Monday, May 20, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



38 PSUs suffer loss of Rs 200 cr yearly
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 19
The Punjab Disinvestment Commission has recommended the setting up of an asset management authority, a disinvestment fund for employees, price fixation autonomy or regulatory authority for pubic sector undertakings (PSUs), reduction in stamp duty, registration fee for the quick disposal of assets, amendments to the Agricultural Produce Marketing Act and the Cooperative Societies Act, etc, for the rejuvenation of ‘’sick’’ PSUs and apex cooperative institutions.

The commission, headed by a former Chief Secretary, Mr P.H. Vaishnav, was set up in January, 2001. It was entrusted with preparing a status report on 29 PSUs and nine cooperative institutions that have 11 subsidiaries.

It went into micro details in respect of all 38, involving an investment of nearly Rs 29,000 crore. Besides bank loans, the state’s involvement alone — loans (Rs 5,100 crore) and equity (Rs 3,400 crore) — is Rs 8,500 crore. Ironically, the accumulative returns against this huge sum was a bare Rs 8.40 crore, as on March 31, 2001.

It is reliably learnt that the members of the commission are likely to sign the report on May 25. Besides Mr Vaishnav other members are Mr Chandra Mohan, formerly of Punjab Tractors Ltd, Mr Pradeep Singh, Infrastructure Leasing and Finance Services, Mr P.S. Raikhy, Professor at Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Mr A.K. Purwar, Chief Managing Director, State Bank of Patiala, and Mr D.N. Pandit, a former Chief General Manager, State Bank of India. Mr R.C. Nayyar is the secretary.

The commission was appalled to observe that not one PSU, out of 38, had ever done ‘’activity analysis’’, made efforts to recover locked up money or , knew what income ‘’definition’’ was.

These raised loans, made reference to the government but took no bold commercial decisions. Moreover, despite a policy decision to wind up at least six PSUs, their continuation with ‘’skeleton’’ staff surprised the commission. The ones still existing included, the Films and News Corporation, the Punjab Leather Development Corporation, Knitwear, Puntex, Punwire and the Punjab Poultry Development Corporation.

The commission found that balance sheets in respect of most of the PSUs were never prepared, a large number of cases were pending in courts, assets stood attached and distress sale was on the cards, despite closure, complexes existed as did plants fitted with machinery with no signs of attempts to sell these while employees were retained and paid salaries for no work.

All 38 PSUs suffer a loss of Rs 200 crore per year. The accumulative losses amount to over Rs 1,500 crore. Interestingly, the financial inputs provided to the commission, sources said, were after ‘’window dressing’’. Not only this, the government stood guarantee to the tune of Rs 7,000 crore, besides there being a huge sum by way of inter-corporate guarantees. The exact amount could not be known.

The commission says to salvage the maximum from what is left of these PSUs, the government has to change its ‘’go-slow’’ attitude with ‘’do it at once’’. The commission suggests the assimilation and elimination of PSUs and cooperative institutions. Given the wide extent of poverty in the country, where one-fourth of the population is below the poverty line, and requires to be provided with a ‘’safety net’’, it was imperative to go in for ‘’multi-level and multi-user charges’’.

PSUs, says the commission report, have lost ‘’all relevance’’ due to manmade financial crisis that eventually caused haemorrhage. Any move at fresh blood (financial) infusion will only further bleed the government.

The commission has observed that of the total number of employees (1,18,654) working in 38 PSUs, 78 per cent were on the rolls of the Punjab State Electricity Board alone. Just seven PSUs account for over one lakh employees.


Pbi varsity working on ad hoc basis?
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 19
Punjabi University is virtually paying the price for ad hocism with the examination in disarray, meetings of both Finance Committee and Syndicate due and hundred of files, which had been recalled for review, gathering dust.

Acting Vice-Chancellor N.S. Rattan, who is also Secretary, Higher Education, apparently has no time for the university, which he has visited only six times after taking over as VC on April 22. The university is being run from Chandigarh with senior officials taking urgent files there for clearance by the acting Vice- Chancellor.

The examination system is tottering with the table- marking system, which was to be used for checking examination sheets, being given the go by even through the university had created six centres for the purpose. The answer sheets were sent to evaluators even before the scheme could be initiated.

