Tuesday, January 8, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SGPC to set up global advisory council
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 7
The SGPC today cleared the decks for the setting up of an international advisory council and at least five advisory committees in a bid to tone up the working of the highest temporal body of the Sikhs and to deal more effectively with the Panthic matters. A meeting of the Dharam Parchar Committee held here today under the presidentship of Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar approved in principle the formation of these committees.

According to Mr Badungar, the proposed council will have representatives from the fields of religion, education, defense, economic affairs, literature and social figures from all over the world. A completely non-political body, the council will have nominees of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, Sri Harmandir Sahib, Patna, Management Committee, Takht Sachkhand Sri Hazoor Sahib, Nanded, Chief Khalsa Divan, Institute of Sikh Studies, Chandigarh, Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle and Panthic bodies from all states in the country and across the globe.

To assist the council, the SGPC, its President further said, would set up five separate advisory committees to deal with religious, economic, educational, sports and international affairs. “These will work as screening committees for all practical purposes and all controversial matters will be discussed primarily by these before being forwarded, if necessary, to the SGPC or Sri Akal Takht. These committees would comprise experts on the relevant subjects.

The SGPC chief further informed that the Sikh History Board, which was lying defunct till now, has been revived to initiate the process of research on Sikh history. “For quite some time there has been no research on Sikh history, nor has some authoritative book been published on the subject. On the contrary, attempts were made to distort Sikh history and create misgivings among the community.”

Eminent Sikh scholars including Dr Kirpal Singh, Dr Madanjit Kaur, Dr Balwant Singh Dhillon, Prof Prithipal Singh Kapur, Dr Jasbir Singh Shakar, Prof Surjit Singh Gandhi, Giani Gurdit Singh, Dr Darshan Singh and Dr Kharak Singh were nominated to the Sikh History Board, which Mr Badungar asserted, would be provided with the necessary infrastructure and other assistance. He said the matter was being taken up with the Union Government for getting back some rare publications and manuscripts, removed by the Army from the Sikh Reference Library during Operation Bluestar.

Among other matters discussed at the meeting were the setting up of a committee of gurbani experts to determine ‘raags’ for Gurbani recital at Sri Harmandir Sahib and a proposal to establish a missionary college for women at Damdama Sahib. A committee comprising Dr Kharak Singh, Dr Darshan Singh and Sant Hardev Singh Loolowal was named to come out with the blueprint of the college project at the next meeting.


Balian to contest as Independent?
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, January 7
Mr Ranjit Singh Balian, MLA from Sangrur and Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development, Punjab, today remained tight-lipped over the question whether he would contest as an independent candidate, even though he gave an indication that he might do so if the party ticket was not given to him by SAD. However, he stated that he was loyal to the party and expressed the hope that he would not be ignored by the SAD high command.

After receiving information that Mr Sanmukh Singh Mokha, a SAD leader who was instrumental in the defeat of Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa in the February, 1997, Assembly elections from Sunam, was being given the SAD ticket from Sangrur in place of Mr Balian, a large number of supporters of the latter gathered at his residence here today and put pressure on him to contest as an Independent candidate from Sangrur.

Among his supporters were several sarpanches, panches, presidents of Sangrur and Bhawanigarh municipal councils, chairman of the Sangrur Market Committee and Akali leaders of various villages.

His supporters expressed resentment against the SAD leadership for not reportedly allotting party ticket to Mr Balian. Some Akalis, including Mr Malkit Singh, Sarpanchs of Rampura village, accused Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa of “arranging” the party ticket for Mr Mokha from Sangrur as he wanted to ensure an easy victory for his son, Mr Parminder Singh Dhindsa, from Sunam in the Assembly elections. The supporters also announced that they would neither campaign nor cast their votes in favour of Mr Mokha.

However, Mr Balian asked his supporters to remain calm and not speak against Mr Dhindsa. Mr Balian said he was still confident that he would get the party ticket on merit as he had done a lot of development work in the constituency.

As per the reports gathered by Mr Parkash Singh Badal with regard to the performance of MLAs from private and government agencies, a decision should be taken with regard to the allotment of party ticket, he added.

