Tuesday, February 5, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SAD plans ad offensive
P. P. S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 4
While the Punjab election scenario-2002 is being described as uninspiring and unexciting, print and electronic media are being exploited by the political parties to send across their messages and manifestos to the electors.

SAD, as a peasantry-based political party, shortly plans to launch a major ad war aimed at highlighting its five-year performance and exposing the propaganda of its main rival, the Congress. Its target group is the rural and small town voter.

Meanwhile, the SAD general secretary, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, today filed a criminal complaint against the PPCC President, Capt Amarinder Singh, for “baseless and scandalous allegations” against the Badal family through ads in newspapers in the Court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Chandigarh.

Talking to TNS, Mr Badal exhibited optimism, saying that the Akalis had queered the pitch for the Congress. The SAD poll strategy, coupled with a pointed ad blitzkrieg, will unfold in three to four days. It would cover the print and electronic media.

The junior Badal disclosed that the election campaign in all constituencies would have a semblance of “sameness, with a desired thrust on relevant issues.” The main poll plank of the Akalis, he said, would be on “political equation on an equal footing” between his father, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee. The two, working in tandem, have given a new meaning to what synchronised political functioning can achieve.

Emphasis of the election campaign in the days ahead will be on how the Badal-Vajpayee relationship has benefited the farmers with their wheat and paddy taken care of and remunerative price paid for. Likewise, it was the survival of the agricultural economy, despite acute problems that beset it that eventually helped the commission agents and business community to remain afloat when economic meltdown was visible elsewhere.

Mr Badal said that rather than electors having a grouse against the Akali-BJP government, it was the other way round. “Should people not evaluate and judge us on the basis of our performance when we have placed our track record before them? Must they fall prey to falsehood of our opponents, who have no agenda? I expect people to show sagacity and maturity when casting their ballot with a clear conscience rather than being carried away by misplaced emotions. At least we have great faith in the people. They cannot just ignore the groundwork done by us.”


SAD, BJP one on SYL’
Tribune Reporters

Ferozepore, February 4
The BJP vice-president, Mr Madan Lal Khurana, today claimed that the SAD-BJP combine will win the forthcoming Assembly elections with a comfortable majority. He was in the city to address public rallies in favour of Mr Janmeja Singh Sekhon, SAD candidate from the Ferozepore cantonment seat, and Mr Sukhpal Singh Nannu, BJP candidate from Ferozepore city.

Talking to TNS, he said there were no differences between the SAD and the BJP on the SYL issue. Both the parties favoured resolution of the issue with mutual dialogue, he said. He admitted that there could be some differences between policies and programmes of the two parties, but it did not mean the coalition would break.

Lashing out at the Congress, he said the party was responsible for terrorism in the state. The BJP and the SAD had brought the Hindus and Sikhs on a common platform, he added. Talking about development work initiated and completed by the SAD-BJP combine during the past five years, he said it was more than what the Congress had done during its 40-year tenure.

PHILLAUR: Addressing an election rally in support of the SAD-BJP candidate, Mr Sarwan Singh, here today, Mr Khurana said peace, stability and all-round development of the state were some of the main achievements of the Badal government.

He described the charges made by the Congress that the Vajpayee government was saffronising education as meaningless.

The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, said a review petition was being filed in the Supreme Court regarding the SYL canal. Mr Badal said that a criminal case was being filed against the PPCC President, Captain Amarinder Singh, for his ‘‘meaningless propaganda’’ to malign the SAD on the SYL issue.


Digvijay lashes out at Badal
Tribune News Service

Sahnewal (Ludhiana), February 4
Madhaya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh today lashed out at his Punjab counterpart Parkash Singh Badal for his “dual approach”. He said that Mr Badal had no right to claim the votes as he had once burnt the copies of the Constitution of India.

Addressing a rally in support of the party candidate, Mr Milkait Singh Birmi here today, Mr Singh said Mr Badal was claiming himself to be the staunch nationalist and trying to steal credit for bringing in peace to Punjab. “It is the same Mr Badal who attended bhog ceremonies of the terrorists, but never cared to visit the victims of the terrorists”, he added.

He lashed out at the Bharatiya Janata Party also saying that the party was the “most opportunistic”, which had forsaken all claims to the moral propriety and political decency. Describing the Akali-BJP alliance as “opportunistic”, he declared that its days were numbered as the countdown had already begun.

Referring to the plight of farmers, Mr Digvijay Singh ridiculed the claims of Mr Badal of being the guardian of the farmers’ rights. He alleged that Mr Badal has safeguarded the interests of the big farmers only, while the small farmers’ plight was “most miserable”.

Making a fervent appeal to the people of the area to vote for the Congress candidate, Mr Singh said Mr Birmi was one of the best candidates, who had joined politics not to earn his livelihood but to serve the people. He pointed out that Mr Birmi has worked hard all his life and rose to this position and assured that he will continue to work for welfare of the people. He expressed confidence that the presence of a large number of people at the rally was indicative of the fact that the Congress was all set to assume power in the state.

Earlier, Mr Digvijay Singh addressed a rally at Ghumar Mandi, in support of the party candidate Mr Harnam Dass Johar, whom he described as a “senior and respected leader of the party”. He said all the Congress candidates were bound to sweep the elections in Ludhiana and Punjab.


Sonia addresses rally today
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, February 4
For the first time in the history of the district, Ms Sonia Gandhi, Leader of the Opposition in Parliament and President of the AICC, will address a public gathering tomorrow at Abohar in favour of Mr Sunil Jakhar, son of senior party leader and former Union Minister Balram Jakhar. Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee will visit Ferozepore a day later.

Political observer say that Ms Gandhi’s visit to Abohar will boost the chances of the Congress candidate by winning over the dissidents and wooing voters of the Hindu community in the city. Mr Moti Lal Vora, senior party leader, has already arrived at Abohar to bring about a patch-up with the dissidents.


Unabated influx of poppy 
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Samana, February 4
Horses and their riders in Haryana are doing their bit for political managers of certain contestants in Samana, Shutrana, Nabha and other seats in the Malwa belt. Across half a dozen villages along the Ghaggar on the boundary with Punjab, they are working their horses overtime to ensure a regular supply of poppy husk for thousands of ‘’amli’’ (addicts) voters.