Besides this, the university has not put fictitious roll numbers on the examination sheets to maintain complete secrecy in the examination process. Fictitious roll numbers were put only on the B.A. English papers. Sources said even the selection of evaluators for the various examinations was not proper.

Ever since Mr Rattan took over there has been only one meeting of the syndicate but that does not count for much because it was just an introductory meeting with no work being conducted. The VC has failed to get any meeting of the Finance Committee or the Syndicate conducted which has withheld passing of the budget.

Immediately after taking over, Mr Rattan ordered the review of all cases passed by his predecessor since December, last year. This meant accumulation of around 750 files for review. These files could not be reviewed since then as Mr Rattan has only time to attend to urgent regular files because he seldom comes to the university.

The sources said around 100 files had been sent to the Registrar for review, adding that they would be overseen by the same staff which had processed them earlier. Meanwhile, urgent files are taken once a week to Chandigarh as the Vice-Chancellor has not delegated any functional or other powers to anyone else.

The manner in which a majority of senior positions in the university administration have been doled out to members of the joint action committee, which had been agitating for the ouster of former VC Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, also indicates that the same old policies were being followed as was done during the tenure of Dr Ahluwalia and his predecessor Dr Joginder Singh Puar. The trend of promoting those who had fought against their predecessors and victimising those who had been at the helm of affairs earlier, has been the reason for the deterioration of the atmosphere in the university and bringing in a culture of sycophancy.

Meanwhile, even as the Vice-Chancellor’s on the university campus is lying locked. Mr Rattan is using the suite in the university guest house for his visits to the campus.


Congress sweeps MC poll
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 19
The Congress today swept the elections to the local Municipal Corporation cornering 37 of the 49 seats results of which were declared today. Independents secured eight seats while candidates aligned with the SAD got four seats. The BJP drew a blank. Result of one seat remained contested till the filing of this report.

List of victorious candidates: Surjit Kaur — Independent (Ward one), Rupinder Singh — Congress (Ward two), Balwinder Pal — Congress (Ward three), Sarita Gera — Congress (Ward four), Shankar Lal — Independent (Ward five), Gurjit Guri — Congress (Ward six), Rajwinder Kaur — Congress seven), Tharu Ram — Independent (Ward eight), not declared (Ward nine), Baljit Kumar Punia — Congress (Ward ten), Sukhdev Singh — SAD (Ward eleven), Sukhwinder Pal Singh — Congress (Ward twelve), Sukhwinder Kaur — Congress (Ward thirteen), Inderjit Singh — Congress (Ward fourteen), Pawan Kumar — Congress (Ward fifteen), Rama Rani — Congrerss (Ward sixteen), Rachpal Singh — SAD (Ward seventeen), Daljit Singh — Congress (Ward eighteen), Kamlesh Kumari — Congress (Ward nineteen), Surinder Kumar Modgil — Congress (Ward twenty), Harish — Congress (Ward twentyone), Seema Sharma — Independent (Ward twentytwo), Shiv Kumar — Congress (Ward twentythree), Vishnu Sharma — Congress (Ward twentyfour), Jasbir Kaur — SAD (Ward twentyfive), Krishan Chand — Independent (Ward twentysix), Sanjiv Kumar — Congress (Ward twentyseven), Meena Sharma — Congress (Ward twentyeight), Harvinder Singh — Congress (Ward twentynine), Narinder Lalli — Congress (Ward thirty), Monica Grover — Congress (Ward thirtyone), Raj Kumar — Congress (Ward thirtytwo), Budh Ram — Congress (Ward thirtythree), Santosh Kumari — Congress (Ward thirtyfour), Narinder Signh — SAD (Ward thirtyfive), Anuj Trivedi — Congress (Ward thirtysix), Suman — Congress (Ward thirtyseven), Narinder Kumar — (Ward thirtyeight), Niranjan Das — Congress (Ward thirtynine), Leelaa Rani — Independent (Ward forty), Narinder Singh — Independent (Ward fortyone), Sohan Lal Jalota — Congress (Ward fortytwo), Sharda Devi — Congress (Ward fortythree), DC Sharma — Congress (Ward fortyfour), Sachdev Gautam — Congress (Ward fortyfive), Rajni Sharma — Congress (Ward fortysix), Gopal Singla — Congress (Ward fortyseven), Kabir Das — Congress (Ward fortyeight), Amarbir Kaur — Congress (Ward fortynine), Naresh — Garg (Ward fifty).