The supporters appealed to Mr Balian to contest at every cost, otherwise they would field a candidate on behalf of the “sangat”. Mr Balian assured the “sangat” that he would honour their sentiments. He also said he had not officially received any information about the allotment of party ticket to Mr Mokha.


BSP, Panthic Morcha toughen postures
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 7
Even as Bahujan Samaj Party chief Kanshi Ram has toughened his stand by saying that no more seats would be extended to its alliance partner, the Panthic Morcha, the morcha leadership has asserted that it will not play the role of a junior partner in the alliance.

The toughening of stances by both the parties has virtually brought the alliance to non-functional state. While Mr Kanshi Ram had announced late last night that seat adjustment had taken place between the two parties and the morcha had agreed to contest 40 seats, leaving the remaining 77 for the BSP, the morcha leadership has denied that no such arrangement had taken place. The morcha stands by its demand of seat adjustment in the 60:40 ratio.

The morcha convener, Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi, today rejected the formula devised by Mr Kanshi Ram. “It is not acceptable to us and we will not play second fiddle, even as talks are in progress,” said Baba Bedi. He added that the objective of both the BSP and morcha was to defeat the SAD-BJP and Congress.

Baba Bedi, accompanied by senior morcha leaders Ravi Inder Singh and Bhai Jasbir Rode, said his party would decide on candidates at its meeting scheduled to be held at Chandigarh tomorrow.

Referring to Mr Kanshi Ram’s efforts in projecting Mr Ravi Inder Singh as the future CM of Punjab, Baba Bedi said the party legislators would decide on this.

Meanwhile, Mr Kanshi Ram repeated that he had made the announcement about seat sharing after taking to senior morcha leaders. “There is no scope of reconsideration on the issue of seat sharing,” he said after inaugurating the party’s office at Khurla Kingra.

The BSP’s district unit president, Mr Pawan Tinu, organised a function to mark the party’s poll campaign. He said both the parties would issue their separate manifestoes. “We will issue our manifesto on January 23,” said Mr Kanshi Ram, adding that party candidates would be announced shortly. He said there was no common political programme of the two parties.

Meanwhile, the morcha sources said talks were on and there was a possibility of resolution of the issue amicably.


Border belt: exams may be put off
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
Life on the border is like living on the razor’s edge. Yet, even in the face of mounting tension, the morale of the people is high in Gurdaspur, Amritsar and Ferozepore districts that have a 531 km fenced border with Pakistan.

In the wake of some inward migration and disruption of agricultural operations, people in the border villages, particularly in the 16 km border belt, have made several suggestions while sharing their problems and apprehensions with the Punjab Chief Secretary, Mr N.K. Arora, who recently visited Amritsar border villages.

In Amritsar, 141 villages are close to the border. Of these 47 are the most sensitive and are located in Patti, Tarn Taran and Amritsar-II subdivisions. The exodus from these villages is 65 to 95 per cent. But people are also returning home. Sharing their observations, reactions and feelings, Mr Arora today said people wanted special attention in terms of ‘’infrastructure development and the service sector’’. They suggested the creation of a “border cadre” within the services so that doctors, teachers, and employees of other departments living in the border villages in the three districts were treated as a separate entity in matters of promotions, postings and transfers.

The spirit behind such a suggestion was that there would be the least disruption in the service sector and proper attention would be paid to infrastructure development that was woefully lacking. Likewise, in several villages, people suggested that in terms of giving relief in a crisis situation, the entire border belt should be divided into three categories — villages in 0-1 km, 1-6 km and 6-16 km — for better appreciation of the ground realities.

Similarly, Mr Arora came across people who said that due to the deployment of the defence forces their agricultural operations had been disrupted. Farmers had invested in wheat and other rabi crops prior to the deployment. Moreover, there was practically not much work left for the landless labour. Their demand was that the government should find ways to ‘’compensate’’ them for the losses. And more telling was the problem regarding the inadequate availability of fodder.

People narrated their experiences at the hands of private transporters, who charged exorbitant rates to transport families and valuables to safer places.

