Saturday, March 2, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Suresh Kumar appointed Director of Industries
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 1
Following the bandh call for today, the Punjab Government sent a message to all deputy commissioners under transfer not to relinquish charge till 3 p.m. tomorrow. There were reports of some disturbances in Patiala and Jalandhar. Depending on the situation, a fresh message will be sent accordingly, say sources.

Meanwhile, Mr Suresh Kumar has been appointed Director, Industries and Commerce, and in addition Managing Director, Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation. The slot of Registrar, Cooperative Societies, that he has vacated will be filled by Mr A. R. Talwar, who is at present Managing Director, Punjab Agro-Industries Corporation.

This change has necessitated the shifting of Mr Rakesh Singh from the post of Director, Industries, and MD, PSIDC, to that of Secretary, Expenditure, replacing Mrs Vini Mahajan, who goes as Managing Director, Agro-Industries.

Several deputy commissioners under transfer today made it to the Secretariat seeking either “good” posts or continuing at their present places. The common refrain one heard in the corridors was that the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, was a ‘’man in a hurry’’. He is keen to put the bureaucracy at the decision-making level as well as the cutting edge of the administration in position by the time the Council of Ministers is constituted by Tuesday. Most of the secretaries assumed their new charge today.

It is clear, as of now, that the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) will not be ‘’cluttered’’. The new political outfit, it is learnt, favours ‘’decentralisation’’ leaving the implementation of the policies to the bureaucracy and later holding it accountable. The primary function of the CMO is not to be confined to mere file-pushing but to evolving policies and monitoring their execution.

Some scepticism was also noticed in bureaucratic circles over the new positioning, particularly in the districts, many wondering if the new Ministers and MLAs would ‘’click’’ with the young IAS officers who have a clean track record with many not having done a stint as deputy commissioner. Therefore, changes were not being ruled out after a time at different levels of the bureaucracy. In fact, the ‘’correct’’ signal seems to have been already sent down the line that Capt Amarinder Singh means ‘’business’’ from the word go.

Dr D.P.S. Sandhu today joined as Director, Health and Family Welfare, in place of Dr G. S. Preet, who has retired.

Meanwhile, a farewell party was given by the police staff to Mr M.P.S. Aulakh, who has been transferred, and Mr S.S. Bhullar, who has retired.

Earlier, in a major administrative shake-up in Punjab, 32 secretary-level transfers were effected and at least 10 Deputy Commissioners shifted yesterday.

The following are the secretary-level changes:
Mr N.S. Rattan is Principal Secretary, Higher Education and Languages, Dr Brajendra Singh is Principal Secretary, Labour and Employment, Mr P.K. Verma is Financial Commissioner (Development), Mr K K Bhatnagar is Principal Secretary, Medical Education and Research, Mr A.K. Dubey is Principal Secretary, PWD (B and R) and Mr B.R. Bajaj is Principal Secretary, Food and Civil Supplies.

Mr K.R. Lakhanpal is Principal Secretary, Finance, Mr J.S. Kesar is Principal Secretary, Coordination, Mr P. Ram is Financial Commissioner, Rural Development and Panchayats, Dr B.C. Gupta is Secretary, Cooperation, Mr Mukul Joshi is Secretary, Industries and Commerce and Mr R.P.S Pawar is Secretary, Information Systems and Administrative Reforms.

Mr S.S. Brar is Member-Secretary, Punjab State Women’s Commission, Mr D.S. Bains is Commissioner, NRIs and Industrial Liaison, Mrs Geetika Kalha is Secretary, Cultural Affairs, Archives and Archealogy, Mr Rakesh Singh is Director Industries and Commerce in addition Managing Director PSIDC, Mr G.S. Sandhu is Secretary, Agriculture.