SDOs who acted as Langah’s conduit booked
Rajmeet Singh and Sashi Pal Jain

Kharar, May 19
As more skeletons tumble out of the cupboard of former PWD Minister Sucha Singh Langah in the case of his disproportionate assets, another scam of departmental promotions and recruitment in the PWD during his tenure has come to light. Lakhs of rupees were paid by officials through touts to push their case for departmental promotion or get a plum posting.

Vigilance sleuths have already booked two SDOs posted at Patiala who acted as conduits to send across money to the minister after pocketing their “commission”. A bribe between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 2 lakh was paid to get a suitable posting, sources in the Vigilance Department said. A SAS Nagar- based SDO, who is on the run after the registration of a case against the minister, has two plots in SAS Nagar which had reportedly been purchased on behalf of the minister.

The sources said at least 12 persons had been rounded up so far by they raiding teams of the vigilance department and the list was growing. The names of the persons were not being disclosed. A number of Akali workers from Gurdaspur were also being questioned in this regard. A list of such promotions and transfers was being prepared. So far, around 25 such cases have reportedly come to light.

The Vigilance was on the look out for the two SDOs of the PWD, Nimarjeet and Ganagjeet. A letter has been written to the Chief Engineer of the department to direct them to appear before the vigilance department. A private assistant to the minister, Jasbir Singh, and two other persons, Vinod Kumar Garg and Subash Chand, have also been named in the FIR registered by the Vigilance Department.

Meanwhile, a close associate of the minister and a municipal councillor, Amrik Singh , who was formally arrested last night, was today granted two days police remand by the Duty Magistrate, Kharar, Ms Preeti Sahni. The public prosecutor said Amrik Singh acted as a tout of the minister in collecting money for departmental promotions and transfers. The Duty Magistrate also granted permission to the Vigilance Department to search the house of the councillor.

The counsel of the councillor said in the FIR registered against the minister, there was no allegation against the councillor for amassing property. He said Amrik Singh was not a government servant and the Vigilance Department wanted the remand to make his client give a statement against himself. Being a secretary of the Guru Gobind Singh Khalsa Trust Kalanpur, Gurdaspur— which was floated by the minister — did not amount to corruption, contended the counsel. The public prosecutor said the Vigilance Department was investigating into the activities of TK Financers company, based in Phase 2 of SAS Nagar, which had been floated by the councillor in the name of his wife. The officials were probing the link between the money ( around Rs 40 lakh) in the account of the finance company and the money pocketed through the transfers scam. Talking to TNS, Amrik Singh said the case was politically motivated against him due to his closeness with the minister. He claimed that nothing would come out of the investigations as the charges against him were baseless. He alleged that all ministers in the Badal government were in the process of being booked by the Vigilance Department in wrong cases.


Langah’s aides go underground
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, May 19
Aides and touts of former PWD (B&R) Minister Sucha Singh Langah have gone underground to evade arrest by the Vigilance Bureau.

According to sources sleuth of the Vigilance Bureau accompanied by the local police in raids early today picked up Jagir Singh Sarpanch, Kalyanpur, and Santokh Singh, a resident of Kotli Mohian from their villages. Both are close relatives of the former minister.

The Vigilance Bureau has taken into custody Ajmer Pal Singh, PA to the former minister, and Subash, alias Rana of Dhariwal and a neighbour of Mr Langah.

The Vigilance Bureau also carried raids on two other houses here but had to return empty handed. The persons they wanted to arrest were not available.


Jagman, Pammi’s remand extended
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 19
The judicial remand of Jagman Singh, a right-hand man of Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu, Chairman of the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC), and Paramjit Singh, alias Pammi, a senator of Punjab University, was today extended till June 3 by Mr A.S. Kathuria, Special Judge, here, in the multi-crore PPSC recruitment scam case. Both were brought to the court as their earlier judicial remand ended today.

