Tuesday, April 23, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Rs 800 crore duty exemption sought for refineries
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 21
The Punjab Government, which wants the early completion of the refinery project worth Rs 16,000 crore near Bathinda, has urged its promoter, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL), to make the refinery operational at the earliest. The state government has assured all help to the HPCL authorities to expedite work on the project. It will take at least two years for the refinery to be operational.

The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, will soon meet the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, to seek exemption from customs duty worth Rs 800 crore on the machinery to be imported by HPCL for the project. HPCL has asked Mr Surinder Singla, Chairman of the Punjab Economic Renewal Commission, who has been deputed by the Chief Minister to meet the HPCL authorities, to know the latest status of the project, for Capt Amarinder Singh’s meeting with Mr Vajpayee.

After a lunche on meeting with Mr M.A. Tankiwala, Chief General Manager, Mr Ravi Madan, Chief Adviser , Mr R.M.N. Marar, Deputy General Manager, and Mr Ashok Malhotra, Director, Finance, of the project, Mr Singla told TNS from Delhi on the telephone this afternoon that the meeting was fruitful. He discussed all aspects, including problems faced by the project authorities, at the meeting.

Mr Singla said Capt Amarinder Singh would also write to the Finance Minister on the customs duty issue and seek an early meeting with the Prime Minister. Mr Singla said that he had briefed the Chief Minister on the outcome of the meeting with project officials.

A proposal had also been drawn up that the Chairman of HPCL, Mr H. Zutsi, and Capt Amarinder Singh should jointly visit the project site as it would help tie up loose ends and ensure political help from the state government like holding meetings with Union Ministers and the Prime Minister at various stages of the project.

Mr Singla said that as he had “brought this project to Punjab in 1996”, when Mr Harcharan Singh Brar was the Chief Minister, he would concentrate on it the most as it would play a major role in strengthening the state’s economy. There was vast scope for the generation of employment at the project and also in the ancillary units which would come in due course. The claims of the previous SAD-BJP government with regard to the refinery project were baseless, he added.

The Punjab Government had already made a commitment to the HPCL authorities to defer the imposition of sales tax on production by the refinery for 15 years. The annual sales tax from the refinery was expected to be Rs 1,200 crore. Besides, exemption from electricity duty to the project had also been given. Only after 15 years would Punjab start getting an income of Rs 1,200 crore in the form of sales tax from the refinery.

The immediate gain from the project to Punjab would be that nearly 1,400 youth would get direct employment in it and about 7,000 others indirect. HPCL would set up about 500 sale outlets with an investment of Rs 250 crore and wanted land on lease from the state government for this purpose. However, this would not be possible. “ We would like that for marketing purposes, HPCL should manage on its own”, said Mr Singla.

Mr Singla said it had been made clear to the project authorities that the entire work force for the project should be recruited from Punjab. The government was ready to provide help to train the work force.


Only SOS village in Punjab

Rajpura, April 22
Wrapped in a polythene sheet and left to die in a Ropar hospital’s waste bin soon after her birth, Neeta survived against all odds, thanks mainly to the timely help she got from someone unrelated to her.

This dark day came in her life towards the end of 1999 when she was born only to be found by Ropar Government Hospital sweeper, who immediately informed the hospital authorities, who in turn informed the police.

Down with infections, including jaundice, the infant had little chance of survival if she had not landed where she finds herself today and in a completely different condition —healthy, cheerful and smiling. Unlike many others like her, two-and-a-half-year-old Neeta was lucky to have been referred to Punjab’s only SOS Children’s Village here, which is taking care of 168 children like her, including 79 boys.

This village, part of 34 SOS Children’s Villages in the country providing support to 15,000 children, was set up in June 1996 on the request of the state government following a number of children becoming homeless and orphaned after the decade long militancy in Punjab, says village director Gurdev Singh.

“Our village follows the same structure as any other children’s village in the country or 131 others globally. Every family unit consists of 8 to 10 children, who share their lives as brothers and sisters and grow together in the care of their SOS mother — like in any normal family.

“This mother is the head of her family and takes care of everything — food, clothing, education and emotional needs so that children grow up as responsible human beings and able citizens,” he says.

SOS-Rajpura has 14 SOS family homes, spread over seven acres of land, which are taken care by their 14 SOS mothers. There is one youth hostel where boys who have attained the age of 14 years are kept.

The village has children from varied backgrounds. While there are a few who were orphaned during the militancy in Punjab, there are others whose fathers allegedly murdered their mothers and yet others who were simply abandoned (mostly girls) on railway platforms and in hospitals. There is also a case of a deaf and dumb girl who was simply thrown out of the train by her relatives.

On how the children are made to get over their traumatic past and enjoy life like other normal children, Gurdev Singh says, it needs a special effort on the part of “mothers” who are specially trained for this. “Our concept is to give love to children. Though it takes time for them to adjust and forget their past, the homely environs over here give them a feeling of security and belongingness,” he says.

Gurdev Singh says the children are given complete support from their basic needs to education to recreation and there is also a full-time councillor to help them get over odds.

“Every SOS family has an independent cottage of its own, with four bedrooms, kitchen, drawing and dining hall. The familiar atmosphere of a home of their own encourages bonding within the families. The Village Community gives the children cultural roots and a feeling of belongingness. The village is the bridge to society,” he says.

On how SOS Rajpura manages to raise its funds, he says the village gets contributions from individual contributors and corporates. “We may even get some funds from the government, but generally we don’t encourage these.”

The first SOS Village in India was set up at Greenfields, Faridabad, in 1964 by Padamshri J. N. Kaul. SOS Children’s Villages is a voluntary child care organisation providing direct and indirect care to more than 2,00,000 children in India. It is a member of the worldwide SOS family, which works in 131 countries, with SOS-Kinderdorf International as the umbrella organisation. PTI


Vigilance to probe working of warehousing corpn
P. P. S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau will conduct an “all-embracing” inquiry into how a “defaulter” rice mill continued to get paddy for milling from the Punjab State Warehousing Corporation (PSWC) though a sum of Rs 92.95 crore was due from the mill, it is reliably learnt.