Mr C.S. Srivastava is Commissioner, Patiala Division, Mr D.S. Guru is Commissioner for persons with disabilities, Mr Sarvesh Kaushal is Secretary, Local Government, Mr S.S. Channi is Managing Director, Markfed, Mr K B S Sidhu is Secretary, Defence Services Welfare, Mr Dharm Vir is Commissioner Ferozepore and Faridkot Divisions, Mr Arun Goel is Secretary, Sports and Youth Services, Mr D.P. Reddy is Chief Administrator, PUDA, Mr T.R. Sarangal is Secretary, Jails and Judicial, Mr Vishwajit Khanna is Managing Director Warehousing Corporation, Mr S.S. Gill is State Transport Commissioner, Mr B.S. Sudan is Director State Transport, Mr Alok Sekhar is Secretary, PSEB, Patiala, Mr Krishan Kumar is Additional Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Patiala, and Mr Rakesh Ahir is Deputy Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister.

The following are the new Deputy Commissioners:
Ludhiana—Mr Anurag Aggarwal, Roopnagar—Mrs Seema Jain, Gurdaspur—Mr K A P Sinha, Hoshiarpur—Mr Kirandeep Singh Bhullar, Nawanshehr—Mr Ashok Kumar Gupta, Bathinda—Mr Anurag Verma, Kapurthala—Mr Rakesh Kumar Verma, Moga—Mr Ramesh Kumar Ganta, Muktsar—Mr D K Tewari, Patiala—Mr Tejveer Singh.

Several officers who have been shifted are still to get their new posting orders. These would be issued in due course of time, say the government orders, signed by the Chief Secretary, Mr Y S Ratra.


Will SAD be any wiser now?
A. S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 1
What went wrong? This is the question being asked by Akali leaders as they look for reasons for the party’s debacle in the elections to the Punjab Assembly.

A combination of factors, some of them manmade like a rather lacklustre administration provided by the SAD-BJP coalition government and rampant corruption which became a hot poll issue, and others of a divine nature like the hip injury suffered by the SAD leader, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, seemed to have all contributed to its fall from grace.

The SAD-BJP alliance rode to power five years ago on the crest of a popular wave. It then enjoyed a vast fund of goodwill among the masses. Although the Badal government became the first Akali government to complete its full five-year term in office, it somehow failed to cash in on the goodwill fully in its favour. It also claimed a number of firsts to its credit. But its overall performance in office left much to be desired. The government’s emphasis remained focused on giving more and more doles to different sections of society, particularly the farmers, rather than on solid development activities. Although the government was able to attract certain big projects like the oil refinery at Bathinda and complete the Thein Dam across the Ravi, it was unable to provide the requisite funds for a major developmental thrust to the state. Despite its constant swearing by the interests of the farmers, it was unable to attract even a single multinational company in the field of agro-processing in the state.

One obvious failure on the part of the ruling SAD-BJP alliance was the management of the mass media to its advantage to influence the voters in the fierce, no-holds-barred campaign in the runup to the elections. As one Akali leader remarked acidly the other day, the Akali leadership, for reasons best known to itself, was unable to come out of its orbit around a popular Jalandhar language daily. Its media management seemed confined to the publication of statements, photographs and propaganda material in this daily alone, thereby creating the impression that the party did not really care much about other publications.

The Congress, on the other hand, handled its media campaign in a very professional manner. The aggressive string of newspaper advertisements unleashed by the Congress in newspapers and TV spots during the electioneering proved to be very effective. The SAD, which had made development its main poll plank, was caught totally off-balance. When it finally gathered its wits about it, and began counter-attacking, it was too little, too late. The campaign of newspaper advertisements hurriedly put together by the SAD general secretary, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, was not really as telling as that of the Congress.

The hip injury suffered by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, during a fall in the bathroom, could not have come at a worse time for the Akali Dal. Mr Badal was not only the SAD chief and Chief Minister but also the star campaigner for the Akali Dal. Although neither Mr Badal nor any other Akali leader would admit it publicly during the elections, the fact remained that it seriously undermined the election campaign of the Akali Dal. Mr Badal had to remain confined to a specially fabricated vehicle for the poll campaign which seriously cramped his style. He was unable to leave the vehicle to meet the voters, visit the homes of the local group leaders, attend confabulations to pacify the party rebels and take his famous walks through the mandis and rural roads to establish a personal rapport with the voters.