Mrs Jasjot Kaur, wife of Jagman Singh, along with her father, came to the court this morning to meet her husband. The counsel for Jagman Singh requested the court to allow Mrs Jasjot Kaur to meet her husband. Accepting the request of the counsel, the Special Judge granted permission to Mrs Jasjot Kaur to talk to her husband in the court room. The permission was granted on humanitarian grounds, according to the counsel.

Jagman Singh and his wife had a conversation in the court room for more than half-an-hour.

The bail application of Jagman Singh, who has turned a public approver, will now come up for hearing on May 29 in the court of the Sessions Judge, Mr Maghar Khan. On May 17, on the request of the counsel of Jagman Singh, hearing on the bail application was adjourned till May 29.


Minorities may leave Jammu: Tarlochan
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 19
Apprehending an exodus of the minorities from the Jammu region, Vice-Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities, Mr Tarlochan Singh cautioned against letting a sense of fear develop in the minorities in the Jammu region of state, as they had started feeling insecure due to increasing terrorist attacks on them.

Talking to The Tribune here today, he said there was a sense of fear prevailing among the minorities of the Jammu region as they had started falling victims to terrorists’ bullets. “In fact, it is not only the terrorists’ bullets but also the firing from across the border that is threatening their existence”, he said.

Suggesting that the Jammu and Kashmir Government should pre-empt a 1990-like situation, when the Kashmiri Pandits had to migrate from the valley, he said it was high time that the government reposed their trust in the state machinery. He pointed out, that the people there were nationalistic and had a will to fight the anti-national forces and terrorists.

He refused to comment on the reports that the demographic character of Jammu city was being changed by the state government by settling a number of people belonging to the majority community in Kashmir in the outskirts of the city. He said it was beyond the scope of the Minorities Commission to comment on such issues and these should better be left to the government.

Appealing to all political parties to rise above their partisan consideration for the vote bank politics, Mr Tarlochan Singh said the problem in Gujarat was much more than a law and order problem as there was total polarisation between Hindus and Muslims. “We need to bridge the psychological gap between the two communities”, he said.

At the same time, he urged all political parties to come together and consider Gujarat violence as a national issue. “If it can happen in Gujarat, where people are supposed to be peace loving, it can happen anywhere else in the country”, he warned, while apprehending that the politicisation of such delicate issues for petty partisan and vested interests can extend to other communally sensitive parts of the country as well. He observed that the political parties, with an eye on particular vote bank were trying to interpret the issue in the manner it suited them.

He said there was nothing organised or planned in the post-Godhra communal violence in Gujarat. “It is the outcome of the hate campaign that is there for so long and the Godhra is also the first result of the same hate campaign, which has now pushed the state into the worst-ever communal cauldron”, he observed, while consistently maintaining that the basic malady was to be cured and not only the symptoms.

According to Mr Tarlochan Singh, violence was only the symptom of the deadly disease of communal hatred and mutual mistrust that is eating up the vitals of the social fabric of a prosperous state like Gujarat. “Merely treating the symptoms (by controlling the law and order situation) will in no way help solve the problem, we have to wipe out the disease from its roots”, he pointed out, while suggesting that there was an urgent need to rebuild the mutual trust between the two communities in Gujarat.

Mr Tarlochan Singh said there was a dichotomy of opinion between the local media in Gujarat and the national media. “The two had taken two extremely opposed positions and we are trying to bring them together”, he said, while disclosing that the Editors Guild of India had also prepared a report on the issue. He said, a meeting of the representatives of the national media and local media was being organised very soon as it was essential for projecting a positive picture that will help in restoring peace in the state.


War psychosis fails to move border villagers
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, May 19
Despite the war psychosis being sparked off once again after the Jammu massacre, residents of the border areas living in the Ferozepore sector look unaffected. They say that after the December 13 attack on Parliament they were asked to leave their homes but no concrete action was initiated against Pakistan by India. This time also the Indian Government does not seem to be initiating action against Pakistan.

A tour to the border villages yesterday revealed that the people were determined to stay back till war finally breaks. Budh Singh, an elder resident of Chandiwala village across the Hussaniwala barrage, told TNS that his family suffered heavy financial losses last time when they migrated to their relatives house. Now, they cannot afford to migrate again with their belongings to a safer place.

When contacted a senior Army official said so far no instructions have come from New Delhi to ask the people to migrate, but instructions have been given to spruce up the security measures and all arrangements be made in case of emergency.