A survey along the Ghaggar revealed that there is a mad rush for transporting poppy husk in Punjab during the elections keeping in view the demand from the contestants. Accordingly, all able-bodied men in the villages of Dabban Kheri, Chicherwal, Rasoli, Ratta Kheri, Marori and a few others are busy crossing the Ghaggar at night or early morning to deliver the ‘’goods’’.

Poppy husk does not reach the managers of the contestants directly. Invariably, it is stored by agents in the villages of Kharadpura, Khadadpura, Muradpura and Pattian, besides others, who transport them to the needy parties. However, some of them even directly sell poppy husk to the customers.

Recent seizures of poppy husk by the Samana police reveal the extent to which poppy husk is being smuggled into the constituency, besides Shutrana. The police has seized more than 125 kg of poppy husk in the past fortnight. However, those who know how the trade is run say it is only the tip of the iceberg. ‘’With every rider coming in with around 50 kg of poppy husk, much of it has entered the three constituencies undetected’’, said Lakha of Pattian.

‘’It is difficult for the police to take action as on many occasions poppy husk is being ‘imported’ by sympathisers of the contestants in the fray’’, he said, adding that the conditions were in favour of the smugglers. ‘’It is only during the paddy season that the smugglers face problems. Right now, they can easily take detours along the fields to avoid various nakas set up in the area’’, he added.

Political observers said most of the contestants had not taken any risk and had stocked poppy husk immediately after their nominations had been cleared. The distribution of poppy husk would be maximum during the final two days of campaigning. 


A record number of ex-MPs, MPs in arena
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, February 4
They belong to a rare brand of politics. After remaining in political oblivion for 12 years, they are staging a comeback in electoral politics. They are none other than members of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) and are among the 12-odd parliamentarians, both past and present, who are seeking election to the Punjab Assembly this time.

One of them, Mr Dhyan Singh Mand, a candidate from Ferozepore City here, while expressing his solidarity with the party leader, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, had refused to take oath as member of the Lok Sabha on the ‘‘kirpan issue.’’ Two others, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bulara and Mr Rajdev Singh, however, had taken oath as members of Parliament.

Riding a massive ‘‘sympathy wave’’, their maiden attempt in electoral politics was a tremendous success as they all won with huge margins in the 1989 elections. But afterwards , they just disappeared from the ‘‘political horizon’’.

It was only their leader, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, who continued to dabble in mainstream politics and succeeded again in entering Lok Sabha, this time in 1999, and took oath without making ‘‘kirpan’’ an issue.

‘‘No one asks us about the kirpan or Khalistan any more,’’ says Mr Dhyan Singh Mand, claiming that he and his party ‘‘never went out of reckoning.’’

‘‘Rather, we had been maintaining a low profile. If you see our achievements you will be surprised,’’ says Mr Mand, claiming that he stands a good chance of entering the Punjab Vidhan Sabha this time.

‘‘It is our work that is getting recognised. I can claim that I have been successful in settling more than 2,500 matrimonial disputes in Ferozepore alone. All these cases were settled with mutual consent and none went to the police,’’ he said.

‘‘It has been our party which openly advocated for no war with Pakistan. A war with Pakistan would have ruined our economy besides making our land a battlefield. Our party workers have been in the border districts helping the people there. We have been running langars for temporarily displaced persons.

Other ex-MPs in the fray this time include the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal (member of the Lok Sabha from Faridkot in 1977), the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief, Capt Amarinder Singh (member, Lok Sabha from Patiala in 1980), Mr Charanjit Singh Walia (member, Lok Sabha, from Patiala in 1985), besides Mr Rajdev Singh (member, Lok Sabha from Sangrur in 1989) and Ms Rajinder Kaur Bulara (member, Lok Sabha from Ludhiana in 1989). Mr Amrik Singh Aliwal, who represented Ludhiana in the Lok Sabha is now seeking election to the State Assembly from Ludhiana Rural.

One of the sitting members of the Rajya Sabha, Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, is also contesting the Assembly elections. He is the Shiromani Akali Dal candidate from Sardulgarh.

Mr Surinder Singla, who was a member of the Rajya Sabha, is now seeing election from Bathinda city assembly constituency. Mrs Satwinder Kaur Dhaliwal, who represented Ropar in the Lok Sabha, is a candidate of the Akali Dal for the Khanna assembly seat.

Mr Raj Mohinder Singh, who quit the Rajya Sabha, and was elected to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha during a byelection is again seeking re-election from the same assembly constituency.


Fighting for jailed father
A. S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Kot Kapura (Faridkot), February 4
An unusual battle of the ballot is on in this constituency lying along the south-western rim of Punjab where a daughter has taken up cudgels on behalf of her jailed father convicted and sentenced for life in a murder case.

Vibha Sharma is the Congress candidate for the Kot Kapura constituency of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha. This 26-year-old girl is an electronics engineer and has also done her MBA. At present, she is working as lecturer in a local college. Her father Upinder Sharma was a minister in Beant Singh’s Council of Ministers.

Mr Sharma is now out on a six-week parole from jail to be by the side of his daughter who is a novice in electoral politics. But he neither visits the Congress election office nor does he attend any poll rally. He is concentrating on personal visits to individuals in different parts of the constituency. “The decision to field Vibha as Congress nominee was taken after considerable debate in the family,” he said during an interview with TNS here.

Mr Sharma was elected from the Kot Kapura constituency in 1992 and included in the Beant Singh ministry as a Minister of State. But in 1997, he was denied the party ticket which went to Mr Joginder Singh, son of the late Giani Zail Singh, President of India. Mr Joginder Singh, however, lost to Mr Mantar Singh Brar, an Independent, who is again in the fray, this time as an official candidate of the ruling SAD-BJP alliance.

Mr Sharma’s father Chetan Sharma a well-known freedom fighter of the area. Chander Shekhar Azad was also from the same family.

It was during his tenure as a minister that his security guard, during one of his visits to the city, fired at a group of demonstrators and killed a local BJP worker. The minister claimed that he had no direct hand in the firing because he was present at a public rally along with two other ministers when the incident took place. The matter was inquired into by the police at that time and, according to Congress sources, it was decided to file the case.