His hip injury also meant that he had to remain surrounded by attendants all the time and, therefore, he could not travel alone to any place incognito to meet anyone in secret to conduct delicate negotiations like unity with the SHSAD leader, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra. As a matter of fact, the entire string of parleys with the rival Akali faction was conducted more or less publicly, inviting intervention from all sorts of vested interests. Little wonder, they did not succeed despite a genuine desire for unity on both sides and the best of efforts by mediators like the Chief Ministers of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, Mr Om Prakash Chautala and Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal.

As the poll results later showed, the failure of efforts for unity between the two Akali factions led to the two sides putting up their own candidates against each other in most of the constituencies with the result that the SAD lost at least six seats on this count alone. These included Sirhind, Kharar, Morinda, Ludhiana rural, Ludhiana West and Dakala. In closely contested elections in which the Congress won 62 seats and the SAD 41, the loss of six seats by one side and gain by the other could make all the difference between who would form the next government.

The Akali Dal’s coalition partner, the BJP, performed miserably in the elections. It could win only three seats out of a total of 23 it had contested. In the last House, its strength was 18. It would seem that the Akali Dal’s pronounced pro-rural bias antagonised urban voters who switched sides from the BJP to the Congress. While in office, most of the BJP ministers did not exactly cover themselves with glory, thus further alienating the voters and aggravating the popular disenchantment with the Badal government.

The BSP, whose presence in the electoral arena was seen to be advantageous to the SAD-BJP alliance, failed to cut much ice with Dalits who seemed to have transferred their loyalty to the Congress. Consequently, the BSP did not win even a single seat despite some vigorous campaigning by Mr Kanshi Ram.

As one observer put it, the SAD leadership may be sadder by the experience of losing power, but it remains to be seen whether it will be any wiser in the future.


Post-Green-Revolution Punjab has ‘no parallel’
P. P. S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 1
The post-Green Revolution situation in Punjab has no parallel in the world. But as a consequence, there have been political implications as also a sea change in the socio-economic scenario that is peculiar to the state.

Punjab is a state where the seeds of the Green Revolution sprouted and transformed the very outlook of the country by leading it from a food-deficit to a surplus nation. But in the process Punjab has suffered a serious setback in terms of soil health, depletion of sub-soil water and environment. Because of government intervention in terms of an assured minimum support price, market and procurement, an element of complacency has crept in adversely affecting the quality of farm produce and failed to make produce competitive. Thus, Punjab agriculture failed to embrace globalisation resulting in a plethora of problems, including wheat and paddy becoming a drain on government finances, unscientific storage, absence of diversification and agro-processing and growing burden of debt on farmers leading to suicides.

These are the views of Dr Francine R. Frankel and Prof Douglas V. Verney. Frankel is Director, Centre for the Advanced Study of India at the University of Pennsylvania, and Professor Verney is Adjunct Professor and Fellow at the same institution.

The two are in Punjab to study how the state has developed in the post-Green Revolution decades. While Dr Frankel has been closely watching the growth and effect of the Green Revolution since 1969, mainly confining her observations to socio-economic implications, Professor Verney looks at the political aspects and how the federal set-up, primarily panchayats, can be mobilised and motivated to play a crucial role in transforming not just agriculture but also rural development. He has been studying Punjab since 1976. Both have authored books and are updating their knowledge.

They are guests at the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development. The two today headed a brainstorming session with farm experts and economists and policy-makers on the theme of the — Green Revolution: post socio-economic and political implications with special focus on Punjab.

In an exclusive discussion with TNS they said that there was no other place in the world where a similar situation had evolved as in the case of Punjab which was caught in a vortex of having produced so much of wheat and paddy that today there were no buyers adding to stockpiles of staggering quantities. In fact no one had perceived such a situation when the Green Revolution was initiated.