Army men were seen patrolling the villages. The Army has deployed artillery guns on the new embankments that were recently constructed.

Sources in the Army revealed that it has also been planned to build up the confidence of the public.

The Army has trained local groups at the village level to patrol in their villages and help the people in case of emergency.

Bhag Singh, a resident of Kalu Arain village near the Maboke observation post, said they were now busy in looking after the paddy saplings and ploughing the fields to plant them in a week or two.

Most of the villagers said the government should take concrete steps rather than delaying the matter and finish the matter once and forever.

Meanwhile, the district administration has deployed additional police force in the sensitive areas for “night operation” to keep strict vigil on suspected persons.

All owners of the houses which have given on rent in the Ferozepore district have been asked to furnish a detailed information of their tenants at the nearest police station.


Talwandi set to part ways with Badal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 19
A former president of the SGPC and senior vice-president of the SAD, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, is set to part ways with the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal. Although Mr Talwandi may not formally resign from the party, he is learnt to have come out against the party president.

According to information, Mr Talwandi has been in touch with former chief of the SGPC, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, and the convener of the Panthic Morcha, Baba Sarabjot Singh Bedi. The three leaders are likely to meet here shortly to evolve a joint strategy.

Mr Talwandi had hinted at a press conference recently that he would expose both the Chief Ministers, Capt Amarinder Singh as well as Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

Mr Talwandi has been nourishing a grudge against Mr Badal since Mr K.S. Badungar replaced him as the president of the SGPC.

According to sources, Mr Talwandi and Mr Tohra were together at Nanded in Maharashtra and also met recently at Amritsar. Mr Talwandi, being chairman of the disciplinary action committee of the SAD, may suspend former ministers against whom cases of corruption have been registered.

According to sources, it is only a matter of time when Mr Talwandi may create yet another front from among the Akalis, particularly at a time when Mr Badal has been finding it hard to fight the government.


BJP’s Gautam here for clean-up
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 19
“No one is corrupt unless proved so in the court,” said Mr Sangh Priya Gautam, General Secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party, at a press conference here today, in reply to questions on why the party had continued to support the Shiromani Akali Dal government in Punjab, in spite of allegations of corruption against its top brass.

He said there had also been allegations against senior Congress men, including Buta Singh and former prime minister Narasimha Rao, but the Supreme Court had found them innocent. “There have been many scams, but no one has ever been proved guilty; everyone around is tainted,” he said.

“There are many shortcomings in the BJP, but we are still a lot cleaner than the others. We’ll be cleaner after self-introspection,” he said. He came here after being appointed the head of the Chandigarh and Punjab units of the BJP. He will visit Sangrur tomorrow.

Asked about why the BJP policies were unclear, Mr Gautam said the country was passing through a period of transition politically and economically. “No one, including, the BJP, comes to the power without being part of a coalition. In coalition politics, vital party principles take a backseat, like the BJP had to put off the Ayodhya temple plan,” he said.

Mr Gautam said successive governments had erred in fixing priorities, leading to economic uncertainties. He said: “Vital sectors like agriculture have been ignored in economic policies.”

The party meetings here are aimed at reassigning the party priorities. Mr Gautam said the recent election performances of the BJP had not been encouraging, so, the introspection would be “free and fearless” for its recovery.

“Some bricks of the BJP fort have got displaced, but the foundation of the fort is still strong. There is an ample scope to relearn because the BJP is a cadre-based organisation,” he said.

Mr Sanjay Joshi, general secretary (organisation) of the BJP, has also come with him.

In reply to a question on why some persons had lost favour with the party recently, Mr Gautam said Mr Satya Pal Jain was brilliant, but sometimes, excess of everything was bad. He evaded further questions on this subject.

After the press conference, he said: “When someone is running too fast, there are chances that the person may lose balance and stumble.”


‘Punjab ignoring Dalits’
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, May 19
Mr Jasbir Singh Pal, state president, Gazetted and Non-Gazetted SC/BC Employees Welfare Federation, Punjab, while addressing the district-level rally organised by the federation as part of its drive to gear up its rank and file to launch a state-level stir to press the government to accept its demands, here yesterday, accused the state government of ignoring “Dalit agenda” on the basis of which it had come to power in the state.

