Monday, May 6, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Garg commission evokes protests
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
The Department of Home, Vigilance and Justice Affairs of the Punjab Government, has been receiving a spate of bouquets and brickbats for the actions it has taken after the new government assumed office two months ago.

Bouquets for launching a concerted drive against corruption at all levels, including the unearthing of the country’s biggest ever “recruitment scam” in the Punjab Public Service Commission and brickbats on the selection of the one-man inquiry commission against the previous government.

The department has been flooded with a large number of complaints alleging irregularities in various selections, including those approved by departmental promotion committees and other channels. Complaints of corruption, too, have been far many.

Interestingly, the appointment of Justice A.S. Garg, too, has evoked severe criticism. The most significant of the complaints has been quoting former Haryana Chief Minister Bansi Lal’s communication to the then Union Law Minister opposing his appointment to the Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on three counts, including a judgment he had delivered as District and Sessions Judge, Hisar, convicting Pradeep Kumar , the then MLA from Hansi, in a murder case.

The conviction was subsequently set aside by the high court with an observation that the trial judge fell gravely in error in convicting the MLA in the case. The other point mentioned in the letter of Mr Bansi Lal, which is believed to be on the record of the Union Law Ministry, was that he had taken a discretionary quota plot from Mr Bhajan Lal during his tenure as Chief Minister of Haryana. Mr Bansi Lal is also believed to have mentioned that another high court Judge had barred Justice A.S. Garg from entertaining bail petitions.

Yet another complaint quoting RCRs pertains to the Kartar Singh Badhana case in which the complainant has questioned the justification of Justice Garg as one-man inquiry commission. The complainant maintained that Justice Garg not only set aside the election of Mr Kartar Singh Badhana but also declared his rival, whom he had defeated by more than 12,000 votes declared elected in his place . The citation of the election petition decided by Justice Garg — Hari Singh Nalwa vs Kartar Singh Badhana is 2001 (1) RCR (Civil) 529 whereas the citation of the appeal decided by the Supreme Court is Kartar Singh Badhana vs Hari Singh Nalwa 2001 (2) RCR (Civil) 575. The orders of Justice Garg were set aside within four months by the Supreme Court with special costs qualified at Rs 25,000.

In yet another case, a Division Bench of Punjab and Haryana High Court comprising Chief Justice A.B. Saharya and Mr Justice V.K. Bali had not only set aside Justice Garg’s order and the market value of land was reassessed at Rs 23 sq yd against Rs 400 sq yd chosen by Justice Garg without bothering about the binding precedent of the high court, thus giving the land owner a financial benefit of Rs 90 lakh.


Join anti-graft drive, Badal told
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 5
Mr Gurdas Girdhar, a member of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) today said if former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had not indulged in bungling during his tenure, he should cooperate in the drive launched by Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh against corrupt officials.

This was stated in a press statement issued here today by Mr Girdhar. He said if Mr Badal had had a clean image, the voters of Punjab would not have voted the Congress to power. He added that the Congress had launched a campaign against corrupt officials as the people of the state had voted for it with the hope that it would weed out corruption.

He said during the previous government, all jobs had been ‘sold’. He said for getting works done from government offices, “contacts” and other considerations were necessary during that period. He said corruption had been rampant in all departments during the previous government.

He said Mr Badal was raising a hue and cry over the “cleanliness” campaign as he feared that he would be exposed. He alleged that Mr Badal had amassed crores in the past five years.

Mr Girdhar said had Mr Badal taken some steps against corruption, the Ravi Sidhu episode would not have happened. He said although Capt Amarinder Singh had raised the issue of corruption in the Punjab Public Service Commission, Mr Badal, who was then the Chief Minister, had not paid any heed to these allegations.


Mann not to support SAD stir move
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, May 5
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) (Amritsar) and member of the Lok Sabha has refused to extend support to the agitation to be launched by the SAD led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal to protest against alleged atrocities against SAD workers but has suggested Mr Badal to come forward to oppose the POTA and other anti-Punjab policies of the union government.