To a question, Mr Arora said that people were worried about the future of their children, who were to appear in various board examinations in the next few weeks. With the education system disrupted, the people wanted that the examinations should be postponed for some time. This request was being examined and an assessment made.

Panchayats desired that special arrangement should be made for communication. Villagers requested for the telephone facility and the setting up of public call offices to remain in touch with their near and dear ones.

Taking an overview of the first-hand feedback received from people, the government has asked for a ‘’special report’’ from the Financial Commissioner, Revenue, Mr Bhagat Singh, by January 10. The state proposes to send it to the Ministry of Defence for consideration in respect of compensation to farmers and landless labour.

Meanwhile, special arrangements have been made to rush fodder and provide veterinary facilities in the border areas. Some camps have been set up with all basic amenities as a precaution.


Leaders quit BSP, join BSM
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, January 7
The Punjab unit of the BSP got a big jolt today when a majority of its leaders, including Mr Onkar Singh Jhamat, former district president, Mr Sohan Lal, former party president, Mr Charan Singh, general secretary, and Mr Paramjit Singh, former vice-president of the Hoshiarpur tehsil, among several other leaders along with their hundreds of supporters resigned from the primary membership of the party. At a function presided over by Mr Satnam Singh Kainth, national president of the Bahujan Samaj Morcha (BSM), here all of them joined the morcha.

Speakers criticised Mr Kanshi Ram, BSP supremo, for his “dictatorial” attitude towards party workers. They alleged that Mr Kanshi Ram exploited the sentiments of Dalits for his selfish motives and did nothing for them.

Mr Satnam Singh Kainth said Mr Kanshi Ram never adopted basic principles of the party for which it had been constituted. Due to his behaviour, he had lost credibility among the Dalits. A majority of founder leaders of the BSP had left him for using abusive language used at public meetings, he said.

Talking to mediapersons, he said the BSM had demanded five Assembly seats from the SAD. He along with his general secretaries had a meeting with Mr Parkash Singh Badal at Chandigarh where the adjustment of seats was discussed. He hoped that the allotment of seats would be finalised within the next 2-3 days.


Punjab BJP to contest 26 seats
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, January 7
Mr Brij Mohan Rinwa, President, Punjab BJP, while talking to newspersons said here today that it had been decided that the Punjab BJP would contest 26 seats in the coming Assembly elections in the state, including the 23 seats that the party had contested during the previous Assembly elections.

He said Mr Parkash Singh Badal had already given his consent in this regard.

Mr Rinwa said the BJP had asked for six seats — Gurdaspur, Budhlada, Ludhiana West, Balwana, Sangrur and Bulandshahr.

He added that Mr Badal had agreed to concede any three of the said six assembly seats to the BJP.

Mr Rinwa said in case of the Gurdaspur assembly segment, which was previously held by SAD candidate, the BJP could give a better fight and increase the winning tally of the SAD-BJP alliance.

However, a deputation of BJP workers headed by Mr Ashok Sharma met the BJP President demanding Gurdaspur seat for SAD.

He said all BJP ministers in the Punjab Cabinet have been approved to contest from their respective constituencies.

He was here along with his rath yatra, which would end at Nangal on January 11.


CPM rules out alliance with Congress

Moga, January 7
The Punjab CPM has decided against any truck with the Congress in the ensuing Vidhan Sabha elections.

Party’s state secretary Rashpal Singh and executive member Shubeg Singh at the district party meeting here last evening decided to field Mr Ved Prakash Mittal from the Moga constituency.

These leaders said that the party had decided to contest a total of 20 seats in the February 13 elections. The first list of 13 candidates had already been released . They ruled out the possibility of any alliance or sharing seats with the Congress.

It may be recalled that the party had unsuccessfully contested 21 seats in the 1997 elections.

Meanwhile, Congress circles in the district were confused over “withdrawal” of the first list of candidates as published in a section of the Press and delay in clearing the names.

