Monday, March 4, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Agriculture needs new CM’s attention
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 3
The real import of Punjab’s problems will be felt once the present cosmetic administrative changes are complete and the political executive is in. The fast-paced Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, perhaps, is aware of the problems and the trying times ahead. One hopes he has the solutions, too, for he has much to do a lot to undo.

Punjab has been a leader in agriculture. It has to lead again; not just sustain and survive itself. With a formidable Opposition in the just out-of-power Akalis, Capt Amarinder Singh is conscious that the success of his government is rooted as much in the soil as the elbow-room he is allowed by “Madam” in New Delhi. The first litmus test is wheat procurement and watching him is the peasantry, smarting under increasing debts and declining returns from agriculture.

With the Congress in power in 13 states, Capt Amarinder Singh can set new precedents by working for a “chamber of agri-business” in the country to bridge the gap between the policy-makers and the situation at the grassroots. To begin with, cutting across geo-political lines in the interest of the state and the region, he would do well to extend his hand, beyond Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, Dr Farooq Abdullah, Mr Om Prakash Chautala and Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who all have a clout in the National Democratic Alliance.

He could, thereby, draw an economic map by encouraging political net working for a healthier politico-economic environment that benefits Punjab as also the region. Some ground work in this direction has been done by a Himachal Pradesh BJP MP, Mr Suresh Chandel, who has held the first preliminary meeting of MPs from the region in New Delhi. That was also attended by several Congress MPs.

Today, among the multiple and multi-dimensional problems that await the new Chief Minister’s attention is one related to agriculture—the bedrock of Punjab's economy and politics. The face of agriculture has changed since the mid-sixties. So has its economics. Production-oriented farming has reached a plateau. There is a huge stockpile of foodgrains. If Punjab has failed to reorient agriculture commensurate with the changing times, no one around has understood that agriculture and rural development have to be dealt with as integral entities and simultaneously.

Therefore, the focus has to be on biotechnology, the depleting ground water, sick soils (deprived of nutrients) and the harmful effects of chemical (fertilisers and plant protection) toxicity on human and animal health, environment and ecology and not just dairying, agro-processing, diversification, production, pricing, procurement, transportation, clearance of overflowing stockpiles, exports, public investment, rural employment, primary education and social engineering, medical and veterinary services, drinking water, infrastructure, etc. There has to be a regional approach to agriculture and horticulture by setting up a common infrastructure and facilities for inhouse marketing and exports benefiting the farmers of the northern states.

Capt Amarinder Singh has been briefed on the state of the agricultural economy and the dynamics of rural politics. He has a brief on the Punjab State Electricity Board, not so much to seek his help to save the board from sinking as to forewarn him that mere “appeals” to farmers to transfer area from paddy ( at least 10 per cent every year) to save on water and power will not do. The supply of electricity has to be “controlled” to check the early transplantation of paddy that is more susceptible to disease, rice is discoloured and paddy reaches markets earlier than purchase agencies ushering in manipulation and exploitation by trade.

Given inherent political compulsions, stopping “free” power altogether may not be feasible; metering, perhaps, may be workable. Power can at least be supplied at a subsidised rate to recover the working costs.

The National Institute of Public Finance and Policy has also sounded the alarm bells that the next political-executive must hear and respond to. While referring to the gradual increase in land under irrigation — 33.8 lakh hectares in 1980-81 to over 40 lakh hectares in 1996-97 — it states this was largely due to tubewells and wells as the contribution of canal irrigation was shrinking. This is causing a drain on ground water that is not recharged.

It quotes a 1995 report of the IRRI, Philippines, that says the ground water table in Punjab may be receding at around 20 cubic metres per year over two-thirds of the state. This also raises the question whether paddy, a water guzzler, should remain the major cereal. The report also says that Punjab is guilty of the over exploitation of ground water in Amritsar, Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Ludhiana, Patiala and Sangrur. It is a paradox that Punjab faces the problems of waterlogging and water depletion.

Capt Amarinder Singh has been reminded of the observation of Kumkum Dasgupta, who in the book “Is the Joyride Over”? says that Punjab once supplied food to almost all the states (many have since become self-sufficient and self-reliant). But while trying to feed the rest of the nation, it has lost its prime land. The central districts face a desertification threat, while the south-western districts have excess water.

