Tuesday, March 12, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Pressure on trust chiefs to quit
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 11
Chairmen of various improvement trusts across Punjab are understood to be resisting pressure by the new Congress government in the state, asking them to resign. They are reportedly contemplating to take recourse to legal aid.

It is reliably learnt that officials of the Directorate of Local Bodies in Chandigarh have been regularly calling up trust chairmen at various places, including Patiala, Ludhiana and Amritsar, asking them to resign. Although there are no clear guidelines in the Punjab Town Improvement Act, 1922, yet the government can remove them under Sections 5 or 10 of the Act.

In fact, the Act does not provide specific guidelines as to when a chairman can be removed, leaving it to the discretion of the state government. Given the ambiguous nature of the interpretation of Sections 5 and 10 of the Act, there is probability that the incumbent government may twist these in their favour. However, some chairmen are learnt to have decided to move the court in case they are removed arbitrarily.

While improvement trusts have been set up in most of the towns of Ludhiana, only four trusts of Ludhiana, Patiala, Jalandhar and Amritsar hold importance, given the nature of work and the amount of the annual budget of these trusts. The Ludhiana Improvement Trust is chaired by Mr M. M. Vyas. Although appointed by the outgoing Akali-BJP government against the BJP quota, he remains politically anonymous.

The chairman of the Improvement Trust, Jalandhar, Mr Sarabjit Makkar, has already resigned as he contested the elections. The Patiala Improvement Trust is headed by Jathedar Manmohan Singh Bajaj, while Mr Baxi Ram Arora heads the Improvement Trust, Amritsar. All these chairmen are reportedly in contact with one another and have decided to hold on to their posts, despite pressure from the government.

While earlier the term of the chairmen was two years, the Badal government extended it to four years. Since most of these appointments are political, they usually cannot escape the impact of any change of guard. However, appointees of the previous government feel that in case they are removed, they will make it a political issue.

On the other hand, Congress leaders keen on getting various plum posts have already set their eyes on these “vacancies”, which they feel are likely to be created in the near future. In the end it may prove to be a politico-legal battle. It is learnt that the government as well as the Opposition are examining various legal aspects of the issue.

New PPCB chief likely
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
The Chairman of the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), Mr A.K. Mahajan, will be sent back to his parent department soon.

An indication to this effect was available here today at the government level.


PSEB mess: what officials failed to mention
Sarabjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
The Punjab Government will not replace Mr Sudhir Mittal, a bureaucrat, as Chairman of the Punjab State Electricity Board for the time being. The government wants to initiate major reforms in the board and is of the view that Mr Mittal will be the “right person” to handle all this, according to a top functionary of the government.

Earlier, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had stated that a technocrat would be appointed to head the board, which is facing bankruptcy. However, new members of the board will be appointed soon to replace those who have completed their terms.

The officials concerned of the PSEB and the Finance Department had briefed the Council of Ministers last week on the board’s financial health. The government was urged to withdraw the facility of free power to farmers and also put a stop to other freebies to “save”the board.

It was also stated that the cash deficit of the board in 2001-02 was Rs 738 crore and it would touch Rs 3,000 crore by the end of fiscal 2006. Reasons like the withdrawal of budgetary support and the meagre revision of power tariff in the past five years were also cited for the board’s failing financial health. In fact, the bureaucrats put the entire blame on the previous government for the financial collapse of the board.

However, the officers concerned failed to mention rampant corruption, inefficiency, incompetence and theft of power worth several hundred crores of rupees among the reasons for the downslide. It is true that free power to the farm sector has hit the board. But it is not the main reason for the mess that the board is in at present.

In fact, free power to the farm sector has become a favourite whipping boy in the hands of the officers concerned to hide their on failures pertaining to the managing of the board’s affairs efficiently, says a former Administrative Member of the board.

Transmission losses, including theft of power, touch 40 per cent every year in the peak season (June to September). Even on normal days, such losses vary between 18 to 27 per cent. As unmetered power is supplied to the farm sector, it is easy for the board to credit most of the transmission losses and theft of power to this sector. This game has been played for the past several years, according to a retired Chief Engineer of the PSEB.

The theft of power at industrial centres in the state is one of the major reasons for the board’s downfall. But to check such theft is not an easy task as big industrial houses are involved in this exercise. They have tremendous political clout because they finance the elections of politicians.

Junior-level officials of the PSEB can’t take action against them. Theft of power is resorted to with the connivance of PSEB officials at certain places. The new government, like the previous one, will be under a lot of pressure from such officials to get themselves posted at the main industrial centres with the sole aim of minting money.

There is rampant corruption in the board. A lot of money is made during the purchase of equipment and undertaking of construction work. There is need to set up an independent commission of inquiry to probe the affairs of the board, including big purchases, in the past one decade or so, says a senior retired engineer of the board.