Highly placed sources told TNS that the file seeking a vigilance probe into the conduct of Laxmi Overseas Industries Ltd, Khamano, had been submitted to the Chief Minister for approval. The Vigilance Bureau would be asked to fix responsibility and determine why no audit of stocks and records was ever done, particularly from 1999-2000 onwards.

This major lapse was detected during a special audit of all 32 rice mills in Ropar and Fatehgarh Sahib districts. For unexplained reasons, while the corporation got 46 FIRs registered against rice mills which had defaulted in milling paddy, this Khamano mill was left untouched.

Sources said this mill was allotted paddy worth Rs 60.20 crore for crop year 2001-02 despite the fact that “out-turn rice” valued at Rs 6.87 crore (1999-2000) and Rs 25.88 crore (2000-01) was already due from it.

Within a short span of his appointment as Managing Director of the corporation, Mr Vishwajit Khanna, has been moved out to head the Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation. Eyebrows have been raised at his shifting from there. It was Mr Khanna who, on learning that the Khamano mill owed Rs 92.95 crore to the corporation, had ordered ‘’physical verification’’ of the stocks there. The inquiry was completed on April 9. He is learnt to have sent the report to the Chief Secretary, which probably formed the basis of the vigilance inquiry.

The issue of the shifting of Mr Khanna and the affairs of the PSWC found an echo at the press conference of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, here today. He defended the transfer with the reply that “good officers” were needed to effect recoveries in the PSIDC as well, where the outstanding sum was nearly Rs 1,500 crore. When asked if there was a dearth of “good officers”, he replied that “this is not the case. But there is a problem of surplus and shortage of officers at different levels”.

It is, however, learnt that senior bureaucrats had resisted the transfer of Mr Khanna for several weeks. But political compulsions came in the way.

The “physical verification” report submitted to Mr Khanna is a telling comment on the way the corporation has been showering favours on the Khamano mill. It, inter alia, states that instead of cooperating with the inspecting staff the mill owner “misbehaved” with officers of the PSWC. It was observed that no proper records of deposit of paddy delivered or resultant rice and the balance paddy due from the mill were maintained, it added.

There was no identification mark as to which particular paddy belonged to which agency. Despite the bulk of the paddy being purchased elsewhere, the stocks of at least 10 districts were shifted to the Khamano mill and yet there was no audit of any kind, the report stated.

One major task before the Vigilance Bureau would be to fix responsibility on the bureaucrats concerned, who ignored their own guidelines in allotting paddy and continued to favour a defaulter mill.

Last week the corporation was witness to high drama, when the Additional Managing Director, Mr M. L. Sharma, who was transferred, managed to get a stay order from the Minister, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal. The new appointee, Mr Ashok Singla, was left out in the cold. Later he, too, rushed to her. She rang up the Financial Commissioner and withdrew the stay order she had sent earlier, thereby enabling the new incumbent to join.

The PSWC now has Mr Ashok Kumar Goel as the new Managing Director. He comes at a point of time when the Vigilance Bureau is flexing its muscles to start probing the “murky affairs” of the corporation. Sources said there was considerable “stink” in other corporations and boards as well.


Fire detonates mines, damages crop
Varinder Walia and Rashmi Talwar

Ranike (Indo-Pak border)
The fourth incident of mine blast damaging the wheat crop in border villages today led to immense fear among the affected farmers who have asked the state government to immediately take up the issue with the Defence Ministry.

After Chhina Bidhi Chand, Neshta/Roranwali villages, the devastating fire here has damaged wheat crop worth lakhs. The farmers are doubly cursed as neither the district administration has disbursed the compensation for the loss of their crop due to the Army build-up nor tried to take any initiative to stop the burning of the standing crop.

This is the most devastating fire in the Indo-Pak border region after the army build-up. Since all tubewells were in the mined fields the fire brigade officials initially failed to get adequate water for extinguishing the fire.

Here again the loose electricity overhead wires played havoc with the standing crop on about 200 acres. The worst affected village is Rania where almost the entire standing crop got damaged. The fire led to the detonation of several mines. Army personnel also helped the farmers in dousing the fire.

The Punjab State Electricity Board has failed to repair the loose electricity wires, especially in the minefields.

Jagir Singh and Anokh Singh — both brothers and other family members who were desperately trying to put off the fire with the help of tractors and ploughed their fields to stall the spread of fire. They said that large quantity of communication cables belonging to the Army also got destroyed.

Gajjan Singh, a resident of Bachike village said the fire was first noticed in his village which was extinguished after a few hours of fire fighting. However, the fire which started from Rania village spread to other adjoining villages. Though the fire started at around 3 p.m. no official from the district administration could reach the site till 8 p.m.

Efforts to contact the Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.S. Puri, failed as his operator repeatedly said he (the Deputy Commissioner) was busy in the meeting.

The sources said the Fire Brigade received the information about the outbreak of fire at about 4 p.m. Three fire engines were rushed to the spot.

One Sukha Singh of Chakk village said that he was totally ruined with the fire as his entire standing crop was destroyed in the mishap.


210 acres of wheat crop destroyed
Our Correspondent

Jalalabad, April 22
About 210 acres of standing wheat crop caught fire in a mine-infested field of Lamocharkalan village about 10 km from here.

Electric sparks from transformers in the fields are believed to be cause of the fire. A number of mines also exploded due to the fire and heat creating panic in the area.

Villagers with the help of Army personnel, tried to douse the fire before the arrival of three fire tenders from Fazilka, Ferozepore and Muktsar. The fire tenders arrived two-hour late. The fire which broke out at about 10.30 a.m. yesterday morning was brought under control after six to seven hours of struggle. Land mines in the field reportedly kept the fire fighters at bay. The non-availability of any fire tender at Jalalabad delayed the rescue work. It was third major accident in the area.

Out of the damaged 210 acres of wheat crop, 60 acres of land falls under Mauja village, 80 acres under Lamocharkalan village and 70 acres under Sukhera Kalan village.

Later, Brig Surinder Singh, ADC, Ferozepore, SDM Fazilka, SP (H) Ferozepore and Tehsildar, Jalalabad, visited the site and took stock of the situation.

The Sadar police has registered a case in this regard.