“It is agreed by policy-makers”, as Special Secretary, Agriculture, Mr Ashok Gupta (now appointed Deputy Commissioner, Nawanshahr) says, “there is as much need for diversification and value addition as quality improvement and marketing, reducing the cost of cultivation and promoting processing”. He goes on to suggest that special “blocks” based on agro-climatic conditions will have to be created for specific crops and varieties for sustainable agriculture and providing economic succour to small farmers, the backbone of Punjab agriculture.

Dr S.S. Johl adds: “Owing to the deteriorating employment situation and declining absorption in agriculture, a perspective plan has to be drawn up integrating human resource development, purposeful education, industrial and service sector plans. At least 50 per cent of the farmers and 20 per cent of the agricultural labour have to be shifted outside agriculture in the next 10 to 15 years to ‘save’ Punjab”.


Balayogi’s death mourned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 3
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today expressed grief over the death of the Lok Sabha Speaker, Mr G.M.C. Balayogi, in a helicopter crash.

In a condolence message, Capt Amarinder Singh said that Mr Balayogi was a symbol of humility and gentlemanliness.

The Chief Minister said even amidst tense moments in the House, Mr Balayogi remained calm and humorous playing a non-partisan role to bring about consensus on vital issues.

The Punjab Governor, Lt-Gen. J.F.R. Jacob (retd), expressed deep shock over the death of Mr Balayogi.

The Governor said Mr Balayogi would be remembered for initiating a series of reforms in the parliamentary system.

Describing him as a simple and straight forward person, who worked throughout his life for improving the quality of life of the underprivileged, General Jacob said Mr Balayogi made a mark by effectively and patiently handling parliamentary proceedings.

MUKTSAR: Former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday expressed shock and deep sorrow over the death of Mr Balayogi.

Addressing a rural gathering at middokhera village in the Lambi constituency of Muktsar district, he said with the death of Mr Balayogi, the country had lost not only a great parliamentarian but also a statesman.

Mr Badal also sent a condolence message to the bereaved family. UNI


State mourning in Punjab
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 3
The Punjab Government has decided to observe state mourning for two days — March 3 and 4 — as a mark of respect to the Lok Sabha Speaker, Mr G.M.C Balayogi, who died in a helicopter crash today.

The National flag will fly at half-mast throughout the state. There will be no official entertainment function during the mourning period.


First modern bus stand of Punjab
Jaswinder Paul Singh

Talwandi Sabo
A fort like building, well-maintained lawns, clean road and adequate separate parking lots for cars, scooters and rickshaws are some features of the first modern bus terminus of the state here which attracts the attention of hundreds of commuters to the town, where one of the Takhts of the Sikhs is situated.

Talwandi Sabo has the honour of having Takht Damdama Sahib which make this tiny town of Malwa famous. Those who visit this town admire the bus stand for being better than all others in the state.

The then Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, while inaugurating the bus stand on September 3, 2000, had promised that it would be a model for others. It was constructed at a cost of Rs 1.28 crore.

The premises is not very big as a few buses ply from here daily. The number of buses that enter and exit daily is 364 and most of them are mini-buses plying on the link roads as it is a rural area.

The bus stand boasts of plants and lawns, lessening the boredom of passengers waiting for buses.

Sulabh International, a private concern that has the contract for cleanliness and maintenance of lawns charges Rs 14,000 per month for the same. It had employed four sweepers and a gardener for the purpose.

Mr Harmel Singh, resident of Ghanaur in Patiala district who has come to pay his obeisance at the Takht, said that from a distance the bus terminus looks like a fort.

But the bus stand is not without shortcomings. One is the bad drinking water. Although it has a water tank, the groundwater is not of good taste. The other problems are unoccupied shops inside it earmarked for the STD/PCO booths and bookstalls.

Mr Jugraj Singh, in charge of the bus stand, said the problem of drinking water could be solved if some arrangement is made to get water from Takht Damdama Sahib. Regarding unoccupied shops, he said that the contractors for these had given a higher bid and when they found that it was not profitable after sometime they vacated them. Fresh bids would be called for them in June.


Adverse sex ratio in Punjab
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 3
A member of the National Human Rights Commission, Justice Sujata V. Manohar, who is a former Judge of the Supreme Court, yesterday said Punjab and Haryana had always the most adverse sex ratio in the country. “If we look at the sex ratio of Punjab and compare it with the sex ratio of the country from 1901 till 2001, we find that the ratio has been far more adverse in Punjab than the rest of the country,” she said.

Releasing a report on “Controlling Female Infanticide and Foeticide in Punjab”, commissioned by the Punjab State Human Rights Commission, Justice Sujata Manohar said the ratio of 718 females to 1,000 males was recorded in 1911, while the all-India ratio was 964 females to 1,000 males. “As per the 2001 Census, the sex ratio in Punjab as compared to the 1911 ratio is relatively much better at 874 females to 1,000 males, while the all-India ratio is relatively worst at 933 females to 1,000 males. Nevertheless, the continuing worst sex ratio in Punjab indicates persistent unfavourable condition of women in the state. In fact Punjab and Haryana also account for all 15 districts in the country with the most adverse child sex ratio in 2001. According to the 2001 Census, every fifth girl child in Punjab is missing because of her gender. During the early years of the 20th century and even thereafter lack of technology did not deter families from disposing of unwanted female babies.”

She said this was a reflection of the intense social pressures against the girl child which prevail in Punjab. The correct answer to female foeticides and female infanticides, therefore, was not just tightening of the laws around sex determination tests but a sustained effort at the social, economic and legal level to change the structure and inculcate a proper sense of values in a society which must learn to respect gender equality.

Justice Sujata Manohar said discrimination against the girl child was prevalent throughout the country. She told the audience that they had seen news items regarding Lambda tribal women selling their newborn baby girls to agencies which specialise in international adoptions. She said the District Collector of Salem in Tamil Nadu received female babies from women who did not want them under the state government’s Cradle Baby Scheme. The scheme was floated to prevent female infanticide.

“There are many serious issues related to gender inequality in the country which need to be highlighted and redressed. Although the Prenatal Diagnostic Technique (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act prohibits sex selective abortion, there are a large number of unregistered clinics and laboraties that use ultrasound techniques to illegally determine the sex of the foetus. Yet very little has been done by the enforcement agencies to detect such clinics or take action against the doctors acting contrary to the provisions of the Act,” she said.

Dr Promod Kumar, Director, Institute of Development and Communication, who conducted a survey on the subject, said male child preference was culturally rooted. Technology under the guise of sex determination tests had given an added boost to male child preference.

Dr Rainuka Dagar, a researcher with the institute, was of the opinion that the issue raised by the decline in sex ratio was not that the female’s right to birth was violated rather the non-existence of the female’s right to birth.

Mr Rajan Kashyap, Principal Secretary, Health, Punjab, regretted that the female ratio in Punjab was very poor. He said, in fact, a number of districts of Punjab figure in the list of 11 districts throughout the country in which sex ratio had been found to be alarming. These are Amritsar, Faridkot, Bathinda, Fatehgarh Sahib, Kapurthala, Sangrur and Ludhiana.

Justice V.K. Khanna, Chairman, Punjab Human Rights Commission, said the male child was considered an old-age insurance, breadwinner, carries the family name and lineage. But how much male children care for their parents becomes clear if one visits the old-age homes. On the contrary, the girl child is considered a social burden.


Panchayat member alleges police torture
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, March 3
Mr Bachan Masih, panchayat member, Mashrala, under Dera Baba Nanak police station, who has been admitted to the Civil Hospital here following injuries, today alleged police torture at the behest of some Congress leaders of the area for neither accepting their demand to cast his vote in favour of the Congress candidate nor asking his supporters to do so.

According to Mr Masih, Mr Karam Chand, SHO, accompanied by one ASI and a few civilians came to his house in Mashrala on February 24 after the counting of votes ended where he was mercilessly beaten up Mr Rashpal Singh, Sarpanch of the village, took him to the Civil Hospital, Dera Baba Nanak, since he had received serious injuries. Mr Rashpal Singh then went out to arrange for a taxi to shift him to Amritsar. Meanwhile, the police party, along with some others, lifted him from the hospital and took him in a car to the dera of Harpal Singh at Ram Dawali village on the Indo-Pak border. Mr Masih said he was kept in the dera forcibly for four days.

The sarpanch in the meantime approached the high court in this regard. A case under Sections 307, 326, 324, and 34 of the IPC was registered against Mr Masih on February 26 “at the instance” of David Masih. However, no case has been registered against those who beat up Mr Masih. The injuries of Mr Masih were self-inflicted, the police said citing a medical report.

SAD-BJP workers of the area, under the leadership of Mr Nirmal Singh Kahlon former Development and Panchayat Minister, staged a dharna on the Dera Baba Nanak police station premises yesterday. The dharna was lifted on an insurance by the SSP, Batala, Mr R.K. Sharda, that an inquiring would be conducted by the SP Detective, in this regard.


These docs swear by spiritual healing
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Meghowal Guru ka (Hoshiarpur)
Spiritual faith can cure diseases generally considered to by incurable. These are the views of Norway-based spiritual healer Dr Bjrog Neverdal, who was here to participate in a spiritual healing camp organised by Dr K.D.S. Kalsi, a Jalandhar-based healer.

Dr Neverdal is the President of the Federation of Spiritual Healers, Norway, a body recognised by the WHO. Dr Kalsi is a member of the National Federation of Spiritual Healers, UK, also recognised by the WHO.

Talking to The Tribune, Dr Neverdal said almost all diseases, chronic or otherwise, could be cured by spiritual healing which was a scientific but lesser known way of treatment.

He said diseases were caused by lack of energy and by practising this therapy, the energy level of a patient could be enhanced tremendously which helped in curing the disease. "I have seen that even cancer patients can be cured. This therapy is recognised by the WHO but people are not aware about it. All of us have unlimited energy, but it has to be pinpointed. Once that is done, there is no problem and after a sitting with a qualified spiritual healer you can realise that you have turned more energetic instantaneously," he said.

"I apply this to my dental patients and see that they feel almost no pain while lying on the dental chair", he said, adding that it was like attaining a third eye. "Everybody can attain this power after some exercise".

Maintaining that spiritual healing was the oldest therapy in the world, Dr Kalsi claimed that there was no disease which could not be cured by using this therapy. "I have travelled widely across the tribal areas of Africa and India and seen the tribals cure diseases with the beating of drums and humming songs and the results used to be good which forced me to work on this". This therapy had stood the tests of medical science and was popular in the West. "But the problem is that there is no institutional approach of the government towards this therapy and that is why it had failed to reach the masses," he said.


Plea to issue appointment letters
Our Correspondent

Mansa, March 3
Hundreds of candidates selected by the Subordinate Services Selection Board, Punjab, for appointment as clerks have still not been issued appointment letters although the selection list was released on May 26.

The board had invited applications to fill posts of clerk in various departments of the state government in 1996 and 1997 through advertisement.

It conducted a screening test in September 1998 followed by another test. They were interviewed in May 1999 in Chandigarh.

When the board did not announce the list of selected candidates, some candidates filed a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. A list of about 1080 candidates was published on May 26, 2001. Recommendatory letters have been issued to about 800 candidates while the remaining have been driven from pillar to post to get their appointment letters. Some candidates have even crossed the minimum age limit for joining government service.

Inquiries reveal that the departments concerned had not sent their requirements to the board although a large number of posts of clerk in various departments, including Excise and Taxation, Education and Public Works, have been lying vacant.


Bajrang Dal warns Centre on Ayodhya
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, March 3
The Bajrang Dal today warned the Union Government of dire consequences in case it continued to raise obstructions in way of proposed construction of Ram Temple scheduled to begin by March 15 at the disputed site in Ayodhya.

Addressing a press conference here today, the national convener of the Bajrang Dal, Dr Surinder Jain, said though the Union Government was creating a large number of hurdles in the movement of Ram sewaks, a large number of devotees had already arrived in the city to participate in the proposed construction.

“Though the BJP had exploited Ram Temple issue to wrest power in the Centre in the past one decade, but now the same leadership is dithering away from its promise by the way of cracking down on Ram sewaks in different parts of the country.” Dr Jain said.

He said the RSS was not averse to resolving the issue amicably before the set deadline of March 12.

“The central and the state governments should refrain from interfering into the religious matters of the community and any attack on the freedom of movement of Ram sewaks to Ayodhya will not be tolerated he said.

He further said a group of about 3,000 Ram sewaks from Punjab would leave for Ayodhya on March 6 and about 2,000 Sikh Nihangs would reach the place by March 17 for performing kar seva in the construction of the temple.


Badal concerned over communal flare-up

Mannikhera (Muktsar) March 3
Former Chief Minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) supremo Parkash Singh Badal yesterday expressed concern over the communal flare-up in Gujarat and in parts of UP, saying that this appeared to be the handiwork of Pakistan’s ISI.

Mr Badal urged the Prime Minister to take stern action against all those who were responsible for communal violence, and maintain peace and harmony in the country.

Addressing a rural gathering here in his home constituency of Lambi on the second day of his thanksgiving tour, Mr Badal said the biggest achievement of his government was the completion of its five-year term, restoration of peace, harmony and brotherhood in the state.

Mr Badal thanked the people of the state, particularly of the nine districts of the Faridkot Lok Sabha constituency, for rejecting the leadership during the elections. UNI


MASR: prosecute Gujarat CM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 3
The Movement Against State Repression (MASR) and the Punjab Human Rights Organisation in a joint statement today demanded that those guilty of the Gujarat violence must be punished and the Chief Minister prosecuted for his alleged wilful negligence of duty and abetment to genocide.

The statement, signed by Justice Ajit Singh Bains, Lt-Gen Kartar Singh Gill (retd), Dr Gurdarshan Singh Dhillon, Mr Inderjit Singh Jaijee and Mrs Baljit Kaur, said the VHP should be declared unlawful as in the case of terrorist groups. Such a demand had been made even by the Shankaracharya of Puri and certain constituents of the NDA government, the statement added.

To tackle the menace of communal flare-ups, a special taskforce comprising police personnel from all communities must be constituted. Such a demand had been pending for decades. The events in Gujarat must be probed by a multi-party team. Though the statement welcomed the probe by the National Human Rights Commission, the signatories wanted a sitting judge to do the job in a specified period to restore the confidence of the minorities. ''The NHRC is, despite all its good intentions, a toothless body''.


Lok adalats popular: judge
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 3
Mr Justice H.S. Bedi, Judge, Punjab and Haryana High Court, and Chairman, Punjab State Legal Services Authority, today claimed that the response to lok adalats during the past two years had been phenomenal.

Addressing a press conference on the conclusion of a special lok adalat held here, Mr Justice Bedi said more than 1 lakh cases had been settled during the past two years and a large sum collected through the recovery of bank loans.

He said cases relating to bank loans at the pre-litigation stage, under the Negotiable Instruments Act and matrimonial cases had been settled during the 44 lok adalats held so far. Citing the example of a matrimonial case which was received today, Mr Justice Bedi quashed the criminal proceedings pending in the high court and helped the couple to reunite.

Commenting on the huge backlog of cases pending in the high court, he said the government should fill vacancies to clear pending cases. He said there was no paucity of funds for organising lok adalats.

Giving details of the free legal aid provided to the poor, aged and destitute women, he said out of 31,000 requests for free legal aid, almost all litigants had been provided lawyers and their court fees and other judicial charges paid.

In all 1300 cases were taken up during the lok adalat and a sum of Rs 4 crore recovered.

In a bid to do away with the lengthy procedure of recording statements, a proforma has been devised for litigants. A statement can also be recorded in Punjabi also.


Plea to hike old-age pension
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 3
A resolution adopted by a large number of people, who gathered at Kanjhla village today, urged the Punjab Government to enhance the monthly old-age pension and other pensions provided by the Punjab Social Security Department from the existing Rs 200 per month to Rs 500 per month.

The gathering was organised by Mr Gobind Singh Kanjhla, newly elected MLA from Sherpur as an Independent, to express thanks to people of the Sherpur Assembly constituency. Kanjhla village is part of the Sherpur constituency.

In another resolution, the gathering asked the Punjab Government to lower the eligibility age of women from 60 years to 55 years and of men from 65 years to 60 years for the purpose of granting old-age pension.

This information was given here this evening by Mr Daljit Singh Sekhon, a supporter of Mr Kanjhla.


SGPC orders probe into embezzlement of college funds

Amritsar, March 3
Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Kirpal Singh Badungar has directed the institution’s executive member and advocate Mohinder Singh Romana to hold an inquiry into the allegations of embezzlement of funds which were meant for SGPC-run Mata Sahib Kaur Khalsa College at Dandewali in Jalandhar district.

The college’s Principal Manwinder Kaur, who had raised the issue at the SGPC executive committee meeting today, later told reporters that one NRI Karnail Singh had sent Rs 90 lakh for the development of the Khalsa college, which were misused by executive member Shinghara Singh Lohian and another person named Baldev Singh.

Principal Manwinder Kaur even told newmen after the SGPC executive meeting that she had been threatened with serious consequences in case she raised the issue at the executive committee which met here to discuss the SGPC budget estimates for the next year.

Shinghara Singh Lohian, when contacted, ruled out his involvement in the case saying that it was an internal affair of the college and a local committee headed by Baldev Singh was supervising the functioning of the college. UNI


Thermal plant staff to hold rally
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 3
Employees of the local Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant will hold a rally on March 5 to show resentment against the alleged anti-employee Budget presented by the Union Finance Minister for the year 2002-03.

In a meeting of the employees under the leadership of Mr Gursewak Singh, president of the Employees Federation of Thermal Plant here yesterday, the employees said they would wear black badges tomorrow 4 to show resentment.

Mr Gursewak Singh, while addressing the meeting, said the proposals of the Union Budget like reducing the rebate from 20 per cent to 10 per cent for employees who drew annual salary more than 1.5 lakh, reduction in the rate of interest on small savings by .5 per cent and levying a surcharge of 5 per cent were against the interests of the employees.

He further said the increase in the prices of commodities of daily use like the LPG and kerosene would have an adverse affect on the salaried class and low income group families. He urged the Union Government to revert the anti-people decisions.


Municipal council losing revenue
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, March 3
Mr Sham Lal Goyal, district president of the National Consumer Awareness Group, has alleged that residents of the city have not been allotted house and ward numbers for the past many years and that no proper demarcation of municipal limits have been done by the municipal authorities, which cause many problems to residents.

Mr Goyal in a press note issued here recently alleged that the municipal authorities had failed to allot house numbers, ward numbers, putting up nameplates for various streets and even demarcate the municipal limits. He said that there was no proper demarcation of rural and urban areas and as a result the municipal council was suffering revenue losses.

He added that as per the rules the municipal authorities should collect house tax from owners of the commercial properties, but since municipal records had not been updated, many commercial establishments were not paying taxes as they had been classified as residential areas.


De-addiction camp held
Our Correspondent

Nathana (Bathinda), March 3
Dr Mehboob Singh Sra, Director, District De-addiction Centre, Bathinda, while inaugurating a drug de-addiction awareness seminar here last evening, said parents could play a vital role in helping their children quit drugs.

He said youths started taking drugs when they could not face the difficulties of life. He said parents, teachers, religious preachers and prominent persons of society could work for creating a drug-free society.

The camp was organised by the local branch of Punjab National Bank and inaugurated by Mr C.R. Khajuria, Senior Regional Manager of the bank.


Nawanshahr youth wins game show
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, March 3
Ravjot Singh, a student of Government College for Men in Chandigarh and resident of Nawanshahr, has won the bumper prize at a game show, “Baazi Kiski,” on Zee TV.

He had been selected along with three youths from Chandigarh for the show.


Rice millers accused of misusing paddy
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, March 3
The District Food and Supplies Department, Muktsar, has recommended to the Deputy Commissioner of the area registration of police cases against 13 rice millers in different parts of the district on the charge of misappropriating government paddy worth more than Rs 10 crore in the recent past.

The matter came to light after physical verification recently of the stock kept in their rice sheller premises. Talking to The Tribune on telephone from Muktsar on Friday Mr Sukhdev Singh Aulakh, District Food and Supplies Controller (DFSC), Muktsar, alleged that the rice millers were bungling in the matter for the past so many years and under political pressure no official of the department was allowed to verify the stock.


Closure of roadways’ div offices resented
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, March 3
Resentment prevails among 350 employees of the Punjab Roadways as the Badal regime has decided to wind up its divisional offices at Ferozepore, Jalandhar and Chandigarh from February 28. The president, chairman and general secretary of the Punjab Roadways Staff Association, divisional offices, have in a memorandum sent to Capt. Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister of Punjab, demanded that the decision to wind up these offices be withdrawn immediately as it was illegal and anti-employee. They observed that the offices were essential as they act as a bridge between the Director and General Managers of the Punjab Roadways, and moreover, it was very difficult for the roadways headquarters to establish contact with 18 depots and their general managers.

Six depots are attached to each divisional office and they carry out the important job of monitoring the income of the depots. It has been further stated in the memorandum that following the decision of the government to wind up the offices the income of all depots falling under the Ferozepore division would decline.


Paper outside syllabus?
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 3
Students of class eight who, appeared for the computer science paper of the Punjab School Education Board on Sunday complained that nearly half of the paper comprised of portions which the Board itself had said it would not consider for setting of the paper. Harish Kumar, a resident of Tripuri township, showed copies of the letter issued by the Director, Academic, PSEB which said no question would be set from chapters six, seven, eight and nine.

He said the letter had been issued on December 12, 2001. He demanded that the Board should immediately hold an inquiry into the issue and give 50 per cent grace marks to each student.

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 |