The PSEB has been operating thermal plants for the past three years. It has skilled workers, including foremen, on its rolls to undertake repairs. Despite this, most of the repair work is done by contractors at thermal plants of the board. Why? This is the question which should be asked from the board authorities. In fact, the board should be asked by the Punjab Government to submit a detailed account of the payments made to contractors in the past one decade for carrying out repair work at the Ropar, Bathinda and Lehra Mohabbat thermal plants.


Chinks in Panthic Morcha
Mann calls emergency meeting
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 11
Amid allegations and counter-allegations for the humiliating defeat of Panthic Morcha candidates during the recently held Assembly election, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), has convened an emergency meeting of the working committee and district jathedars at Gurdwara Akal Garh, Ludhiana, on March 14.

After his release from the Ghaziabad jail, Mr Mann told TNS on the phone that the meeting would fix responsibility for the defeat of Panthic Morcha candidates. Most candidates of his party lost their security deposits.

Without mincing words, Mr Mann accused Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, for “hobnobbing” with the Shiromani Akali Dal, led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal before the Assembly elections. Such developments had harmed the prospects of the Panthic Morcha candidates, he alleged the last-ditch efforts by Mr Tohra on forging unity just before the Assembly elections had sent the wrong signals to the voters.

Mr Mann indicated that his party may take drastic measures as per the aspirations of the Sikh masses during its emergency meeting.

With this development, the Panthic Morcha is unlikely to emerge as a single party (by Baisakhi) under one leader and one flag as announced by leaders of various Akali factions, Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi, Convener, could not be contacted for comments.

According to sources, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) is keen on contesting the forthcoming elections of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.

Interestingly, Mr Tohra has reiterated the need for complete Panthic unity to defeat ‘anti-Panthic’ forces, however, he has criticised Mr Parkash Singh Badal for not accepting the conditions of the Panthic Morcha for unity.

Mr Mann said his party would launch another ‘peace march’ against the construction of Ram Temple on the disputed land. He, however, said his party was in favour of constructing the temple, but not at the disputed land.

He said his party was determined to send a jatha to Pakistan to pay obeisance at Sikh shrines there. The members of the jatha would act like ambassadors of peace. In case of war between India and Pakistan, Punjab would become a battle-field.

Mr Mann held Mr Badal responsible for Punjab losing the SYL case in the Supreme Court. He said his party would not let complete of the SYL at any cost.


Another major reshuffle in police
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
The Punjab police will have yet another Director-General of Police, an Additional Director-General of Police and two more Deputy Inspectors-General as the second major administrative reshuffle within a week involving 86 officers of the rank of Superintendent of Police and above was ordered today.

On March 4, the government had ordered the transfer and posting of 64 police officers. So within a week, 150 officers of the rank of Superintendent of Police and above have been given new postings.

Since Mr Sarabjit Singh has proceeded on leave, the government has ordered the promotion of Mr S.V. Singh as Director-General of Police and posted him as DGP-cum-Chief Director, Vigilance Bureau, here.

Against the vacancy caused by his promotion, the government also ordered the promotion of Mr Rajdeep Singh Gill as Additional Director-General of Police and posted him as ADGP, PAP, Jalandhar, in place of Mr S.S. Virk, who has been brought back and posted as ADGP, Security, to relieve Mr A.P. Bhatnagar of the additional charge.

The government has also given current duty charge of Deputy Inspector-General of Police to two seniormost Superintendents of Police, Mr Sanjiv Kalra and Mr M.S. Randhawa.

The following transfers and postings were ordered today:

Director-General of Police

Mr S.V.Singh, on promotion, becomes DGP-cum-Chief Director, Vigilance Bureau.

Additional Director-General of Police

Mr S.S. Virk will be the ADGP, Security, while Mr R.S. Gill, on promotion, becomes ADGP, PAP, Jalandhar.

Inspectors-General of Police

Mr Jyoti Trehan becomes IGP, Training, PAP, Jalandhar.

Deputy Inspectors-General of Police

Mr Narinder Sharma will be the new DIG, Border Range, while Mr Sanjiv Kalra will be DIG, Administration. Mr M.S. Randhawa has been posted as DIG, Intelligence.

Superintendents of Police/ Assistant Inspector-General of Police

Mr Parampal Singh — Commandant, 9th Bn, PAP, Amritsar; Dr Sharad Satya Chauhan — SP, Special Investigation; Mr Gaurav Yadav — AIG, Personnel; Mr Kultar Singh — Commandant , 82nd Bn, PAP; Dr Jatinder Jain — Commandant, 5th Bn IRB, Amritsar; Mr Harnek Singh, SP, Punjab Police Control Room; Mr Paramjit Singh Grewal — SP, Vigilance Bureau, Patiala; Mr Lok Nath — SP, JIC, Jalandhar; Mr Harinderpal Singh Kang — Assistant Commandant, 9th Bn, PAP, Amritsar;Mr Nirmal Singh Dhillon — Commandant, 4th CDO, SASNagar; Mr Rajinder Kumar Sharda — Commandant, 80th Bn, PAP, Jalandhar; Mr R.L. Monga — SP, Hq, Patiala; Mr Kanwarjit Singh — Commandant, 3rd IRB, Ludhiana; Mr Harjap Singh — SP,