The crisis had quickly enveloped Punjab. The green revolution was exhausting its potential and the state was no longer recognised as a bread basket. Several other states had also become self-sufficient and self-reliant. This could be attributed to the lack of political vision and introduction of new technology, guidance to farmers and ineffective extension education. ‘’The Green Revolution has done what it possibly could. But it remains a puzzle to us of what has happened now”.

Dr Frankel and Professor Verney today toured Fatehgarh Sahib district and interacted with panchayats which had been trained under UNICEF. Their experience was that Punjab agriculture was not competitive, the quality of produce was poor, agro-processing was missing, involvement of women could be more since they constituted at least 4 per cent of the workforce, cost of production was high, small holdings were economically unviable and the prevalent uncertainty on price and market for crops other than wheat and paddy discouraged diversification as much as there was lack of advice and extension education.

As to solutions, both agreed that Indian problems needed “desi’’ solutions. Change of political guard also added to the woes of agriculture and agriculturists as continuity of policies was snapped. But the two were equally optimistic that a way out would be found and inbuilt constraints overcome. Dr Frankel suggested a greater role for corporate sector investment in agriculture and giving an impetus to quality for processing and marketing that in turn would ensure remunerative returns to the farmers. The problem all along had been that production was for Indian consumers and not oriented towards international markets. As things changed, so should have thrust and technologies.


PSHRC seeks CBI probe into youth’s death
Varinder Walia and Gurbax Puri

Tarn Taran, March 1
In a significant development, the Punjab State Human Rights Commission PSHRC has directed the state government to hand over the case of “mysterious death” of a youth to the CBI as the parents of the deceased had lost faith in the crime branch of the Punjab police.

According to a 14-page startling report submitted by Mr Nasib Chand, inquiry officer on behalf of the Additional-General Police (PSHRC), Manjit Singh (26), son of the complainant, Mr Mohinder Singh (72), a resident of this town, had been killed under mysterious circumstances. The youth’s body was found in a car which was thrown into the Harike canal in April 1999. The father of the deceased had lodged a complaint that his son was allegedly killed by his wife Inderjeet Kaur, alias Babli, and brothers-in-law Charnjit Singh and Karmjit Singh with the connivance of his father-in-law Niranjan Singh, resident of Ludhiana.

A case under Sections 302, 201 and 34, IPC, was registered in Makhu police station (Ferozepore district) on April 22, 1999.

A few days after the recovery of the body, Niranjan Singh lodged a complaint with the police that his sons and daughter too had drowned with Manjeet Singh. It may be mentioned that the couple had strained relations.

The report of the PSHRC quoted the FIR lodged at Makhu police station which read that the deceased along with his wife and brothers-in-law left in a Maruti car from here to Ludhiana (via Harike). The car was being driven by Manjit Singh.

The PSHRC quoted Dr Gyanendra Mishra, Deputy Director, Physics, who had submitted the report that no such accident seemed to have occurred as per circumstantial evidences. The inquiry officer pointed out that had Manjit Singh died due to accident, his body should have been on the front seat as he was the only one who knew driving. If the others had also been killed, their bodies too should have been there. The post-mortem report had also indicated that the death of Manjit Singh had occurred prior to his drowning in the canal.

Mr Mohinder Singh claimed that his daughter-in-law and her brothers were alive and had taken refuge in Madhya Pradesh. He alleged that Niranjan Singh had given a false statement that the bodies found near the Rajasthan feeder were that of his son Karmjit Singh and daughter.


PSEB needs salvaging
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 1
The Punjab State Electricity Board, a sinking ship, requires immediate salvaging to keep it floating.

The PSEB, one of the biggest organisations, which is often called a "state within a state", is being run on an ad hoc basis for the past several months. Its regular Chairman, Mr G.S. Sohal, and all three members of the board — Mr H.C. Kundra (Transmission), Mr Suresh Gupta (Generation) and Mr Kirpal Singh (Distribution) — completed their terms on January 13.