He alleged that the government had not implemented the provisions of the 85th constitutional amendment passed by it to undo the Supreme Court verdict given in Janjua case, and promotions in all departments were being done as per the decision given in that case.

Moreover, the state government had sidelined officials belonging to SC/BC categories, Mr Pal further alleged adding that the federation had submitted a list in this regard to the Welfare Minister, Chaudhary Santokh Singh.

He also criticised Dalit MPs and MLAs for not raising their voice for the upliftment and betterment of Dalits, except during elections.

Mr Pal threatened to gherao the Punjab Assembly to press the state government to accept its demands.

Mr Pal further said as per the information received by the federation the Venkatchallaiya Commission had also recommended the enlistment of reservation act in the 9th Schedule of the Constitution, besides recommending a number of provisions for the upliftment and betterment of Dalits.


Tension in village, says report
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 19
Taking cognisance of press reports, particularly the one in The Tribune, about the persecution of Dalits by the upper castes at Todarwal village in Kapurthala district, Ch. Santokh Singh, Punjab Social Welfare Minister, took prompt action and dispatched Mr Deepak Kumar, Joint Director, SC/BC Welfare Corporation, to conduct a probe into the matter.

Mr Deepak Kumar has said in his report that social tension prevails in the village. Following this, the secretary of the department, Mr J.R. Kundal, yesterday wrote to the Deputy Commissioner of Kapurthala, Mr Rakesh Verma, to settle the issue to restore harmony between the two sides, said Ch. Santokh Singh here today. The minister has recently been given charge of the Women and Child Welfare Department also.

It may be recalled that The Tribune had reported on May 16 that the Dalits were being persecuted by the upper castes at Todarwal and adjoining villages of Dariawal, Thatha and Sakhowal for the past two months and that the district administration had done little to defuse the situation.

The boycott of Dalits had started after the SC families, numbering 30, of the village had raised their voice against certain village level leaders belonging to the upper class who, allegedly, were instrumental in the illegal clubbing of a piece of land belonging to the village primary school with the land belonging to the village gurdwara.


Open-book policy ‘needed’ for NGOs
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 19
Ms Annie Romanos, Indian coordinator of the Sydney-based NGO, the Global Village, Group, today said an open-book policy should be devised for the NGOs to ensure accountability and transparency in their functioning. Ms Annie said, liked The Tribune newspaper for its balanced reporting.

As many as 143 NGOs had of late been blacklisted in Bihar.

Travelling the state for the past four days, Ms Annie said the provision of overseas volunteering to NGOs and quality human resources, educate and enlighten people, assuring space and respect for women through women empowerment and cross-cultural communication were the thrust areas of the organisation she represented. It was a myth to say that all was well on environment front in Europe, the USA or Australia, she continued. Environmental degradation was a global issue, she said. If you hit the mother nature, she will also hit back, she quipped.


Pharmacists to hold rally on May 27
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 19
The large-scale transfers of pharmacists in the state have evoked resentment among the pharmacists of the state who have alleged that the transfers are violative of the transfer policy. They have threatened that they will hold a dharna and rally in front of the office of the Director, Health Services, at Chandigarh, on May 27.

Members of the Punjab State Pharmacists’ Association alleged that there were many irregularities in transfers which were in violation of the transfer policy of the Health Department.

Mr Bhoj Raj, vice-president of the association, in a press note here today, said even unmarried girls were being transferred to far-off places. He said as per the earlier norms while transferring a pharmacist, it was kept in mind that the spouse of the employee should be posted near his or her place of posting.

He alleged that in these transfers, couple cases were being totally ignored. He added that the pharmacists who had not completed the required stay at a particular station were also being transferred.


Delhi-Ferozepore Shatabdi from July
Our Correspondent

Sunam, May 19
Mr Nitish Kumar, Union Minister for Railways, has agreed to a new Shatabdi between New Delhi and Ferozepore via Ambala, Patiala, Dhuri, Barnala and Bathinda from July. This was stated by Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, MP, in a press statement here today.

Mr Mann said all 13 MPs from Punjab had met Mr Nitish Kumar in New Delhi a few days back in this connection. Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra and Mr Sukhdev Singh Libra, MPs, and Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Minister, had also met Mr Nitish Kumar, Mr Mann added.


Murdered arhtiya’s funeral held
Our Correspondent

Bareta (Mansa), May 19
Commission agents of Sunam, Lehragaga, Dirba, Sangrur, Budhlada and Bareta today attended the funeral of Suresh Kumar, a commission agent of Bareta who was allegedly murdered by five farmers of Rangrial village of the district. Prominent among those present were Mr Bal Krishan Singla, state president, Mr Kesho Ram, district president, and Mr Mehar Singh Khanna, local president of the Arhtiya Association.

On the occasion, an 11-member joint action committee was constituted to demand action against the culprits and to approach the state government to ensure the protection of arhtiyas.

Meanwhile, a note written by Suresh Kumar has been found by the police, stating that Leelu Singh, Nazar Singh and another person poisoned him and took a clearance certificate. The police has registered a case under Sections 302, 364, 148 and 149 of the IPC.


Rs 5.09 crore awarded at lok adalat
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 19
Rupees 5.09 crore was awarded to the parties concerned in the land acquisition and motor accidents claim cases etc., at a Lok Adalat held in the district judicial complex here yesterday.

At the Lok Adalat as many as 189 cases were taken up, but a total of 101 cases were settled.

Mr Maghar Khan, District and Sessions Judge, said barring certain criminal cases any type of case could be taken up at the Lok Adalat.


Hospital sought for colonies
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 19
The Jeewan Rakshak Welfare Society and the Khetri Vikas Manch took out a scooter rally here today in support of the demand for a government hospital for trans-railway colonies.

The rally passed through various markets and ended at the residence of the local MLA and Chairman of the High Powered Finance Committee, Mr Surinder Singh. Office-bearers of the NGOs gave a memorandum to him in this regard.


4 killed, 6 hurt in road accident
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, May 19
Four persons were killed and six injured when a private bus collided with a three-wheeler, near Sarna, 6 km from here, on the Amritsar-Pathankot road today.

According to information, the injured were admitted to the local Civil Hospital. Three of the injured were later referred to a hospital in Amritsar. The deceased have been identified as Saroj, Kavita, Asha, and Pardeep, all residents of the Malikpur area under Sadar police station.

According to information, the victims were going to attend the cremation of a relative in Pathankot. A case had been registered and the vehicles impounded.


108 kg of poppy husk seized
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 19
The police has arrested 24 persons involved in various crimes, including smuggling of narcotics, illegal distillation of liquor, possession of illegal weapons and satta transactions.

Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, said in a press note issued here today that Mangal Singh of Shergarh was arrested for possessing 108 kg of poppy husk. He said the poppy husk was seized from a room at Mangal Singh’s dwelling at Shergarh village in the district. Mangal Singh has been booked under Sections 15, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act at Raman police station.

Besides this, 10 persons were arrested for distillation of illicit liquor from different parts of the district. The police seized from them 48 litres of illicit liquor, 49 litres of theka liquor and an illegal distillery. Two persons have been arrested under the Arms Act and cases registered against them. The police seized from their possession two .12 bore pistols and cartridges. Under the Gambling/Satta Act, 11 persons have been arrested. They have been booked in nine different cases and Rs 2,335 have been seized from them.


Dental college inspections in June
Our Correspondent

Mansa, May 19
Students of the Khalsa Dental College and Hospital for Women, Nangal Kalan, and their parents, who have been running from pillar to post to get the degrees awarded by the college approved by the Dental Council of India (DCI), are now hopeful as the third and fourth inspections of the college will be conducted by the DCI in the first week of June. This was disclosed by Mr BPS Dhillon, President of the Parents Welfare Association, while talking to mediapersons at Nangal Kalan village today.

Dr Mohini Puri, Principal of the college, said the college was established in 1995 and had then admitted 60 students.

After the setting up of the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, the college, like other medical and dental colleges in Punjab, had been affiliated to this university. The university debarred second-year and third-year students from appearing in the annual examination in 2000, she added.

The students had then approached the court and got directions for appearing in the examination. The university had complied with the order, but had with held the results of all students, she added.

The students had again gone to court and the court and the court had directed the university to declare the results. The university had delayed the declaration of results, jeopardising the career of more than 320 students, she alleged.

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