Punjab Education Minister Tota Singh had already started his election campaign in Moga constituency. He had already covered each and every village of his constituency. UNI


Cong infighting will benefit SAD: Kanwaljit
Our Correspondent

Lalru, January 7
Disputes over distribution of party tickets among the candidates and ticket aspirants of the Congress will benefit the SAD-BJP alliance in the forthcoming assembly elections in Punjab, claimed general secretary of SAD and a candidate of SAD-BJP from Banur assembly constituency, Capt Kanwaljit Singh at a rally at Lalru Grain Market today.

While addressing a rally which was attended by members of youth clubs, mahila mandals, panchayats and party workers, the minister held the Congress responsible for terrorism in the state. He alleged that the law and order situation in Punjab had deteriorated during Congress rule.

To be in power the Congress created an atmosphere of terrorism in the state in early eighties which affected thousands of families creating an imbalance in economy, development besides disturbing communal harmony in the state.

The Akali government had to trudge for miles and had finally succeeded in restoring peace after 1997 when the SAD-BJP coalition government came to power, claimed the minister.

While addressing the meeting Capt Kanwaljit Singh listed the development works in constituency which had been completed during SAD rule in the past over four and a half years.

He said to meet the water requirement for irrigation, the SAD-BJP government had sunk 115 deep tubewells in the past over four and a half years against 18 tubewells sunk by the Congress in its 45 years’ rule in Banur. “Sinking of more tubewells has not only benefited farmers of Banur but had also fetched them revenue of over Rs 50 crore for seasonal crops,” he added.

He also appealed to the party workers to strengthen the SAD-BJP alliance for a firm victory in the next elections.


JD (Secular) to contest 13 seats
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
The Janata Dal (Secular) will contest 13 Vidhan Sabha seats in Punjab, the president of the state party unit, Mr Harish, announced here today.

He said the party would contest the Ludhiana East and West, Jalandhar Central and Cantonment, Jagraon, Hoshiarpur city, Moga, Baghapurana, Jalalabad, Abohar, Attari, Malout and Khanna assembly seats.


Pasla’s denial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
Mr Mangat Ram Pasla, secretary, Punjab State Committee, Communist Party of India (Marxist), in a statement denied that his party was negotiating for an alliance with the SAD.

He termed reports to this effect appearing in a section of the Press as baseless and mischievous. He said his party was all set to oppose and defeat the “communal, corrupt and anti-people” SAD-BJP alliance in the coming assembly elections.


2 parties merge
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, January 7
The local block of the Shiv Sena (Tangri group) has merged with the Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray).

Mr Pawan Prabhakar, state vice-president of the Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray), claimed here today the merger followed a meeting with Mr Vinod Sharma, president of the Tangri group’s block unit and Mr Inderjit Karwal, president of the local unit of the Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray).


Uprooted, they spend nights under sheds
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, January 7
Jimmy, who is hardly seven, cooks food for the entire family comprising 10-persons under a shed of the local grain market while her parents go out daily to seek help from the administration and residents of this town.

Jimmy, who has four brothers and sisters, all younger to her, has been living under the sheds for the past eight days after her family shifted here from Barcke village located near the Indo-Pak border in Ferozepore district.

More than 100 families have taken shelter in the grain market and under sheds of focal points after the deployment of the Army along zero line.

Most of the families have witnessed their “uprooting” for the second or third time. With no help from the government, they have been trying to take life as it comes.

For Sunder Dass, who has entered the fag end of his life, it is for the third time that he had to leave his house along with his family and heads of cattle. During the 1965 Indo-Pak war, he shifted to Sirsa in Haryana and during the 1971 war, to Malout.

All families, who have erected small huts, said they had to shift because their kutcha houses had been occupied by the Army and were being used as bunkers. They said so far no one had come to help them. The district administration gave them only one bag each of wheat flour. Most of them were eating food at gurdwaras.

Gianwati, who is staying in a tattered tent along with her eight children, said her husband and male members of other families had been visiting offices of the authorities concerned for help, but without any success. Though the women folk could earn to meet both ends meet, nobody was offering them jobs as they were strangers, she added.

Chimbo said most of the families which had shifted were dealing in the making of toys and collection of junk, besides farm labour most of them did not have money even for a square meal.