Operations, Fatehgarh Sahib; Mr Surinderpal Singh — Commandant, 27th Bn, PAP, Jalandhar; Mr Jatinder Singh Aulakh — AIG, Welfare and Litigation; Mr Tulsi Ram — Commandant, 75th Bn, PAP, Jalandhar; Mr Hardyal Singh Mann — SP, SC &Weaker Section Crime Cell; Mr Sukhdev Singh — SP, Counter Intelligence, Amritsar; Mr Yurinder Singh — SP, CID, Ludhiana; Mr Shiv Kumar — SP, Detective, Ludhiana; Mr Sukhmohinder Singh — SP, City, Ludhiana;Mr Major Singh Dhillon — -SP, City, Patiala; Mr Pritpal Singh Virk — SP, Detective, Patiala; Mr Gautam Cheema — CM Security; Mr S.K. Asthana — SP, Special Bureau, Intelligence;Mr Rajesh Kumar Jaiswal — SP, Hq, Gurdaspur; Mr Kuldip Singh — CMSecurity; Mr Amrik Singh — SP, Operations, Majitha; Mr P.K. Uppal — SP, Hq, Nawanshahr; Mr Darshan Singh — SP, Detective, Hoshiarpur; Mr L.K. Yadav — SP, Hq, Bathinda; Mr Arun Pal Singh — SP, Hq, Kapurthala; Mr H.P Singh — SP, Detective, Nawanshahr; Mr Kishore Chand — SP, Hq, Muktsar; Mr Jarnail Singh — SP, Detective, Faridkot; Mr Narjinder Singh — SP, Detective, Barnala; Mr Lakhwinder Singh — SP, Detective, Mansa; Mr Mohinder Singh — SP, Detective, Fatehgarh Sahib; Mr Gurmit Singh — SP, Hq, Ropar; Mr Surinder Paul Singh Parmar — SP, Detective, Ropar; Mr Jaskaran Singh — SP, EOW, Vigilance Bureau; Mr Ishwar Chander — SP, Vigilance Bureau, Jalandhar; Mr R.P. Mittal — SP, SBZonal, Jalandhar; Mr Gursewak Singh Toor — SP, Hq, Moga; Mr Hardeep Singh — SP, Operations, Bathinda; Mr Kapil Dev — CMSecurity; Mr Amar Singh Chahal — SP, City, Jalandhar; Mr Ram Singh — Commandant, 3rd CDO, SASNagar; Mr A.K. Mittal — AIG, Provisioning; Mr Ramji Lal — Assistant Commandant, 7th Bn, PAP, Jalandhar; Mr Gurpreet Singh Gill — AIG, Armament; Mr Harjinder Singh — SP, Hq, Batala; Mr Surjit Singh — SP, Detective, Gurdaspur; Mr Vijay Sharma — SP, Hq, Faridkot; Mr Parmod Ban — SP, Hq, Ludhiana; Mr Harbhajan Singh — SP, FSIVB; Mr Baljinder Singh Grewal — SP, Vigilance Bureau, Bathinda; Mr Kuldip Singh — SP, Litigation; Mr Mohd Faiyas Farooqi — CMSecurity; Mr Harchand Singh — SP, Crime Wing; Mr Naunihal Singh— SP, City, Ludhiana; Mr Gursharan Singh Sandhu — Dy Director, Outdoor, PPA, Phillaur; Mr Gurdial Singh — SP, Traffic, Ludhiana; Mr Kuldip Singh — SP, City,

Amritsar-I; Mr Surinder Kumar Kalia — SP, City-II, Amritsar; Mr Gurdip Singh — Commandant, CDO Training Centre, Bahadurgarh; Mr Iqbal Singh — Commandant , 2nd Bn, IRB, Ladda Kothi; Mr Makhan Singh — Assistant Commandant, 27th Bn, PAP, Jalandhar; Shammi — SP, Hq, Jalandhar;Mr Jagdish Singh Kahlon — SP, Hq, Ferozepore; Mr Kewal Kumar — Assistant Commandant, Ist IRB, Patiala; Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhatti — SP, GRP, Jalandhar;Mr Dharam Singh — -Assistant Commandant, 3rd IRB, Ludhiana; Mr Surinder Paul Singh — Assistant Commandant, 13th Bn, PAP; Mr Gurkirpal Singh — Assistant Commandant, 2nd CDO, Bahadurgarh; Mr Rupinder Singh Bhullar — SP, Security; Mr Paramdeep Singh — Assistant Commandant, 3rd IRB, Ludhiana; and Mr Jaspal Singh — SP, Investigations, Lok Pal.


SGPC opposes parallel panel in Haryana
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 11
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee has taken serious view of the proposed move to form a separate gurdwara committee to manage the affairs of gurdwaras falling in the neighbouring state of Haryana. In a joint press statement, SGPC Senior Vice-President Arwinder Pal Singh Pakhoke, General Secretary Bibi Kiranjot Kaur and members Sukhwinder Singh Chobhal have described the move as anti-Sikh and anti-Constitution.

