagwara, December 28
Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, newly appointed president of the Youth Akali Dal, today declared that the executive of the youth wing of the SAD would be constituted within 10 days after getting a directive from Chief Minister and SAD President Parkash Singh Badal. Talking to newspersons, he said every section would be given due representation in the executive.

Pasla to field candidates
Jalandhar, December 28
Expelled CPM member Mangat Ram Pasla today decided to field his candidates in the February 13 Punjab Vidhan Sabha elections. In a statement Mr Pasla alleged that CPM General Secretary Harkishan Singh Surjeet, who desired a Congress victory in the elections, was trying for an alliance with it.

Valmiki Samaj to back SAD-BJP
Chandigarh, December 28
Valmikis, led by Mr Vijay Danav, president Valmiki Samaj, thronged the Chief Minister's residence and committed their firm support to Mr Parkash Singh Badal on Thursday night vowing to defeat the Congress in the ensuing Assembly elections.

NCP to contest 32 seats
Bathinda, December 28
The Nationalist Congress Party will field its candidates from 32 constituencies in the Punjab Assembly elections. Mr Anil Gupta, NCP spokesperson and president of the city unit, said in a press note issued here today that the decision in this regard was taken by the Political Affairs Committee at a meeting last week.


SCs remain homeless despite assurance
Jalandhar, December 28
Even as the Punjab Chief Minister has instructed the authorities to implement all welfare schemes for Scheduled Castes at the grassroots level, the district administration has failed to provide grants to them for the construction of their houses in the past two years.

Terrorist victims' long wait
Chandigarh, December 28
It has been a long wait for victims of terrorist violence in Punjab. There are 1,500-odd such young boys and girls whose fathers were killed during the rule of the gun. Though promised a government job, the wait for one continues despite interviews and selections by various departments.

HC quashes clerks’ appointment
Fatehgarh Sahib, December 28
The future of the 53 clerks, working at present in the Deputy Commissioner’s office here, whose services have been quashed by the high court under Article 226 of the Constitution has become dismal. The high court has ordered that all those who had applied for the posts vide an advertisement published in newspapers on July 14, 1992, will be given another chance.

Bank employees hold protest
Patiala, December 28
On a call given by the Cooperative Bank Employees Federation, Punjab, employees of the Patiala Central Cooperative Bank today held a demonstration in front of the bank’s headquarters and observed a two-hour pen-down strike.


Panel to frame foodgrain policy
Jalandhar, December 28
The Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Civil Supplies, Mr Shanta Kumar, today said the Central Government had constituted a committee of experts to frame a new foodgrain policy. Talking to reporters at Circuit House here today, Mr Shanta Kumar said the committee, headed by Prof Abhijit Sen, would submit its report to the Union Government next month.

17 BKU (Ekta) activists detained
Kotda Korianwali (Bhathinda), December 28
As many as 17 activists of the BKU (Ekta), including two women, were taken into preventive custody in this village when they allegedly tried to disrupt a religious function organised by the village panchayat, which was being presided over by the Punjab Power Minister, Mr Sikandar Singh Malooka.


EC bans release of development funds
Bathinda, December 28
The Election Commission of India has banned the fresh release of funds for any development work under the Member of Parliament Local Area Development scheme at all places going to poll in February.


Car thief arrested
Amritsar, December 28
The police has arrested Ranjit Singh, who allegedly used to steal cars from other states and sell these in Punjab. This was stated by Mr Rajesh Jaiswal SP (city), at a press conference held here today.

2 proclaimed offenders held


Include teachers’ demands in manifestos: Sodhi
Phagwara, December 28
Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers’ Union, an apex body of 7,000 non-government college teachers, today asked various political parties to include its 10-point charter of demands in their respective poll manifestos for the coming Assembly elections slated for February 13 next. Prof K.B.S. Sodhi, PCCTU, President, had written letters to Presidents of the state Congress, SAD, BJP, SHSAD, CPI, CPM, about it stating this here today.

FEAR allegations baseless: dept head
Patiala, December 28
The Punjabi University today claimed that the Forum of Education And Reform had levelled baseless allegations against the Department of Correspondence Courses and its management and stated that all purchases made from the grant received from the Distance Education Council had been made strictly according to procedural norms and conditions prescribed by the DEC.

Delink distance education: expert
Patiala, December 28
Dr H.S. Singhar, Director of Distance Education, Sagar University, Madhya Pradesh, today stressed on the need to delink distance education from the conventional.


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