Chattru Singh, a resident of Gole ke Maur village, said under the biting cold and unhygienic conditions, they were finding it difficult to take care of their children and cattle. He added that no elected representative had turned up so far to see their plight.

The migrants said as their dwellings had been occupied by the Army, they should be taken care of by the government and should be supplied food, clothes, medicines and other items of daily use, apart from a dignified place for shelter.

Mr K.J. Cheema, Deputy Commissioner, said all families would be provided with fodder, food and shelter. He said though about more than 100 families had arrived here and other places, nobody had approached him for help.


Who cares for migrants

Patti, January 7
The administration has provided veterinary facilities to migrants of 19 border villages of this sub-division. Mr Navamarbeer Singh Sidhu, SDM, claims that 44 blankets were given to the migrants residing at the relief camp here. The administration was providing flour, pulses, vegetables, sugar, tea to the camp inmates. He said there were 190 members of 60 families in the relief camp.

Mahant Anand Giri of the Saniase Ashram, Hari Har Shiv Mandir Rohi, said there were members of SC, Christian and Rai Sikh communities from the Khem Karan area in the camp. Raj Kumar and Balkar Singh, both migrants, said 101 families, 526 members, were taking shelter here for the past seven days.


Foul play suspected in power failure
Raj Sadosh

Abohar, January 7
The Council of Engineers of the Punjab State Electricity Board smell a foul play in the major breakdown in the supply of electricity due to the collapse of seven towers on Sunday. Six localities in the urban areas besides 40 villages of Khuiyansarwer block, some of them located near the international border, were deprived of power supply for 12 hours yesterday.

According to a statement by the council today, the breakdown was reported at 6.35 a.m. on Sunday. There was a complete suspension of supply to residents of Nai Abadi, Krishna Nagri, Sri Ganganagar Road and adjoining areas in the town. As many as 40 villages connected with the 33 kv substations at Abohar and Khuiyansarwer were also affected.

It was found that seven towers of the main line (No. 16 to 22) between the Seeto bypass and Balaji Dham on the Hanumangarh Road had collapsed. High intensity wires of this line fell on another line supplying electricity to the Khuiyansarwer substation, causing another breakdown.

The council said preliminary inquiries did not rule out possibility of a “sabotage” as the 66 kv line supplying electricity to the border district of Sri Ganganagar was close to the affected transmission line. Security forces keeping vigil on the International Border also get supply from this line. Miscreants might have taken advantage of the dense fog which had reduced visibility to zero on Sunday morning, the engineers said. Nut-bolts and angles of the tower were found loosened afresh, the council claimed.

More than 50 employees, including junior engineers of the PSEB, succeeded in restoring the supply after 12 hours at 7 p.m. on Sunday. They saved other towers from falling.

Investigation was still in progress, sources said.

The 12-hour suspension of supply was followed by a one-hour blackout rehearsal for which announcement was made by the local administration as a preventive measure.


Jacob visits troops in forward areas
Our Correspondent

Somewhere in the western sector, January 7
The Punjab Governor, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob, today visited troops in the forward area of the Amritsar sector and interacted with the jawans. The morale of the troops in the forward areas was high. The jawans appreciated the cooperation extended by the local village population.

General Jacob also visited the Military Hospital where nine Army men and two civilians seriously injured by a premature mine blast were being given treatment.

The Governor discussed with the Deputy Commissioner the measures being taken for the villagers who are being evacuated from the border areas. The Deputy Commissioner briefed the governor about arrangements being made for the people migrating from the forward areas and preparations being made in several camps.

Meanwhile, following some media reports over “Army deployment locations”, the district Public Relations Department did not let any reporter accompany the Punjab Governor his visit to border areas or the Army Hospital, here.


Reservation for wards set aside
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
Holding that preferential reservation within reservation for students belonging to the minority community was impermissible in law, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today ordered the setting aside of the same.

Delivering the verdict on a petition by a candidate challenging reservation for wards of teachers working with Guru Ram Dass Institute for Medical Education and Research at Amritsar for the MBBS course, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice H.S. Bedi and Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar, also directed the respondents to grant admission to the petitioner in order of merit.