In a press statement here today, they said it was after a lot of effort and sacrifices made by the Sikh community that the SGPC was formed under the Sikh Gurdwara Act 1925. All historical gurdwaras in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Chandigarh came under the purview of the SGPC. In view of this, the demand for a separate gurdwara committee was both shocking and uncalled for.

It may be mentioned here that many Sikh leaders, including SGPC members from Haryana have formed an ad hoc committee for preparing a draft of the proposed Haryana Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (HGPC), which would manage 51 historical gurdwaras in the state. Members of the ad hoc committee alleged that the SGPC was not spending the required amount on gurdwaras in Haryana, when it made huge collections in the shape of offerings every year from these.


SAD gears up for SGPC poll
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 11
A meeting of SAD leaders and workers of the Sirhind Assembly segment was held at Sirhind today to review the causes of the defeat of the party in the elections and to gear up the party cadre for the coming SGPC elections.

Addressing the meeting, leaders lashed out at senior party leaders for the defeat. They alleged that a powerful group of SAD leaders and activists worked against party candidate. The gathering passed a resolution demanding the removal of such leaders and workers from the party.

Mr Didar Singh Bhatti, SAD candidate from Sirhind, said the party lost the seat by a narrow margin. He said a conspiracy was hatched to defeat him. He said he had brought the matter in the notice of Mr Parkash Singh Badal. He urged the workers to secure maximum number of votes for the SGPC elections.

Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhatti, president, Youth Akali Dal, said there was a need to identify the black sheep in the party. He said workers of the Youth Akali Dal had prepared a list of SAD leaders and workers who worked for the Congress.

Mr Rajesh Pal Singh Lalli, a senior Akali leader, Mr Bhagwant Singh, president, MC, Bassi Pathana, Mr Ashok Sood, president, MC, Sirhind, spoke on the occasion, among others.


Cong ‘tampering’ with gurdwara voters’ lists
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
The Political Affairs Committee (PAC) of the Shiromani Akali Dal today alleged that the Congress government, in connivance with so-called Panthic leaders, was tampering with gurdwara voters’ lists.

The meeting, held with Mr Parkash Singh Badal in the chair, warned the Congress not to interfere in the religious matters of the Sikhs. It also cautioned the Sikhs against the Congress designs to enable those Panthic parties and leaders that had been rejected by the voters in the recently held Vidhan Sabha elections to ‘’capture’’ gurdwaras.

The meeting decided to thwart all attempts of the Congress to “usurp” power in the SGPC by misusing official machinery.

The PAC is reported to have discussed the election strategy for the SGPC poll.


Dusty roads pose health risk to residents
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Dust raised by thousands of vehicles that ply daily on the main and interior roads criss-crossing the city had been telling on the health of a large number of residents.

As a result, a major section of people are suffering from various respiratory and eye ailments.

Even as the city boasts of having the biggest cantonment of Asia, a big fertiliser plant and a thermal plant, the bad state of roads and tonnes of dust over these paint a poor picture of the city on the one hand and pose a great danger to its residents on the other hand. The repeated claims of authorities concerned that funds are being pumped for the upkeep and sanitation of the roads are yet to materialise.

The Bathinda-Goniana road passing through the middle of the city and carrying largest volume of vehicular traffic has become one of the dirtiest roads over the years.

The level of one side of this road near the Ganesha Basti area is higher from that of the other side by about three feet. The lower side has become an open tank for storing stinking water, which comes from the sewerage system.

Interestingly, the damaged portion of the road has not been repaired while some other portions, which were in good condition, have been given a thick coat of premix carpeting. Not only this, a number of streetlights installed on the road do not function at all.

In addition, portions of the road which has been repaired, have not been re-carpeted to its full width and about six to seven feet are left on both sides, which accumulate dust.

Shopkeepers having business establishments along either side of the road pointed out that every day many accidents were prevented due to sheer good luck of motorists. They alleged that officers were not aware of problems faced by common man.

Mr Sudarshan Kaushal, a workshop owner at the Zila Parishad market on the Bathinda-Goniana road of the city, pointed out that two-wheeler riders often skid off the road due to thick layer of dust on either side of the road.

The dust raised by speeding vehicles in being inhaled by people and it also gest into their eyes thus making them prone to various eye and respiratory problems.

Apart from this pot-holed roads have become major cause of accident, which have been claiming a number of lives for the past many months.

A major section of those, who ply two-wheelers, are landing into private clinics for backbone defects, which they suffer due to jerks.

Interestingly, not only the Bathinda-Goniana road but the side portions of the Bathinda-Barnala, Bathinda-Dabwali, Bathinda-Barnala roads 100-feet road and the Powerhouse road have more than six to seven feet of thick dust on both sides.

Even the Mall road is not free from dust. Repeated digging up of roads is accentuating the problem.

