Friday, March 22, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Cong-CPI, SAD step up campaign
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Malout, March 21
Even as the poll campaigning for this Assembly segment has been picking up every day in view of the poll approaching near, the Congress-CPI leadership and SAD rank and file have been leaving nothing to chance to secure victory for their respective candidates.

After the Punjab Chief Minister and President, Punjab Pradesh Congrress Committee (PPCC), Capt Amarinder Singh held a Congress-CPI workers’ meeting here a few days ago, the convener, Congress Parliamentary Group, Punjab, and MP, Mr Jagmeet Brar, who has been made in charge of the election, has started holding corner meetings and rallies in villages to step up the campaign.

On the other hand, apart from a former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former union minister, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, and former Punjab Science and Technology Minister, Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, have been taking a keen interest in the electioneering. Mr Sukhbir Badal has been managing the campaign in about 12 villages falling in this segment apart from addressing two rallies in this city daily. Mr Garg campaign is confined to city only.

This assembly segment is considered as a safe seat for the Congress as in the previous eight Assembly elections, the Congress won it four times while Akalis won twice and the CPI, UCPI once each. Mr Nathu Ram, the CPI-Congress alliance candidate, is facing Ms Mukhtiar Kaur, widow of late minister and sitting MLA, Sujan Singh among the main contenders. The Election Commission adjourned the election for this seat after the death of then SAD candidate, Sujan Singh, during electioneering.

Mr Brar, who addressed three well-attended meetings today at Bhagsar, Shekhu and Virka villages asked the people to get prepared to stop any use of money and muscle power by the Akalis in the elections. He added that an opportunity had come when the people could vote for development and a rule which was free from police atrocities.

While appreciating the action of the Punjab Government in ordering repatriation of three IAS officers to their parent cadre, Mr Brar said Capt Amarinder Singh had given a strong signal that his government would not allow anybody to enjoy privileges due to his or her political connections.

He added that he had met the Union Agriculture Minister, Mr Ajit Singh, and Union Finance Minister, Mr Yashwant Sinha, to urge them to announce the minimum support price (MSP) of wheat at the earliest. He said the MPs of Punjab would keep up pressure on the Central Government to do the needful if its agencies failed to carry out the procurement of wheat in a proper manner. The MPs would monitor the procurement of wheat by visiting the grain markets themselves.

He point out that the Congress always stood for a clean and corruption free government and this was what the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh had done in the first police and administrative reshuffle. The Congress was contesting the election on two main issues — development and a responsive and corruption-free rule.

On the other hand, Mr Garg alleged that the Congress government would not be able to fulfil the promises made by it on the eve of general Assembly elections with the people. He claimed that the previous SAD-BJP government of Punjab had created a history by becoming the first government in the country which implemented its poll manifesto totally.


Five candidates left in fray in Malout
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
Five candidates are left in the fray in the Malout assembly constituency, polling in which will be held on April 4, it was announced here today.

According to Mrs Usha R. Sharma, Additional Chief Electoral Officer, Punjab, the candidates left in the contest, after the withdrawal of nominations, are Mr Gurcharan Singh (Bahujan Samaj Party), Mr Nathu Ram (CPI), Mrs Mukhtiar Kaur (Shiromani Akali Dal), Mr Chunni Lal and Mr Dhakkar Singh (both Independents.)


New MLAs take oath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
The pro-tem Speaker, Dr Kewal Krishan, today administered the oath of affirmation to the newly elected MLAs of the 12th Punjab Vidhan Sabha here today.

While the Leader of the House and Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, was the first to take the oath inside the House, the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, took the oath in the chamber of the Speaker, who later offered him refreshments.

All elected members, except two, took the oath today. The two are expected to do so tomorrow.

Capt Amarinder Singh, who entered the House shortly before 9 a.m., was seen going around greeting members and shaking hands with the Vidhan Sabha staff.

The oath was administered first to the members of the Council of Ministers and the Parliamentary Secretaries. They were followed by seven women members.

There are eight elected women members, including Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, who followed Capt Amarinder Singh to the Speaker’s rostrum to take the oath.

The members took oath in English, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu. The Treasury and Opposition Benches thumped desks depending upon whose name was called out by the Secretary, Mr Nachhatar Singh Mavi.