The institute, according to a notification, was permitted to make reservation upto 50 per cent of the seats for the furtherance of interest of the Sikh community. Out of this quota, the institute had reserved two seats for wards of the employees.

In a significant judgement, the Bench ruled: “Preferential reservation for the wards of teaching staff of the institution within reservation does not stand the test of any rationality and does not flow from any right available to the minority institutions. Such institutions have to act guardedly so that they do no frustrate or deny the right to equality of every member of their class in the light of Article 14 of the Constitution of India. Whatever be the extent of protection, these institutes cannot prescribe impermissible reservation and create a microcosm class of preferential reservation within the minority reservation itself.

“The result of allowing such reservation would certainly mean permitting the minority institutions to create an inequality within the equals, that is students belonging to the minority class who are otherwise equal in all respects. To grant special reservation within that class to wards of teachers would offend the basic principle of equality and obviously there is no nexus between such preferential reservation and the objective sought to be achieved”.

In their detailed order, the Judges added: “The common weal of the minority community lies in the disbursement of the benefit, or protect equality to all its members, or the best within the permissible reservation. Once preferential reservation is held to be impermissible in law, the minority institution are expected to see that such equality is not denied to its members within the 50 per cent seats”.

Order on DCs’ plea reserved

After hearing arguments for over four hours, a Division Bench of the High Court today reserved orders on petitions filed by three Deputy Commissioners against the orders of Election Commission of India directing their transfers.

The Bench, comprising Mr Justice R.L. Anand and Mr Justice Amar Dutt, also reserved orders on four other petitions filed by different officers, along with applications seeking the vacation of exparte stay ordered in the DC transfer case before the assembly elections in Punjab.

Arguing before the Bench, counsel for the Election Commission claimed that the courts would not interfere in the transfers of officers as the same was a part of their service condition and the employee had no choice in the matter. He added that adverse orders had not been passed against the DCs.

Counsel for the state of Punjab asserted that the administration was in favour of conducting fair and free polls, but “horses should not be changed in the middle of the race”. He added that the clouds of war were looming and as such officers, aware of the ground realities, should not be transferred.

Order to SSP on girl’s disappearance

The mystery shrouding the disappearance of a 15-year-old Amritsar district girl moved towards solution today with Mr Justice M.L. Singhal of the High Court directing Amritsar’s Senior Superintendent of Police to get a first information report registered in the matter.

Pronouncing the orders on a complaint by Sukhwinder Singh of Padri Kalan village claiming the abduction of his sister, Ranjit Kaur, in December last year, Mr Justice M.L. Singhal also directed the SSP to ensure that the alleged victim was restored to her brother. The SSP was also directed to submit a report by January 30.

In a complaint, Sukhwinder Singh had alleged that his sister was allured by Jagir Singh and other accused before being kept at a clinic for two days. He had added that her whereabouts were still unknown.


Punjab EC gets 200 complaints
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
Transfers and postings, promotions, fresh appointments, misuse of official machinery and bungling in the preparation of the electoral rolls are among the common complaints received by the Punjab Election Commission since the December 26 announcement of the assembly elections in the state.

The commission has received about 200 complaints so far. In most cases, the commission has sought reports from the state government.

The commission has taken a serious view of the transfers ordered in the Public Works Department and some promotions at the senior level in the Police Department, including the appointment of two Range DIGs, a spokesperson of the commission said.


Copies of daily burnt
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, January 7
Activists of the Akhil Bharatiya Nepali Ekta Samaj and the CPM led by Mr Kalu Singh and Mr Gian Singh Malikpur, respectively, today made a bonfire of copies of a Jalandhar-based vernacular daily for recently publishing a report that maligned the Nepalese community here by linking them with the Maoist Group of Nepal.

The protestors demanded action against the reporter of the story.

They threatened to step up their stir. They denied any links with the Maoist group and asserted they had come to the state for earning their livelihood.


Councillor released on bail
Our Correspondent

Mansa, January 7
Mr Harpal Singh Pali, local municipal councillor of SAD, who was in Central Jail, Bathinda, in judicial custody since October 31, last year, was released today on bail. Mr Pali was booked by the local police under various sections of the IPC.


PCS officers’ body to meet on Jan 12
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
The Punjab Civil Service (Executive Branch) Officers Association will hold its annual general meeting here on January 12 at Punjab Bhavan to reiterate some of its long-standing demands, says its general secretary, Mr Vinod Kumar Bhalla. The general house will also elect a new team of office-bearers.

Among the demands is the appointment of PCS officers as Deputy Commissioners. This practice was discontinued in the early 70s.

Another demand is that senior PCS officers should also be appointed Special Secretaries in the Civil Secretariat here.


1640 voting machines reaching today
Our Correspondent

Patiala, January 7
The Deputy Commissioner of Patiala and District Electoral Officer today called a meeting of nominees of different political parties at the Red Cross building here and informed them that 1640 voting machines, to be used for the forthcoming Assembly elections in Punjab, would reach here tomorrow and would be stored in the Central Library here. He also said the machines would be sealed in the presence of members of different political parties .

Addressing representatives of different political parties, he said 1358 polling booths had been set up and 5432 officers and government employees had been entrusted with duties of presiding officers and polling officers, respectively. The District Electoral Officer informed that nomination papers could be filed from January 16 to 23.

Regarding voter I-cards, the DC said five camera teams were working at different centres and voters who were yet to get their pictures clicked should contact their respective centres. The Senior Superintendent of Police, Patiala, Mr Paramjit Singh Grewal, assured them of complete security to candidates during the elections.


18 arrested for smuggling narcotics
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, January 7
The police claims to have arrested 18 persons involved in smuggling poppy husk and possessing illicit liquor.

Mithu Singh of Manwala was arrested for possessing 10 kg of poppy husk. A case under Sections 15, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act has been registered against him, at Rahan police station, according to an official press note.

Naresh Kumar of Poojanwala Mohalla was held for carrying six bottles of country-made foreign liquor. He is a Punjab Home Guards personnel posted in the city.

Jawala Singh, Dhara Singh and Jeet Singh of Bir Talab were arrested for possessing 150 kg of lahan. Jawala Singh is assistant Lineman in the PSEB. They have been booked under the Excise Act.

The police has also registered 13 other cases under the Excise Act and has seized 20 litres of illicit liquor, 23 litres of country-made foreign liquor and 515 kg of lahan. The culprits have been identified as Sewa Ram, Ajaib Singh, Major Singh, Bant Singh, Bikkar Singh, Roop Singh, Sepora Singh, Jangir Singh, Nazar Singh, Gurdeep Singh, Prem Kumar., Naresh Kumar and Seera Singh, residents of different villages in the district.


Held for screening film illegally
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, January 7
The police has booked Parveen Kumar of the city for showing a Hindi movie, “Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gam”, on video without having a valid licence for showing it.

Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, SSP, in a press note issued here today said Parveen Kumar, owner of an electronics goods shop in the local Parasram Nagar, claimed that he had obtained the necessary licence for screening latest Hindi movies. He charged a big amount from the viewers.

He also allegedly showed pornographic movies to children and adults on the video set. He had allegedly committed a crime of cheating innocent people and violating the Copyright Act.

He was booked under Sections 420, 292 and 294, IPC, and 51, 52, 63 and 64 of the Copyrights Act 1957 at Kotwali. A television set, a VCR and two video cassettes have been seized from his shop. A cable operator of Maur Mandi town of the district Vijay Kumar has also been arrested for allegedly showing pornographic movies and Pakistan television through his network.


Man wanted in 13 cases held
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, January 7
The police has arrested Darshan Singh who was wanted in 13 criminal cases registered against him at various police stations in Punjab and Haryana. A .315 pistol and six cartridges, have been seized from his possession.

An official press note issued here today said Darshan Singh was wanted in cases related with looting, dacoity, stealing of vehicles and murder. In May 2001 he was booked for chalking out a conspiracy to get free two inmates of the local jail.

During interrogation, Darshan Singh confessed that he had purchased the pistol to murder Charan Singh of Dadu village who allegedly lived with his wife, Paramjeet Kaur.

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