Mr Shiv Kumar Mittal, Executive Officer, Municipal Council, said the Improvement Trust authorities had purchased a high powered vacuum machine but the council did not use the same. He claimed that all roads built by the council were in good shape.

Admitting that the Bathinda-Goniana road was in bad shape, he said being a national highway it did not fall under the jurisdiction of the municipal council.


Amarinder’s birthday a simple affair
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 11
Flowers dominated the show at the simple birthday celebrations of Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh today which lacked any trappings associated with royalty except for the royal setting of his residence — New Moti Bagh Palace — and consisted mainly of interaction with the general public, dignitaries and a family lunch.

People flocked New Moti Bagh Palace from the morning when word spread out about the Chief Minister’s birthday. Though elaborate arrangements had been made for the celebrations, they were observed in a low-key manner with the public being allowed into the residence of the Chief Minister.

Following this, Captain Amarinder came out to accept the greetings of the people.

The Chief Minister’s wife, Ms Preneet Kaur, who is also an MP from Patiala, also received the wishes of the people on behalf of the Chief Minister. The Chief Minister spent around half an hour with the public before going inside his residence to meet the dignitaries, including his brother-in-law and senior Congress leader Natwar Singh.

Ministers in Capt Amarinder’s Cabinet, including Choudhary Jagjit Singh, Mr Lal Singh and Mr Sardool Singh besides Speaker Kewal Krishan and former MP Sant Ram Singla besides others, were present to greet the Chief Minister besides senior civil and police officials, including Deputy Commissioner Tejvir Singh, District Police chief Paramraj Singh Umranangal and DIG Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota.

Most of the visitors offered flowers to the Chief Minister which were accepted readily. A few who had got gifts wrapped in fancy paper besides those who had got even a ring for the Chief Minister saw him ignoring these politely. He interacted with the ministers, senior party leaders as well as officers, after which he retired for a family lunch which was strictly a private affair.

While some people who had come to the Chief Minister’s residence expecting a big ceremony were a little disappointed, others were touched by the simplicity of the entire affair. District Congress leaders more than made up for this by distributing pastries and sweets at various places in the city.

Banners were also put up at various places in the city to felicitate the Chief Minister. Congress leaders distributed sweets at Anardana chowk in the old city to mark the occasion.


Man loses foot in mine blast
Tribune Reporters

Gurdaspur, March 11
Onkar Singh of Dugri village on the Indo-Pak border under the Dorangala police station in the district lost his left foot today when he stepped on a landmine laid by the Army. He was rushed to the Civil Hospital where doctors referred him to Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, Amritsar.

This is the third landmine blast in the district since the concentration of the Army on the border. Earlier, two jawans were killed in the Dera Baba Nanak sector and a civilian lost his leg in the Narot Jaimal Singh area in similar blasts.

In another accident, Ravinder Singh of Khehra Kotli village under the Kalanaur police station was killed when the tractor he was driving overturned.

FEROZEPORE: A powerful mine exploded in the fields of Kishore Singh Wala village 100 metres inside the fencing, on Sunday. However, no casualty has been reported.

The BSF authorities admitted that there was a fault in the line (power supply system) that resulted in the explosion.

Local people said the explosion was so powerful that the dust particles and smoke went as high as 50 metres in the sky. Earlier, more than 50 mines have exploded in the nearby areas of Gatti Masta, Chak Bhangewala, Maboke and Pojoke during the past eight weeks.


They yearn for basic facilities
Jaswinder Paul Singh

Lehri (Talwandi Sabo)
For 25 families residing in government-constructed houses on the outskirts of this village nothing has changed for the past more than two decades as these are still deprived of basic facilities like electricity, potable water, sanitation and education.

Of the 76 houses here, popularly known as Indira Colony, only 25 are occupied while the rest are abandoned by their occupants due to being in bad shape.

Such colonies were constructed throughout the state to provide a better life to members of weaker sections, including the Scheduled Castes, but the condition of the dwellings tell the opposite story.

Mr Bhajan Singh, who shifted to the colony about 20 years ago, said only three houses in the colony were getting power supply.

He resented his decision to leave the village and settle here.

The worst affected are the children in the colony, who have been “deprived” of education although there is a senior secondary school in the village.

Though the parents want to educate their children, yet they are not willing to send them to the village school stating that it is far away from their dwelling. They said if there was a school in the colony, they would certainly enrol their children there.

The most educated person in the colony is a matriculate, Mr Jarnail Singh, who works as a salesman at a wine shop.

He wants to shift to his village so that his children can get education.

A majority of the residents say the only reason they are living in the colony is because they do not have any other place to go to. They say a room measuring 18 ft by 11 ft without a toilet and a drainage system, cannot be called a house.

They said the condition of the dwellings was deteriorating with each passing year.


Villagers protest against SHO’s high-handedness
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, March 11
Residents of Pallian Khurd village and adjoining villages gathered here at the local Civil Hospital today to protest against the alleged highhandedness of the SHO, Rahon, Mr Ranjit Singh, in dealing with the death case of a woman, Jasvir Kaur of the same village.

The irate villagers alleged that the SHO tried to fabricate the case as death due to consumption of poison despite the fact that both the in-laws and parents of the deceased had raised no doubts regarding the death, yet the SHO got the “fabricated” statement signed by the father of the deceased, Mr Atma Singh, and took the body to the Civil Hospital for getting a post-mortem examination conducted.

The villagers added that the SHO also manhandled the mother of the deceased and other relatives while taking the body to the hospital.

The irated villagers were calmed down by the DSP, Mr Navjot Singh, who listened to the complaints and assured the villagers that an inquiry would be held into the alleged highhandedness of the SHO.

The SHO, when contacted, said he had received an anonymous telephone call raising doubts about the death of Jasvir Kaur. He denied allegation of manhandling being levelled against him by the villagers.


Dang for white paper on funds’ misuse
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 11
Demanding a white paper on the misuse of funds by the government under Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Mr Satya Pal Dang, CPI leader has alleged that a spineless bureaucracy is responsible for such action. In a letter to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Mr Dang alleged that votebank politics was being played by bypassing all financial discipline and administrative propriety by violating law and the Constitution. The Mandi Board had given huge loans illegally.


Nayyar rues religion’s misuse, given Bhai Nand Lal Award
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, March 11
Lashing out at the BJP-led Central and Gujarat Government journalist and Member of Parliament Kuldip Nayyar said politicians in power were misusing religion to spread communalism in the country. He was addressing a gathering at a function organised by the Bhai Mardana Memorial Kirtan Darbar Society here yesterday.

He appealed to the people of the country no to misinterpret the quotes from religious books for vested interests. One should learn to spread the message of peace, love and fraternity among the people. It was shame on part of the Gujarat Government that such incidents had defamed the nation. We should have learnt a lesson from the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

“I am very sorry to say that the criminals have a big say in politics nowadays. Eighteen years have passed and none of the criminal responsible for the 1984 riots has been punished,” he said.

He appealed to the Pakistan and Indian governments to reduce the growing tension along the border on both sides by initialing mutual dialogues. He criticised the decision of the Union Home Ministry for not allowing the Ragi jathas from Pakistan to arrive at Ferozepore to attend the kirtan darbar organised by the Bhai Mardana Memorial Kirtan Darbar Society. He said the issue would be raised in Parliament to expose the anti-Pakistan designs of the NDA government.

He asked the Pakistan President and the Indian Prime Minister to withdraw Army from the forward posts along the Zero Line of the border and push them back by at least 5 km to reduce the tension.

The society presented Bhai Nand Lal award to Nayyar. He also announced a financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh to the society for charitable purposes.

Earlier, the society organised the marriage of 26 couples from the economically backward sections of society. The president of the society, Mr Harpal Singh Bhullar, also announced an aid of Rs 10,000 to each couple.


Human rights panel disposes of complaint
Our Correspondent

Kharar, March 11
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission disposed of a complaint filed by the president of Arya Kanya Vidyalaya Kharar and observed that the complaint does not call for any further action. A copy of the order of the commission was received here today.

Mr Sohan Lal, the complainant, had written that some unruly elements had been interfering in the working of the school and this was brought to the notice of the local police but it took no action. The commission took cognisance of the complaint vide order dated 22.9.2000 and directed the District Magistrate, Ropar, to inquire into the allegations and submit the report.

The District Magistrate sent his communication dated January 3, 2001, to the commission wherein it was mentioned that he got the complaint looked into through the SDM Kharar who reported that with regard to the management of Arya Kanya Vidyalaya Kharar a dispute was going on between two rival factions.

According to the inquiry report, the allegations levelled in the complaint were baseless and these had been levelled out of strained relations between the two groups. The SSP, Ropar, also corroborated the viewpoint of the SDM, Kharar.

The commission has written in its order that from the conduct of the complainant it could be inferred that he does not want to produce any affidavit of the school staff and it was quite possible that the school staff might not be agreeable in giving its affidavit as desired by the complainant. The commission has accepted the version of the SDM, Kharar, and has held that the complaint was motivated and was the result of faction fighting between two rival groups who are trying to gain control over the management of the school.



PCMSA seeks dissolution of Medical Council
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 11
The Punjab Civil Medical Services Association (PCMSA) today urged the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and state Health Minister R.C. Dogra to dissolve the Punjab Medical Council (PMC) which was constituted “unconstitutionally” by the previous SAD-BJP government just a few days before the issuance of notification for the Assembly elections.

Stating this here today, Dr Surinder Singla, state General Secretary of the PCMSA, claimed that the Badal government had violated Section 5 of the Punjab Medical Council Act by nominating nine members.

The government could nominate only five members out of a total of 11 members to the council. The remaining should be elected from among the doctors registered with the council, he said.

He also alleged that the constitution of the council just before the issuance of notification for the elections by the Badal government also indicated that it had been formed with a “malafide intention” as the government had ignored the “justified” written objections of the IMA and the PCMSA with regard to the formation of the council.