In fact, Mr Sohal had proceeded on medical leave before the completion of his term and was replaced by a senior IAS officer, Mr Sudhir Mittal, Secretary, Power, who has been given additional charge as Chairman. Other members of board are continuing till further orders because new members could not be appointed because of the election code of conduct.

The PSEB's Administrative member, Mr Gurbachan Singh Bachhi, was appointed only a few days before the elections in place of Mr Baldev Singh Mann, who had quit to contest the elections on the Akali ticket from Dirba. It is not yet known whether he will be retained by the new government.

As the Chairman and members are due to be appointed, a large number of retired and serving Chief Engineers and other technologists are lobbying for a slot in the board. A senior Chief Engineer of the board said that even certain retired engineers, who were involved in corrupt practices when they were employees, had joined the race. He said it would be a "black day" in the history of the organisation and send the wrong signals to all concerned if such persons became board members.

He said as the board played an important role in the state's industrial, agricultural and business economy, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, should get the credentials of the aspirants checked before appointing them members of the board.

The board, which suffered a loss of Rs 1,633 crore during the last financial year, has unpaid liabilities of Rs 700 crore. In fact, it is engaged in a feud with the Railways over payments totalling Rs 200 crore as coal freight.

Besides, payment of Rs 300 crore is to be made to the National Thermal Power Corporation from which the PSEB had purchased power during the peak consumption period. The PSEB is busy settling the terms of payment as it does not have ready cash to clear the dues, it is learnt.

In fact, the board's reputation has got a serious blow as it has not even been able to clear payments of Rs 200 crore to parties from which it has been procuring equipment. Major suppliers have started asking for money in advance against supply orders.


SC: quota in SGPC institutions to continue

Amritsar, March 1
In a significant judgement, the Supreme Court in an order dated February 25 has allowed all kinds of reservations made in SGPC run institutes to continue and referred the case to a Bench of 11 judges of the apex court for deciding matters about the constitutional rights of the minority communities in India.

This was stated in a press note issued by the SGPC Secretary, Dr Gurbachan Singh Bachan, here today.

The reservations made by the SGPC last year in medical/dental institutes run here were challenged in the Punjab and Haryana High Court which had decided on December 28 last year that further reservations made by the SGPC under the 50 per cent quota allowed for Sikh candidates was not permissible.


BJP focuses on reasons for defeat
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 1
The Punjab unit of the BJP, which met here today under the chairmanship of a senior leader, Mr O.P. Kohli, said that the Congress “hijacked the people’s mandate from the SAD-BJP combine by using unfair means through the media”. And it has passed a resolution in this connection also.

The meeting was called to determine the reasons for the party’s big defeat in the recent elections in the state. Besides the 23 party candidates who contested the elections, others associated with the campaign attended the meeting.

The BJP leadership also reached the conclusion that the delay in fulfilling promises made to those living in the urban areas played a role in the party’s rejection in these areas.

A spokesman of the party told mediapersons that a section of the electronic and print media spread “disinformation” to influence the neutral voters. This proved “fatal” to the SAD-BJP combine at the hustings.

The BJP has set up a committee which will visit all 23 constituencies for finding out the reasons which led to the party’s defeat and suggest corrective measures in this connection.

The BJP, through another resolution, condemned the Gujarat train incident in which a number of women and children were killed on February 27. The BJP said that ISI agents were behind this heinous crime. The party urged the authorities concerned to identify such elements. Such incidents were a threat to democracy, it said.

Meanwhile, issuing its first warning to the Congress government in the state, the BJP stated that if it tried to stop the “development process” started by the previous SAD-BJP government, the party (BJP) would begin a stir to get it restarted.


Plague fear persists in Mansa
Our Correspondent

Mansa, March 1
Residents of the district and surrounding area are still in panic due to the fear of pneumonic plague.

According to informations reaching here today, Jaspal Kaur, a class IX student of Government Senior Secondary School at Gandhukalan village in the district was sent back to home from the school as she was suffering from fever. Jaspal Kaur is the daughter of Mr Mohinder Singh who brought the body of Krishan Singh, who died in the PGI on February 19, from Chandigarh.

