Thursday, March 7, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Singla satisfied with post
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 6
The appointment of Mr Surinder Singla, the local MLA, as Chairman of the Economic Revival Committee, Punjab, has pacified a major section of residents of this Assembly segment.

They were disappointed over his non-inclusion into the Cabinet as Finance Minister. Mr Singla, while expressing his satisfaction over his appointment, said he would fulfil all promises made to the people and make Bathinda number one area of the state.

Mr Singla, while pointing out that it is the prime duty of every Congressman to respect and honour the decisions and policies of the party high command, said he would serve Punjab and fulfil all the responsibilities which the party would assign to him from time to time.

He added that the party high command had taken a decision not to induct first timers in the Cabinet and he would honour it fully.

He claimed that Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had again expressed his will to develop, Bathinda to make it one of the best cities of Punjab and, for the same task, the policies and programmes were being worked out. He added that the first duty of the Congress government was to improve the financial health of state, which had been ruined by the previous SAD-BJP combine government due to its bad policies and fiscal mismanagement.

Mr Singla, a close confidant of Capt Amarinder Singh, was projected as Finance Minister of the Punjab Congress government but he was made chairman of the Economic Revival Committee with a Cabinet Minister rank, official sources said.

The sources added that the prime task of the committee would be to find ways and means to put the economy of state back on rails after identifying different sources to generate funds for carrying out development of every nook and corner of Punjab.


Mann decries Bhattal’s induction
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, March 6
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh was going the Badal way by including in his Cabinet Congress leaders like Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, who had been charged with corruption and wanted by law, according to Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President, Akali Dal (Amritsar), Member of Parliament and senior Panthic Morcha leader. The Congress party got people’s mandate for a clean, transparent and responsive government but induction of a trained leader like Mrs Bhattal was contrary to the mandate, Mr Mann said today. Former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal did not get Mrs Bhattal arrested because Mr Badal colluded with Mrs Bhattal to build her against the Maharaja, alleged Mr Mann. Her induction was a bad beginning. She should have been kept out of the Cabinet till her case was decided by the court, asserted Mr Mann.

On yesterday’s meeting between Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and the Shankaracharya of Kanchi Kamkoti Peetham Jayendra Saraswati for breaking the Ayodhaya impasse, Mr Mann rejected the seer’s formula for allowing the VHP to build a wall around the disputed site and declared his party would go ahead with its secular ‘Peace March’ from Delhi to Ayodhaya on March 10 for arousing conscience of secular Indians.

Unless the Ayodhaya case was decided by the Supreme Court, there should be neither any “pooja” at the Janamabhoomi nor any construction of temple at the disputed site, demanded Mann. However, he clarified that his party was not against Ram temple but wanted it should not be constructed on the disputed site. When told that All-India Muslim Personal Law Board leaders had agreed to Kanchi Seer’s formula, Mr Mann asserted that Muslims were demoralised by violent activities of Hindu fundamentalists. However, we wont want Muslims to submit to the dictates of these fundamentalists, he declared.

It was scandalous for Indian democracy to shut down Parliament for three days at a time when country was burning in Gujarat and Ayodhaya, he continued. The death of a Lok Sabha Speaker BMC Balyogi was tragic but it had been used as a shameful pretext for closing down Parliament for so long because NDA govt did not want to face sensitive issues of Gujarat flare — ups & Ayodhaya flash points on the floor of the Houses, added Mr Mann.



SGPC meets today to discuss Gurdwara Act
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 6
In a surprise move, the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee has convened an emergency meeting (such meetings could be called on 72-hour notice meeting) tomorrow at Takht Kesgarh Sahib, Anandpur Sahib where one point agenda — the amendment to the 77-year-old Gurdwara Act, 1925, would be discussed at length.

The resolutions, passed at the meeting would be sent to the Government of India, for making amendments on the floor of Parliament.

The gurdwara reform movement culminated into the passage of the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925 by the Punjab Legislative Council. More than 1000 gurdwaras spread all over Punjab, Haryana and Himachal are governed by this Act.

Talking to The Tribune, Bibi Kiranjot Kaur, general secretary, SGPC, said that some significant decisions were likely to be taken with a view to making the functioning of the Shiromani Committee smooth. She said there was dire need for permanent Gurdwara Election Commission with sufficient paraphernalia so that revision of electoral rolls could be a permanent process. The preparing of electoral rolls for the gurdwara elections was cumbersome and hence the entire procedure needed to be streamlined. She added that the SGPC found it difficult to revise the rolls every year. For the smooth election after every five years, the elections to the general house and the local committees should be held simultaneously. The emergency meeting will discuss all these points tomorrow.

In another development, the emergency meeting could express concern over the apathy of the central government for not issuing any notification to amend the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925, in light of the resolution passed by the SGPC general house that only ‘keshadhari’ (who wears unshorn hair) should have the right to vote during the SGPC election. The general house already had passed a unanimous resolution that the word ‘sehajdhari’ (the non-keshadharis) should be deleted from the Gurdwara Act and hence the forthcoming election for the general house should be held in light of the fresh amendment of the Shiromani Committee. Mr Jagmohan Singh Tony, general secretary, Shiromani Akali Dal (Mann) already had filed a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court that the ‘sehajdharis’ should be deprived of the right to vote during the general house elections of the SGPC.

The emergency meeting may also discuss the provision of “double constituencies”. There was a demand from the members belonging to reserve categories that there should be no provision for double constituencies and hence these constituencies should be earmarked exclusively for reserve candidates only.

The Government of India, in consultation with SGPC, demarcates the entire area under the Act into 120 constituencies. Though the constituencies are not necessarily consistent with boundaries of state territories. There are 112 constituencies in Punjab, seven in Haryana one in the union territory of Chandigarh. As many as 20 of these constituencies are selected as double-member constituencies. Double-member constituencies send two members each — one ordinary and one Scheduled Caste member. Thus there are 100 single member constituencies and 20 double member constituencies. In the former the voters are entitled to cast single vote while in the latter they have to cast two votes.

According to sources the general elections for the SGPC are likely to be held before the month of September. Earlier, the elections were scheduled to be held last year but these got delayed as Shiromani Committee could not revise the electoral rolls in time.


Sikh clergy calls meeting on April 9
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 6
Even as the marathan meeting of the Sikh High Priests held at the Akal Takht secretariat here today failed to take any decisions on the “sensational” case of Baba Dhanwant Singh, head of the Noor Vishav Roohani Charitable Organisation, Nawanshahr, the Sikh clergy has convened a meeting of the heads of all Sikh institution, including Nihang chiefs, on April 9.

The forthcoming meeting of the Sikh clergy is likely to snowball into a big controversy as many Sikh leaders have already criticised the Sikh High Priests for not taking any decision in the case of Baba Dhanwant Singh.

Some of them have even alleged that the decision could not be taken as Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, wanted to favour Baba Dhanwant Singh. An action committee had even threatened to launch an agitation if the decision was taken ex-parte. Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, Secretary-General, SHSAD, had openly criticised the Jathedar of Akal Takht for not taking any decision on certain issues, including that of Baba Dhanwant Singh, despite “proofs” against him.

Among those who attended the meeting were Jathedar Vendanti, Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar, Takht Kesgarh Sahib, Giani Bhagwant Singh, Head Granthi, Akal Takht, and Giani Gurbachan Singh and Giani Charn Singh, both granthis of the Golden Temple.


Copying: many removed from exam duty
Tribune Reporters

Bathinda, March 6
The district education authorities discharged four members of invigilating staff, including centre Superintendent and Deputy Superintendent, from their examination duties after it was found that they were helping students in copying during matriculation and plus two exams being held by the Punjab State Education Board (PSEB).