Dr Singla demanded the new government to review the formation of the council and also sought its dissolution.

He said a delegation of the PCMSA under the leadership of Dr Hardeep Singh, state President of the association, would soon meet the Chief Minister and the Health Minister in this regard.

He said the government should forego its nomination quota for five members.

By making the council a fully elected body, there would be no need to have a separate Private Nursing Home Registration Act or other Acts to regulate the functioning of private hospitals and nursing home, he added.


Akali MLA alleges police harassment
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 11
Mr Vir Singh Lopoke, Akali MLA, alleging harassment by Congress members in the area and a “biased” attitude of the police threatened to gherao Rajasansi police station on March 14.

He said at a press conference today that he would raise the question of police harassment in the next Assembly session. He said, Congress workers had fired at a Sarpanch of Ladeh village and injured him. A labourer, Jagga, had lost his eyes in the attack which happened after voting on February 13.

Seven persons were booked but three are still at large, Mr Lopoke alleged.

In another case Sukhdev Singh, Sarpanch of Padri village, owing allegiance to the Akalis was under illegal custody of the police at Rajasansi. He was picked up two days ago. The MLA alleged that the SHO had not only tried to harass Akali workers, but was also biased and had often threatened to file false cases against them.


Tension grips area over cows' death
Tribune News Service

Mehraj (Bathinda), March 11
Even as tension gripped this village following the detection of bodies of cows on the premises of a gaushala the police arrested the Mahant Makhan Singh and director of cow shelter Babu Singh for allegedly causing the deaths due to starvation.

Mr Ishwar Singh, district police chief, when contacted, said a case would be registered against Mahant Makhan Singh and the director of gaushala after the statements of the villagers were recorded.

Villagers said they had given money to Mahant Makhan Singh for arranging the fodder and other things for the cows kept in shelter but he spent the money on the dera building. They alleged that some of the cows, which were yielding milk, were sold off while those which stopped giving milk, were thrown out of the shelter.

They further alleged that the mahant used to bury the cows following their death due to starvation on the premises of the cow shelter to avoid questioning.

Tension gripped the village today when residents came to know about this from someone who was working in the gaushala.

The agitating residents demanded that Mahant Makhan Singh and director Babu Singh should be arrested immediately.


Dispensaries sans doctors: villagers
Our Correspondent

Moga, March 11
A large number of hospitals and dispensaries in this district are without doctors and other medical staff for the past several months.

Villagers told reporters here yesterday that though the government had opened health centres and hospitals in their villages in the district, it had failed to provide medicines to the patients. Medicines supplied by the Health Department were allegedly sold in the market and the patients were asked to bring their own medicines.


Minister assures smooth procurement
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 11
Special arrangements for smooth procurement during the coming season have been made in Punjab to avoid harassment of the farmers. Dr Harbans Lal, Minister of State for Food and Civil Supplies, said this while addressing the meeting of procurement agencies and district officers at Bachant Bhavan, here today.

He said in this district the procurement is expected to be 2.92 lakh MT against 2.66 lakh MT of last year. He directed all agencies to ensure the required stock of gunny bags before wheat arrival. The minister instructed the agencies to depute the dedicated and honest staff in the grain markets. He held a meeting with market committee officers and Block Development and Panchayat Officers for the development in villages and towns of the district.

Mr Vikas Partap, Deputy Commissioner, in his address, directed the officials of procurement agencies and market committees to complete all arrangements in this regard. He directed the District Food Supply Controller and SDMs to identify the required number of places for the storage of wheat. He asked them to ensure the stock of wooden crates required for the storage along with gunny bags. He directed the SDMs to supervise the arrangements. He said daily meetings would be held with procurement agencies during procurement days to sort out their day-to-day problems.

On this occasion, Ms Avtar Kaur Aujla, a resident of Raipur Majri village in Khamano subdivision, was honoured by the minister on being elected as a councillor of Brampton city in Canada. She is the first South Asian woman who has been elected as councillor.


Negligence of duty: DC to take legal action
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 11
Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, has said that legal action will be taken against the officials who will be found absent from duties during raids.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Verma said 68 government officials, including Deputy Medical Commissioner, Executive Engineers, Sub-Divisional Engineers, District Mandi Officer and Assistant Mandi Officer, were found absent during the raids conducted by teams led by Mr Darshan Singh Grewal, ADC (General), Mr D.P.S. Kharbanda, ADC (Development), Mr Sukhwinder Singh, SDM and Mr Kamal Garg, Assistant Commissioner.

He added that in the Civil Hospital, two doctors and 13 employees were found absent, in the market committee office, 37 employees, in municipal council building, an Inspector, three clerks and three peons, and in the Public Health Department 18 employees were found absent.

The raids would continue and it would be looked into that employees solve the problems of people on priority.


One arrested for carrying opium
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 11
The district police has arrested 18 persons for various offences and seized 100 gm of opium, 40 kg of poppy husk, 55 kg of lahan and 15 litres of illicit liquor.