However, the case was reopened when the SAD-BJP government assumed office in Punjab in 1997 and Mr Upinder Sharma was booked in a case of murder. After the trial, he was sentenced to life in July, last year. He has now filed an appeal in the Punjab and Haryana High Court at Chandigarh where it is pending.

If elected, she says, she will work for the welfare of the women and for raising the standard of living of the people in the area.

Although Mr Mantar Singh Brar (SAD) is her main rival, also in the field is a rebel Akali who is contesting as an Independent. He has refused to withdraw from the contest despite all attempts by Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal. Calculations in the Congress camp are that the Akali rebel will divide the Akali vote and benefit the Congress nominee.


2 Akali men hurt in clash with Cong workers
Iqbal Singh

Khanna, February 4
Two activists of SAD were today injured at Salana village near here after a clash with Congress workers over the raising of banners, flags and posters. The injured, Mr Avtar Singh and Mr Nirmal Singh, supporters of Mr Gurdev Singh Sidhu, SAD candidate from Amloh (reserved) constituency, have been admitted to Amloh Civil Hospital. Their condition is said to be stable.

Eyewitnesses told this correspondent that Mr Avtar Singh and Mr Nirmal Singh were raising the banners of SAD when they were confronted by the supporters of Mr Sadhu Singh Dharamsot. The two groups initially entered into an altercation. They later used sharp-edged weapons, resulting in injuries to Mr Avtar Singh and Mr Nirmal Singh.

Mr Dharamsot and Mr Sidhu have condemned the incident and blamed each other’s supporters for the incident. Both of them accused the other of trying to bully their supporters.

The police has registered a case and started investigation. However, no arrests have been made so far. The incident has led to tension in the village. The authorities have deployed police personnel to prevent any untoward incident.


Mystery shrouds youth’s killing at EVM store
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 4
Mystery shrouds the death of a local youth, who fell to bullets allegedly fired by a CRPF constable, part of a police party deployed to guard electronic voting machines (EVMs), when he tried to enter the premises of the Lodowali Road office of Punjab Technical University (PTU), being used to store the EVMs.

The police, the CRPF and Mr Yogesh, editor of a weekly who was with the deceased, have issued different statements. Earlier CRPF personnel had alleged that two persons in an inebriated state started abusing them when they were questioned about their presence on the office premises. What provoked them to retaliate was that the two started firing at the police party from the revolver they were carrying. This led to the death of one person, while the other surrendered and was later identified as Yogesh.

But later, in a statement to the police, CRPF constable Raghbir Singh, who had opened fire, said when he stopped the two to question, they abused him and started firing at him. He was forced to fire rounds from his SLR. Yogesh, according to SP Pawan Uppal, had stated last night that he and Pappi had gone to the place to have a drink, but Pappi picked up a quarrel with him, snatched the revolver he was carrying, and fired shots on the CRPF personnel, who had tried to stop them from quarrelling. But when he did not stop, the CRPF personnel fired upon at Pappi, leading to his death.

But today, Yogesh, reportedly stated to the police that he and Pappi got involved in a brawl, which led to the firing of a shot from the revolver which hit the later on one hand and provoked CRPF personnel to open the fire, SSP Gaurav Yadav maintained that Yogesh had been arrested and a case registered.

What has left everybody wondering is the position of the body, and the position of revolver in the hand of Pappi. It gives the impression that the revolver was planted there. Interestingly, the service revolver belonged to the gunman of Yogesh. Second, why the two went to a secluded but high security zone, particularly, at a time when they were allegedly under the influence of liquor. Yogesh, according to the SSP, has been booked under Sections 307, 452 of the IPC and Sections 25/27/54/59 of the Arms Act. Meanwhile, the post-mortem report is being awaited.


Badal ‘failed’ on SYL issue
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, February 4
Mr H.S. Hanspal, a senior Congress leader, while addressing an election rally at Sirhind town today in support of Dr Harbans Lal, MLA and Congress candidate from the Sirhind constituency, lashed out at the SAD (B) and the Panthic Morcha and said except for making money Mr Parkash Singh Badal did nothing. He said the Congress would deal with rampant corruption and shattered economy on priority basis. He said the party aimed at bringing back the state at the number one position in the country again, whereas at present it had slipped to 14th position as per the Reserve Bank of India report. He said Mr Badal had sold out the interests of farmers to Haryana as he had failed miserably to take up the SYL canal case properly in Supreme Court. He alleged Mr Badal had taken land in Gurgaon in SYL deal. He said the Congress would not allow a single drop of water to flow outside the state.

He refuted allegations of Mr Badal that the previous Congress Government had passed on empty treasury to them. He said when Akalis came to power, the total loan on the state government was Rs 8300 crore, whereas at present the state had a total loan of Rs 63,000 crore and if the income of the state from all resources was counted it did not exceed Rs 60,000 crore.

Dr Harbans Lal, MLA, highlighted the development works done by him. He said the Congress would convert Fatehgarh Sahib into a model district and all-round development works would be initiated. Ms Prem Lata, president, Mahila Congress, Vaid Hari Krishan, Mr Subhash Sood, Mr R.N. Sharma, senior Congress leaders, Mr Naresh Sharma, former president, MC, Sirhind and Mr B.B. Verma, Advocate Chairman, Legal Cell, PPCC, also addressed the rally.


SAD ‘misusing’ official machinery
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 4
Mr Gurpreet Singh Kangar, a rebel Akali leader contesting as an Independent from the Rampura Phul Assembly constituency against the sitting MLA, Mr Sikander Singh Malooka of the SAD, alleged in a complaint to the district election observer that Mr Malooka was misusing his official position and the state machinery.

Mr Kangar, alleged that all four SHOs of the constituency were openly campaigning for Mr Malooka in violation of election norms. He alleged that these police officers were harassing his supporters and implicating them in false cases.

He alleged that these irregularities had been brought to the notice of the authorities concerned but no action had been taken so far. He said police officials had been posted in the constituency for about five years and transferred with the consent of Mr Malooka.

Mr Sukhraj Singh Nat, the Congress candidate from the Joga Assembly constituency, alleged in his complaint that his opponent, SAD candidate Jagdeep Singh Nakai, who is the Chairman of Markfed, was misusing his official position and the official machinery during his campaign.

Mr Nat, in his complaint filed with district election officers of Bathinda and Mansa and many other senior officers of the state Election Commission, alleged that employees of Markfed, police officials, employees of the state electricity board and the Cooperative Department were campaigning for Mr Nakai. He alleged that to influence officials of various departments, they were being offered incentives like out-of-turn promotions. Mr Nat alleged that while the SHO concerned was harassing his supporters, a woman officer was visiting various villages to campaign for his rival candidate in gross violation of the norms.

He alleged that officials of the state electricity board had been provided new power connections and power meters were being replaced free of cost in villages like Gharala. Some bank employees and supporters of the SAD candidate were trying to persuade pensioners to vote for the ruling alliance, he alleged.

Mr R. Venkatratnam, Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Election Officer, when contacted, said an inquiry into the allegations of misuse of official machinery had been ordered and its report would be available by tomorrow evening, following which suitable action would be taken.

Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, SSP, could not be contacted despite repeated efforts.


Paswan banks on own work
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 4
The Union Minister for Coal and Mines, Mr Ram Vilas Paswan, appeared to be a lonely man here in Ludhiana. He was here to address the public rally organised in support of the Lok Jan Shakti candidate, Mr Kartar Singh Patna, who is contesting from Ludhiana Rural Assembly segment.

While his party is a constituent of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre, here he had to do tightrope walking. Seeking votes for his candidate, he was at a loss to say why people to should vote for his man as he could not criticise the Akali-BJP alliance due to NDA compulsions.

Mr Paswan had to bank on his own contribution towards development of Dalits and downtrodden as minister for Railways, Communications and Coal and Mines at different times. He claimed that as Railway Minister, he had regularised the services of about 60,000 casual labourers and done a lot for spreading the railway network in the country. Now, he stated, he was doing the same as minister for coal and mines.

In an oblique reference to the Bahujan Samaj Party, he said, the party was exploiting the Dalits in the name of caste and was even selling party tickets to the candidates. He warned against the divisive policies of the candidates, as he pointed out, that party was asking for votes in the name of caste only and abusing the upper castes.

He alleged that the same party was misusing the name of Baba Sahib Bhim Rao Ambedkar for petty political gains. Mr Paswan claimed, his party stood for employment to all, education for all and equal status for women in society.

On why he had fielded his candidates here, when his party was already a constituent of the NDA at the Centre, he said his local unit wanted to contest the elections of its own in the state. He reaffirmed his faith in the NDA.

Mr Paswan also made an appeal to the migrant voters to vote for his party. The gathering mostly consisted of the migrant labourers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The rally was addressed by the national secretary of the party, Mrs Meera Chakraborty, and the state president, Mr Avtar Singh Mehmi.


Paswan for more power to Dalits
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 4
Mr Ram Vilas Paswan, national president of the Lok Jan Shakti Party and Union Minister for Coal and Mines, today said his party was keen to change the existing social set-up and hand over the power to the poor as it was a party of the downtrodden and Dalits.

He was addressing rally, organised in support of Mr Ved Parkash, alias Kuku Gill the Lok Jan Shakti Partys candidate from the Sangrur Assembly constituency at Dhebar Nagar here today.

He said if his party got an opportunity to form the government, it would provide employment to all jobless, besides free education and food to the students.

Mr Paswan also criticised the BSP for doing “nothing” for the Dalits.

He also emphasised on the need for educating girls. 


BKU (Rajewal) to back Cong candidates
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 4
The Bharti Kisan Union (BKU-Rajewal group) today decided to support the Congress in the coming Punjab Assembly elections on the condition that a high-powered committee would be set up to give a breather to the farmers of the State.

Addressing a hurriedly convened joint Press conference, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Commitee chief, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the President of the BKU (Rajewal group), Mr Bhupinder Singh Mann, former member of Parliament, said that after the Congress came to power, urgent steps would be initiated to give a breather to the farmers. To solve this problem on a long-term basis, a high-powered committee would be constituted with representatives of the BKU and well-known agricultural economists study and propose remedial measures to avoid debt traps in future.

The PPCC chief said that the Johl Committee report could work as foundation for the high-powered committee. The agro-economy was in shambles and immediate steps were necessary to revive the economy of the state by rejuvenating the farm sector. He admitted that diversification was a long drawn process as the central procurement and MSP were not only social obligations of the State but were also a necessity.

Mr Mann maintained that farming was totally unremunerative as corruption, adulteration and selling of produce at much lower price than the actual cost of production were its banes.

Mr Mann said that the BKU was “apolitical” but had been lending support to one party or the other in the interests of the farming community. In the last elections, he said, the BKU supported the SAD but after coming to power, the government did not even cal BKU representatives even once what to talk of solving problems of the farmers of the State.

Mr Mann maintained that the BKU workers would be activated from tomorrow and they would campaign for the Congress candidates in the State.

Both Mr Mann and Mr Balbir Singh Rajewal maintained that Mr Sharad Joshi, a national leader of the BKU, had done a professional job in submitting his report on agriculture to the Union Government after heading a special Task Force.

The BKU, they said, supported the WTO as the market forces were going to prevail. The other view on the WTO, they said could be presented before the high-powered committee.


'SP canvasses for Amarinder'
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 4
The Punjab Kashyap Rajput Sabha today condemned Superintendent of Police Gurnam Singh Mehra for canvassing for votes in favour of Pradesh Congress president Amarinder Singh. He appealed to the community to vote by its conscience.

In a press note here, sabha vice-president Raghbir Singh Anandpuri said the SP had held a function on January 26 in favour of the Congress candidate which was presided over by Patiala MP Preneet Kaur. At the function, the SP used the office of a newly created Mehra Baradari Social Sangathan to build his own image.

The release added what was even more shocking was that posters were distributed at the function with photographs of the SP in police uniform with the legend “Garibon ka Maseeha” at the top and the name of the SP and the sangathan at the bottom.


Mohindra: ask DCC to cooperate
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 4
A senior Congress leader and former minister, Mr Brahm Mohindra, who has been at loggerheads with PPCC President Capt Amarinder Singh and had to shift to Samana to leave his traditional Patiala seat for the latter, today complained to him that the District Congress Committee was not helping him in the elections.

Mr Mohindra reportedly complained to the PPCC chief while travelling with him from the new Moti Bagh Palace of Capt Amarinder Singh to the local airport. According to sources, Mr Brahm Mohindra requested him to ask DCC urban and rural units office-bearers to take part in his election campaign.

The sources said Capt Amarinder Singh reportedly assured Mr Mohindra that both units would take part in his campaign. 


Sushma, Dhindsa flay Balian
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 4
Top leaders of the BJP and the SAD, including Ms Sushma Swaraj and Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, today condemned Mr Ranjit Singh Balian, a former Punjab Minister, for criticising the SAD-BJP government at rallies.

Mr Balian, who had recently resigned from the SAD after denial of the party ticket from Sangrur is now contesting as an Independent.

Ms Swaraj said Mr Balian who could not remain loyal to Mr Dhindsa, how would he remain loyal to the public? She urged the people to cast, their votes in favour of the SAD candidate, Mr Mokha.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, while highlighting the achievements of the Badal government urged the gathering not to vote in favour of Mr Balian or the Panthic Morcha as they were in the poll fray to help the Congress.

Mansa: Punjab enjoys a special status in the country and this is reflected in the priority list of developmental works carried out by the SAD-BJP government in the state with the support of the NDA Union Information and Broadcasting Minister, Sushma Swaraj said here today.

She was in the city to address a rally in favour of the SAD-BJP candidate, Mr Sukhwinder Singh Aulakh. Although late by five hours, she struck a responsive chord with the crowd by addressing them in chaste Punjabi.


Cong infighting will help SAD, BJP: Sushma
Our Correspondent

Ambala, February 4
The Union Information and Broadcasting Minister, Mrs Sushma Swaraj, said that the Akali-BJP alliance would get political benefit due to infighting in the Congress in Punjab. She said the senior leaders of Punjab Congress were not unanimous over the issue of selecting a chief ministerial candidate. There were sharp differences between Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and Capt Amarinder Singh on this issue, she added.

Before leaving for Punjab to address several rallies at Sangrur, Mansa, Budhlada and Sardoolgarh, talking to mediapersons here today she said that she had addressed some rallies at Ludhiana and other constituencies in Punjab. Seeing the public response she was of the view that the present government would again win.

She said that the candidates of the National Congress Party led by Mr Sharad Pawar had been contesting at several places but they would play an important role to defeat the Congress candidates instead of getting any seat for the party.

Replying to a question she said that she would also campaign in Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Uttaranchal for the BJP and its alliance candidates. When asked why she had not been campaigning in Yamunanagar which was a prestigious seat for the Haryana unit of the BJP, she said many senior leaders of the BJP had been camping there and campaigning for the BJP candidate. She said that she was asked to campaign in UP, Uttaranchal and Punjab by the party high command where the BJP has been contesting a number of seats. When asked whether the BJP had been performing a similar friendly match in UP, too, like Yamunanagar with the INLD, she refused to comment.


Dhumal: Cong party of aristocrats
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, February 4
In Punjab and Himachal, the Congress is or has been headed by aristocrats who were never in favour of democracy in the country. So, the party can never think about the common people of the country, said the Chief Minister of Himachal, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, while addressing an election rally at Bhanoopli near Nangal today.

He further alleged that the Congress had been adopting the policy of divide and rule for attaining power.

Mr Dhumal was campaigning for the BJP candidate, Mr Madan Mohan Mittal. He addressed rallies at Agampur, Bhanoopli, Jawahar market and Naya Nangal areas of the constituency.

He claimed that the SAD/BJP government had fulfilled all promises made in the manifesto during the last elections and the people should vote for the alliance. 


Sohi garners support in villages
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, February 4
After completing the first phase of her election campaign, Ms Sheelam Sohi, a Congress candidate from Banur Assembly constituency, today started the second phase of campaigning with the assistance of Mr Chander Mohan, a sitting MLA from Kalka, an adjoining Assembly constituency of Haryana.

While addressing a gathering Mr Chander Mohan criticised the SAD for its anti-public policies and said the Congress had always fulfilled the promises made to the people.

He said the Congress would form government in Punjab and Ms Sohi would be the next Finance Minister of the state. He was also weighed against coins in three villages.

Ms Sohi, claimed that she was getting maximum support from villagers and during the first phase over 1,000 Akali workers, including Mr Sukhdev Singh Amlala, a former circle jathedar, Mr Jaspal Singh, a former Sarpanch of Zirakpur and Mr Kuljit Singh Randhawa, a former president of Dera Bassi Truck Union had joined the Congress.

She said intervening of Capt Kanwaljit Singh in petty disputes among villagers and fabrication of false cases against panches and sarpanches had spoiled his image at grass root level.

She visited Dappar, Lahli, Jalapur, Bassi, Magara and some other villages.


CPM to support Independent nominee
Our Correspondent

Kharar, February 4
The CPM (Pasla group) has decided to support independent candidate from Kharar, Mr Harnaik Singh Ghruan. This decision was taken by the party here yesterday to ensure the defeat of SAD-BJP candidate in the constituency.

According to a press note issued here today, the CPM, while opposing anti-people policies of the SAD-BJP government, would also expose the harmful economic policies of the NDA government.




CHANDIGARH: Mr Harmohinder Singh, sitting Congress MLA from Raikot, on Monday clarified that Mr Ranjit Singh Talwandi, son of Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, has never won from the Raikot constituency. In the 1997 elections, Mr Harmohinder Singh said , he defeated Mr Ranjit Singh Talwandi by a huge margin. He claimed that this time too the wave was in his favour. TNS


FATEHGARH SAHIB: Mr G.P.Upadhaya, IAS, who has been appointed fourth observer by the Election Commission for the Amloh and Sirhind Assembly constituencies of the district on Monday held meeting of returning officers. Talking to The Tribune, he expressed satisfaction over the arrangements made for free and peaceful elections. OC


GURDASPUR: The BJP general secretary, Mr Sangpriya Gautam, said here on Monday that the Punjab Government did not have a clean image in spite of all-round development by the SAD-BJP alliance in the state. He said that octroi should have been abolished only after making adequate arrangements for finance to continue with the development work in urban areas. Power, free of cost, and other sops to the consumers had created a resource crunch for the government, he said. OC


TARN TARAN: The PPCC president, Capt Amarinder Singh, has welcomed the statement made by Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal to lodge a criminal complaint against him regarding the allegation he had made against the Badal family for taking monetary gain in lieu of the SYL canal by the Haryana Government headed then by Devi Lal. Addressing mediapersons at Dera Kar Sewa Sarhali, Capt Amarinder Singh said that he would disclose some more information on this issue in the court. OC


BATHINDA: The president of the Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal, Mr Madan Lal Kapoor, has urged traders in the state to vote out the‘‘ corrupt and anti-trader SAD-BJP government’’. In a press note issued here on Monday, he described the abolition of octroi as an eyewash which was aimed at enticing the trading community of the state. TNS


Bahujan Samaj Party chief Kanshi Ram NAWANSHAHR: The BSP supremo, Mr Kanshi Ram, on Monday addressed rallies in favour of BSP candidates Mohan Lal (Banga), Ramkishan (Nawanshahr) and Hargopal Singh (Balachaur) in the district. Addressing the rallies, Mr Kanshi Ram said he had succeeded in bringing people belonging to various castes in the BSP fold. OC

Bahujan Samaj Party chief Kanshi Ram with party candidate from Nawanshahr Ram Krishan and other leaders at a rally on Monday.


AMRITSAR: Expressing concern that the expenditure incurred by candidates was not being monitored, Union Law Minister Arun Jaitley said the law in this regard should be implemented strictly so as to curb attempts to procure money by unfair means and to curtail wasteful expenditure. The minister was here to garner support for BJP candidate Om Parkash Kalia from the Amritsar (West) constituency. OC


SAMANA: Mr Surjit Singh Rakhra, the SAD-BJP candidate and Mr Brahm Mohindra, the Congress candidate along with their supporters went shop to shop canvassing for themselves in the Mandi area. While Mr Rakhra, was weighed against coins at seven places, Mr Mohindra was weighed against coins at five places in Samana, from where they are contesting. The sitting MLA, Mr Jagtar Singh Rajla, candidate of the Panthak Morcha and Harjinder Pal Singh Herryamann rival candidate of the Congress were also weighed against coins at two places. OC


BATHINDA: Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, the SAD candidate from here on the second day of his campaigning in the city visited colonies like the Parasram Nagar, Arya Samaj Chowk, Bhagat Singh Market, Bir Colony, Model Town, Beant Nagar, Gopal Nagar and many more. He held the Congress responsible for various scams and other problems in the state. OC


Case against former Jathedar adjourned
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 4
The Additional Sessions Judge, Mr Karnail Singh, today adjourned the hearing on a bail application moved by former Jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib in a criminal case registered against him, his son Baljinder Singh and kin Joginder Kaur in connection with the alleged dowry death of his daughter-in-law Sharnjit Kaur to February 7.

The police authorities have so far failed to arrest all three accused despite the non-bailable warrants issued against them by the court of Judicial Magistrate, Talwandi Sabo, where they have been facing trials. The Additional Sessions Judge neither granted anticipatory bail nor stayed their arrest today while hearing the bail application.

Giani Kewal Singh had to resign from the post of the Jathedar on January 10 due to intense pressure after the registration of a case against him. Giani Kewal Singh was booked in a criminal case along with Baljinder Singh and Joginder Kaur under Sections 304-B and 34 in connection with death of his daughter-in-law on the direction of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, when the brother of the deceased, Mr Amarjit Singh, approached it after he failed to get justice from the police authorities regarding the death of his sister under the mysterious circumstances.


Ex-servicemen, Bir Devinder share platform
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, February 4
The SAS Nagar unit of ex-servicemen league today announced its support to the Congress candidate from the Kharar seat, Mr Bir Devinder Singh.

Blaming successive regimes for ignoring the genuine demands of ex-servicemen, especially the personnel below the Officer Rank (PBOR), Brig H.S. Ghuman (retd) said the employment for the ex-servicemen was a big problem. He said a 10-member committee of the league were given the task to analyse the past performances of political parties in solving the issues related to the ex-servicemen.

The ex-servicemen league, a non-political outfit of the Rashtriya Raksha Dal (RRD), is guiding the ex-servicemen to exercise their franchise more judiciously. The main issues of the ex-servicemen are to fill the ex-servicemen reservation quota of 13 per cent in all departments of the Punjab Government, one rank one pension, employment up to 58 years of service, voting right of soldiers at the place of posting and general control over the government functioning.

Sharing a platform with the ex-servicemen, Mr Bir Devinder Singh said after holding a detailed discussion he would take up the issues of the ex-servicemen in the first Assembly session. He said he was actively involved in incorporating the issues related to ex-servicemen in the Congress manifesto. The Congress candidate opened election offices at Saneta village after conducting a tour of Gigga Majra, Mote Majra, Khanpur, Saura and Nagari villages. He claimed the support of a social worker, Dr Jasmer Singh, the Milkman union of Ropar, Punwire Marts Employees Union, Punjab Laundry Press Men Association and a former Chairman of the Ropar Backward Cell.

Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, a senior leader of the Panthic Morcha, has said that the Election Commission should be given more “teeth” to check the blatant violation of the election code of conduct during campaigning. The Election Commission should have direct powers to initiate punitive action against the violators of the code of conduct. He said though the commission was taking prompt action against the irregularities brought to its notice, the ruling Akali regime was dilly-dallying the implementation of the orders of the commission.

He said a delegation of the leaders of the panthic morcha would soon meet the officials of the Election Commission regarding the pending complaint of alleged diverting of SGPC’s funds for funding a campaign in favour of the SAD through a private TV channel.

The leader of the Panthic Morcha said the reforms in the election process should be effectively implemented with the active participation of the political parties. The people should also be made aware of the reforms. Seeking a check on the blatant use of liquor and drugs during the elections, he said the Non-government Organisation (NGOs) were doing a good job in eradicating the evils of drugs from the society. He claimed that the truck between the Panthic Morcha and the BSP would secure at least 70 seats. But added that Chief Ministerial candidate of the Panthic Morcha would be elected by the winning MLAs of the morcha.