The four members of invigilating staff namely Mr Gurbansh Singh, centre Superintendent and Lecturer, Government Senior Secondary School, Gehri Butter, Mr Gurmeet Singh, Deputy Superintendent of the centre and Science Master, Government Senior Secondary School, Gehri Butter, Ms Anuradha of Government High School, Ganga, invigilator and Mr Jarnail Singh, JBT Kothe Sandhua and Supervisor, were found facilitating copying in the examination centre set up in a special school, Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant (GNDTP), when it was visited by the District Education Officer (DEO), Ms Bhupinder Kaur.

Ms Bhupinder Kaur said during her visit to the centre, she found that there was a great disturbance as the candidates were making loud noises. After sometime, she found that Mr Gurmeet Singh was helping a group of candidates in copying. Ms Anuradha, who was on duty in that room was watching it without any resistance.

In the next room, Mr Jarnail Singh was helping students in copying but Mr Gurbansh Singh was not objecting to it.

The DEO said the four members were immediately discharged from their duties. All staff members of the examination centres had been instructed not to allow copying. Those who had been found helping in the copying were liable for stern disciplinary action, she added.

Meanwhile, Mr Kaur Singh, Assistant In Charge (flying squad), in a press note issued here said whole examination staff of Government Senior Secondary School (Boys), Bhairupa, was discharged from their duties today as three students were caught copying in the examination centre of the school.

A flying-squad team, led by Mr Hans Raj Garg Deputy District Education Officer (Secondary), during a surprise check found that at least three students were using unfair means in the Class X examination. The Controller of the Examination had been instructed to take necessary steps, he added.

During a similar surprise check at Government Senior Secondary School, Jalal, a student of Class X was found using unfair means. The invigilator in that room was discharged from the duty with immediate effect.


Stop spending from grants, DCs told
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
In a bid to tackle the deepening financial crisis in the state, the Punjab Government has directed the deputy commissioners to stop the spending from the grants released from the rural development fund and the urban infrastructure fund to various districts in the state.

Informed official sources said the Chief Secretary, Mr Y.S. Ratra, has sent a fax message to all deputy commissioners in this connection.

They have been told to submit the details of the unspent money lying with them by March 8. They have also been told to refund the money back to the state government, it is learnt.

The previous Badal government had released about Rs 3 crore as grant for each constituency for the development works. However, most of the districts have already spent most of the amount released for this purpose. According to information available to The Tribune only a small amount was lying unspent in the districts.

As it was election year, respective district administrations have been under tremendous pressure from the previous Badal government to spend the grants on the priority basis in the urban and rural areas. Most of the funds were released from the rural development fund. Beside, a sizeable amount of money was also provided by the Union Government as a grant for various schemes sponsored by it in the states.

As the state hgovernment will be unable to curtail the committed expenditure like on salaries, wages, pensions and interest payments etc, it has put its focus on the non-committed expenditure to minimise the financial crisis. Because of this reason, it has directed the deputy commissioners to stop the expenditure from the grants provided to them for the development works.

To tide over the crisis, the state government needs to take bold steps. Though the Congress government has promised to mop up Rs 4000 crore through various means but it will be very difficult for it at this stage to levy new taxes. The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, will have to cut the expenditure by putting curbs on the use of vehicles, telephones, slashing various contingencies and banning unnecessary spendings.

The previous government has been running the show by diverting the money from one department to other department. Over Rs 200 crore is due against the Punjab Government rice millers who have contributed levy rice to the Central pool. The FCI has made the payment to the state government in lieu of that rice but its further payment to the rice millers concerned has not been made yet.

Likewise, the municipal committees will have to be fed by the state government on the regular basis as previous government had waived the octroi, at the fag-end of its term. Following directions from the court, the government had started releasing the money from the state treasury to such committees to meet their financial liabilities.


JAC’s charge against VC
Our Correspondent

Patiala, March 6
The Joint Action Committee (JAC), comprising students, teachers and non-teaching employees of Punjabi University today charged the Vice-Chancellor, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, with launching a disinformation campaign “to save himself” in the wake of attack on Dr Harvinder Singh Bhatti, a Reader in the university, yesterday by a former student leader. The Vice-Chancellor has been booked under Section, 307, IPC, for the attempt to murder.

In a meeting with the Pro-Vice-Chancellor today morning, the JAC, under the convenership of Dr U.C. Singh demanded an immediate probe with regard to the role of the Vice-Chancellor in the attack on Dr Bhatti. Expressing concern over the closure of the university for two days, the JAC demanded increased security on the campus in the wake of yesterday’s incident. An appeal in this regard has also been sent to the district police chief.

Criticising the Vice-Chancellor for opening another exit point on the campus, the JAC has demanded immediate closure of the same. Complaints of some girl students, that they were not allowed by their hostel wardens to attend the protest yesterday and were threatened were also discussed with the Pro-VC. Assuring that the complaints of the JAC will be looked into, he has called a meeting of wardens of girls hostels and Dean, Welfare.

The committee members also met the Dean, Academic Affairs, and requested him to initiate an inquiry pertaining to the front page advertisements given to several newspapers by the president of the Punjabi University Teachers Association president, Dr D.S. Dhillon. Calling him a ‘mouthpiece of the university head, the JAC demanded disclosure of sources that have funded these advertisements.

As for its further plans, the JAC has decided to hold a drum-beating procession on the campus on March 7. Giving a call for strike on March 9, the JAC spokesman informed that the committee will observe an indefinite strike from March 11 onwards. Dr U.C. Singh further said in case no appropriate police action was taken against the Vice-Chancellor, the JAC may consider locking the Vice-Chancellor’s office.

Meanwhile, the Association for Democratic Rights, Punjab, expressed concern over the recent happenings on the campus and asked the state government to take action against the Vice-Chancellor. Member of the state committee of the association Vidhu Shekhar Bhardwaj appealed to all democratic organisations and trade unions to support the cause of students.


CPI council to meet on March 9
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
A meeting of the Punjab State Council of the Communist Party of India will be held on March 9 here to take stock of the recent Punjab Assembly elections and preparations for the Malout poll.

The Malout election was postponed due to the death of the Shiromani Akali Dal candidate.

A meeting of the state executive body of the party will be held before the council meeting, the state party secretary, Dr Joginder Dayal, said in a statement.

Dr Dayal criticised the Central and Gujarat Governments for “failure” to curb communal violence.


Chhot rejoins Congress
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
Mr Dharampal Chhot, a former president of the Kaithal District Congress Committee, has rejoined the Congress along with his supporters, including former sarpanches and lambardars. He had contested the last Vidhan Sabha election as an Independent from Kaithal. He had got about 18,000 votes and secured the second position.

Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, while admitting Mr Chhot to the Congress, assured him proper recognition in the party.


Wife of deceased seeks probe
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, March 6
Ms Nirmal Kaur, a resident of Rania under the Dhariwal police station in the district, whose husband Pargat Sigh and son Ranjit Singh were killed in broad daylight on the Dadwan road, Dhariwal, in October last year has sent complaints to the Director-General of Police, Human Rights Commission, Chief Minister and SSP, Gurdaspur, regarding the alleged efforts of the police to exonerate the main culprit. Pargat Singh died on the spot and his son Ranjit Singh, succumbed to his injuries at Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, Amritsar, after a week of the physical assault.

Ms Nirmal Kaur talking to The Tribune today said that Gian Singh and his son Hardev Singh and Nardev Singh in an altercation with the deceased murdered them in broad daylight. Mr Bachittar Singh SHO, Dhariwal, conducted a preliminary investigation in which Hardev Singh, one of the accused, confessed having assaulted the deceased with a lathi. The lathi with blood stains on it has been recovered by the police. The accused also confessed that the other two accused were also along with him at the time of the attack.

Ms Nirmal Kaur said subsequently Mr Jagdeep Singh Hundal, DSP, Headquarters, held an inquiry which was, she alleged, fake because she was not asked to give any statement in this regard. Moreover, the other eye witnesses were also not called to give any statement. However, the DSP took the statement of the sister of Hardev Singh and kept him in Khana No. 2. meaning thereby that Hardev Singh was not present at the time of the double murder.

Meanwhile, Ms Nirmal Kaur moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court in this connection appealing to the court to restrain the police from exonerating Hardev Singh. The court has directed the district police to report the case before May 17 after conducting proper investigations. Ms Nirmal Kaur has demanded a CBI inquiry into the matter.


Underweighing charges’ against mill
Surinder Bhardwaj

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 6
A fraud worth crores of rupees by owners of the Nahar Sugarmill by way of underweighing, while purchasing sugarcane from farmers has been detected by farmers themselves.

In an inquiry conducted into the alleged allegations, the district administration had also confirmed the allegations levelled by the farmers against the mill owners. The ADC(D) in his inquiry report has mentioned that the mill owners used to fleece farmers of the area to the tune of Rs 2 lakh daily for a long time by altering the weighbridge (dharm kanta) of the mill. Mr Harcharn Singh of Dittu Pur Jattan village, a farmer detected the alleged cheating. He launched a campaign against the faulty weighbridge of the mill and within a short span, all farmers, who used to supply sugarcane to the mill, joined the issue and launched an agitation. Allegedly succumbing to the pressure, the mill-owners reached a compromise with the farmers and decided to pay Rs 400 per trolley to them.

According to information available, Mr Harcharn Singh had complained to the Deputy Commissioner that the weighbridge of Nahar Sugar Mill Amloh weighed less than the real weight.

On this complaint, the Deputy Commissioner marked an inquiry to the ADC(D). After the inquiry, the ADC(D) recommended strict action against the mill-owners as they were found guilty of cheating the farmers. He has mentioned in his report that the mill-owners had given him in writing that they had already decided to pay Rs 400 per trolley to farmers. He has mentioned that if the mill-owners were not at fault, why did they make a compromise with the farmers and decided to make payment of Rs 400 per trolley to them. He has written that the day he visited the mill along with the Inspector (weight and measures) the weighbridge was found faulty.

When contacted, the mill-owner Mr A.K. Sharma, General Manager, refuted all allegations levelled against the mill. He said they had never made any compromise with the farmers to pay Rs 400 per trolley. He said the farmers are in the habit of complaining and their weighbridge is perfectly in order and even the cane commissioner, officials of the weight and Measure Department and even ADC (D) had checked it and found it in order.

Mr Vikas Paratap, DC, said that he had received the inquiry report of the ADC(D) and he had confirmed the allegations levelled by the farmers. He said that he had sent the case to District Attorney for legal opinion and action would be taken accordingly.


Govt party to riots: Shabana
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 6
It was stony faced noted filmstar-turned social activist and Rajya Sabha member Shabana Azmi which sought to voice the alienation of the minority community in India under the BJP-led NDA regime at the Centre, particularly that of the Muslims, in the aftermath of the communal conflagration in Gujarat that has already claimed about 500 lives.

Talking to reporters after delivering a lecture in memory of late Satpal Mittal on the ‘Empowerment of Women’, here today, Shabana Azmi could not help betraying her hurt feelings and emotions. To a specific question that did she feel that the minorities, particularly the Muslims, were being discriminated against by the NDA government, she retorted, “is there anybody who thinks otherwise”.

However, she had a word of caution for the Muslims as well. While being critical of the fundamentalist Muslim clergy, she suggested, “this is high time for the Muslims in India to draw a line between the fundamentalists and the moderates... and differentiate what Koran teaches and what they (the fundamentalists) preach in actual terms”.

Referring to the Gujarat riots, Shabana Azmi alleged that there seemed to be connivance of the Gujarat Government in the “naked dance of death and bloodbath” in the aftermath of the burning of about 60 kar sevaks at Godhra railway station. She alleged that even the police was not only indifferent but also hostile towards the victims while the rioters were on a killing spree. She disclosed that when she asked a police officer what was happening, he told her, “this is the expression of popular sentiment”.

Demanding the dismissal of the BJP government led by Mr Narinder Modi in Gujarat and ban on the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bajrang Dal, she observed, these steps were necessary to restore the confidence of minorities in the rule of law and the Constitution of the country. She pointed out that Mr Modi had said on record that the people of Gujarat had exercised restraint despite provocation. “What did he want to convey?”, she asked, while claiming that there was a pattern in the horror unleashed in Gujarat. She said there was a lot of similarity between what happened in Gujarat this time and what happened in Mumbai after the demolition of Babri Masjid. “It was a replay of the Mumbai horror”, she said.

Regarding the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya, she said dialogue and compromise had to be the ultimate solution. She welcomed the dialogue being initiated on the issue and said a compromise between the two communities was the only solution. She, however, criticised the NDA-led government at the centre for encouraging the VHP to carry out its communal campaign. However, she was all praise for the people of Gujarat who, she said, had not voted for the BJP despite all provocations and communal prompting.


Justice Narang inspects jail, courts

Gurdaspur, March 6
Mr Justice J.S. Narang, of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today visited Gurdaspur , Batala and Pathankot for annual inspection of judicial courts, there to oversee administration of justice. He also inspected the Central jail, Gurdaspur to know conditions in which, convicts and undertrial prisoners lived there.

Mr Justice Narang also paid surprise visit to the Civil Hospital, Gurdaspur to oversee arrangements for the health of jail inmates and general patients. He heard the problems of jails inmates and directed the authorities concerned to redress the same.

Mr Justice Narang desired that there should be a separate ward in the hospital for jail inmates due to security reasons and for better treatment to jail inmates. Mr Justice Narang also held a meeting with the senior medical officers of the district for this purpose. He discussed with the district administration the construction of a building for judicial complexes and residential accommodation for judicial officers in the district.


CITU rallies against Budget on March 14
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 6
The Centre of Indian Trade Union (CITU) will hold rallies in all districts in the state on March 14 to protest against Union Budget's proposals which it criticised as anti-people.

This was stated by Mr Satpal Bharti, state vice-president, CITU at a rally of the members of labour union of the local NFL plant. He said that most of the Budget proposals were against the interests of the people particularly the salaried class. He added that the government withdraw a few proposals.

Mr Bharti added that the proposal to abolish 12,000 vacancies in different departments would render jobless. He said that other proposals like reduction in the rate of interest of provident fund, decrease in the rebate of Income Tax from 20 per cent to 10 per cent for those employees investing earning in small savings, proposal the winding up of units employing less then 1000 workers were against the interests of employees and labour.

He alleged that the RSS was behind such decisions as the Central Government was working at the behest of the Hindu outfit.


PSHRC moved on minor’s marriage
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 6
Aged 13, perhaps she did not know the meaning of marriage when she was reportedly married by her parents in the first week of February this year to a 35-year-old man, despite opposition from her grandfather.

The minor girl was a resident of Ratoke village before her marriage at Badbar village, near Dhanaula, in Sangrur district. In a complaint to the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) by her grandfather, Mr Darshan Singh, it has been alleged that by having sex with the minor, the husband had committed rape.

Talking to The Tribune here today, Mr Jatinder Singh Gill, counsel for Mr Darshan Singh (grandfather), who has also filed a complaint relating to this incident in a local court, besides approaching the PSHRC, commented that as per the complaint of Mr Darshan Singh to the PSHRC, this was not only a case of a minor girl’s marriage but also a case of rape as sexual intercourse with a girl under the age of 15 years, with or without her consent, amounted to rape as per the provisions of the law.


Hijack case hearing on March 26

Patiala, March 6
A designated court here today completed the cross-examination of prime witness Devi Saran, chief pilot of the hijacked airbus belonging to the Indian Airlines, and adjourned the hijacking case till March 26.

District and Sessions Judge S.N. Aggarwal, who is conducting the hearing in the case, ordered immediate medical examination of complainant Abdul Latif, one of the prime accused in the IC 814 hijacking case, at a local hospital.

Latif had moved an application in the designated court alleging that the jail authorities had beaten him up at the local Central Jail.

The court also ordered the jail authorities to submit the medical report of Latif by tomorrow.

An Indian Airlines IC 814 Boeing was hijacked on December 24, 1999, while on flight from Kathmandu to New Delhi and taken to Kandhar in Afghanistan. PTI


Fire in abandoned textile mill
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 6
Although no major loss to human life or property was caused by a fire that broke out in a textile factory on the outskirts of city on the Dabwali road, closed for several years, but the incident has highlighted traffic problem in the city due to which the fire tender could not reach the site of fire in time.

The members of the Fire Brigade who faced difficulty into reach up the spot due to traffic jam on the Bathinda-Goniana road felt that had the textile mill not been abandoned the fire could have been devastating before they could reach there.

The Goniana-Bathinda road which is four-lane has been converted to two-lane at places for repair going on a for the past many months. Traffic gets jammed frequently near the roundabouts situated on the road.

As the textile mill was abandoned for years only some trees situated in the compound were damaged by the fire. The fire which reportedly broke out due to short-circuit engulfed the greenbelt inside the mill.

The fire tender could not enter the premises of the mill as the entrance was closed reportedly by the court orders. The fire fighters made a hole in the wall to get to the spot where fire had broken out. After sometime the fire was extinguished.


Urdu poet Mehzoom dead

Moga, March 6
Harnam Singh Mehzoom, an eminent Urdu poet of Punjab, died here yesterday after a brief illness following a paralytic attack. He was 98.

Mehzoom was the founder member of “Anjmane Taraqui-e-Urdu” set up here about 40 years ago.

The Anjamne Taraqui-e-Urdu at its condolence meeting last evening paid tributes to Mehzoom and observed two minutes’ silence. PTI


Panel on Bluestar memorial set up
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
The President of the SGPC, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, has constituted an 11-member committee with regard to the setting up of a memorial to those killed in Operation Bluestar. The committee will submit its report within two months after discussing the issue with the Sikh high priests and others concerned.

Among the members of the committee are Mr Alwinder Singh Pakhoke, senior vice-president of the SGPC, Ms Kiranjit Kaur, general secretary of the SGPC, Mr Mohinder Singh Romana and Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur.


S.K. Sharma promoted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
The Punjab Government today ordered the promotion of Mr Satish Kumar Sharma, an IPS officer of the 1983 batch, to the rank of Inspector-General of Police.


2 arrested for taking away car
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 6
The police has arrested Baljinder Singh and Manjit Singh of Faridkot district and recovered a Maruti car, a.12 bore pistol, three cartridges, fake number plates, a fake registration certificate and Rs 157 from them. The car was taken away by the two persons at gunpoint near Channo village on the Sangrur-Patiala road on March 1 last, according to a press note today.


Women robbed of Rs 87,000
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, March 6
Two motorcycle-borne persons snatched Rs 87,000 from two women today and sped away. It was learnt that Ms Malkiat Kaur and her daughter Surinder Kaur of the Santokhpura locality had drawn the amount from the G.T. road branch of PNB. A case has been registered.


2 get 10-yr RI for raping minor
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, March 6
Mr Jagroop Singh Mahal, Additional Sessions Judge, today convicted Pappu Singh, Gian Singh and his wife Jit Kaur of Channa Sher Singh Wala village falling under Sultanpur Lodhi police station under Sections 363, 366, 376 and 109 of the Indian Panel Code for kidnapping and raping a minor, Ranjit Kaur (13) of their village. She was allegedly gang raped by Pappu Singh and Gian Singh because of the refusal of her father to marry her with Pappu Singh.

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