Attacks on Bitta: ‘startling facts’ expected
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 22
A fact-finding report being compiled by the All-India Anti-Terrorist Front (AIATF) would provide startling facts about two bomb blasts engineered against its President, Mr Maninderjit Singh Bitta, in Amritsar and New Delhi in 1993.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Bitta alleged that the then Union Home Minister, Mr S. B. Chavan, himself ordered the withdrawal of “Z” plus security one day before the blast which rocked the office of the All-India Youth Congress (Mr Bitta was President of the Youth Congress at the time).

He said if Devinder Singh Bhullar, who was sentenced to death by the designated TADA court (upheld by the Supreme Court) for attacking him (Mr Bitta) was responsible for the attack on the office of Indian Youth Congress, then leaders like Mr Chavan were equally responsible for hatching a conspiracy to eliminate him. He alleged that the Mr Chavan had withdrawn the security given to him under his own signature though the then State Minister for Home had recommended the beefing up of security for him.

He announced that he would take all those to court who were responsible for hatching the conspiracy to kill him.

Mr Bitta said a deputation led by him would meet Ms Kumaratunga, President of Sri Lanka, for deporting of the LTTE chief, responsible for the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.

Mr Bitta asked the Government of India to book Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President, Akali Dal (Amritsar), who visited Pakistan on a diplomatic passport despite the ban imposed by the government. He alleged that Mr Mann was attempting to revive terrorism in the state and he should be disqualified as Member of Parliament.


SGPC to regulate setting up of new gurdwaras
Sarbjit Dhaliwal

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
The SGPC is to regulate the setting up of new gurdwaras. A meeting of the Dharam Parchar Committee of the SGPC will be called soon to draw up the guidelines and take other decisions pertaining to this issue.

The Sikh high priests have drawn the attention of the SGPC authorities to the mushroom growth of gurdwaras on a caste basis and on the names of individuals which was against Sikh religious tenets. They have also pointed out that there is no “seva and sambhal” (upkeep and maintenance) of these religious places as per Sikh “maryada”.

In an exclusive interview, the SGPC President, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, told TNS here this afternoon that he would submit a report within one month to the Sikh high priests on what action the SGPC would take to regulate the setting up of new gurdwaras. He said he would also like to talk to the representatives of all Panthic organisations on this issue before submitting the report.

Mr Badungar, who also held a meeting of the Sikh religious affairs committee of the SGPC here today, said that another important issue pertaining to the appointment of the Sikh high priests, including the Jathedar of Akal Takht also came up for discussion at the meeting. The appointments of the high priests were made by the executive of the SGPC as per the provisions of the Sikh Gurdwara Act of 1925. However, the SGPC had decided to set up a high-level committee of eminent Sikh scholars to review the procedure for appointments and recommend the new one.

He said as this was a very important issue that concerned everyone in the Sikh community, there would be need for consensus among a wide spectrum of Sikh scholars and others concerned. The SGPC did not want to do anything in haste in this regard, he added.

A Sikh religious affairs advisory board comprising eminent Sikh scholars would be set up soon for guidance, advice and consultation on important religious affairs.

The SGPC today released a grant of Rs 25 lakh for gurdwaras in Haryana.

Regarding the issue of the visit of Sikh jathas to gurdwaras in Pakistan, Mr Badungar said that senior Sikh leaders, including Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra and Mr Simranjit Singh, had taken up this issue with the Union Government. The SGPC had also written to the Prime Minister to allow Jathas to go to Pakistan. However, the Union Government had been repeatedly saying that the situation was not conducive for allowing such visits to that country. There could be problems at certain levels.

Talking about the enrolment of Sehajdharis as voters in the SGPC elections, Mr Badungar said that he had urged the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, that he should direct the government officers engaged in the revision of the voter lists to enlist voters as per the provisions of the Sikh Gurdwara Act of 1925. He alleged that because of “mischief” being played at the behest of the Congress, government officials were enrolling non-Sikhs as voters at various places.

The SGPC criticised the withdrawal of the NSA case under which Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara was arrested a few months ago. Mr Badungar said that the Congress Government in the state had hurt the sentiments of Sikhs by doing so. The government should take severe-action against Baba Bhaniara.

The SGPC also sought a ban on the activities of a Tarn Taran-based Swami, who claimed that he was an incarnation of Guru Gobind Singh and Guru Nanak Dev. Mr Badungar said that instead of taking prompt action against the Swami, the police in Tarn Taran beat up those protesting against objectionable remarks of the Swami. He alleged that in Mallan village, near Muktsar, Congress workers took away the Nishan Sahib of the gurdwara. He said that such actions amounted to direct interference in the religious affairs of the Sikhs by the government. He sought action against those involved in the incident.


Seven schools found closed
23 teachers may face suspension
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 22
Just a few weeks after exposing absenteeism at health centres in rural areas, nine teams of the Ludhiana Vigilance Department today swooped down on a number of schools in Koomkalan and Machiwara blocks of the district and surprisingly found seven schools closed due to the absence of teachers, who used to come in the morning just to mark the attendance. As many as 23 teachers were found absent.

The vigilance team also raided two veterinary hospitals on the request of the residents of Dalatpur Mand and Issapur Bet villages and found two veterinary doctors absent from duty. Interestingly, the vigilance sleuths had caught 65 doctors absent from duty in similar raids a few weeks ago but it seemed to have not produced the desired results as was evident from the raids today.

Vigilance sources revealed that villagers had been complaining that their children in the government schools were not being given proper education as the teachers rarely came to the schools.

Vigilance sources said 46 schools were raided by nine teams formed on the direction of IG, Vigilance, A.P. Pandey. The raids were conducted between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Schools at Daulatpur Mandi, Issapur Bet, Jodhwal, Garri Fazal, Garri Sheru, Bhumana and Kala Kalan were found closed even before the recess time.

Inquiries revealed that it was common for the teachers to come in the morning, mark the attendance of students and go away. The students also used to play for some time or read on their own and then go away. The schools were locked much before the scheduled time.

Mr R.P.S. Bajwa, SP, Vigilance, said, ‘‘We expected one or two teachers absent from the school affecting the work of a class or two, but were amazed to find the level of absenteeism at the seven schools.”