The House wore a “new look” in the sense that after a long time — nearly 10 years — one saw the Opposition Benches occupied in strength.

The partywise position is as follows: SAD — 41; BJP — 3; CPI — 1; Independents — 9; Congress — 62. The House has a strength of 117. The poll was “adjourned” in Malout due to the death of the SAD candidate, Mr Sujan Singh. It will be held on April 4 now.

As per the list of business for tomorrow, the House will assemble at 9 a.m. The Speaker will be formally elected. Thereafter, the Governor, Lt-Gen. J.F.R. Jacob (retd) will deliver his Address. In the afternoon session only obituary references will be made.

The Vote-on-Account is to be presented on Monday along with the White Paper on the, financial situation of the state.


VC gets bail in another case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
After holding that the allegations regarding the misuse of authority were not a valid ground for denying the concession of pre-arrest bail to Punjabi University Vice Chancellor, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, in an attempt to murder case, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed that the petitioner shall be released on bail in the even of his arrest on his furnishing personal bonds of Rs 10,000 along with a surety of a like amount.

Pronouncing the orders, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Mr Justice M.M. Kumar also directed that an officer not below the level of Inspector-General would supervise the investigation. The Judges added that the petitioner would appear before the IG (Patiala Range) from March 24 till March 27 and extend full corporation. If the petitioner was required after March 27, the IG would inform the petitioner, the Judges ruled.

Seeking the quashing of the FIR registered on March 5 at Patiala Sadar police station under Sections 323, 341, 307, 148, 149, 506 and 120-B IPC on the complaint of Dr Harvinder Singh Bhatti, the VC had contended that he had no grievance against the alleged victim. Moreover, he had nothing to gain from the alleged attack.


Authorities indicted for breach in dyke
Our Correspondent

Ropar, March 21
The magisterial inquiry into the causes of the breach in the Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant (GGSSTP) ash dyke has indicted the thermal plant authorities for the incident.

The report of the inquiry which was conducted by the SDM, Ropar Mr Daljit Singh, on the basis of the report published in The Tribune regarding the breach in the dyke was submitted to the Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Ms Seema Jain, yesterday.

In his report the SDM has alleged that the breach in the southern dyke of the thermal plant occurred on January 21. The thermal plant authorities took about 10 days to plug the breach and in the process allowed tonnes of ash to flow into the Sutlej.

They also did not inform the district administration about the breach. Had they done so the administration would have helped them in the early plugging of the breach.

He has said the phase three of thermal dyke expansion was to be completed in 1994. However, the work had been delayed inordinately. Due to it the authorities kept depositing the ash in phase two dykes filling them beyond their capacity.

The authorities spend about Rs 8.70 lakh on the repairs of the old dykes. However, the survey of the dyke did not reveal any major repair carried out in the recent past. The dykes had been weakened due to errosion in their earthen bundhs. Moreover, the growth of trees on the bundhs might also have weakened them further, the SDM has alleged in his report.

The inquiry report has alleged that the GGSSTP authorities have not made any arrangement for the regular monitoring of the dyke structures. Due to the lack of monitoring, the untreated ash flows into Sutlej through the Ghansuli drain, adversely affecting the flora and fauna in the Ropar wetland and the health of the people who drinks water of the Sutlej. The health and the wildlife authorities should be directed to conduct an inquiry into hazardous effects of ash on the human being and ecology, the report suggests.

The SDM has also raised a question mark on the place where the thermal plant authorities are constructing new dyke. The new dyke which was to be completed in 1994, is being constructed very close to the banks of the Sutlej, in the wetland area. If unfortunately it breaches the entire ash will flow into the river and there will be very little time to control the damage.

It is worth mentioning here that the thermal plant authorities have already spent crores on the construction of the dykes and strangely the Pollution Control Board authorities have also given the no-objection certificate to its construction.

The Deputy Commissioner had also visited the area from where the ash of the thermal plant dykes was flowing into the Sutlej. She assured the members of the district environment committee that she would take up the matter with the Chairman of the Punjab Pollution Control Board.


Vegetable scam at mental hospital?
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 21
Ever bought lemons at Rs 10 per quintal and garlic at Rs 5 per quintal.

This may sound strange but it is true in case of the mental hospital here. The tenders, which were passed by the purchase committee, comprising representatives of the Deputy Commissioner, Civil Surgeon, Food and Supply Controller and Chief Agriculture Officer, speaks volumes about the modus operandi of the vegetable contractors. The practice has been going on unchecked for the past 10 years with the alleged connivance of the official concerned.

The tender passed by the mental hospital under which the dietary items worth Rs 40 lakh per year were supplied for about 400 inmates every year could surprise anybody. The rates quoted are “ladoo” (10 paisa each), cauliflower (Rs 20 per quintal), peas (Rs 20 per quintal), bringal (Rs 20 quintal), ginger (Rs 5 per quintal), pepper (Rs 145 per quintal), etc.

Dr B.L. Goel, Director, mental hospital, when contacted admitted that the perishable or non-perishable items could not be supplied on such rates. He also admitted that he was astonished to know the incredible rates quoted by the contractors in the sealed tender. Though Dr Goel too put his signature on the tender passed by purchase committee but he claimed that the process for floating tenders was initiated much earlier to his joining as Director of the institute.

Mr Ravinder Kumar Sultanwind, president, All-India Youth Association, sought a high-level probe into the “vegetable scam”. He said the humam rights commission should send its team to have on the spot information regarding the kind of vegetables were given to the inmates of the mental hospital. He said nobody could supply vegetables at such low rates.

Interestingly, the hospital has imposed a 25 per cent cut on the rates passed by the purchase committee.

Dr Goel, however, claimed that after his joining as Director on January 1, 2001, he had placed two employees, including the Medical Superintendent, under suspension for committing a number of irregularities at the hospital. He further claimed that though the rates of various dietary items quoted by the contractors were incredible even then he had forced him to supply the same to the hospital. He alleged that the contractor used to get his tender approved in the past with connivance of the staff. He said his predecessors had sent the rates to the secretary, marketing committee, instead of sending the same to PUNSUP. The tenders were passed to December 18, 2000, while he had joined in January, 2001.

Interestingly, the terms and conditions of the tenders floated by the mental hospital for inviting bids from the vegetable suppliers reads, “The best quality of articles will be accepted.” However, one wonders whether garlic, ginger or green chilly could be supplied at the rate of 5 per quintal each?


ADGP: need for new marriage laws
Tribune News Service

A lady member of a 50-strong British Police delegation
A lady member of a 50-strong British Police delegation coming out of the Golden Temple after paying homage in Amritsar on Thursday. — PTI photo

Chandigarh, March 21
Need for fresh legislation on marriages involving persons of different nationalities and setting up of common centres, both in the UK and India, to tackle the problems related to “fake and forced international marriages” were stressed by Dr G.S. Aujla, Additional Director-General of Police-cum-Director of the Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur.

Delivering the keynote address at the Indo-British Police Conference in New Delhi yesterday, Dr Aujla said that the second and third generation of Indians living in the Western world were facing matrimonial problems due to conflicting cultural pressures.

“They, in fact, live under tremendous stress, both outside their homes in coping with the Western world and inside home in the coexistence of three cultures — that of grandparents, parents and siblings.

“It is because of this cultural conflict that the problem of ‘arranged’ or ‘forced marriage’ crops up. As per the findings of a recent study, as many as 1000 British Asian women every year are forced into marriage”. British Home Secretary Angela Eagle and the Foreign Secretary had announced in November last year that their offices helped more than 200 men and women to tackle forced marriages in one year.

“Connected with this are the problems of sham marriages, fraudulent marriages and serial marriages. Many Punjabi youth fall prey to agents or those in the business of ‘serial marriages’ to enter fraudulently the UK and other western countries,” said Dr Aujla maintaining that there was an urgent need for initiating public awareness programmes in Punjab with the active assistance of Western democracies. Similar efforts had to be made in the Western nations where the involvement of non-government organisations should be welcomed.

Police officers of the Western democracies need to be sensitised about the Indian perspective on marriages, especially the phenomenon of “arranged” and “forced” marriages. “There is also need to identify nodal offices to tackle the problems of sham and forced marriages,” he added.

The conference, the second module of which will be held at the Phillaur academy from tomorrow, has attracted police officers from 16 police forces of Great Britain. Among the participants are a Chief Constable, a Deputy Chief Constable and several Superintendents of Police from there, said Dr Aujla, who is the convener of the second module.

The Director-General of Punjab police, Mr M.S. Bhullar, and other senior officers of the Punjab police will also participate in the second module.


Parties prepare for Khatkar conferences
Our Correspondent

The annual shradhanjali samaroh will be organised at Khatkar Kalan, native village of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, on March 23.

Mr Ashok Kumar Gupta, Deputy Commissioner, and Dr Naresh Kumar, SSP, along with other officials have visited the venue to review the arrangements for the function. Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, his Cabinet colleagues and other senior Congress leaders will visit the village to pay tributes to the martyrs, Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev, and address a political conference on the occasion.

The newly elected Congress MLAs, Mr Parkash Singh (Nawanshahr) and Mr Tarlochan Singh Sund (Banga), and other party leaders are mobilising Congress workers for the conference.

The split in the local unit of the SAD into two factions — one led by a former MLA and expelled district president, Mr Jatinder Singh Kariha, and the other by Mr Resham Singh Thiara, party nominee in the recent assembly elections, is likely to have an adverse effect on the conference of the SAD.

Mr Thiara organised a meeting of SAD workers at the local Gurdwara Singh Sabha, which was attended by Mr Sarwan Singh Phillaur, former Welfare Minister, Mr Mohinder Singh Hussainpur and others, to draw up a plan to make the SAD conference at Khatkar Kalan a success. Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, MP, along with other senior party leaders will address the conference. The Kariha faction kept away from the meeting. It may organise a separate conference. The Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, the SAD (Amritsar), the Panthic Morcha, the Lok Bhalai Party, the CPI, the CPM and other parties are also scheduled to organise their conferences.

Residents of Khatkar Kalan and the adjoining villages have criticised the ‘‘politicisation’’ of the function. They say that the shaheedi mela has been reduced to a ‘‘sarkari tamasha’’ over the years. The Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh Memorial Manch president, Mr Harbhajan Singh Karnana, says the shaheedi mela organised on March 23 every year has been ‘‘monopolised’’ by political parties and certain professional cultural groups.

He says the manch has submitted memoranda to the President, the Prime Minister, the Chief Minister and leaders of various political parties to take concrete steps to propagate the philosophy of the great martyrs among the younger generation. The manch has also urged the Centre to install a portrait of Shaheed Bhagat Singh in Parliament House. Besides, it has demanded that the Punjab Government should rename Nawanshahr Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar and set up a Bhagat Singh Chair at Panjab University. 


PSEB Administrative Member to be bureaucrat
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 21
Unlike the past, the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) is not likely to have any political figure posted as Administrative Member of the board with the government deciding in principle to appoint a bureaucrat to the post.

The post of Administrative Member had been politicised for long with Akali leader Baldev Singh Mann holding the post for the most of the Akali-BJP rule. Before that also governments had gone in for appointing political personalities to the post with senior Congress leader Jagmeet Singh Brar besides Surinderpal Singh Mann and Harbhajan Singh Deol holding the post.

Though there is hectic lobbying in political circles for the coveted post which allows the incumbent vast powers to do postings and transfers of the nearly one lakh employees of the board, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, seems to be taking a different view from his predecessors in the matter. There is a general thinking in the party high command that the post should be depoliticised so that the new Administrative Member could function as part of a team under the board Chairman instead of becoming a rival centre of power.

There is also a thinking in the top circles that the board needs to the streamlined and taken out of the red. The government has taken an internal assessment done by the PSEB very seriously and feels that it is an uphill task to get the board back on the rails with revenue collections likely to be around Rs 4,936 crore against an expenditure of Rs 6,814 crore leaving a deficit of Rs 1,878 crore.

Sources said the board was also in a precarious condition with financial institution loans rising up to Rs 5,000 crore, including working capital loans of Rs 750 crore. They said in a situation when the board was being forced to raise additional loans of Rs 500 crore to meet the cash deficit, there was a thinking that the boat should not be rocked by going in for a political personality as Administrative Member as he would have own axe to grind. There are also reports that the entire posting and transfer system has been wrecked due to the functioning in the past with rules being thrown to the wind in favour of political considerations. There is a feeling that having the right men for the right jobs would play an important role in the revival of the board.

The sources said due to these considerations a bureaucrat was being appointed as Administrative Member of the board. The matter had been discussed with the board Chairman, Mr Sudhir Mittal, who has also been retained even though there was a demand from the Engineers Association of the board to appoint a technocrat as Chairman as well as Administrative Member.

A number of political personalities were in the running for the post of Administrative Member, including two from here — District Congress (Urban) President Ved Prakash Gupta and city leader K.K. Sharma. 


Tohra’s remarks evoke criticism
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 21
Lashing out at Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President of the SHSAD, for toeing the Congress line, Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, SGPC President, said Mr Tohra should rename his party as Congress Sarb Hind Akali Dal.

In a vitriolic statement here today, the SGPC chief said instead of appearing to be the ally of the Congress, the SHSAD should openly join the Congress. He said when Mr Tohra was the SGPC President, he always opposed voting rights to Sehajdharis.


Border villages sans facilities
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Kishore Singh Wala (Ferozepore), March 21
The standard of living of people in this sleepy border village has improved considerably during the past two decades but a lot is still needed to be done.

This remote village on the Indo-Pak border was accorded the status of a panchayat during the last panchayat elections by the SAD-BJP government. Ms Mahinder Kaur was elected as the first sarpanch of the village. There was no link road to the village when she took over the affairs of the village, now there is a 10-feet-wide metalled road leading to the village with cemented drains. A modern building housing a panchayat ghar is almost ready. A new cremation ground for this village has been constructed with brick wall around it.

She says that this village lacks a school and bus service. The primary school is at a distance of about 1 km from the village at Kalu Arayian village. Although a minibus comes to Kalu Arayian village but the service is not punctual. The local people of both villages have to travel 4 km to Pojoke village from where the bus service is regular for the nearest city of Ferozepore.

“The distance of 1 km hardly matters but most important is to motivate parents to send their children to school. Less than half of the children’s population of the village is going to school for basic education. The Social Welfare Department should come forward in the remote villages of the border areas and motivate people to get basic education,” says Ms Mahinder Kaur.

The family of the sarpanch is the biggest land-holders of the village. It had offered its own land for the construction of more than 1 km stretch of the road and the Panchayat Ghar. The village panchayat do not have its own property and much of the needs are met by grants. Ms Mahinder Kaur has filed an application before the Deputy Commissioner of Ferozepore to give them a share of the panchayat land of the nearby Chak Bhange Wala (Gatti) village. The landholdings of this village were earlier part of their village. But so far, the local administration has not initiated the process of dividing land between the two villages.

The population of the village is dominated by the Rai community. The sarpanch’s family and a couple of other families are the only Jat Sikh families of the village. The landholdings among the Rai’s in the village are very marginal.

Like this village, all villages of the border area in the Ferozepore sector have improved considerably as far as the living standards are concerned but much more is needed to be done on the education front and social and financial uplift of the poor.


Another sacrilege in Kurali
Our Correspondent

Kharar, March 21
In another act of sacrilege, a holy scripture was allegedly put on fire by some miscreants in Sotal Baba village situated on a link road diverting from National Highway-21 near Kurali here last night. A team of media persons from here visited the village today.

Mr Manjeet Singh Gill, member of the gram panchayat of the village, told reporters that the incident occurred between 7.30 p.m. and 8 p.m. last night. The kar seva at the place of worship in the village was going on and Mr Jaspal Singh, who was looking after the kar seva, left the place at 7.30 p.m. for taking a bath.

He said his nephew, Mr Satnam Singh, came there at about 8 p.m. and saw smoke coming out of a room.

On hearing this, many people assembled at the site and the door of the room was opened. Mr Jaspal Singh said some pages of holy book were badly burnt.

Mr G.S. Bhullar, SSP, Ropar, reached the spot at about 9.30 p.m. last night and remained there till 12 noon today. Mr Gill said the population of the village was about 2,000 and it was a very peaceful village. Ms Satwant Kaur, M.L.A. of the area, also visited the spot.

Such incidents of sacrilege, including two in Gharuan village were reported in this area last year also. Mr Bhullar, while talking to The Tribune, said the police was working on two theories. It was investigating whether it was an act of sabotage by some anti-social elements.

He said the fire could also have occurred due to short-circuiting as flickering lights were put up in front of the holy book. He said the police had called forensic and other experts to reach a conclusion.

A case had been registered at Morinda police station and some followers of Baba Bhaniarewala had also been rounded up for investigation.


Civic body chief’s offices ransacked
Tribune News Service

Rampuraphul, March 21
Mr Sunil Bitta, municipal councillor (MC) and group leader of MCs belonging to the BJP, today ransacked the offices of Executive Officer (EO) and President, Mr Charanjit Singh Jatana, when he came to know that Mr Jatana had completed the proceedings of the monthly meeting within few minutes in the absence of the group of MCs led by him.

After breaking some of the windows and tearing apart the curtains, Mr Bitta, along with other five municipal councillors, put a note in the proceedings register and rejected all business done by the House in today’s meeting and in the previous meeting.

Mr Bitta, while talking to TNS, alleged that only four MCs were present in the office of Mr Jatana at 10 a.m. — the official time for starting the meeting. He added that Mr Jatana secured the signatures of three other absent MCs from their homes before the meeting was started apart from the four present in his office, in the attendance register. When he, along with the other five MCs, went to his office, Mr Jatana told them that the meeting was over though the proceedings register was blank as the meeting was not held.

He said he, along with the other five MCs, managed to put down a note in the proceedings register and all this happened in the presence of Mr Karnail Singh, Tehsildar, who was made observer by the Subdivisional Magistrate, Rampuraphul.

He alleged that he came to know that Mr Jatana had secured fake signatures of a woman municipal councillor and added that he and Mr Suresh Bahia, former President, had lodged a formal complaint in this connection with the Subdivisional Magistrate. A demand for a probe into the matter had also been made.

Mr Karnail Singh observer, when contacted, said he went to the office of Mr Jatana at 10.10 a.m and as he entered into the room, he was told by Mr Jatana that the meeting had already been held despite the fact that only one municipal councillor, Mr Gurtej Singh Rana, was sitting in his office. He added that after some time other municipal councillors came and noted down their objections in the proceedings register. He said that he had reported all happenings in his report to be submitted to the SDM.

Mr Jatana, while condemning the ransacking of the offices of the EO and President by Mr Bitta, denied the allegation that signatures from three MCs were secured on the attendance register from their homes. He added that Mr Bitta and five other MCs came at about 10.30 a.m. and by that time the meeting was over. He added that even then these MCs were allowed to put their notes in the proceedings register. He said that anybody who had secured fake signatures of any MC was liable for criminal proceedings.

He said that a resolution in connection with the engaging of a lawyer in Supreme Court for contesting a case pertaining to cess on cotton and creation of post of an employee in the local municipal council were passed unanimously by the seven MCs who were present at the meeting.


Batala road in disrepair for years
Our Correspondent

Batala, March 21
The road from Khajuri Gate to Sekhri Niwas has been in a dilapidated condition for the past many years.

It is full of potholes, almost large enough to drown a man during the rainy season. The streetlights on the road have also not been working.

When any vehicle passes through the road, a mini duststorm is seen, causing inconvenience to passersby.

Residents of the area have been crying for recarpeting of this road, but to no avail.

It is surprising that this main arterial road of Batala has been bypassed in favour of many unimportant roads with hardly any traffic. This road connects seven schools, three colleges, four colonies and seven mohallas of this town.


SHO suspended on scribe’s complaint
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, March 21
Inspector Chain Singh, Station House Officer of city police station Batala, was placed under suspension today for demanding petrol for his vehicle from a press correspondent of the Hind Samachar group of publications and UNI.

The press reporters of Batala had taken out a procession in this regard yesterday demanding action against the official concerned.

The reporters also threatened to gherao the chief of Batala police if action was not taken against the official.


Medical team visits ultrasound centres
Our Correspondent

Patiala, March 21
Under the directions of the Civil Surgeon, Dr Inderjit Kaur Walia, a team comprising Dr Sarbrinder Kaur and Dr Navdeep Kaur of the Indian Medical Association, Mrs Sureet Inder Kaur and Mrs Rupinder Kaur, from NGOs, visited several ultrasound centres in Nabha, including Sharda Nursing Home, Rawlley Ultrasound Centre, J.P. Nursing Home, Geetu Nursing Home and Dhanetha Nursing Home, to ascertain that the centers were working as per the PNDT Act 1994.

The Civil Surgeon’s office informed that the visiting team was satisfied with the working of the ultrasound centres and that all of these were following guidelines laid under the PNDT Act 1994. It was also informed that the staff of all centres cooperated with the visiting team. The owners of the centres were also told about the legal consequences of carrying out sex determination tests.


Panel ‘should check’ ultrasound centres
Our Correspondent

Barnala, March 21
The Advisory Committee, Barnala, of the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Technique (PNDT) Act, 1994, unanimously resolved that the supervisory committee under the PNDT Act must check all registered ultrasound centres in the region.

The committee held a meeting under the chairmanship of Dr R.C. Garg, president of the Punjab IMA, at the local Civil Hospital on March 18. 


Cong govt to ‘revive’ economy
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, March 21
Chaudhary Santokh Singh, Minister for Social Security and Welfare, while talking to mediapersons here today said the Congress government was committed to bringing the economy of the state on right track and to provide transparent and responsive administration with a view to fulfil the hopes and aspirations of people. The previous SAD-BJP government had created a fiscal mess in the state and burdened the state under huge debt but the Amarinder government would strive hard to fulfil all its pre-poll promises, he said.


Cyclist killed in accident
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 21
A cyclist was killed today when he was hit by a private bus near Gillpatti village. He was taken to the local Civil Hospital where he was declared brought dead. Satpal (60), who had received injuries on March 18 when he was hit by a speeding vehicle near the Nirankari Bhavan died at a hospital in Ludhiana today.

His post-mortem was held at the local Civil Hospital and body handed to his family members later.


Tailor falls into nullah, dies
Our Correspondent

Samrala, March 21
Pappu Khattran, a tailor, fell into a nullah in front of his shop on the Machhiwara road here today and died on the spot.

Pappu belonged to Khattran village, near here. He was rushed to the local civil hospital where he was declared dead by the doctors.


MC budget passed
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 21
The Municipal Council Sirhind-Fatehgarh Sahib, passed its annual budget of Rs 4.21 crore unanimously in a special meeting held here today.

All 28 municipal councillors attended the meeting. The meeting was called on the directions of the Deputy Director, Local Bodies. The budget was earlier passed in a meeting, but some of the councillors had complained against the procedure adopted by the president to get the budget passed. The Deputy Director, Local Bodies, on their complaint did not approve the budget and directed the president to get it passed in a special meeting.

The MC president belongs to the SAD-BJP combine. After the induction of Dr Harbans Lal, Congress MLA, in the Ministry, the Congress Councillors raised a banner of revolt against the president and had been organising meetings to bring a no-confidence motion against the president. But the president managed to get the budget passed. He snubbed those who tried to disturb the meeting.

While talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Mr Ashok Sood, president of the council, claimed the meeting passed the resolution unanimously as the council had done a commendable work during the last year. He said the entire town had been given a facelift and concrete roads had been constructed. He claimed that keeping in mind the development done during his tenure the members passed the budget unanimously. Few members tried to disturb the meeting but the majority silenced their voice. He said development work would continue in the town and new projects would be started in all wards irrespective of any party affiliations. He urged the members to cooperate in the development of the town.

Giving details of the budget, he said the expected income for the revenue year 2002-2003 was Rs 437.55 lakh. Out of this Rs 166.50 lakh would be spent on establishment, Rs 15.50 lakh on contingency expenses and Rs 239.50 lakh on development works and Rs 15.85 would be surplus, he said.


Sandhu takes over as board Secy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
Mr Mandeep Singh Sandhu has taken over as Secretary, Punjab State Agricultural Marketing Board in place of Mr Phulwant Singh Sidhu.

Mr Sandhu is an IAS officer of the 1984 batch. He has served in various important departments like Transport, Rural Development and Panchayats and as Director, Treasury and Accounts, Punjab.


M.L. Sharma is OSD
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
Mr Mohan Lal Sharma has been appointed Officer on Special Duty to the Punjab Finance and Food Minister, Mr Lal Singh, it was officially stated here today.


FCI officers’ conference
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
Mr V.K. Singh, Senior Regional Manager, Food Corporation of India, Punjab, will inaugurate the first regional conference of the FCI Officers Association on March 23 at Punjabi Bhavan, Ludhiana.


Two crushed to death
Our Correspondent

Sunam, March 21
Two persons were killed when a tempo crushed to death a scooterist and a pedestrian in front of the office of the SDM here today.

Mr Davinder Attri, SHO, police city, Sunam, said a scooterist was killed after he was hit by a tempo coming from Patiala. After collision with the scooter, the tempo hit an electric pole and thereafter fell on a person standing nearby. Both the persons were badly crushed and died on the spot. The driver of the tempo has been missing.

The deceased have been identified as Swaran Singh (64), resident of Akalgarh village and Harmesh Lal (45), a local resident. The bodies were handed over to their guardians after a post-mortem examination was conducted in the local Civil Hospital here. A case under Sections 304-A and 427 of the IPC has been registered and both the vehicles have been impounded.


GND varsity exams from March 30
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 21
More than one lakh candidates (regular and private) will appear in the annual examinations of Guru Nanak Dev University commencing from March 30. The university for the smooth conduct of the examinations has set up 241 examination centres at various colleges in Jalandhar, Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Kapurthala and Nawanshahr districts. This was stated in a press note issued here today.

The Principals of the colleges affiliated to the university had been appointed as local controllers for the examinations. More than 2,000 teaching and non-teaching staff of the colleges had been assigned the supervisory duties. The university had also provided insurance cover to all members of the supervisory staff, it said.


Books for SCs find way to open market
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 21
Text-books meant for free distribution among the Scheduled Castes and students belonging to the weaker sections of society and published by the Punjab State Education Board have found their way into the open market. Yesterday a shopkeeper noticed that he had been supplied books marked for free distribution. When he approached the local supply depot from where he had purchased the books, they gave different excuses and did not take these back.

It has now almost become a regular feature that every year books meant for free distribution among the students belonging to the weaker sections are sold in the open market. While most of the times the sale goes unnoticed, the authorities have on several occasions seized such books from the booksellers.

A bookseller outside Ramgarhia College here said when he opened the bundle of books he had purchased from the Punjabi Bhavan sale depot, he found the books marked as “not for sale and for free distribution only” on the cover page. The third page of the book carried a stamp of the Social Welfare Department of the Punjab Government and there was another stamp on the back page.

The bookseller said when he tried to reason with officials of the board posted at the sale depot, they told him that the books would be accepted only in case he removed the cover. He tried to convince them that he could not, but they insisted. With the result that he agreed and removed the covers. However, there were some marks left on the books and the officials refused to accept them. Seeing no option he approached the local newspapers.

The bookseller said he did not want to invite trouble. “Why should I accept the books meant for free distribution, when I have to pay the full amount. Even if they are available for less amount, I will not accept them”, he said. He alleged this had become a routine with some board officials who were selling these books and pocketing the money themselves.

An official in the depot while admitting that the shopkeeper had been supplied with the books meant for free distribution claimed that it was due to oversight. He claimed “it is quite possible that a bundle meant for free distribution may have slipped into the books meant for sale. It is a sheer mistake which anyone can commit. He said the shopkeeper was told that his books would be replaced, but he refused and instead went to the Press. The official denied that this was a common practice and said all books meant for free distribution were accounted for and everything was thoroughly scrutinised. 


Students not allowed to appear in examination
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 21
As many as eight students of Class X under the Punjab Open School Scheme were not allowed to appear in the home science paper at Khalsa School here today by the centre superintendent concerned when he failed to find their name in the cut off lists supplied to him by the authorities.

Affected students told that even though they had been appearing in exams of other subjects of class X at the same centre, they were not allowed to appear in the home science paper today. They alleged that the superintendent of the centre refused to help them despite the fact that they were having roll numbers and other documents to substantiate their claim. The affected students, who met the District Education Officer (S), Mrs Bhupinder Kaur, submitted an application urging her to reconduct their examination.

Sources in the DEO (S) office said the names of the students did not figure in the cut off list of examinees.


Painting workshop
Our Correspondent

Patiala, March 21
The Department of Fine Arts, Punjabi University will organise a poster and painting workshop on the martyrdom day of Shaheed Bhagat Singh and Punjabi poet Paash’s at Punjabi Bhavan here, tomorrow.

In charge of the Department of Fine Arts, Dr Saroj Rani, informed that the real ‘purpose’ of the workshop is to bring into focus the pain, trauma and sufferings of people.

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