The SSP said in a press note here today that Shamsher Ali of Hanumangarh in Rajasthan was arrested for possessing 100 gm of opium and a case under Sections 18, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act has been registered against him. Gurcharan Singh of Bhagta Bhai Ka was arrested under Section 15 of the Act as he was in the possession of 40 kg of poppy husk.

An illegal distillery was unearthed and Sukhpal Singh and Hardeep Singh arrested under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act in this regard. Manoj Kumar, Kulvir Singh and Bachiter Singh were arrested for possessing illicit liquor and lahan.

Under the prevention of gambling Act, five persons were arrested under different cases. Six persons were arrested for stealing a scooter which was recovered by the police.


Minor girl abducted
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, March 11
A teenaged girl (14) was abducted by a youth of the same village, The youth works as a farm labourer with the brother of the girl.

Police sources said here today that a case under Section 363, 366, 34 of the IPC had been registered against youth Dharminder Singh, his mother Bansi and sister Ninder Kaur all residents of Dao Bath village under the sadar police station.

The youth worked as farm labour with the brother of the abducted girl. The police is looking for the girl and the accused. The brother of the girl alleged that his sister had been abducted to marry her to Dharminder Singh with the connivance of his mother Bansi and sister Ninder Kaur.


MCA students demand approval of course
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 11
Students of the masters in computer application (MCA) course at the local DAV College today wore black badges, boycotted classes and held a demonstration in front of the office of the Principal to press the authorities concerned to get the course, which has been running without any approval, recognised by the All-India Council of Technical Education (AICTE).

The students alleged that the authorities of the college had failed to get the college approved by the AICTE, the apex body in the country to approve technical courses. They further alleged that the Punjabi University authorities had been misleading them by claiming that the MCA degrees awarded by the university did not come under the purview of the council.

Girl students said on the condition of anonymity that the AICTE had given a public notice in the recent past and had warned the students not to seek admissions here and some other colleges and private institutes of the state. The AICTE notice had stated clearly that the MCA or any other technical degree that was not approved by the council would not qualify the holder for a job. She alleged that due to the war of words between the university and the council the fate of the students was hanging in balance.

Source in the college said though the Punjabi University authorities would award degrees to the students who pass the MCA exams from the college and a few other private colleges of the state, but interestingly even the university itself had asked these colleges and institutes to seek approval from the AICTE. The application for the same had been sent, he said.

Mr B. Kapila, acting principal of the college, when contacted admitted that the college was yet to get the approval of the council for MCA course. He said there was no question of a degree awarded by the university being declared invalid. He claimed that not even a single college affiliated to Punjabi University was approved by the AICTE to run MCA course.


Mathematics paper cancelled at 11 centres
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, March 11
The Punjab School Education Board has cancelled the mathematics paper of matriculation and plus two examinations at 11 centres in the state due to complaints of mass copying. The date and the place for re-examination in such cases will be informed later.

In Ludhiana district, the mathematics examination for matriculations as well as plus two has been cancelled at three centres.

These are: BMG Senior Secondary School (block-1), Raikot-3; BMG Senior Secondary School (block-2), Raikot-4; and Government Girls High School, Raikot-5.

The other centres where the maths paper for the plus two examination has been cancelled are: Government Senior Secondary School, Ghuman Kalan; Government Senior Secondary School, Majha Singh; and Milan Memorial Senior Secondary School, Dhaliwal, in Gurdaspur district and Government Senior Secondary School (Boys), Tanda Urmur, in Hoshiarpur district.

The centres where the matriculation examination for maths has been cancelled are Government High School, Shakur, and Government High School, Forozshah in Ferozepore district, Government Senior Secondary School, Saron, in Sangrur district and Government Senior Secondary School, Binjal, Patiala district.

Owing to administrative reasons the board has cancelled the examination papers for Music (Vocal) and now is sending a new set of question papers bearing the same code (111).

However, the examination for the subject will be conducted in accordance with the datesheet.


Staff on exam duty removed
Our Correspondent

Ropar, March 11
Following complaints of mass copying, the Punjab School Education Board authorities have removed the entire staff posted on examination duty at the local Government College centre.

Reliable sources said even the Principal of the college had been removed from the duty of controller of the examination centre and the authorities had taken into custody all question papers lying with him. Plus two examination of the board is being held at the centre.

The Principal didn’t allow a lecturer from the Government College, Nangal, to join duty at the centre. After this incident, the latter complained to the authorities about the alleged mass copying at the centre.


SC Judge to address college function
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, March 11
Dr Balwinder Singh, Principal of the Sri Guru Anged Dev Colllege, Khadoor Sahib, said here today that Mr Justice Ashok Bhan, a Judge of the Supreme Court, would be the chief guest of the college annual prize distribution and the convocation function to be organised on March 16.

The students who had passed B.A. and B.Sc would be given degrees on the occasion. The college is run under the guidance of Baba Sewa Singh of kar seva, Khadoor Sahib.

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