The Principal of the school said Jaspal Kaur was suffering from high fever and on the advice of villagers he sent her home from the school.

In another incident doctors of Government Hospital, Ratia, in Haryana, refused to admit the pregnant wife of watchman Jeet Singh who went there for delivery as she was a resident of “plague-affected” Reond Khurd village. She delivered the child in her house.

Today, for the fifth day, Reond Khurd village was isolated from other parts of the state. A team of doctors from New Delhi visited the village today and provided medicines to the residents after examining them. The doctors advised villagers to take doxycycline capsules after having food.


Budget termed as anti-people
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 1
Even as the housewives all over the country have condemned the increase in the price of the household LPG cylinders, various forums, trade unions and Opposition parties have termed the Union Budget as anti-people.

Mr Kewal Krishan Aggarwal, general secretary, District Congress Committee, said the Union Finance Minister, Mr Yaswant Sinha, was trying to increase the revenue by putting additional burden on the salaried people. He said by decreasing the interest rates on small saving and cutting tax rebates the Union Government had indirectly increased taxes. The tax exemption limit should be increased to Rs 1 lakh from the present Rs 50,000, he said.

A cross section of employees whom The Tribune talked to allege that while the government spent crores of rupees to promote small savings, decrease in interest rates and reduction in income tax rebate would lead to reduced savings by salaried class.

Mr Charanpal Singh Brar and Mr M. M. Behal, president and secretary, respectively, of the Punjab Law Forum, in a joint press note issued here today alleged that the latest Union Budget had been drafted as per the directions of the multinational companies. “The Union Government wanted to boost the economy at the cost of the savings and assets of the middle class and the salaried people,” they alleged.


Kapurthala police website launched
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, March 1
A website of the Kapurthala police was launched here today by Mr J.S. Randhawa, SP (headquarter) with a view to bridging the gap between the police and the public.

Kapurthala police. com claims to have 246 pages and a global access with special benefits for NRIs who can lodge their complaints and know its status from their locations.

The website has multiple sections including cyber offence and their punishments, and human rights and other crime related sections.

The site has been inspired by the Canadian police and the New Zealand police. A special ASI has been deployed for the operation of the website.

Dr Narinderjit Singh, Dr J.S. Virk, President and Vice-President, Citizens Right Forum, respectively, Mr Ashwani Kohli, an exporter, were among those who addressed the function.


Cop held for hitting councillor
Tribune News Service

Hoshiarpur, March 1
Tension gripped the city when a traffic police constable allegedly hit a local municipal councillor on his forehead with a cane as he tried to cross traffic lights when these turned amber.

This infuriated about 500 supporters of Mr Mohan Lal Pehalwan, the councillor, who laid a siege to the city police station for an hour and lifted it only when the police booked and arrested constable Palwinder Singh.

Trouble started when Mr Mohan Lal Pehalwan, who was on his scooter, inadvertently crossed the session chowk when the traffic lights turned yellow. This infuriated Palwinder Singh who manhandled him and hit him on his head after an argument.

Mr Sanjiv Kalra, SSP, said a case has been registered against the constable who had been arrested.


Makha given state funeral
Our Correspondent

Mansa, March 1
Mr Kirpal Singh Makha, president of the DCC and former Punjab minister was given a state funeral at his native village Makhewala, near here, last evening.

His grandson, Mr Sharanjit Singh, lit the pyre. Mr A. K. Dubey, Financial Commissioner, Punjab, on behalf of the state government laid wreath on the body of Mr Makha who died on Wednesday at Raj Bhavan during the oath-taking ceremony of Capt Amarinder Singh as the new Chief Minister of Punjab.

Mr Makha is survived by his widow and two daughters.

The funeral was attended by Mr Jasbir Singh, former Punjab minister, Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, Mr Gurjant Singh Kutiwal, both MLAs, Mr Ajitinder Singh Mofar, Mr Buta Singh, both former MLAs, and workers of various political parties.