At a separate meeting, the convener of the Panthic Morcha, Mr Sarabjot Singh Bedi, said it was a decisive election for Punjab. The voters should exercise their franchise to vote out the ruling Akail regime. He said the wrong policies of the ruling regimes in the past had forced the panthic morcha to step in to the political scenario. The party candidate, Mr Rajbir Singh Padiala, was weighed against coins by the local leaders of the morcha. A former Jathedar of the Akal Takht, Mr Ranjit Singh, also addressed a rally in Phase 7 here in support of the Panthic Morcha candidate from the Kharar assembly seat, Mr Rajbir Singh Padiala.

The SAD candidate, Mr Kiran Bir Kang, today addressed rallies at Gidarpur, Sawra, Saidpur, Landhran, Kalon, Chapadchidi Kalan, Santemajra and Chajumajra villages. He said voting the SAD to power would ensure development. Mr Kang was weighed against coins and ladoos by residents of Sante majra and Chaju majra villages.

A group of officers of merchant navy and ex-servicemen led by Mrs K.S. Toor, Mr Sital Singh, Mr Daleep Singh, Mr Sarwan Singh and Mrs Sidhu announced their support for the SAD candidate. The wife of Mr Kang, Mrs Navneet Kaur, today conducted a door-to-door campaign.

The general secretary of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Mr Tariq Anwar, today addressed a rally in support of the party candidate from Kharar seat, Mr Bhupinder Singh here. Mr Bhupinder Singh assured that if voted to power, he work to revive the sick units in the town.


Four injured in different incidents
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, February 4
Four persons were injured in different incidents in the district.

Gurdev Singh, a resident of the city, received injuries when his scooter skidded near the local Rajindra College last night. One of his eyes was injured.

The driver and the helper of a truck were injured when their vehicle hit a stationary truck this morning on the Bathinda-Dabwali road on the outskirts of the city. The helper, Vinod Kumar, received injuries on his legs.

A scooterist, who could not be identified immediately, received serious injuries when he fell from his vehicle on the Barnala road this morning.


Sale of liquor banned
Our Correspondent

Ropar, February 4
To maintain law and order situation and ensure peaceful polling during Assembly elections in the district, District Magistrate Gurinder Singh Grewal by an order under Section 54 of the Punjab Excise Act, 1914 ,has banned the sale of liquor from February 11 to 13 and on February 24 during the counting of votes.

The sale of liquor and its use in restaurants, ahatas, clubs and hotels have been prohibited. Storage of liquor without licence has also been banned.


Lions Club to support Independent
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, February 4
Members of the local Lions Club (Classic) in a resolution passed on January 27 decided to support the Independent candidate, Mr Gurdeep Singh.

In a press note issued here today, Dr Ashok Gupta, Director of the club, said Mr Gurdeep Singh, who belonged to the newly formed association General Samaj Party, would be given support by them as he was in favour of a casteless society.

He said the main aim of Mr Gurdeep Singh was to end the system of caste-based reservation. He said even those officials who were posted on senior posts were enjoying the benefits of reservation.


Complaint lodged by Independent
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, February 4
Supporters of an Independent candidate, Mr Dharam Singh, have lodged a complaint with the police that the workers of the SAD candidate allegedly forced their way into the Phase XI office of Mr Saini and tried to paste their posters on the walls of the office.


Sensitive poll booth list being revised
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Khadoor Sahib, February 4
More than 50 per cent of the polling stations of this rural constituency are still “sensitive” even as electioneering has reached feverish pitch after normalcy has returned to the state. The native villages of Mr Nawaz Sharif — the ousted Prime Minister of Pakistan — and Mr Krishan Kant — Vice-President of India — fall in this constituency. Also many villages of the “mand area” which was considered as a haven for militants fall in this constituency.

As per official records, 89 out of 133 polling stations of Khadoor Sahib are sensitive. However, Mr Baldev Singh, SDM, said that the list was being reviewed by the administration as normalcy had returned to the constituency much earlier. He said as per his information not more than 12 polling stations were sensitive which included Warring and Mianpur — the villages of Congress rebel Mr Harinder Singh and Mr Manjit Singh, a candidate of the ruling Akali Dal, respectively. He said the criterion for declaring the villages sensitive was not militancy but party factionalism.

Khadoor Sahib is one of the few constituencies where the real contest is between the ruling party candidate, Mr Manjit Singh, and Mr Ranjit Singh Jhajjalwadi, a sitting MLA who is contesting the election as a candidate of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal. A Congress rebel, Mr Harinder Singh Bhangu, who had polled more than 11,000 votes as an independent candidate during the previous election, has been giving sleepless nights to the Congress candidate, Mr Sukhdev Singh Shahbazpuri, who is an outsider for this constituency.

It may be mentioned here that the boycott of the Assembly elections in February, 1992, had evoked a massive response as militants ruled the roost for more than a decade here. However, the entire constituency is humming with poll activities these days.

The names of other sensitive polling stations are Nagoke, Mallah, Kang, Chakk Karen Khan, Khojkipur, Gaggrewal, Delanwala etc. The villages which fall in the “mand area” include Mundha, Munda Dhahya, Bhail, Johal, Jalanbad and Dhunda.

Nagoke village, which was famous as a village of freedom fighters and ‘gadri babas’ had also became a hotbed of terrorists as many militants belonging to the Babbar Khalsa and other outfits belonged to this village.

The district administration has provided foolproof security to village Kot Maihamad Khan from where Mr Krishan Kant, Vice-President of the country, hails.

As a sign of the return of normalcy, former militants who had surrendered before the security forces have been taking active part in the elections.

The list of sensitive polling stations in other assembly constituencies in the border belt is also being revised.


Four MC men suspended on charge of negligence
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, February 4
The Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Election Officer has directed the Deputy Director, Local Self-Government, Ferozepore, to place under suspension one junior assistant and three clerks of the Municipal Council, Fazilka, for allegedly deleting votes in the Fazilka Assembly segment.