Mr Bajwa said the vigilance team compiled the report of the raid in the evening and sent it for necessary action to the state Vigilance Bureau and the government. He said the absent teachers would face suspension and departmental action.


Probe begins against Ravi Inder Singh
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 22
The local police has begun investigations against a former Vidhan Sabha Speaker, Mr Ravi Inder Singh, in a case of cheating, fraud and criminal conspiracy.

Police sources said that the inquiry had been entrusted to Sub-Inspector Hari Pal Walia of the Economic Offences Wing. Mr Ravi Inder Singh was summoned and questioned by the police in this regard last week.

The former Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker was booked under Sections 406, 418, 420, 467, 471 and 120-B of the IPC in February earlier this year. This followed the directions of a local court, which acting on a complaint by Ms Baljit Kaur, had directed the Pinjore police to register a case and investigate the matter on February 6.

In her complaint before the Judicial Magistrate, Mr P.K. Yadav, Ms Baljit Kaur had asked that a case should be registered against Mr Ravi Inder Singh, Ms Rajmohinder Kaur and Mr Gurdev Singh. She had further sought that directions be given to the police to investigate the matter of an alleged mortgaging of six bighas of prime property in Abdullapur village near Pinjore owned by a charitable trust with the Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation for getting a loan for Mr Ravi Inder Singh’s own factory.

Claiming to be a trustee of Sardar Baldev Singh Charity Trust, along with the other accused, including managing trustee Mr Ravi Inder Singh, Ms Baljit Kaur had alleged that the three accused had misappropriated the trust property and embezzled vast sums of funds for the MLA’s personal gain.

She claimed that Mr Ravi Inder Singh had floated a company, Brahma Styer Tractors Limited at SAS Nagar, and in order to raise loans for this company, trustees mortgaged the property with the PSIDC for Rs 75 lakh in 1998, without taking Ms Baljit Kaur, also a trustee, into confidence. At this time, this property was valued at Rs 1.75 crore, she added.

Later, Mr Ravi Inder Singh allegedly got a resolution passed by the trust that the said property be sold off. Again, Ms Baljit Kaur was not taken into confidence and the property was sold off to two Panchkula residents — Mr Mangat Rai Baboota and Ms Rekha Sharma for a sum of Rs 15 lakh, it was alleged.

This money, realised from the sale of the property, was invested by Mr Ravi Inder in the BSTL by purchasing its shares, she stated.

The complainant then submitted a report to the Pinjore police on October 27, 2001, which was later marked to Economic Offences Wing. However, the police failed to take any action in this regard following which a complaint was filed in the court, her counsel concluded on her behalf.


Office-bearers of CLP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
The PPCC chief, Capt Amarinder Singh, has nominated the following CLP office-bearers: General Secretary, Joginder Singh Mann; Secretary, Kanwaljit Singh Lally; Treasurer, Amrik Singh Dhillon; Chief Whip, Malkiat Singh Birmi; and Whips, Sadhu Singh Dharamkot, Harbans Kaur, Sunil Jakhar Raj Kumar Gupta.


Sikhs threaten ‘direct action’ against Swami
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 22
Some Sikh organisations, including the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) and the Dal Khalsa today threatened to resort to ‘direct action’ if Swami Sharddhanand of the Noormehlia sect was not arrested immediately for delivering provocative speech at Tarn Taran on April 19. Activists of these organisations, however, clarified that the probable action would be initiated as per the law.

Addressing a press conference here today, the leaders of these organisations alleged that many persons had sustained injuries during the pelting of stones by the followers of Swami at Tarn Taran. Among those who addressed the press conference included Mr Kanwar Pal Singh and Mr Satbir Singh Sandu — both from Dal Khalsa, Mr Gurjatinderpal Singh Bhikhiwind and Mr Balbir Singh Sodhi of SAD (A).

They said if no action was taken against the ‘anti-religious’ activities of such religious leaders it could lead to an unsavoury situation.

Coming heavily on the Congress, the leaders of these organisations alleged that the mushrooming of “deras” was the outcome of the Congress policies. They also alleged that the Central Government wanted to penetrate into the Sikh masses through such activities. They said it was most disturbing that the Swami attempted to equate himself with Guru Gobind Singh. The Sikh organisations also got the videotape of the speech of the Swami.

The leaders of Sikh organisations appealed to the Hindu brethrens not to allow the controversial Swami in creating communal tension in the region.


Worldwide telecast of Gurbani from July

Jalandhar, April 22
ETC Punjabi will commence the live telecast of the Gurbani and kirtan from the Golden Temple for its overseas viewers in July this year.

Disclosing this here today, the channel’s vice-president Ravinder Narain said the Sikhs and Punjabis sitting in any part of the globe would be able to view and listen to the Gurbani and kirtan directly from the Harmandir Sahib from July onwards.

He said on Baisakhi ETC Punjabi had aired the Gurbani live from the holy shrine to viewers in England and Canada on experimental basis.

ETC Punjabi, after a tie-up with the SGPC last year, had begun live telecast of the Gurbani. According to Mr Narain, the live telecast of the programme had immensely added to the popularity of the channel. UNI


Mann writes to PM on Sekhon issue
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 22
Continuing his fight for the cause of the ousted Air Marshal Manjit Singh Sekhon, the President of Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, has written to Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, urging him to reinstate Air Marshal Sekhon, who was forced to resign recently.

In his letter Mr Mann has stated that Air Marshal Sekhon has been an outstanding officer of exceptionally high professional calibre and has held important command and staff assignments throughout his career. The officer is the recipient of three gallantry awards and the highest peace-time award, besides various letters of commendation, making him probably a highest decorated officer in the country.

Stating that the punishment given to him was very hard, Mr Mann said to terminate the services of such an officer for an insignificant offense was indeed tragic and had deprived the country of the highly valuable expertise and experience of the officer.

“He has not misappropriated or mismanaged any government fund. The officer is not guilty of turpitude. So what has been his fault to invite such severe and swift action? Just a simple letter to a Chief Minister asking for a favour which was never granted. A letter that neither benefited him nor harmed anyone else!