Mr Mann was here today to address a gathering, at the Manji Sahib Diwan Hall of the local gurdwara, which was organised by the local Sikh organisations to assess the situation after the alleged remarks by preachers of the Divya Jyoti Jagriti Santhathan (Noormehal Wale) here last month which created tension in the town.

Mr Mann called upon Mr Badal to come forward to condemn the Prevention of Terrorists Act (POTA) and oppose the stay of Army in Punjab which was causing great inconvenience to the people of Punjab. Mr Mann also advised Mr Badal to oppose alleged atrocities being committed against the Muslims especially against their women in Gujarat by the BJP-RSS workers.

Mr Mann in his 45-minute speech did not say even single word against the present Punjab government led by Captain Amarinder Singh a close relative of Mr Mann but went on condemning Mr Badal for his alleged misrule. Mr Mann also condemned grant of anticipatory bails in certain cases. Mr Mann suggested to the Indian and the Pakistani governments not to lay mines in the border area as these cause harm to the civilians.

Mr Mann further said that he would submit his report on the problems being faced by the border area people in present situation to the Prime Minister, the Union Home Minister and the Agriculture Minister to apprise them of how the farmers were finding it difficult to work in fields.

Mr Ram Singh, Mr Daya Singh Kakkar, Mr Harbir Singh Sandhu, Mr Sukhjit Singh Kala Afgana, Mr Kanwar Pal Singh of the Dal Khalsa and other leaders also spoke on the occasion. The leaders submitted a memorandum to the local authorities seeking a ban on the activities of the Divya Jyoti Jagriti Santhathan.

On the other hand the police did not allow the Jagriti Santhathan followers to hold gathering in the nearby Rasulpur village.


Mere sympathy for crash victims’ kin
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 5
Seven families have lost their near and dear ones as death came in the shape of a MiG-21, but all they have had received so far is mere lip sympathy from politicians, who did pose for photographs along with those victims who had sustained injuries and were admitted to the Civil Hospital, but did not bother to pay a visit to their ruined homes and share their grief.

The city and the district have a number of politicians, including five ministers and a number of former ministers. But surprisingly, none of them deemed it fit to visit mishap.

Even Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, the families maintained, visited only those injured and admitted to the local Civil Hospital. “I think they are just interested media coverage and photo-sessions”, said a relative of victim, who did not want to be quoted for reasons obvious.

“What to talk of politicians, no one even from the bank-authorities came to us. And when we went to the press briefing being held by senior officials, we were shunted out in an insulting manner,” lamented Nirmala Sabhrawal, sister-in-law of Veena, a sweeper who died in the bank inferno along with her husband, a part-time worker.

The family of Deepak, a 21-year-old part-time employee of the bank and a victim of the mishap, is aghast at the attitude of politicians. “Some people from the bank came and assured us of compensation, but no politician turned up,” said a traumatised Sushma, mother of Deepak. Her husband is a heart patient. Deepak had got married 11 months back and his wife is pregnant. She is unable to say a word.

When contacted, Deputy Commissioner, K. Siva Prasad said he had asked the SDM to contact the aggrieved families and assure the kith of due compensation as announced by the Chief Minister.


Orphaned on Friday
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 5
The loss is total for Preeti, 12, Pawan, 7 and Prince, 9, the children of the late Veena and Dharampal, both sweepers in the Bank of Rajasthan building which was hit by the burning MIG on Friday. They are hardly able to speak even as their grandmother Bimla tries to console them. Who would look after them now, rues the grandmother.

Prince and Pawan were attending their school when the accident took place. He along with his siblings expected their mother to cook for them. But Prince watched crowds converging at their home near the Gulab Devi Hospital.

He failed to make out what had happened. Preeti, who had dropped out of school recently, had confined herself to a room since, and was sobbing.


Another recruitment scam alleged
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 5
Will the Punjab Government take action on the judgement passed by the Supreme Court pertaining to the selection of Block Development and Panchayat Officers (BDPOs) by the Punjab Public Service Commission in 1995-96?

The selection of BDPOs by the PPSC was first challenged in the Punjab and Haryana High Court and then the Supreme Court by one of the candidates. The Supreme Court held the selection “wrong and against the norms laid down for the recruitment.”

The court also ordered the authorities concerned to scrap the entire selection list and make a new list of selected candidates by including the marks scored by candidates in the written test to the interview marks.

Following the Supreme Court judgement, the PPSC prepared a new list of merit. In this list prepared for 44 posts for which the selection was made by PPSC in 1995-96, the names of 11 candidates, who were selected earlier, did not figure.

When these candidates did not come in the merit list, they started wielding influence and lobbying with the previous SAD-BJP government and managed to get a mercy resolution passed in their favour. They remained on their posts.

Mr Manjeet Sharma, one of the candidates, in a letter to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh pointed out that the previous SAD-BJP government had committed “contempt of the Supreme Court by not removing those 11 candidates whose names did not figure in the merit list prepared by the PPSC as per the guidelines laid down by the apex court.”

He said the Punjab government kept these candidates as regular BDPOs though their names were not recommended by the PPSC for appointment

He said no government could appoint anyone arbitrarily and every government was bound to follow rules and regulations before recruiting people for various jobs. The earlier Punjab Government had thus committed a recruitment scam and played havoc with the careers of genuine and deserving candidates.

He urged the Chief Minister that such BDPOs be removed immediately and genuine and eligible candidates appointed in their place. The officials concerned who had indulged in “contempt of court,” should be punished, he demanded.


DDPO among 14 booked in corruption case
Tribune News Service

Budhlada (Mansa), May 5
A criminal case under the Prevention of Corruption Act and IPC against the District Development and Panchayat Officer (DDPO), Mr Bhajan Singh, Block Development and Panchayat Officer (BDPO), Mr Maghar Singh, Panchayat Officer, Mr Bipan Kumar, and 11 others has been registered by the local police for their alleged involvement in causing a huge loss to the income of the Panchayat of the village. They allegedly cheated when the panchayat shops were given on rent through auction.

Police sources said a case against 14 persons, including the then Sarpanch, Gopi Ram, Gram Sewak, Gurjant Singh and Panchayat Secretary, Gurcharan Singh, was registered when they were found guilty of cheating while auctioning shops owned by the Panchayat to be given on rent in an inquiry conducted by the Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development), Mr Parkash Singh Lame. The case was registered under Sections 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC and Section 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The sources said that the local Panchayat gave its 65 shops on rent through auction and earned about Rs 14 lakh as income from these. However, after some time, some members of the Panchayat along with government officials, auctioned some shops again at a lesser rent to the kin of those who were given the shops on rent earlier and thus caused a loss of about Rs 9 lakh in annual income to the Panchayat. The accused members of the Panchayat and government officials also tampered with the record. In the case of five shops, the rent was reduced without passing any resolution.

The sources said though this matter was raised time and again by various persons before he authorities concerned to demand action against the guilty, the authorities always hushed up the matter on one pretext or the other.

The police sources said no arrest had been made so far.

Mr Alok Shekhar, Deputy commissioner, Mansa, when contacted, while confirming the registration of a case against 14 persons, including the DDPO, BDPO, and PO, said an inquiry was conducted by the ADC when the present Panchayat met him for holding a probe into the cheating case. He added that earlier no action was taken in the matter by the authorities concerned.


Aided colleges get 18-cr grant

Gurdaspur, May 5
Punjab Education Minister Khushal Behl today released a grant of Rs 18 crore to government-aided private colleges in the state which had been blocked during the tenure of the previous government.

Talking to reporters here, Mr Behl said the state government was committed to restoration of 95 per cent grant-in-aid to government-aided colleges and there was no question of backing out from other such promises made by the Congress in its poll manifesto despite a financial crunch in the state.

He said another sum of Rs 21 crore, towards payment of arrears to the teachers of aided colleges, would be released within a week.

He acknowledged that aided colleges were finding it difficult to manage their finances after the previous government backed out in providing the 95 per cent grant-in-aid to these institutions.

The minister said another sum of Rs 5 crore had been released to four universities to enable these institutions to clear all pending arrears. These universities are Panjab University, Guru Nanak Dev University, Punjabi University and Punjab Agriculture University.

Pointing out certain defects in the school education system in government schools, Mr Behl said a rationalised scheme was being framed to improve the system and impart good education. Under this scheme, surplus staff in certain schools, particularly those in urban areas, would be transfered to rural areas where schools were facing staff shortage, he added.

The minister said one reason for the fall in the quality of education in government schools was the wrong recruitment policies of the previous government. “Corrupt practices were adopted by the previous government in the recruitment of teachers to schools and colleges, as a result of which many a deserving candidates had failed to qualify,’’ he stated.

The minister categorically ruled out settingup any new government school in the state. The existing ones had to be improved to impart quality education, he added. UNI 


Sena unit splits
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, May 5
The district unit of the Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray) has split following serious differences between rival groups led by Mr Ashok Sooden, president of the district Gurdaspur Shiv Sena, and Mr Parveen Manhans, who was the party candidate for the Pathankot Assembly seat in the recent elections.

The differences came to the fore after the results of the Assembly elections. Mr Parveen Manhans polled only a few thousand votes. He alleged that Mr Sooden had told Shiv Sainiks to vote for the Congress candidate under a secret pact.

Mr Manhans has floated a parallel party unit. Mr Sooden, however, denied there had been any pact with the Congress. He says the outfit floated by Mr Manhans is illegal and the latter stands expelled from the party.

On the contrary, Mr Manhans maintains Mr Sooden does not have powers to expel him.

Mr Pawan Gupta, Punjab Shiv Sena chief, says Mr Manhans has been rightly sacked from the party, by the District Shiv Sena chief with “my consent”. However, the final decision on selection of office-bearers of the party remain with party supremo Bal Thackeray.


SAD-BJP denied justice to urbanites: BJYM
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 5
A meeting of the state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) held for the first time here today after Punjab Assembly elections attributed defeat of the BJP to denial of justice to urban constituents. Presided over by Mr Sukhminderpal Singh Grewal, President, Punjab BJYM, the meeting maintained that the Congress upstaged the SAD-BJP combine in media management, a section of media playing “partisan” role and urban constituents were addressed by the ruling combine at the fag end of their rule even though concerns of rural constituents were addressed immediately after the combine came to power.

Releasing the meeting’s proceedings at the press conference, Mr Sukhminderpal Singh Grewal, and Mr Avinash Jaiswal, Punjab BJP’s General Secretary, who also attended the meeting declared that discussion on the SAD-BJP deficiencies did not mean any difference in the combine. Ours was an emotional alliance, they asserted.

Held to reactivate youth, the meeting constituted “juvenile fair poll vigil squads” to ensure that the Congress did not repeat Malout by- election rigging in the coming corporation elections. Two office-bearers of the morcha will oversee a corporation while four-member squads of youths would be deployed at every booth to check Congress designs, they declared.

Fearing electoral malpractices by the Congress, they urged the state Election Commission to take steps to ensure safeguarding of democratic norms for ensuring free and fair elections, they demanded.

After elections the morcha would launch state-wide “Jan Jagran Abhiyan” to galvanise the organisation, they said. Calling the one-man Garg Commission unconstitutional, they demanded that the cases of corruption should be taken right from 1992. The present Chief Minister, ministers and the CM’s house should also be covered under it. They demanded that the quashing of the octroi abolition order should be challenged in the Supreme Court. Senior party leaders Ram Saroop Arora, Chander Mohan Chawla and Arun Khosla were also present.


IT centre — down in the dumps

Amritsar, May 5
The information and technology centre set up at Government Medical College here at a cost of 25 lakh is in a state of flux even after 10 months of its inauguration by the then Minister of Medical Education and Research, Mr Manoranjan Kalia.

According to college sources, two years ago the Union Government had decided to upgrade the medical colleges at Pathankot, Faridkot and Amritsar by setting up IT centres there to link them up with the 24 top-listed medical colleges of the country to help the students upgrade themselves with the latest research and developments in the field of medical sciences.

In the absence of clear guidelines on its usages and the levies, the Amritsar centre is not accesible by either the faculty or the students.

According to the Head of the Forensic Department, Dr Jagdish Gargi, the centre does not have the maintenance staff to look after the hardware and software problems of computers.

The permission for the installation of leased internet lines and ISDN lines was also lying with the Department of Health at Chandigarh, he said.

An additional corpus of Rs 2 lakh had been granted to start the centre, but the funds were insufficient, Dr Gargi said.

Desperation and uncertainty had forced many faculty members and research scholars to install their own computers to keep pace with the latest development in the field of medicine.

One of the seniormost faculty members of the college said presently, there were 270 postgraduates and 750 under graduate students, besides 200 faculty members in the college. “Due to non-access to the computers, all are lagging behind both in terms of studies and knowledge.”

Dr O.P. Mahajan, Principal, Medical College, said a committee headed by Dr Gargi had been formed for the early inception of the IT centre.

Dr Mahajan said the college had to depend on the government for funds and approval to purchase the necessary machines and gadgets.

“Our request to spend money on the development of the college out of the funds collected by way of fees is lying with the Health Ministry,” he said. PTI


He treasures Guru’s Hukamnama
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Zahur Ahmed Khan, a descendant of Ghani Khan who along with his brother, Nabi Khan, saved the life of Guru Gobind Singh at Machhiwara, is living in poverty in a densely populated area of Lahore.

Revealing this to TNS, Mr Harpal Singh Bhullar, president of the International Bhai Mardana Yadgaari Kirtan Darbar Society, appealed to the Sikh community to help the family of Zahur Ahmed Khan.

At present, the descendant of Ghani Khan is living in a house of just 2.5 marlas in the Moghalpura area of Lahore. The original Hukamnama of Guru Gobind Singh that was presented to Ghani Khan and Nabi Khan in 1704 AD is kept by him with due reverence, wrapped in a silk cloth.

Six generations of Ghani Khan, even after going to Pakistan after Partition, have kept this historic document safe.

A translated version of the 10- line Hukamnama reads: “The Sikhs may know that Ghani Khan and Nabi Khan are as sons to me. They have saved me. He who serves them would be blessed. Service rendered to them would be service done unto me”.

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee on April 13, 1928 (letter no. 3046/16) certified that the Hukamnama is authentic.

Besides this, Zahur Khan has with him the Farman (royal orders) of Maharaja Ranjit Singh conferring a jagir on his family that unfortunately was confiscated during the British regime.

Mr Bhullar said that someone had offered a big sum to Zahur Khan for the Hukamnama but he refused to part with it saying that no amount of money could buy this sacred trust. In the words of Zahur Khan: “It behoves us to conduct ourselves in a way so that they (the Sikhs) also would realise that they have an honoured place among us (the Muslims) and we reciprocate their feelings towards us”.

On December 23, 1704, having escaped from the fortress of Chamkaur along with three other Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh pressed on guided by a star in the darkness of the night. In the morning when he rested in an orchard near Machhiwara, the owner of the orchard, Gulaba Kshatri, told Nabi Khan and Ghani Khan about Guru Gobind Singh. The two brothers traded in horses. They had sold horses to the Guru many times.

The brothers went to the orchard with food. Having been refused shelter by Gulaba Kshatri fearing the Mughal forces, the two brothers took Guru Gobind Singh and his companions to their house. The Guru spent the night of December 24 in their house. They gave homespun clothes to Guru Gobind Singh and the three other Sikhs — Bhai Daya Singh, Bhai Maan Singh and Bhai Dharam Singh — and pretended that the Guru was Uch-da-Pir (the head of a sect from Multan province ).

The Guru left Machhiwara and reached Alamgir accompanied by Nabi Khan and Ghani Khan along with the three other Sikhs. On the way, near Lahl (Doraha) Guru Gobind Singh was stopped by a patrol of the Mughal army but was allowed to proceed after Sayyed Mir Mohammad of Sloh gave witness that he was Uch-da-Pir. Mir Mohammad had at one time taught Persian to the Guru.

On December 17, 1704, when Guru Gobind Singh reached Alamgir he was presented with a horse by Nagahia Singh, brother of Bhai Mani Singh, and soon left the area. It was on this day while leaving that the Guru gave the Hukamnama to Ghani Khan and Nabi Khan.


Plea on Gurdwara Malaksar Sahib dismissed
Our Correspondent

Kharar, May 5
Mrs Preeti Sahni, Additional Civil Judge (Senior Division), Kharar, today dismissed an application of Sant Baba Darshan Singh of Dhaki Sahib filed against Mr Pritam Singh and others, all residents of Gharuan village for permanent injunction, restraining the defendents from interferring in the management and control of the plaintiff over Gurdwara Malaksar Sahib, Gharuan.

Sant Darshan Singh had alleged that the land mentioned above was gifted by Shamsher Singh to Gurdwara Malaksar Sahib on March 4, 1983, and since then the building had been constructed by the plaintiff.

He has written that the defendants were planning to occupy the gurdwara to take charge of the management illegally.

The defendants, on the other hand, alleged that there was a managing committee for running and controlling the gurdwara. They denied that the gurdwara was constructed by the plaintiff. They alleged that a sangat assembled on March 7, 1983, and decided to construct a room here.

They said that on April 11, 2002, some followers of Sant Darshan Singh came to the gurdwara and requested the president to celebrate Baisakhi on April 13 and the president and the executive committee agreed and the followers of the sant started the akhand path on April 11. In the meantime the intention of the followers of the sant changed and the managing committee lodged a complaint with the police.


Man’s kidney removed illegally: wife
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 5
Baljinder Kaur of Pamma village has complained to the Sahnewal police that two employers of her husband have cheated them by taking out his kidney in an operation at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital here in January this year.

The police has registered a case under Sections 420, 326 and 34 of the IPC against two persons Sukhdev Singh and Navtej Singh. The woman had complained that the two persons in connivance with several unknown persons took out a kidney of her husband, Jagsir Singh. Her husband was a driver of the alleged accused Sukhdev Singh.

The woman claimed she and her husband wanted to go abroad and underwent some medical tests at the hospital on the advice of the two accused persons. She alleged that an operation was done to rectify a problem and they learnt later that a kidney of her husband had been removed.

Police sources said investigation into the charges had been started. Sources said it happened some time that first a donor gave his kidney by consent but later due to some differences between the parties concerned, such complaints are made. Source said the record of the operation from the DMC would be sought to verify the claims.

The complaint of the woman has exposed the police claim and DMCH management’s assertion that everything was fine with the kidney transplant system. These authorities had opposed vehemently media exposure about the existence of touts in the hospital, who were hand in glove with the police, in the kidney transplant racket.

The Act states that a relative or close member of the family, including a servant, can donate kidney, while media reports had stated that the rules were being violated in this respect.

The Tribune was the first to expose the kidney racket in October last year. The police then registered a case against unknown persons on the complaint of three youths, all of Nepalese origin. However, when media exposed certain police officials and touts and some employees in the DMCH, denials were issued. Despite denials, The Tribune had searched for more victims and published pictures thereof.

The police had then raided several places. But they arrested two persons from Patiala only, who had given ‘false’ affidavits about a donor whose kidney was transplanted to a relative. The two persons were caught for an act, done to ‘save the life of a relative’. The police, however, washed its hands of the racket after their arrest.


Brick-kiln strike continues
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, May 5
Complete strike at 42 and partial strike at three brick-kilns in this subdivision has been going on since April 22 to press owners for the implementation of the increase in minimum wages.

This was stated by Mr Kulwinder Singh Warraich, president, state unit of the Bhatha Workers Union, at a press conference here today.

He alleged that two children of labourers had died as the owners had not been giving ‘weekly allowance’ out of their due arrears.

Meanwhile, Mr Daljit Singh, president of the district unit of the Jamhuri Adhikar Sabha, in a memorandum submitted to the Chairman, Punjab State Human Rights Commission, has alleged that the labourers were being forced to work under inhuman working conditions and accused the government departments and agencies concerned of continued inaction in the enforcement of the labour laws at the brick-kilns.

The owners had not been maintaining proper attendance register and the record of PPF deductions of the labourers. They are even not giving regular wages to them, Mr Daljit Singh alleged.

The local Brick-Kiln Owners Association, has accused certain unions of ‘forcing’ the brick-kiln workers to continue strike for “vested interests”. Mr Mohinder Singh, Mr Ashok Laroyia and Mr Inderjit Singh Bhalla, office-bearers of the Association said the local workers had been paid the highest wages in the country and currently brick-kiln industry had been going through a period of recession and the further increase in wages was not logical.


IMA hails raids on hospitals
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 5
The state unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has welcomed the steps taken by the government to curb the menace of corruption as well absenteeism, particularly in health centres in rural areas.

Dr O.P. Kande, state president of the IMA, said here today that the raids by the Vigilance Department on hospitals in rural areas to ensure the presence of the doctors and the crusade against the corruption launched by the Chief Minister was a welcome step, but at the same time the IMA had demanded that the qualified doctors should not be placed under the direct control of the sarpanches. He was here to preside over the seminar on “Changing trends in management of myocardial infraction” organised by the local unit of the IMA in collaboration with Annie Heart and Medical Centre, Chandigarh.

Dr Kande said the IMA stands for better health care facilities to the people of the state. He said the IMA had been urging the doctors to go to the rural areas, if they wanted to control the menace of quackery. He said if the government did not have enough finance to provide infrastructure in rural areas, then private doctors were ready to serve in rural areas provided they were given subsidies and loans to establish their hospitals on the pattern of industry.

He alleged that the Health System Corporation had failed to serve the basic purpose of providing good health facilities. He demanded that the government should examine the functioning of the corporation and makes it more people friendly. He said the IMA had warned the doctors not to do the sex determination tests. Among others who spoke on the occasion were Dr R.C. Garg, Dr D.S. Bhullar, Dr Jasbir Singh and Dr N.S. Bawa. 


398 cases settled at lok adalat
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 5
As many as 260 matrimonial and 138 Negotiable Instrument Act cases were settled at a state-level lok adalat organised here today under the supervision of Mr Justice H.S. Bedi, Punjab and Haryana High Court, who is also the Chairman of the Punjab Legal Services Authority.

Mr M.R. Batara, District and Sessions Judge-cum-Chairman of the District Legal Services Authority, said 124 regular courts had been organised in the district in which 27,240 cases were taken.

Out of these 18,109 cases were settled through compromise and a sum of Rs 24,03,81,474 was awarded as compensation.

Permanent lok adalat had made 125 sittings and 1,294 cases had been solved out of 5,560 cases taken up by it. A sum of Rs 4,39,25,735 was awarded as compensation.


Pregnant woman ‘killed’
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 5
A 20-year-old pregnant woman Rajwant Kaur was allegedly poisoned to death by her in-laws at nearby Manawali village yesterday. The local Sadar police had registered a case under Sections 304B and 498-A, IPC, against Parkash Singh, husband, Simar Kaur, mother-in-law, Hari Singh, brother-in-law, and Sarabjit Kaur, sister-in-law, of the deceased.

Mr Surinder Singh, father of the deceased, told newsmen here today that her daughter was continuously being tortured by her in-laws for bringing insufficient dowry. Fed up with the harassment Rajwant had even stayed for some months at his house at Mamai village near Phillaur. However, with the intervention of the panchayat, she returned to her in-laws house.

Despite of the compromise they continued to harass Rajwant and allegedly poisoned her. She later died at a hospital in Jalandhar. Her body was brought to the local Civil Hospital for a post-mortem.

Meanwhile, Mr Gurbinder Singh Atwal, Parliamentary Secretary, Punjab, looking after the Cooperation portfolio, visited the aggrieved family and expressed his dismay over the death.


Jalandhar gets burn-care centre
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 5
Even as the state government had failed to set up a trauma centre to deal with severe burn injuries in the city which has a population of about 10 lakh and because of which the local authorities had been forced to shift all MiG-21 crash victims to the CMC, Ludhiana, a private hospital has come forward to fill the gap by setting up a sophisticated burn-care centre, which became operational here today.

The well-equipped 20-bedded centre to deal with exigencies related with fire accidents has been set up by a plastic surgeon in his Bath Hospital and Maternity Centre. Mr Bath, in a press note issued here, said apart from burn injuries and serious burn-related deformities, the centre, having a sophisticated diagnostic facility and a special ICU, would also deal with maladies like birth defects and facial injuries.


Thieves decamp with jewellery
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, May 5
The house of Mr Ram Swaroop Bhalla at Singla Colony, near Pipli Filling Station, was burgled last night. The thieves decamped with jewellery and cash worth Rs 1 lakh.

According to an FIR lodged with the police by Mr Bhalla, the thieves broke into his house and took away gold ornaments, watches, cash and other goods while he was away to attend a marriage ceremony.

Residents of the colony alleged that they had requested the authorities concerned repeatedly to assure round the clock police vigil in the locality, but to no avail.


Four cops suspended for taking bribe
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, May 5
Four Punjab Police personnel have been suspended for allegedly taking a bribe from a college professor of Moga last month.

Stating this, SSP Paramjit Singh Gill said Head Constable Tarlochan Singh, Constable Paramjit Singh and SPO Dilbagh Singh had been arrested. The fourth constable, Balbir Paul, had absconded.

He said the action followed verification that they had taken a bribe of Rs 500 from Prof S.K. Sharma.

Mr Gill said Prof Sharma, in his written complaint had alleged that while he was on his way to Moga in his car on April 28, the cops stopped him at Nakodar Chowk and asked him to furnish car documents. On finding the documents in order, they objected to the luggage kept on the back seat of the car which the four police personnel said was meant for passengers alone.

Mr Gill said the cops threatened Prof Sharma, saying he would be fined Rs 5,000 for the same. The professor had to pay a bribe of Rs 500 and only then was he let off, the SSP said.

Mr Gill said action against the four police personnel was taken after Inspector (Traffic) Mohinder Singh inquired into the matter.

A case under Sections 7, 12 and 13 of the Police Act had been registered at division No. XI police station against the four policemen.


Chemists’ shops raided, 2 held
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, May 5
The police raided the premises of chemists at Dhariwal and Gurdaspur and seized a large quantity of intoxicants yesterday.

The Deputy Commissioner had banned the sale and purchase of the intoxicants without prescription. Two persons, Lali of Shanker Medical Store, Dhariwal, and Vijay Kumar Gandotra of Gandotra Medical Store, Gurdaspur, were arrested and booked under Section 188 of the NDPS Act.

Meanwhile, cases of drug addiction had been reported from among the central jail convicts here. The superintendent of the jail had ordered thorough checking of the luggage of the convicts when they entered the jail. Recently, two convicts were found to be possessing drugs, when they returned from leave.


Topper’s wait for medal
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 5
Davinder Kumar Mittal the topper in BE, chemical engineering, Punjab Technical University, in 1997, is yet to get his gold medal.

Davinder, a city resident, completed his BE from Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering & Technology, Longowal, in 1997. He secured 85.36 per cent marks, the highest in the stream making him eligible for a gold medal.

He wrote 35 letters to the university. Nevertheless, for many months he did not get a response from any one of them. He also wrote to the board of governors of the university, Punjab Governor and the then Education Minister and Union Minister of Human Resources Development. However, none of them gave any satisfactory reply for many months.

In 1999 Davinder got a letter from the university stating that he would be given the medal during the convocation.

However, in this letter nothing was mentioned about the stream in which he was awarded the gold and reason for awarding the same. Again, he wrote another letter to the university. He got another letter in April 1999 in which these discrepancies were removed.

After three years when Davinder was declared a gold medallist, he got the final degree certificate through registered post on April 4, 2001.


Walia is chief of principals’ body
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 5
At a meeting of the Association of Principals of Non-Government Colleges affiliated with Punjabi University held here today, the following were elected office-bearers.

President — Dr Gurmohan Singh Walia, Principal, Mata Gujri College, here; vice-president — Dr I.S. Tiwana, Principal, PMN College, Rajpura; secretary — Prof Tejinder Kaur Bhalla, Principal, Khalsa College, Morinda; finance secretary — Dr Bhupinder Singh, Principal, SKR College, Bhago Majra; and executive members— Prof H.S. Attri and Prof Ram Singh Kular.


Traders’ plea
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 5
The district unit of the Beopar Mandal and the Sirhind Industrial Association have expressed concern over octroi reintroduction. The associations have urged the Chief Minister to file a writ petition in the Supreme Court against the decision of the high court.

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