According to official sources, these officials did not tally the voter list properly before its publication and thousands of names were omitted. These officials are Mr Ganga Parasad (junior assistant, Mr Sanjeev Khurana, Mr Rajinder Kumar and Mr Sanjeev Kumar Mangla, (all clerk).

The representatives of both the leading rival party candidates, Mr Surjeet Kumar Jyani of the BJP and Mr Mohinder Kumar Rinwa of the Congress had complained to the Election Commission about the deletion of names from the voter list without any proper scrutiny. Mr Jyani, Forest Minister and MLA Fazilka has alleged that the names of his wife Ms Nirmal Jyani, his brother Mr Narinder Kumar and his wife Ms Urmila Jyani and his political secretary Mr Madan Mohan Bhambu, have been struck-off even as they were earlier enlisted in the voter list.

On the other hand, the Congress candidate, Mr Mohinder Kumar Rinwa, has complained to the Election Commissioner of India twice that the names of more than 4,600 Congress workers have been struck-off without assigning any reason. Dr Rinwa said the name of Ms Gurbakshish Kaur, wife of Mr Paramjit Singh Pammi, all incharge of elections, five members of his supporter Mr Joginder Singh Sachdeva and other Congress workers have been deleted.


Ropar segment to have RAF, CISF companies
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, February 4
To maintain law and order in the five Assembly segments of Ropar district, at least two companies of the Rapid Action Force and a company of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) are being deployed. The companies are expected to arrive at Ropar by tomorrow.

Some companies of the Central Reserve Paramilitary Force (CRPF) are being deployed for maintaining law and order at the super sensitive polling stations and sensitive polling stations. According to the information available, the company of the CISF would be deployed at the Government Printing Press in Phase 6, the counting station at Shivalik Public School in Phase 6 and in Naya Gaon.

The District Electoral Officer has identified at least 80 supersensitive polling stations in the five assembly segments — Morinda, Kharar, Chamkaur Sahib, Anandpur Sahib and Nangal — in the Ropar segment. The number of sensitive booths in the district were 117.

The number of non-sensitive polling stations in the district are 340. According to the information, the maximum number of supersensitive polling stations, 21 were in Morinda Assembly segment. The supersensitive polling stations in Kharar, Chamkaur Sahib, Anandpur Sahib and Nangal were 12, 19, 18 and 10, respectively.

In the Kharar Assembly segment, the number of polling stations were 121. The total number of polling booths were 203. 


Security plan drawn
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 4
The Sangrur and Barnala police districts have drawn a comprehensive security plan for holding elections in 10 Assembly constituencies of this district. There are 1,458 polling booths in the district of which 466 have been identified as sensitive. Nearly 5,200 police personnel, including officers, constables and SPOs, besides seven companies of the para-military forces will be deployed in the district on the polling day. 


Supervisors trained

Dr T.L. Sagar and Prof Sohan Lal, master trainers sent by the Election Commission, gave detailed information about the use of EVMs to the supervisors, at a meeting held here on Monday. Each supervisor has been allotted 10 polling stations for taking care of the poll parties. The meeting was held by Mr Amarjit Paul, returning officer. OC


Rs 2 lakh stolen
Our Correspondent

Kharar, February 4
A sum of Rs 2 lakh, was stolen from a bag of Mr Bant Singh of Lakhnaur village today.

According to information he lodged a complaint with the local police. He had recently sold his land and today he came to Kharar to deposit this amount in a bank. The cashier of the bank refused to deposit this amount and informed him that their were some old notes in the packets which were not in circulation now. He was told to refund these to the person who had given him this amount.

Mr Bant Singh took this amount and boarded the bus for his village. Meanwhile, this amount was stolen from his bag. The police registered a case under Section 379 of the IPC and started investigation.


Maharaja Youth Fest enters fourth day
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 4
The National Maharaja Youth Festival — 2002 entered its fourth day with the holding of competitions in Western vocal, group song (Western), classical dance, folk dances, elocution, quiz, poster-making and clay-modelling at Guru Nanak Dev University here today.

Mr Harbhajan Singh Halwarvi, Editor, Punjabi Tribune, while inaugurating the programme said talents of the youth remained dormant if there were no participative avenues. “These opportunities enlarge horizons, create a new sense of belonging among people of various shades, languages and cultures”, he added.

The Vice-Chancellor, Dr S.P. Singh, presented a memento to Mr Halwarvi and a ‘phulkari’ to Ms Halwarvi.


Old students’ body seeks govt’s co-operation
Our Correspondent

Patiala, February 4
The GOMCO Patiala Alumini Association today appealed to all political parties to remove hindrances in the setting up of an Advanced Emergency and Trauma block in Rajindra Hospital by the old students of the college.

The spokesperson of the association, Dr Brajesh Modi, stated that moved by the pathetic condition of emergency services and gross shortage of vital equipment and diagnostic facilities at Rajindra Hospital here, doctors educated here and settled abroad had offered to take up the project of an Advanced Emergency and Trauma block to be established at an estimated cost of Rs 6 crore.

He lamented the fact that hinderances were being created in the path of voluntary efforts to upgrade the hospital and said every effort to draw the attention of the Minister of Medical Education and Research in this regard had been met with apathy and utter disregard for public interest projects.

Dr H.S. Wealthy, another spokesperson for the association, said under the project the GOMCO alumini wanted to build a superstructure at the cost of Rs 2 crore, bring in modern equipment costing another Rs 2 crore and put Rs 2 crore in a corpus so that the facility can be run efficiently, using the interest generated by the fund. The proposal requires earmarking about 2,500 square yards of available land in the hospital, allow the association to build the facility and install the equipment.

Dr Modi said after this the facility would be handed over to the government. He said the alumini felt that in the face of financial crunch being faced by the hospital it was now their turn to put in their bit for their ‘alma mater’. However, it was unfortunate that the offer of revamping the emergency facilities here without placing any financial burden on the government had been caught in politico-bureaucratic wrangles.

He informed that Dr Harish Sood from New York, chairperson of the committee for the project, had mobilised doctors settled abroad to donate liberally for the project. The issue of the project will be taken up again at the 2002 meet of GOMCO alumini to be held at New York from July 12-14.

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