He said Air Marshal Sekhon’s letter to Mr Badal should have been considered as an act of minor indiscretion. 


CM opens drive to clean royal city
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 22
The ‘’Maharaja’’ took on the role of a safai karamchari today picking up broom to clean up his town under a cleanliness drive which is set to involve the administration, voluntary organisations, schoolchildren and public.

The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, inaugurated the cleanliness drive titled ‘’Mera Patiala Main Sawaran’’ by sweeping the floor in front of the statue of Baba Bhim Rao Ambedkar opposite the bus stand. The Chief Minister also made it clear on the occasion that his commitment to the project was not skin deep saying that he would personally supervise the drive on the coming weekend.

The Chief Minister, accompanied by his wife and Patiala MP Preneet Kaur, who also did her bit of voluntary service on the occasion, also announced that the government would ban the use of polythene bags in the state. He also made an appeal to the citizens not to use polythene bags saying that their disposal had become a big headache for all civic organisations.

He also appealed to the people not to burn garbage in the open. He said this caused air pollution and harmed the green belt in the city. He urged dairy owners in the city to take responsibility for disposing of dung collected from their dairies saying that they could not be allowed to litter the roads outside their localities. He said residents should also dispose of their garbage at predetermined spots instead of heaping garbage everywhere.

Deputy Commissioner Tejvir Singh said a 15-day drive would be organised in the city under the scheme. He said the city had been divided into 45 zones with each zone under the charge of an officer of the district administration and the Municipal Corporation. He said the officers concerned would take the help of voluntary organisations, schoolchildren and other interested persons to clean up their respective zones.

Mr Tejvir Singh said 45 mohalla sanitation committees had also been constituted and around 610 corporation employees would help the committees in the drive. He said besides this, 86 more safai karamcharis had been recruited under a new scheme under which half of their pay would be given by the mohalla committee and half by the corporation.

A number of Congressmen gathered at the spot. District Congress (Urban) president Ved Prakash Gupta and others also spoke on the occasion besides participating in the drive. Corporation Commissioner K.S. Kang also Deputy Inspector-General I.P.S. Sahota, district police chief P.S. Umranangal and Additional Deputy Commissioner Shiv Dular Singh Dhillon were the other speakers.


2 dead as jeep hits train
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jhande (Hoshiarpur), April 22
Two employees of a wine contractor died on the spot while four of their companions were injured as the jeep they were travelling in rammed into the speeding Jammu Mail at an unmanned railway crossing here last night.

The accident took place at around 8 p.m. The occupants of the jeep asked the driver to opt for a diversion owing to the ongoing repair on the GT road to reach a nearby village for inspection of liquor vends.

As the Bolero reached the crossing (C-122), it got jammed and was dragged by the speeding Jammu Mail (4034 dn) to some distance.

The train was delayed by about 50 minutes as it had to stop at Mirthal station for repairs.

The victims have been identified as Ranjit Singh and Bikramjit Singh, both residents of Tanda Ram Sahai village near Mukerian. The four persons who have sustained injuries in the accident are Tarsem Singh Rana, Kuldip Singh, Paramjit Singh and jeep driver Sohan Singh.

Sohan Singh is said to have fled the Mukerian Civil Hospital after getting first-aid. Paramjit Singh has been shifted to the DMC, Ludhiana, since his condition is said to be critical. The other injured have been admitted to the Mukerian Civil Hospital.

Eyewitnesses said as the GT road was under repair, somebody suggested to the occupants of the jeep an alternative route through the unmanned crossing. After hitting the train, the jeep was hurled into a ditch. People of nearby villages rescued the injured.

Senior railway officials, including Assistant Traffic Manager Jogesh Aggrawal and Traffic Inspector R. A. Meena reached the site immediately after the accident.

It may be mentioned here that there are about 696 unmanned crossings in the railway’s Ferozepore division. Though, sources said, there was a plan to convert 66 of these into manned crossings last year, nothing was done in this direction for reasons best known to the railway authorities.


Sarpanch sacked for misappropriating funds
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, April 22
The Punjab Government has sacked the sarpanch of Khelan village for misappropriating funds and using substandard material for constructing village school building.

Issuing a suspension letter to the Block Development and Panchayat Officer, Mr Joginder Singh, the Additional Director, Panchayats, Punjab, has directed that the sarpanch, Pawan Kumar, should not be considered for the post any more.

Exercising his powers under Section 20 (4) of the Panchayat Act, the Director has directed that all documents relating to the village development activities and funds should be withdrawn from him with immediate effect and handed over to some another member of the panchayat.

Earlier, Mr Rajesh Kumar, a member of the panchayat, had complained to the department, alleging that the sarpanch had been misappropriating the funds meant for development of the village. He had alleged that the sarpanch had been using substandard material for the school building.

The department had marked an inquiry to the Divisional Deputy Director of Panchayats.


Witness denies role in flat lease
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 22
A witness in the ill-fated Indian Airlines hijacking case today told the court that he had no role in getting a flat on rent for Abdul Latif and Javed Siddiqui, accused in the case.

The witness, Dharmesh Singh Thakur, made this statement during cross-examination today. He said he did not know the landlord of the flat. However, Thakur identified Latif, saying he had seen him twice in the vicinity of the flat.


2 Nepali labourers killed in mishap
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 22
Two Nepali migrant labourers were killed and four injured when a tractor-mounted combine harvester was hit by a truck near Beas village this morning.

The accident resulted in on-the-spot death of Ram Vinay Rao and Ram Narain, both from Nepal, and injuries to Bala, Param Raj Rao and two other labourers travelling atop the combine. The police has registered a case against the driver of the truck (HR-47-1829).

Meanwhile, in two separate incidents, nine acres of wheat crop was destroyed by fire suspected to have been caused by a short circuit at Pandori Mattan and Malliwal village near Nakodar and Shahkot townships, respectively.

Army personnel killed in road mishap
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 22
An Army personnel was killed and two were injured when a fast moving vehicle hit the rickshaw they were riding on the Bathinda-Barnala road, about 5 km from here, last night. The rickshaw-puller also received injuries in the accident. The deceased has been identified as J. M. Basha while the injured are Mr N. K. Vairagi and Mr Sheikh Vast.

The three Army personnel were going towards the cantonment on a rickshaw last night, when it was hit by a fast moving vehicle.

All injured were admitted to the hospital in the cantonment, where J. M. Basha succumbed to his injuries. The condition of others is stated to be serious but stable.

The rickshaw-puller was later shifted to the local Civil Hospital. He has not gained conscious so far and has not been identified. The volunteers of a local NGO, Sahara, are taking care of him.

A case under Section 304A of the IPC has been registered against the driver of the vehicle.


Dogs maul calves to death
Our Correspondent

Moga, April 22
Reports of mauling to death newlyborn calves of cows by stray dogs near the canal bridge at Langeana Nawan village under Baghapurana police station in the district were received today.

They said a herd of about70 cattle lived near the bridge on area which was also inhabited by stray dogs.

Residents of several villages, including Langeana Nawan and Laneana Purana, said the stray dogs mauled newly born calves to death immediately after their birth .


Railway to educate people on mishaps
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 22
Ferozepur Division of Northern Railway, has decided to launch a special drive to educate people to use precaution while crossing unmanned level-crossings.


Bhaniara panel submits report
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
The three-member Bhaniara Inquiry Commission set up by the SGPC today submitted its report to the President of the SGPC, suggesting that the mushroon growth of babas, sants and deras should be checked and countered.


Wheat arrival picks up at Jalandhar
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 22
The arrival of wheat has picked up at the mandis of Jalandhar, which was registered at 86,000 quintals as compared to 36,000 quintals during the corresponding period last year.

Stating this the Punjab Local Bodies Minister Choudhary Jagjit Singh, who conducted surprise checks at a number of mandis in the district today, said the wheat was of very good quality as compared to last year. Choudhary Jagjit Singh, who interacted with the farmers at the mandis, said he received no complaints of harassment and there was no shortage of bardana in mandis.


Minister meets arhtiyas
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, April 22
Chaudhary Santokh Singh, Social Security and Welfare Minister, Mr Parkash Singh, local MLA, and Mr Pritam Singh, SDM, yesterday visited the wheat procurement centres at Dhangerpur, Bazidpur, Garcha, Mukandpur, Hakimpur and Nawanshahr and supervised the process. They met farmers and arhtiyas and heard their problems.


CBI staff face stagnation
IPS officers stand in way of promotions
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, April 22
The non-Indian Police Service cadre officials in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) are an aggrieved lot. They allege that they are not getting promotions.

Officials of the IPS cadre posted in the agency on deputation from other states occupy most of the key positions in the CBI. A senior official of the CBI who retired recently told TNS that this had sealed the fate of over 2,000 officials directly recruited by the agency.

More than 150 key positions from the rank of SP to Director, including the office of the CBI Director are being held by IPS-cadre officials.

The retired official alleged that he was denied promotion even after serving the agency for more than 12 years on the same rank.

Credited with investigating several sensational cases, he regretted there was no union or platform, as in the case of other sensational union or police and government organisations for officers like him. Stagnation was a key factor in the tardy progress of investigation of cases pending with the agency for decades.

During the past five years, though the number of cases referred to the CBI for investigation has more than doubled, the agency has maintained a status quo as far as disposal of cases is concerned.

Although the CBI claims that indictment in cases has increased from 82.4 pre cent in 1999 to 85 per cent in the year 2001, these figures are related to petty crimes. The agency has failed to make a breakthrough in any major case during the past five years.

The CBI has a little over 5,000 employees, including those on deputation, on its rolls. A little less than 2,500 are direct recruits. With over 310 DSP’s and 1800 Sub-Inspectors, the agency maintains the same hierarchy as in other forces. These officials have either been appointed through the UPSC or other subordinate services or posted on deputation from other organisations.

Posting of IPS-cadre officials generally starts from the rank of SP and above. In the CBI, there are a little over 100 SP’s and 41 DIG’s. The agency has 16 IG’s known as Joint Directors, and one DGP known as Director.

In the past many decades, IPS officials on deputation have been filling a majority of posts of SP. The same has been true of other posts, including that of DIG.

Officials of the CBI directly recruited in to the agency are also an aggrieved lot. An official who joins the agency directly or is posted on deputation below the rank of SP (from state services) cannot be promoted above the post of Joint Director.


SMO among 46 found absent
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 22
A section of government employees seems to have devised unique methods to avoid detection of absence by their superiors and officials of other state government agencies.

The employees write an application for casual leave and place it on their tables without getting the same sanctioned from the competent authorities. They tear it when they return and then mark themselves present in the attendance register.

This came to light when five teams of the Vigilance Bureau under the supervision of SP (Vigilance), Mr Baljinder Singh Grewal, raided around 30 health centres, including four civil hospitals and 10 dispensaries in the rural and urban areas falling in the district and Mansa, today.

At the Makha health centre, the team found applications written by two pharmacists in connection with their leave for the second half today. However, in the attendance register, they had marked themselves present. Mr Grewal said both pharmacists had done so to avoid the detection of absence.

He said in another case, Parma Devi, a Class IV employee of the Health Department at Kot Phara village, marked the field movement of one of the doctors by forging his signatures and wrote leave applications for two other Class IV employees to prevent detection of their absence by the raiding team. He added that Parma Devi later confessed that she had tampered with the official records. He added that a recommendation had been made in connection with the registration of a criminal case against her.

He disclosed that seven doctors, including Dr Gurmail Singh Mauji, Senior Medical Officer (SMO), Talwandi Sabo, an Ophthalmic Officer, eight pharmacists, a sanitary inspector, two ANMs and 27 others, including Class IV employees, drivers, sweepers etc were found absent from their duty during the day-long raids.


Rs 250-cr plan to improve roads
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, April 22
Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, Public Works Minister, in a press note issued here yesterday said the Punjab Government had prepared a Rs 250-crore plan to beautify, strengthen and widen roads to prevent accidents in the state. Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, would be going to New Delhi to meet the Prime Minister shortly for approval of the plan, he added.

Mr Bajwa said the Amritsar-Pathankot road would be four-laned and 10 flyovers would be built, which included one each at Verka, Jhakolari, Korali, Gurdaspur, Morinda and Nawanshahr.

Mr Bajwa said the roads from Qadian-Batala and Dalla-Harchowal would also be widened. He said the bridge over the Beas on Nausehra Feery near Mukerian, which was under construction, would be completed by the year-end.

He further said the bridge over the local nullah near Ghallughara and Simbel road connecting the Ghallughara gurdwara would be built on priority. A part of the grants in this regard had already been received.


Plan to develop urban estate
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 22
An urban estate would be developed in about 228 acres here in the district, said Dr Harbans Lal, Minister for Forests and Food Supply, Punjab, while addressing mediapersons here today.

He said Fatehgarh Sahib would be made a model district and development projects would be speeded up. He added that a college, and a polytechnic would be opened in the district. He said the special plans had been formulated for plantation in the state. A new policy was being made regarding the working of the Forest Corporation, he said.

He said an inquiry was being conducted into the Japan Project Scheme and the officials found guilty would not be spared. He said he himself would visit the Japan Project in Kandi area on April 26 and 27.

Dr Harbans Lal said 24-hour electricity supply would be ensured in rural areas of the state within next two years.

He said farmers, whose crops got damaged due to fire by sparking during these days, would be given compensation and special 'girdawaris' would be done.

He said all officials had been directed to remain in their offices and meet the public to listen their problems. He said the recent transfers were all in public interest.


SPOs not paid salaries
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 22
Special Police Officers (SPOs) who were recruited to assist the state police and para-military forces to fight militancy in Punjab have not been paid salaries for the past three months. Mr Satya Pal Dang, veteran CPI leader, has raised the issue of these personnel with the Punjab Chief Minister Mr Amarinder Singh.


Car bazaars of stolen vehicles
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Moga, April 22
Buyers beware, if you are going to purchase a second-hand car or any other vehicle from the car bazaars being organised at various places in the state, check the documents and verify the same from the authorities concerned to make it sure that you are buying a genuine vehicle and not a stolen one.

A casual approach while purchasing a vehicle from the car bazaars may land you in trouble and you may find that you have bought a stolen vehicle.

For the past many years stolen four wheelers have been finding their ways to these bazaars in the state and unsuspecting and innocent buyers have been purchasing the same by shelling out huge amounts from their pockets. After a few months or years they find themselves in a soup when the police impounds the vehicles and tell them that they had been enjoying rides on stolen vehicles.

In the past two years a number of such gangs have been busted by the police, who used to dispose of the same through car markets to the unsuspecting buyers. The district police authorities found that a number of stolen cars from places like Mumbai had been sold to the people through car bazaars. The police also found out that a section of those who organise car bazaars were actively involved in the illegal trade.

Though the police hushed up the matter, some of the stolen vehicles were recovered from police officials and those who were close confidants of certain politicians of the state. The modus-operandi was that they would steal the vehicles, change their registration numbers and sell of the same to the unsuspecting buyers through individual efforts or through car bazaars.

One such inter-state gang involved in stealing vehicles and subsequently disposing them of in the car bazaars was busted by the district police authorities yesterday.

Mr Varinder Kumar, district police chief, said 20 vehicles were recovered from Baljinder Singh, Paramjit Singh (both from Punjab) and Rajesh Patel, member of an inter-state gang.

Baljit Singh, brother of the accused Paramjit Singh, was member of the Dawood Ibrahim gang and was involved in a number of robberies and kidnappings.

The SSP said a case under various sections of the IPC has been registered.


Constable arrested in double murder case
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 22
The local police has arrested Jaspal Singh, a constable in the Punjab police and posted at the local Police Lines, and Rameshwar Verma, alias Raju, resident of Narwana in Jind district in Haryana, allegedly involved in the murder of Madan Lal, a small money lender, and his wife Sneh Lata during a broad daylight dacoity at their house in the local Partap Nagar locality on April 17.

Giving this information at a press conference here today, Mr A.S. Rai, SSP, said as many as six persons were involved in the dacoity and murder, of which two had already been arrested by the police while the remaining four Harish Kumar, Darshan Singh, Vijay Kumar and Jaggu, all residents of Narwana, Jind district, Haryana, were on the run.

The SSP further said the police had also impounded the Maruti car used in the crime.

The SSP said the police had also recovered a sharp-edged weapon used in the murder from the house of Jaspal Singh, a constable.

He added that the police had also recovered a gold ring, some cash and a cheque from the accused.

He further said Jaspal Singh, constable, was absent from his duty on the day of dacoity and murder.

He was arrested by the local police today. On the information of Jaspal Singh, the police found the weapon used in the double murder from his house.


13 drug smugglers arrested
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 22
The local police has arrested 13 persons involved in smuggling of narcotics, illegal distillation of liquor and gambling and has recovered 34 kg of poppy husk, 190 kg lahan, 39 litres of illicit liquor, Rs 21,245 in cash and a mobile phone.

Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, in a press note issued here today, said Satish Kumar, a resident of Malooka village was arrested when he was carrying 14 kg of poppy husk. Satnam Singh and Balvir Singh, residents of Laleana village, were arrested for keeping 20 kg of poppy husk. They have been booked under Sections 15, 61and 85 of the NDPS Act at Phool and Raman police stations, respectively.

At least seven persons have been arrested under the Excise Act and as many cases registered against them. The accused have been identified as Sham Singh of Multania, Jarnail Sing of Burj, Rakha Singh of Bangi Nihalsingh, Neela Singh, Jagtar Singh and Janta Singh, all from Chauke and Tarsem Singh of Pitho.

Neeraj Goyal, a resident of street number 3, Ganesha Basti, has been arrested for allegedly selling banned drugs used by youths. He used to sell these drugs without prescription. He has been booked under Section 420 of the IPC and 15 Indian Medical Council Act 1956, 26 Drugs and Cosmetics Act. The police has seized 26 bottles of prosydial and 21 bottles of koksidial from his possession.

Beera Singh of Balianwali has been arrested for illegal satta transactions and Rs 560 has been seized from his possession. Ajay Kumar of Rampura has also been arrested under the same Act and Rs 20,685 and a mobile phone has been recovered from his possession. Both of them have been booked under Sections 13, 3, 67 of the Gambling Act at Balianwali and Rampura police stations, respectively.


Gang of thieves busted
Our Correspondent

Moga, April 22
The district police today busted a gang of thieves who used to steal vehicles from various states like Ahmedabad, Kanpur and Mumbai and sell them after changing their registration certificates. The local SSP, Mr Varinder Kumar, said the arrested thieves had been identified as Baljinder Singh of Tarn Taran, Rajesh Patel of Mumbai and Paramjit Singh. Cases have been registered.


Don’t boycott exams, minister urges teachers
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 22
The State Education Minister, Mr Khushal Behl, today appealed to the Punjab and Chandigarh college teachers not to go on strike and boycott the annual examinations as the Punjab Government was committed to implement their demands. Talking to newspersons after presiding over the 44th annual convocation of the local DAV College last evening, Mr Behl added that the government would ensure that the colleges and universities were not starved of funds despite the serious financial crunch being faced by Punjab.

The teachers’ union has already given a call to boycott the university examinations of Guru Nanak Dev University on April 24 and of Panjab University on April 26 and later suspend the evaluation work beginning in May. The president of the Punjab and Chandigarh Teachers Union had threatened to hold protest rallies all over the state to press for their demands. The minister felt that the teachers must cooperate with the government.

Answering queries about the proposed 10 per cent annual cut on government grants, Mr Behl said the present government would review the entire gamut of grants to colleges and universities and take a decision after taking all sections into confidence. He assured them that the government would implement the pre-poll promises.

Earlier, the minister, while addressing the graduates and postgraduates at the convocation, called upon the teachers to develop the education system which could enhance their mental faculty and skills.

He lauded DAV institutions which had been in the forefront to provide quality education during the past many decades.

Later, the former Minister of External Affairs and Member of Parliament, Mr R. L. Bhatia, stressed the need to blend our traditional education with modern technology.

Earlier, the Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, Dr S. P. Singh, while delivering the convocation address said certain advanced nations were trying to dominate the world through globalisation through their economic, educational and cultural invasion.

The Principal of the college, Mr M. L. Aeri, conferred degrees on 722 graduates and postgraduates and presented the college annual report.


GND varsity puts off exams
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 22
Guru Nanak Dev University has postponed all examinations scheduled for April 24. Though it has not mentioned any reason, sources say the step has been taken in the wake of the strike call given by the Chandigarh Punjab Teachers Union on this date.

A press note issued by the university states that the examinations, scheduled for April 24 would be held on May 8. The examination centres and timings of the proposed examinations will remain the same.

Meanwhile, as per the decision of the university, students of BA can now opt both for Hindi and Sanskrit as elective subjects from the academic session 2002-2003.

The students, after passing the three-year Shastri course, will also be eligible for admission to MA in Sanskrit and Hindi.


Engineering colleges’ students hold dharna
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 22
While criticising the Punjab Minister for Technical Education, Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, for his alleged failure to check irregularities in the functioning of the Punjab Technical University (PTU), the students of about six engineering colleges of the state today sat on a day-long dharna on the campus premises to register their protest.

Hundreds of agitating students have decided to intensify their struggle against the alleged dictatorial attitude of the senior functionaries of the PTU by resorting to indefinite hunger strike from Tuesday onwards. They demanded that the new controversial instructions issued by the varsity authorities pertaining to internal assessment and debarring a student from sitting in examinations of the fifth semester, if he or she failed to clear the supplementary exams of the first semester should be revoked immediately.

They alleged that though the PTU Vice-Chancellor had promised to revoke the recent instructions in the recent past, but the latter had failed to notify the same so far, causing resentment among the students.

They further alleged that the minister concerned had also failed to check the alleged irregularities in the functioning of the PTU and was instead sharing dias with the controversial Vice-Chancellor.

They threatened to gherao Mr Kaypee during public functions in the city, if the latter failed to take stern action against the Vice-Chancellor.

They demanded that the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, should order a thorough probe into the alleged irregularities of the varsity, including allotment of hundreds of distance education centres across the country without complying with the UGC guidelines which virtually put a question mark on the future of the students.


Inter-school painting competition
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 22
An inter-school on-the-spot painting competition was organised at the Baradari Club here today jointly by the Rotary Club (Mid-Town) and the Innerwheel Club, Patiala, in memory of late Major B.S.S. Bedi in which 175 children from different schools of the city took part.

The prizes were distributed by Mr S. D. S Dhillon, Additional Deputy Commissioner.

Results: (4-7 years): Gaganjit Singh Brar (Blossoms School) 1, Alisha Singh Mahi (BDP School) 2 and Anmol Kang (Sri Aurobindo International School) 3; (8-12 years): Hitesh Tandon (TSK Public School) 1, Simranjit Singh (BDP School) 2 and Jasmine (Army School) 3; (13-15 years): Vishali Gupta (New Daffodil Public School) 1, Silvi Singh (Our Lady of Fatima Convent School) 2 and Gundeep (St Peter’s Academy) 3.

Jashvir Singh Sahni and Kumar Gaurav bagged special prizes initiated by the Aurobindo Ashram for orphanage. The judges were Mr B. M. Chopra, national awardee and Mrs Davinder Kaur, state awardee in fine arts.


J&K to lift ban on willow export
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 22
The sick sports industry here has heaved a sigh of relief as the Jammu and Kashmir Government has finally decided to lift the 20-year old ban on export of the Kashmir willow — used for manufacturing of quality cricket bats.

The J&K Government has given its nod for export of willow to sports goods exporters of other states and the J&K Assembly has recently passed a Bill in this connection, after a long struggle by sports goods manufacturers of Jalandhar and Meerut and repeated promises by Mr Farooq Abdullah and Omar Farooq during their Jalandhar visits.

The ban on export of willow outside the hill state had its toll on the sports industry as a number of Jalandhar and Meerut based willow consuming units had either put their shutters down or had shifted to Jammu or other neighbouring states.

Though, the Bill has been passed according to which willow will be supplied to the exporters only, a notification specifying conditions for supply of willow in detail is in the pipeline sources said, adding that the Bill was drafted by Forest Minister Pirzada Ghulam Ahmed Shah.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
122 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |