Saturday, April 13, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Sekhon is gurdwara poll Chief Commissioner
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
The Union Government has appointed Justice J.S. Sekhon the new Chief Commissioner, Gurdwara Elections, in place of Justice Harbans Singh. Justice Sekhon took charge this afternoon.

The Chief Commissioner is appointed by the Union Government for one year. On February 28 every year, the Chief Commissioner’s term expires. It is the discretion of the Central Government to give extension or not. Justice Sekhon has been appointed till February 28, 2003, it is learnt. Earlier, he was working as a member of the Punjab State Human Rights Commission. His term as member of the commission was till May 4.

Justice Sekhon said that his major task in the near future would be to hold the elections to the general house of the SGPC in a free and fair manner.” The commission is a very important organisation that has to deal with very sensitive religious matters,” Justice Sekhon said.

The enrolment of new voters of the SGPC is due to be completed by May 27. Earlier, the date for new enrolment was March 27.

Why has the Union Government appointed a new Chief Commissioner when the process for holding the SGPC elections is on? Only the Union Home Ministry can answer this question. Informed sources said that the term of Justice Harbans Singh expired on February 28 last. The Union Government kept the case of extension pending till last evening. It intimated the office of the Chief Commissioner about the new appointment yesterday.

Justice Harbans Singh said: “ I am feeling relieved after leaving office. In fact, I had decided to resign much earlier. However, I was unable to do so as the election process had started.” He had taken over as the Chief Commissioner on December 15,1994. Meanwhile, no date has been fixed for holding the elections to the general house of the SGPC yet. The elections were due to be held on November 20 last when it completed its five-year term.

There are several controversial issues pertaining to gurdwaras and Sikh religious matters. There is no progress on the framing of the all-India Sikh gurdwara Act. After vetting, its draft was sent to the Union Home Ministry by the office of the Chief Commissioner in 1999.

It was to be approved by the SGPC also. It was one of the major demands of the Shiromani Akali Dal headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal in the 1980s and 90s. On the basis of this demand, the Union Government had agreed to frame the Act. At present, there is the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925. Under this Act, the elections of the SGPC are held. The number of its elected members is 170. The SAD leadership did not pursue the issue of framing of the all-India Act wholeheartedly after coming to power in Punjab in 1997. Even the issue of issue of “Sehajdaris” has been hanging fire for the past several months. The Union Home Ministry has decided to hold the elections of the SGPC as per the provisions of the Sikh Gurdwara Act against the wishes of the general house of the SGPC which is for the deletion of the word “Sehajdhari” from the relevant clause of the Act. 


Genuine farmers made ‘ineligible’ for relief
Revenue records ‘manipulated’
Rashmi Talwar

Ajnala (Amritsar), April 12
Even as the BSF identity cards pro- claim them to be genuine farmers cultivating land beyond the border fencing on the Indo-Pak border in this sector, the revenue records, however, read otherwise making these genuine farmers ineligible for compensation by the district administration.

Most of the farmers in this belt belong to the Rai Sikh community and have been farmers for generations. From smoothening the uneven barren land to uprooting of sarkanda or elephant grass, this community made the land fertile that lies in the Ravi basin from the pre-Partition days.

Being gullible, illiterate and economically backward, they failed to take advantage of the government provision in which with the payment of Rs 5,000 to Rs 6,000 the girdawari of the land could have been in their names. However, others took advantage of this notification and became the actual owners in the revenue records.

The situation has come to such a pass that a lambardar of Burj village has become the owner of the entire village, allege residents of this village while a CID Inspector has reportedly become the owner of large acres of land in another village. In many of the revenue records, the land was sold but the girdawari remains in the name of the first owner making the new owner ineligible for compensation.

The mass mismanagement and inadequate records came to light when three brothers namely Sawinder Singh, Gurnam Singh and Sakkatar Singh, talking to The Tribune here today, claimed to be owners of 42 acres of land in Ghoga border village beyond fencing while four other brothers of the same village namely Dalip Singh, Shingara Singh, Gurwant Singh and Jagir Singh claimed to own 40 acres of land even as the total compensation for the “entire” village has been recorded by the Patwari as 82 acres. Many others of the village own land beyond the fencing. Significantly, a list of 48 farmers duly signed by the member, Panchayat, and Company Commander, BSF, cultivating land in this sector was ‘remarked’ by the Company Commander “as 11 out of the list were from gate no 80 side and the rest from the other side as per the record maintained in the farmers’ ledger” clearly giving credence to their claim as genuine farmers from the area.

However, many rue that compensation will be denied to them as per revenue records which were manipulated by departmental staff officials in connivance with vested interests.

Jaspal Singh (22) of Bhindi Nain village shows his BSF identity card which records his total land ahead of the fence as two killa and permitted to enter from 25 Ghoga side gate. Similarly, Fauza Singh (75) of Toor village possesses three killas of land, Sinda Singh (55) from Nain village has five killas of land and Satpal of the same village has five killas of land. Hansa Singh (60) of Tanana village who lost his right arm in an accident and has a son afflicted with polio to support is the owner of his 4.5 acres of land only in the records of the BSF. While Daleep Singh (35) has seven members of his family to support and has five acres of land near the Bhalol post. Many others like him are suffering after the defence build-up on the Indo-Pak border, rendering many of them incomeless and jobless.

Meanwhile, more than 300 farmers of the Kirti Kisan Union of the border belt yesterday staged a dharna for nearly two hours outside the Deputy Commissioner’s office and presented a memorandum of demands which include a “special girdawari” of land beyond the fencing under the security forces on the basis of BSF records and a compensation of Rs 15,000 per acre instead of Rs 11,436 at present. Among those who protested were Tarsem Peter, state secretary of the Pendu Mazdoor Union, Parshottam Singh Cheema and Jatinder Singh Chinna, district organiser of the union.

Nearly Rs 15 crore was sanctioned by the Central Government for compensation to owners of land in the border belt under the hold of the security forces. More than 26,000 acres of land in the district is thus required to be compensated for.


Border areas ‘suffer’ neglect
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, April 12
The border areas near Dhussi Bandh continue to suffer from cross neglect change of governments notwithstanding. This was stated by Mr Kashmir Singh, Sarpanch, Salauch, on the Indo-Pak border, today at a welfare camp organised by the 83rd Bn Border Security Force at Chauntra village. Other residents of the area from different villages echoed the same views.

Mr Kashmir Singh said the border villagers were comparatively poor and had small holdings. The Army is deployed on the border for the past four months almost and the fertile lands of the villagers have been used by the Army for laying landmines. As a result they did not get anything in kind or cash during this season. Since their lands continue to be under landmines, the farmers of the area do not hope to cultivate their lands for the next crops. Most of them make their living from their land. Their immediate demand is that the government pay them compensation so that the residents of the area are saved from starvation. Mr Kashmir Singh said the deployment of the Army had certainly raided their morale but had not anything to put their allies. He added that both Army and BSF met their medicinal needs in times of emergency.

Mr Kashmir Singh said part of the land holding of the farmers of the border villages were across the border fencing. The farmers were permitted to visit their farms from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. During summer it was very difficult to work in the farms after 12.30 p.m. because of intense heat in the area. The movement of the public was of course, restricted due to security reasons, but is was the obligation of the govt to look after its subject. He demanded compensation for the farmers of the border areas to enable them to make ends meet under the prevailing circumstances.

The condition of roads in the area is so bad that it has, become difficult for normal vehicles to operate. Most of the road have been washed away during floods.

The production of wheat due to deployment of the Army will not be much as compared to the previous years. Whatever little is produced by the farmers is purchased by the ‘pheriwalas’ at a distress price due to absence of regular marketing in the area. Meanwhile, Mr S.S. Malhan, Commandant, 83 BSF Bn, distributed complete acts of books and exercise books among the school children of government primary schools of border villages of Chauntra and Salauch. A free kitchen was arranged by the BSF Bn on this occasion.


Ban on sale of Bt cotton seed

Ferozepore, April 12
The Agriculture Department has banned the sale of Bt cotton seed in the district. Bt cotton, which is still undergoing experimental trials in Punjab, has recently been surrounded by controversy with private seed companies flooding the market for selling “spurious” Bt cotton seed. The common varieties of cotton are likely to be cultivated in 1,43,000 hectares in the district during the current season and the production has been estimated at 2,96000 bales during 2002-2003.

The ban on the sale of Bt cotton seed in this border district indicates that the Punjab Government will impose such a ban in the entire state until the seed are approved by Punjab Agricultural University after successful trials.

Giving this information to TNS here today, Dr Gian Singh Nijjar, Chief Agriculture Officer of the district, said the original Bt cotton hybrid seed were not available in the Indian market. In order to prevent farmers from being ‘looted’ by seed-distributing companies, it had become necessary to impose the ban under the Seed Act, he said.

Dr Gurdial Singh Khera, Joint Director of the Agriculture Department, Government of Punjab, said the hybrid seed of Bt cotton were supplied to Punjab Agricultural University too late during the sowing season on June 21, 2001. Thus the trials could not yield any result. Therefore, it would be premature to go in for cultivation of Bt cotton. “The farmers of the state are already passing through a difficult time and if the ‘spurious’ Bt cotton seed being sold are sown them by it would increase their economic liabilities”, he said.

Dr Khera said the controversial hybrid seed was prone to the attack of insects which were not controllable by insecticides available in the Indian market. Although the cultivation of Bt cotton is maximum in the USA, its cultivation in Punjab has not yet been approved by Punjab Agricultural University. However, the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee approved the commercialisation of Bt cotton last month.

In reply to a question, he said the seed of Bt cotton available in the market were not original. The seed available are of F2 quality, he said.

It is worth mentioning that the Maharashtra Hybrid Seed Company Ltd ( Mahyco) and Monsento company have jointly decided to manufacture Bt cotton seed. Mahyco has been involved in experimenting with transgenic cotton for the past six years.

This particular variety of cotton contains a gene obtained from the bacteria bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). The bacterial gene introduced into the cotton variety protects it from the attack of the common pest of cotton, Lepidoptera. Monsanto argues that growing Bt cotton would help farmers save money that they currently spend on chemical pesticides.

But reports have indicated the loss of resistance in the Bt crop with time. Also Bt genes escaping from pollen grains might harm other crops in the neighbourhood and the environment, reports say.

However, Mahyco claims that, Bt cotton also has a few benefits. To begin with, it requires only two sprays of chemical pesticides.


Father approaches rights panel
Youth’s “torture” by police
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 12
Mr Jaswant Singh, father of Mr Swarn Singh who was allegedly “tortured” by an Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) at the local police station a week ago, has demanded justice from the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC).

In a representation to the PSHRC, Mr Jaswant Singh has demanded legal action against the ASI for allegedly torturing his son in “illegal” custody and registration of an allegedly “false” case against his son and nephew. He has also demanded protection for his family alleging that the ASI through his men has been threatening them that if they took any legal action against him, they would have to pay the price.

Talking to mediapersons today at the local Civil Hospital where his son is still under treatment, Mr Jaswant Singh also sought registration of a case against the ASI “torturing” his son, and demanded that the FIR, registered against his son and nephew under Section 308 of the IPC, should be cancelled, immediately.

Mr Jaswant Singh claimed that the FIR against his son and nephew had been registered by the police with mala fide intention and to protect the ASI. He claimed that on April 5, his son’s motorcycle collided with a scooterist near the local Moti theatre, but the police registered a case against his son and nephew on April 7, mentioning that after the collision of both two-wheelers, Swarn Singh and another person injured the scooterist Jasbir Singh with a sharp-edged weapon. He said registration of a case against his son and nephew after two days showed the mala fide intention of the police which wanted to protect the ASI who “tortured” his son during the night of April 5.

The mediapersons were also shown the hospital admission file of Mr Swarn Singh. The doctor on duty on April 6 has written on the file that “patient not responding to command. Patient seems to be in a state of mental shock which can be as a result of the alleged police torture”.

Later, the mediapersons also met Jasbir Singh, the injured scooterist, who is also still admitted in the local Civil Hospital, Mr Jasbir Singh said after crashing his (Swarn Singh’s) motor cycle into his scooter, Swarn Singh and another person “beat him up” and injured him on the forehead with a sharp-edged weapon. He had been brought to the hospital by the people, he added.

In his application to the PSHRC, Mr Jaswant Singh, father of Mr Swarn Singh, has alleged that on April 5 his son’s motor cycle collided with a scooterist. After this, a policeman took his son and the scooterist to the local police station, from where the ASI sent back the scooterist, but “detained” his son and “tortured” him in the night. Later, his son had been taken to the Civil Hospital by the police or April 6, he added.

However, the police authorities have refuted the allegation levelled by Mr Jaswant Singh with regard to “torture” of his son by the ASI at the local police station.


Hospital told to pay 2.34 lakh for negligence
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 12
The Hoshiarpur Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has ordered the management of a private hospital to pay Rs 2.34 lakh as compensation to the widow of a patient, who died allegedly due to negligence on the part of the hospital authorities while conducting a surgery on the patient about two years ago. The forum also passed strictures against a government doctor, who had given anaesthesia to the deceased during surgery, for doing benami business through his wife.

Nasib Kaur of Guru Nanak Avenue locality in Hoshiarpur in her complaint submitted to the forum in October 2000, said she along with her son Gurdarshan Singh visited Modern Hospital on May 19, 2000, to get advice regarding operation of hernia on her husband Ajit Singh from Dr Anoop Kumar, who, inturn, asked them to get Ajit Singh admitted in the hospital for surgery the next day. Ajit Singh was admitted in the hospital the next day and Rs 1,000 were deposited in advance for the operation.

She further said her husband was taken to the operation theatre at about 7 a.m. by the hospital staff. Though Gurdarshan Singh had specifically asked Dr Anoop Kumar as to whether any pre-operative tests were required, but the latter replied in the negative and went inside the theatre along with Dr Mool Chand Jain at about 8.30 a.m. to conduct the surgery on the patient. She alleged that Dr Anoop Kumar was in a hurry at that time since a minor child was also taken to the same operation theatre for an operation.

Dr Anoop along with Dr Jain came out of the operation theatre at 1 pm and declared that Ajit Singh had died without elaborating the cause of death to them.

Though Dr Jain termed the cause of death as “brain haemorrhage”, Dr Anoop disclosed to them it as “cardio respiratory arrest”. The complainant alleged that the hospital authorities were ill prepared to tackle any emergency during the operation, thus, leading to the death of the patient. Negligence occurred in the operation theatre and circumstances showed that table death occurred due to the carelessness and negligence on the part of the doctors concerned.

In its 83-page judgement, the president of the forum Mr H.P. Handa, observed that Dr Anoop and Dr Jain carelessly and negligently decided to conduct surgery upon the deceased without proper investigation. “In my opinion, this surgery could not have been undertaken without proper investigations. This fact would lead to the conclusion that the operation was not performed according to the standard practice.”

Mr Handa further said that the story put forth by Dr Anoop that Dr Puneet Kumar was called during the emergency was a concocted story. Patient notes and history sheet of the patient revealed that the first page was prepared at the time of operation and the remaining four pages were fabricated afterwards.

The order further states, “Even Dr Anoop Kumar failed to give proper advice and to communicate the effect of the minor operation which he undertook to conduct. His overconfidence had created this problem resulting in the death of Ajit Singh. We are further of the considered opinion that there is negligence in giving pre-medication dose to the patient.”

The forum, in its order said as the complainant had suffered an irreparable loss due to the death of her husband and had suffered inconvenience, harassment and frustration due to the medical negligence of the doctors, the complainant was entitled to compensation to the tune of Rs 2.34 lakh along with interest of 12 per cent per annum from the date of filing of her complaint with the forum. The forum directed the hospital authorities to pay compensation within one month from the receipt of the order.

The forum also passed strictures against Dr Mool Chand Jain, anaesthesiologist and a government doctor, for running benami business through his wife.

“It goes to show that on the one hand Dr Mool Chand Jain is taking money from the state government as its employee and on the other hand he is earning money by giving anaesthesia to the patients in private nursing homes and hospitals.” the order said.

When contacted, Dr Anoop Kumar refuted the allegations of negligence and said zimni orders passed by the President of the forum Mr H.P. Handa were not valid since these were not signed by the member of the forum. “We have already put up the case before the State Consumer Redressal Forum against this order Anoop Kumar added.


Where Guru compiled Adi Granth
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo, April 12
Known as Guru Ki Kashi (seat of learning) and Damdama Sahib (resting place), this town, situated about 28 km from Bathinda, is the place where Gobind Singh compiled Adi Granth after reproducing it from memory and adding hymns composed by his father, Guru Teg Bahadur.

On his way to Tawandi Sabo, Guru Gobind Singh wrote a letter in Persian, “Zafarnama”, to Mughal King Aurangzeb at a place called Dina. He received the reply of Aurangzeb at Tawandi Sabo. Guru Gobind Singh, who reached Tawandi Sabo in the later part of 1705 after fighting numerous battles, stayed for more than nine months with an influential local resident, Chaudhary Dalla.

After a separation from family members in the battle of Chamkaur Sahib, Mata Sahib Kaur came here to meet Guru Singh and she asked about the welfare of the “Sahibzadas” (sons of Guru Gobind Singh). The Guru, pointing towards the congregation, said instead of four she was now the mother of thousands of sons.

During the stay of Guru Gobind Singh, the festival of Baisakhi was organised here. The historical gurdwara located in the heart of the town has been accorded the status of the Fifth Takht of Sikhs. The Punjab Government has declared it as a holy city. The town is dotted with a number of historical and religious places. The town also houses the headquarters of Nihang Singh (Budha Dal sect).

In Sikh religious history, two Talwandis are famous. One is Talwandi Rai Bhoa, now known as Nankana Sahib (Pakistan) where Guru Nanak Dev was born. The second is Talwandi Sabo, where Guru Gobind Singh completed the Damdami “bir”. This town was also the last point of departure of Guru Gobind Singh from Punjab, as he never came back to Punjab again.

Guru Gobind Singh prepared four copies of the Damdami “bir” which were sent to other Takhts. The quills used by Bhai Mani Singh and Baba Deep Singh for writing the “bir” were immersed in the sarovar of Likhansar gurdwara after the completion of the work.

According to historical facts, in 1515, Guru Nanak Dev stopped here on his way from Sirsa to Sultanpur. During his brief stay, he predicted that the town would become an important religious place. Guru Teg Bahadur, too, visited it, 159 years later.

On Baisakhi day people from far-off places come here to pay their obeisance at the historical gurdwaras and take a dip in the holy sarovars. The pilgrims also have a glimpse of Guru Gobind Singh’s weapons which are in the possession of descendants of Chaudhary Dalla and displayed every year on the occasion of Baisakhi.

Though the town is known as Guru Ki Kashi, successive state governments have failed to develop it as an educational centre. Previous governments promised to set up a university in the town, but to no avail. The literacy rate in the town and surrounding areas is very low. It is also lacking in basic amenities.


Status quo on improvement trusts' dissolution
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
Taking up two petitions challenging notifications issued on April 4 ordering the dissolution of Amritsar and Bathinda Improvement Trusts, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today ordered the maintenance of the status quo.

Delivering the verdict, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Mr Justice M.M. Kumar, also ordered that the administrators of the Improvement Trust would not take any policy decision.

In one of the petitions, Municipal Councillor Bakshi Ram Arora and six other Amritsar residents had sought directions for quashing the impugned notification. Claiming to owe allegiance to the BJP and the Shiromani Akali Dal, they had also sought directions for declaring Section 103 of the Punjab Town Improvement Act of 1992 as ultra vires of the Constitution "in as much as it permitted the state government to exercise unguided and arbitrary power to dissolve an improvement trust".

Terming the notifications as "illegal, arbitrary, erroneous, unjust and void", counsel for the petitioners had added that the trusts had been dissolved "unceremoniously". Giving details, he added that "notice was not issued to the petitioners calling upon them to give any explanation whatsoever before dissolving the trust". Going into the background, he had asserted that a notification was issued under Section 103 of the Act by the state of Punjab declaring that Amritsar Improvement Trust stood dissolved. Similar notifications were simultaneously issued dissolving all the improvement trusts in the state, he had concluded.

Plea admitted on online lottery

Admitting a petition filed by the Ludhiana-based Barnala Trading Company, sole distributors of Playwin lotteries, a Division Bench of the High Court, comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Mr Justice M.M. Kumar, also fixed May 20 as the next date of hearing. The Judges, however, declined the petitioner's prayer for interim stay.

The Punjab Government had issued three notices to Playwin Lotteries asking them not to promote its on-line lottery by going against the rules fixed by the state. Counsel for the petitioner had, on the other hand, contended that the notices issued by the Punjab Government were violative of the Punjab State Lottery Rules and were against the spirit of the Central Lotteries Act, 1988. Taking up the petition, the Bench had directed the Punjab Government not to take any action against Sikkim government's on-line lottery.


New benefits for ex-servicemen
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 12
Scores of ex-servicemen and their family members across the country have reasons to cheer. In a significant decision, the Union Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced enhancement in special pension of blind ex-servicemen, life-time pension for ex-servicemen’s mentally handicapped children, new medical scheme for such children and a huge hike in medical treatment payment under the medical benefit scheme.

According to an MoD circular received at the District Sainik Boards, the blind ex-servicemen would now get a special pension of Rs 500 per month while earlier they were only getting Rs 50 per month. This is in addition to Rs 300 given by the Punjab Government. There are about 250 blind ex-servicemen in the state. The increased benefit would be payable from October 1, 2001.

In special consideration for mentally or physically handicapped children of the ex-servicemen, the MoD has announced that all such children would get pension for life or till the time he becomes competent to earn his livelihood.


Lawyers boycott SDM’s court
Our Correspondent

Ropar, April 12
The Anandpur Sahib Bar Association in a resolution today decided to boycott the court of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate of the area following his alleged misbehaviour with a clerk of a local lawyer.

In the resolution, a copy of which was provided to The Tribune, the president of the Bar Association, Mr P. K. Uppal, alleged that Mr jagdambey Prashad, the clerk of the local lawyer Mr Harish Chetal, went to the court of the SDM, Anandpur Sahib, Mr Paramjit Singh on April 10 in a mutation case. During the proceedings of the case the SDM allegedly misbehaved with the clerk in the presence of other lawyers. He even did not listen to other senior lawyers present in the court who tried to pacify him. Rather he threatened to lodge an FIR against the clerk.

The president of the Bar further alleged that the said incident was not an isolated one. Earlier too the said officer had allegedly misbehaved with certain senior lawyers due to which the Bar had now been forced to boycott him.

The lawyers also struck work today in protest against the alleged misbehaviour of the SDM. The president of the Clerks Association of the Anandpur Sahib Bar, Mr Balbir Singh Chana, said the copy of the resolution of the Bar was sent to the Deputy Commissioner, Ropar for further action. The SDM Anandpur Sahib, when asked to comment said the clerk of the lawyer had tried to manipulate the proceedings of the case.

After the evidence in the said case was closed, it was to come up for arguments on April 10. However, the clerk representing one party in the case got the summons issued from a junior clerk by misguiding her, thus altering the entire proceedings.

Yesterday to instead of the lawyer, the clerk presented himself in the court. When he repremanded him for altering the proceedings of the case, he concocted a story, the SDM alleged.

He said the other charges of the Bar Association against him were baseless. 


MC fails to keep Pathankot clean
Bharat Bhushan Dogra

PATHANKOT: The Municipal Council and Improvement Trust here have failed to keep the city clean, causing a setback to the development programme under the city beautification plan launched about three years ago. Sanitation is poor: Heaps of filth can be seen in various localities including plush colonies. Sewerage is often seen on roads in certain wards.

Among the areas where the sanitation has been neglected are Garden Colony which has no sewers nor proper drainage. The authorities have failed to provide basic amenities to area residents. Despite a good earning, the council pays no attention to the problems faced by residents. The residents of this colony have learnt to live without basic amenities, including sanitation system, proper roads and drainage for 20 years, said Mr Shakti Kumar Marwaha, a resident.

The residents of the colony have complained many a time to the civic authorities about laying sewers but the civic authorities have ignored their pleas despite an allocation in the budget. Mr Baljit Singh, another resident, alleged that the civic authorities were not paying any attention to repairing roads. Nor was a cleanliness drive being launched. Residents of Garden Colony have urged Local Bodies Minister Jagjit Singh to take steps to ensure cleanliness in the colony. 


Traffic steps for Baisakhi
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 12
The local police has made special arrangements for the Baisakhi fair in Talwandi Sabo on April 13. The traffic passing through the town has been diverted from nearby villages and special parking places has been earmarked so as to minimise inconvenience to devotees.

According to a press note issued by the police today, five parking places has been formed on all sides of the town. The heavy vehicles like buses, trucks, tractor-trollies would not be allowed to go beyond these places. Only vehicles with special passes could go near the mela site.

The vehicular traffic from Bathinda going towards Rori, Sardulgarh, Jhunir via Talwandi Sabo would be diverted from Kotshamir and through Maur, Mansa. The vehicles going towards Maur from Raman would be diverted from Jajjal village towards Lalleana and Bhagibander villages.

The vehicles from Rori, Jhunir, Sardulgarh and Mansa towards Bathinda via Talwandi Sabo would be diverted from Nawanpind towards Shekhpura, Sahdoha and Maur.

Special nakas would be established in and around the town to avoid any untoward incident. The police has made special arrangements for keeping a watch on anti-social elements. A temporary police headquarter has been established at the grain market of the town.


HC Judge inspects Central Jail
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 12
Mr Justice M.L. Singhal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court listened to the grievances of prisoners, particularly, who have been denied bail by various courts in the past and assured speedy trials of their cases at an open session during his visit to the Central Jail here today.

Mr Justice Singhal, who was inspecting the Central Jail here since morning, reviewed bail applications of about 126 men and six women inmates, booked under the NDPS Act who were earlier denied bail by different courts. While assuring speedy trial he forwarded some of the bail applications, wherein accused were involved in small offences under the NDPS Act, to the district and Sessions Judge, Mr M.M. Aggarwal.

He also visited the de-addiction centre in the jail and reviewed its functioning. The Jail Superintendent, Mr Jagjit Singh, told the Judge that the centre was set up six months ago with an aim to create awareness among the inmates about bad impacts of the drugs and other psychotropic substances on their health. He further said the jail authorities with the help of district administration had been organising special programmes about drug de-addiction on the jail premises. He complimented the efforts of the jail authorities in this regard.

Mr Justice Singhal later inspected the women’s ward of the jail, which had recently been expanded to the capacity of 50 inmates from 25 at a cost of Rs 1 lakh by the authorities.

Earlier, in the morning, he laid the foundation stone of a new interview room, being constructed at a cost of Rs 1 lakh to increase the capacity of the old interview room for the welfare of the families of the inmates.


State Planning Board formed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
The Punjab State Planning Board, with the Chief Minister as Chairman, has been constituted with Dr S.S. Johl as Vice-Chairman and Mr R R Bhardwaj as whole time Deputy Chairman.

According to a notification issued today, the official members include all Members of Parliament, all Ministers, the chairmen of advisory committees (fiscal reforms, agriculture and industry) to the Chief Minister, the Chief Secretary and the Principal Secretary, Finance and Planning (Member-Secretary), and the Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister.

The non-official members have been drawn from industry (Mr Jawahar Oswal, Mr B S Baidwan, President, Mohali Industries Association, trade (Mr Amarjit Goel, Mr Amrit Lal Jain), agriculture (Dr G.S. Kalkat, former-Vice-Chancellor, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, and Dr K.S. Aulakh, present Vice-Chancellor) and education (Prof. R.P. Bambah, former Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University, Chandigarh).

The term of the board is for one year. Its main function will be to assess material and human resources, including technical personnel, and suggest possibilities to augment the two in tune with the requirements of the state. It will also formulate long-term and short-term plans for the optimum use of the state’s resources to achieve the maximum growth rate.

The board will also identify factors that retard economic and social development and determine conditions for the execution of plans, review the progress of the implementation of plans and recommend adjustments. The districts will also be helped to evolve their plans and it will make recommendations as well.


School board controller reverted
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, April 12
The Punjab Government today sent back the Controller of Examination of the Punjab School Education Board to the State Education Department, her parent department.

The controller, Ms Harcaharnjit Kaur Brar, had joined the board on deputation in year 1999.

The orders of ending the deputation of Ms Brar were sent by the Principal Secretary (Education). The Deputy Secretary (Middle), Ms Narinder Kaur, took the additional charge of the Controller of Examination when Ms Brar went on medical leave after being injured in a road accident.

However, it could not be ascertained who had been posted as the new the Controller of Examination. An official of the board said as per the rules the post had to be filled through an advertisement.


Economic Adviser seeks retirement
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
The Economic Adviser to the Government of Punjab, Mr Ravinder Jain, takes voluntary retirement from service tomorrow after 28 and a half years of service.

Mr Jain has worked with the Industry Department of UT, Punjab Women’s Corporation, the First Punjab Finance Commission, apart from the present position.

He was also instrumental in development of a consumer price index for the large and medium-scale industries in Punjab.

Mr Jain had won accolades from the Punjab Government for the publication of a study ‘’Impact of reduction of stamp duty on housing activity and State revenue receipts’’.


Five TV sets recovered, three arrested
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 12
The Sunam police has recovered five colour TV sets from a truck and arrested three persons on the spot. These TV sets had been stolen from Morinda about three years ago.

Mr A.S. Rai, SSP, Sangrur, in a press note issued here yesterday said a police party laid a naka near Khadial village yesterday and intercepted a truck. During the search. five TV sets were recovered about which the five occupants could not give satisfactory reply, he added.

The SSP further said while the police party was searching the truck, two occupants, namely Bhola Singh (Sangrur) and Harbans Singh (Ghabdan village), fled from the scene while Dilsher Singh Gharachon, Gurmail Singh and Jaspal Singh were arrested.

Mr Rai said the police seized a .12 bore pistol and two live cartridges from Dilsher Singh. He further stated during investigations, the accused told the police that these TV sets had been stolen from Morinda in Ropar district about three years ago.

The SSP also stated that Jaspal Singh confessed that he had been dealing in the sale of poppy husk for a long period. He said police had seized a bag of poppy husk from a drain near Chharhar village.


No teacher for three months
Our Correspondent

Ropar, April 12
About 200 children of Majri Thakedaran and Rampur Majri villages near Ropar are suffering due to the absence of the teacher in the only primary school that caters to the villages.

The sarpanch of Majri Thakedaran village, Ms Jagdev Kaur, while talking to The Tribune, said the school had been without a teacher for past three months. The District Education Officer, Mr Ajmer Singh, when contacted, said there were two sanctioned posts in the said school, but due to shortage of staff in the primary section, no teacher could be posted there. 

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