Bail plea of dental college MD rejected
Our Correspondent

Mansa, March 1
Mr Sukhdev Singh, Additional District and Sessions Judge, Mansa, yesterday dismissed the bail application of Naginder Singh Harika, Managing Director, Khalsa Rural Dental College and Hospital, Nangal Kalan, who is in judicial custody since May 1, 2001.

This was the second bail application filed by the Managing Director following the directives of the Supreme Court. The MD was booked by the Sadar police under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120B of the IPC, in November, 1999, on a complaint of Mr Suresh Kumar Sharma, IAS, New Delhi cadre.


Reservation caused BJP defeat: Sidhu
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 1
Mr Harbans Singh Sidhu, district president of General Categories Welfare Federation, said today that the reason behind the defeat of the BJP in the recent elections was due to caste-based reservations in different educational institutions.

This was stated by Mr Sidhu in a press note issued here today. The BJP-led NDA government was continuing the reservation policy for members of certain castes without taking into account the economic conditions of such persons.

He said their organisation would oppose any move by the government to start caste-based reservation in the private sector.


Local Bodies Dept violates MC Act
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, March 1
The functioning of the Local Bodies Department has come under a cloud when a junior assistant was assigned the charge of an inspector at the local municipal corporation allegedly bypassing his 200 senior counterparts, who have decided to resort to an indefinite strike in case the department failed to withdraw its controversial order within a week.

Mr Ajit Kumar Sharma, a junior assistant working with the Jalandhar Corporation, was earlier assigned the duty of an inspector at the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation by the Local Bodies department on November 11, last year. But bowing to the protests of the employees against his posting, the department shifted Ajit Kumar in the same capacity to Jalandhar on November 23, last year, against a vacant post. 


Auction of properties cancelled
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 1
The local Improvement Trust authorities today cancelled the auction of residential and commercial properties which were to be held on March 4.

Official sources said the auction of a section of residential and commercial properties was to be held on March 4, but the verbal order issued by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr R. Venkatratnam, forced the authorities to cancel the same immediately.

Mr Mohan Lal Garg, Chairman, Improvement Trust, said the auction had been cancelled as per the directives of the Deputy Commissioner and admitted that the Trust would suffer financial losses due to the cancellation of the auction.


Wife, 3 others convicted for death of man
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, March 1
Mr Jagroop Singh Mahal, Additional Sessions Judge, on Thursday convicted Gurjit Kaur, alias Debo, of Bhandal Bet village and her three relatives under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code on the charge of forcing Balbir Singh, husband of Gurjit Kaur, to commit suicide.

Mr Mahal sentenced Gurjit Kaur, her uncle Harjit Singh, Surinder Singh, son of Harjit Singh, and another relative Dalwinder Singh to undergo rigorous imprisonment for five years each and to pay a fine of Rs 2,000 each. In default of fine, Mr Mahal ordered them to further undergo imprisonment for six months each.

According to the prosecution, Dalwinder Singh, brother of Gurjit Kaur, informed her on phone that the cremation of her aunt, who died on May 23, 1998, would take place on May 24, 1998. On receiving the message, Gurjit Kaur, along with her brother-in-law from Khusropur village where she was married, reached Bhandal Bet village for participation in the cremation of her aunt but her husband could not reach Bhandal Bet for the cremation.

When, after the cremation, Gurjit Kaur did not come back to her in-laws village Khusropur, her husband Balbir Singh came to Bhandal Bet to take her back where Harjit Singh, Surinder Singh and Dalwinder Singh mercilessly beat Balbir Singh for not attending cremation in the presence of her wife Gurjit Kaur. Navtej Singh, a resident of Dhaliwal village found Balbir Singh in an unconscious condition under a tree and on the next day he was found dead. The police recovered a chit from his pocket that he was taking the extreme step to finish his life as he could not bear the insult of beatings by relatives of her wife. He was therefore, consuming tablets of celphos.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
122 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |