Wednesday, May 22, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Punjab defers dissolution of extra police districts
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 21
Viewing with concern the build-up along the Indo-Pak border, the Punjab Government has decided to defer the implementation of some of the recommendations, including disbanding of extra police districts, made by the Cabinet subcommittee on fiscal management.

The subcommittee, which met on April 21, had made wide-ranging recommendations, including the abolition of all posts which were vacant as on May 2 this year, besides imposing a blanket ban on the creation of any new post. The proceedings of the subcommittee meeting have already been circulated among all administrative secretaries and the heads of various departments of the state.

All additional police districts, including those of Majitha, Taran Tarn, Khanna, Jagraon and Barnala, were recommended to be disbanded as part of the exercise to downsize the government.

The escalation of tension along the international border has provided the government with an immediate excuse or reason to defer the disbanding of the extra police districts, which otherwise had evoked a mixed reaction from within the department.

The recommendations are yet to be referred back to the Cabinet for a final formal approval before their actual implementation.

“We have to be extra vigilant,” said a spokesman of the Home Department, maintaining that even in the case of the limited action of demolishing militants’ training camps across the LoC, the border districts of Punjab, including Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Ferozepore, would bear the brunt.

“Our position is precarious. We are also planning to hold gram panchayat, panchayat samiti, block samiti and zila parishad elections in June. Our budget for the current financial year is yet to be presented. On the one hand we have to plan for the development of the state while on the other hand impending destruction is staring us in the face,” he said hoping that a “military confrontation would be avoided”.

“Keeping in view the developments during the past few days, including mortar shelling in some of the border towns, including Pathankot, we also have to activate our civil defence machinery. Besides, policing in the border districts has to be both strengthened and activated to keep an eye on suspected saboteurs and also to protect strategic infrastructure points and vital installations, including roads, bridges, power stations and telecommunication centres,” he added , maintaining that the state government was in constant touch with district-level officials in all three border districts and watching the developments.

The holding of panchayat samiti and zila parishad elections would become difficult in the wake of large-scale migration of people from border areas to safer places in the state. June, felt the officials, was going to be a crucial month.

Earlier in the day, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, too, echoed the same concerns and said that since national security was involved, the Punjab Government would fully support any action along the border. “We feel concerned for people of the border districts. It is they who will face the action but we are all with them. The Army has virtually taken over the entire area,” he added , hoping that “confrontation would be avoided”.


3-day police remand for Langah’s ‘touts’
Tribune Reporters

Kharar, May 21
The two arrested Akali leaders, Mr Gurcharan Singh Channi, General Secretary of the Jalandhar unit of the SAD, and the councillor of SAS Nagar Municipal Council, Mr Amrik Singh Mohali, had accepted Rs 8 lakh to stop transfers of technocrats of the PWD in at least 11 cases.

Among the beneficiaries are two Superintending Engineers (SEs) who paid Rs 1 lakh each to the alleged touts of the former PWD Minister, Mr Sucha Singh Langah, to remain at their place of postings. Disclosing these facts in the court of the Duty Magistrate, Kharar, officials of the Vigilance Department said the leaders were among the several channels of the minister to amass assets disproportionate beyond his sources of income.

Money allegedly accepted by Mr Amrik Singh for transfers

An SDO, Mr N.P. Singh, paid Rs 1 lakh to get transferred from Hoshiarpur to SAS Nagar.

An SE, Mr Tekam Chand, paid Rs 1 lakh to prolong his stay at Patiala

Another SE , Mr T.S. Gill, paid Rs 1 lakh to prolong his stay at Chandigarh

Four XENs, Mr A.S. Aulakh, Mr Virdi, Mr Harashok and Mr Kochar paid Rs 20,000, Rs 50,000, Rs 1 lakh and Rs 50,000, respectively, to extend their stay at their respective place of postings

Money accepted by Mr Gurcharan Singh Channi for transfers and other favours

An SDO, Rajinder Singh, paid Rs 1 lakh to get his transfer from Hoshiarpur cancelled.

A contractor paid Rs 1.50 lakh to get a favourable contract.

Appearing before the Magistrate, the public prosecutor Mr J.S. Punn, sought a 14-day police remand of the Akali leaders. However, the defence counsel of the two suspects, stated that there was no confessional statement about the two accepting the money for transfers. He said Mr Channi was picked up on May 18 from Jalandhar. A telegram had been sent to the then Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

After listening to both sides, the Magistrate remanded the leaders in three-day police custody. They would be produced before the Magistrate on May 24.

When the leaders were to be produced in the court, a number of Akali workers gathered in the court premises and raised slogans against the Punjab Government and the Vigilance Department. The Magistrate directed the local police to prevent them from raising slogans on the court premises. The entry of the workers to the court room, located on the first floor, was prevented by the police officials.

Meanwhile, on an application moved by the Vigilance Department to seek police remand of the SE of Rural Development Department, Mr Baldev Singh, in the case of purchase of JCB machines, the Magistrate directed that the SE be produced in the court on May 23. The SE is already in judicial custody in recruitment scam in the Rural Development Department, Punjab.


Surjeet, Pasla supporters clash: 6 hurt
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 21
Simmering discord between the Mangat Ram Pasla and Harkishan Singh Surjeet factions of the state CPM today culminated in an open clash between supporters of the two factions, which left as many as six workers injured in the Badrinath Colony where the police officials allegedly allowed the situation to worsen as they reached an hour late after the clash. The Pasla group has alleged that police assistance to the other faction was clear from the delay on the part of the police in reaching the spot and from its failure to nab those, who had attacked its workers in the office.

The police authorities rounded up about 100 supporters belonging to the Pasla faction from the Green Park office of the party in the city after the incident.

The Pasla group, which was holding control of the office till today even after the formal split of the party in December last year when Mr Pasla, who was the state secretary was expelled from the party, has alleged that the clash was the result of a conspiracy hatched by a local SP, who was a close relative of Mr Surjeet under the patronage of the Congress-led state government.

The incident, according to Mr Harkanwal Singh, the state committee member (Pasla group) and one of the trustees of the Bhai Rattan Singh Trust, took place about 12.30 p.m. when over 100 persons allegedly led by Lehmbar Singh Taggar and Charan Singh Virdi, forced their entry into the main office and beat up party workers, including him, with sticks before throwing them out of the office. Harkanwal, who was admitted to the hospital alleged that the Surjit faction had wrested the control of the office with the help of the Congress government and the police. “It was open hooliganism and glaring example of lawlessness. You can imagine from that when a police Inspector reached the office after we rang up the police at number 100, he told us that he had come to protect those inside the office and not us and if we had some complaint we should approach the police station, ” he alleged. He said the whole drama was enacted under patronage of an SP, who was a close relative of Mr Surjit.

On the other hand, the Surjit faction claimed that the main office was being run by both of factions jointly even after the split and it was the Pasla faction which had attacked the training school of the party being run at the place. “Actually, they had disrupted our training session and attacked us with bricks and sticks and reacting to that our people had thrashed them,” said Mr Parmjit Singh, a senior party leader belonging to the Surjit faction, who was sitting in the main office when The Tribune team reached the spot. He also alleged that his supporters had even snatched three rifles from the “attackers”, who had also attacked the party’s other office in the Green Park locality, where 100 of such persons owing allegiance to the Pasla group were detained by the police. The SSP was not available for comment, Mr Rajiv Ahir, SP, said in all about 100 supporters who were rounded up from the Green Park office had been arrested.


Sort out suspension issue amicably: varsity
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 21
Even as the strike in Shree Lakshmi Narain Ayurvedic College entered its 38th day yesterday, the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences has taken a serious note of the suspension of three teachers of the college.

Dr J.S. Parmar, Dean (Colleges), Baba Farid University, has written to the Principal of the Ayurvedic college stating that “it was a matter of concern that instead of sorting out the matter amicably (as directed by the university), you (Principal of the college) preferred to place the three teachers under suspension.” The letter of the Dean reads, “the situation in the college has taken an uglier turn as earlier the staff was suffering a lot and now students are also made to suffer. You are directed to sort out the problem amicably with the teachers immediately and ensure that the students are not victimised anymore, otherwise the university may be constrained to take logical steps in this regard”.

Meanwhile, Dr D.C. Pandey and Dr Vibhakar Sharma, Principal and Vice-Principal of the college, respectively, in a joint press statement, said they always considered the students as their “sons and daughters” but some agitating teachers had started a “defamation campaign” against them. They also criticised a veteran CPI leader, Mr Satya Paul Dang, for releasing a statement in favour of the agitating students/teachers. Mr Santosh Gupta, President of the managing committee of the college, also took a serious view of the statement of Mr Dang in which the latter had levelled serious charges of “sexual harassment” against senior professors of the college. He said the college management had already constituted an independent inquiry to probe the charges and counter-charges but the agitating teachers were not cooperating.

On the other hand, the agitating teaching and non-teaching staff of the Ayurvedic college in a communication to the Governor-cum-Chancellor of the University have asked him to direct the police to lodge an FIR against Dr Pandey for allegedly “cheating the students by misappropriating the Gujarat Relief Fund”. They also urged the police to lodge an FIR against the Principal for allegedly passing “vulgar indecent remarks” towards girl students and women teachers.


From Sadhwan to Rashtrapati Bhavan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 21
While the country’s late President, Giani Zail Singh, glorified Punjab, his wife, Pardhan Kaur, too played a significant role in his success. Pardhan Kaur, whose bhog took place today, bravely took on every problem faced by Giani Zail Singh during his political life. Born in 1919 in the home of Budh Singh at Samalsar, a hamlet near Baghapurana, Pardhan Kaur was the apple of her father’s eye. Even before the little girl took her first step, her father gave her a warm hug and declared: “My child is bound to become a pardhan”. And the very same day, the girl was christened Pardhan Kaur. Eventually, her father’s prophecy came true.

Pardhan Kaur got married to Zail Singh at Bishan Singh’s home at Sadhwan village, 8 km from Faridkot. This ordinary family had a small land-holding, just enough for its needs. Zail Singh helped his father, Bishan Singh, on the farm due to compulsions, but he did not like working on the farm. Hence, he chose a different walk of life and immersed himself in religious pursuits. His first son, Joginder Singh, was born two years later. During this period, his goals in life started undergoing a transformation, and along with religious pursuits, he also took steps towards political activities. He had just begun taking part in political activities when his home witnessed the birth of his daughter, Joginderpal Kaur. Around that time, his political affiliations were with the Akali Dal. A little later, he joined the Prajamandal wave to oppose the princely monocracy, where he pursued praiseworthy political activities. This was a time when the masses were suffering under dual slavery, wherein on the one hand they were the victims of princely rulers and on the other hand the British Government had staked its flag to keep Indians under its repressive hold.

After Independence, Zail Singh’s importance grew in the nation’s polity. His fame rose among the political leaders. Though Bebe Pardhan Kaur faced numerous difficulties, she also lived a life of comfort. During the presidency of Giani Zail Singh, Bebe Pardhan Kaur lived in Rashtrapati Bhavan, but she felt more affection for her village, Sadhwan, and kept on visiting it every fortnight or month. Even after the death of her husband, she lived less in Delhi and passed her remaining days at the village. So much so that when she fell ill at the beginning of this month, she was at Sadhwan. And she bade goodbye to her family and the masses at Sadhwan itself.


Tributes paid to Pardhan Kaur 
Our Correspondent

Faridkot May 21
The Punjab Government has decided to set up a nursing training institute in memory of Pardhan Kaur, widow of former President Giani Zail Singh, at Sadhwan in the district and this will be the “best tribute to the freedom fighters family”.

This was announced by Punjab Local Bodies Minister Jagjit Singh on behalf of the Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh while addressing the congregation on the “bhog and antim ardas” of Pardhan Kaur at Sadhwan in the district today. The project is likely to become functional by this year.

He said priority would be given to rural girls during the admission in the institution. Out of total seats, 10 per cent would be reserved for people from weaker sections. Lauding the role of Pardhan Kaur, the minister said she always stood with former President Giani Zail Singh who played a significant role in strengthening secularism and maintaining unity and national integration.

The minister regretted that the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, could not attend the antim ardas due to Cabinet meeting at Chandigarh.

Late Chief Minister Beant Singh had announced on the first barsi of Giani Zail Singh that a full-fledged engineering college would be set up in his memory in the village but nothing has been done in this regard so far.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Chief Minister, also visited Pardhan Kaur’s residence in the morning to offer his condolences to the bereaved family. Many national dignitaries, including Mr K.R. Narayanan President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, Leader of the Opposition, Mr I.K. Gujral, former Prime Minister, Mr Manmohan Singh, former Union Finance Minister, Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, Governor Uttranchal, and Capt Amarinder Singh sent their condolence messages.

More than 10,000 people from all walks of life paid rich tributer to Pardhan Kaur. Among prominent leaders who attended the antim ardas were Dr Kewal Krishan Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, Mr Guchet Singh Bhullar, Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang and Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa all Cabinet ministers, Mr Bhan Singh Bhaura and Mr Pawan Bansal, both MP, Mr Gurdev Singh Badal and Mr Tota Singh, former ministers, Mr Tarlochan Singh, Chairman, Minorities Commission, Mr Avtar Singh Brar former Education Minister, and Mr A.Venu Prasad, Deputy Commissioner.

Members of the District Bar Association suspended their work to join the antim ardas.


More job benefit for ex-servicemen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 21
In a major policy decision of potential benefit to thousands of ex-servicemen in the state, the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today directed that the benefit of reservation in government jobs, being extended to ex-servicemen, would henceforth be available to them for the second time and even thereafter in the subsequent recruitments.

Following these orders, the Department of Defence Services Welfare issued a circular to this effect, addressed to all heads of departments and deputy commissioner, under the signatures of the department’s Administrative Secretary, Mr K.B.S. Sidhu.

Giving details, an official spokesperson stated that on August 30, 1989, the government had clarified that ex-servicemen who had already got benefit in the recruitment against a reserved vacancy, under the Punjab Recruitment of Ex-Servicemen Rules, 1983, in a civil department, were not eligible for such benefit for the second time and in the subsequent recruitments.

After the new government assumed office, these instructions were reviewed by the department from a legal perspective, in consultation with the Legal Remembrancer, and also in the light of some rulings by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. On the basis of this scrutiny, it was concluded that these instructions were not only contrary to the letter and spirit of the statutory rules of 1983, but also "not legal and valid" in view of the court judgements.

After seeking the orders of the Chief Minister, who is also the minister in charge, the department accordingly today withdrew/ rescinded these instructions. It was made clear that the benefit of reservation would now be allowed to ex-servicemen for the second time and even thereafter in the subsequent recruitments, in accordance with the Punjab Recruitment of Ex-servicemen Rules, 1983, the spokesperson added.

With the issue of the fresh instructions, the ex-servicemen employed in civil posts would be able to compete for better posts in the category of ex-servicemen and improve their career prospects. This also fulfilled the long-standing demand of a number of welfare associations of ex-servicemen, the spokesperson said.


Arrest Bhullar, says Badal
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 21
The Shiromani Akali Dal President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, said today that the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, could not give a clean chit to the Cabinet Minister, Mr Gurchet Singh Bhullar, allegedly involved in the killing of an Akali leader and six others in Bhikhiwind, before an investigation was conducted into the matter.

Mr Badal while addressing mediapersons today at the local Haji Rattan Gurdwara before a meeting of Akali workers, contradicted the statement of Capt Amarinder Singh that it was not a political murder. He said, “Gurdial Singh had contested the Assembly election and there was no question of personal enmity behind the murder.”

He said as the name of Mr Bhullar appeared in an FIR lodged in the murder case, he should be immediately arrested. However, Mr Badal tried to evade the reply, when was asked that why the Akali ministers and MLAs indicted in different cases were not arrested during the tenure of Mr Badal.

Repeating his allegations that Gurdial Singh was murdered as his request for providing security was not accepted, although he had approached all officials, concerned. He said Gurdial Singh had categorically stated in his applications that he (Gurdial Singh) had threat to his life from Mr Bhullar.

He said as many as six supporters of Mr Gurdial Singh were murdered in which involvement of supporters of the minister had been alleged, but Capt Amarinder Singh was giving the clean chit to the minister.

He said besides five supporters of Mr Gurdial Singh murdered along with him on May 19 a polling agent of Gurdial Singh was murdered on February 13 by Congress supporters. He said lawlessness was increasing in the state day by day.


Deep drilling for water in Punjab
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 21
The Central Ground Water Board is engaged in deep drilling for fresh water at deeper depths in submontane areas of Punjab. The drilling is being carried out with a fleet of imported heavy-duty rigs.

Disclosing this here yesterday, Dr M.D. Nautiyal, Regional Director, said the department had recently sunk two wells in Garhshankar tehsil, which would augment the drinking water supply. The tubewells had been completed in Malkowal and Achalpur villages, which fell on the Garhshankar-Santokhgarh road. The villages were located on the top of hills 520 m above mean sea level. The boreholes were drilled down to a depth of about 400 m with a percussion-cum-rotary rig. Both wells yielded water.

It was for the first time that the board in this area had completed work on tubewells having water levels as deep as 176 m, which was the deepest in the country. The wells were ready to be handed over to the Public Health Department and could be put to use for water supply to eight villages located in the area. Now the residents of the area would be able to get drinking water supply for seven to eight hours per day against one to two hours per day at present. Dr Nautiyal added that a Japanese percussion rig had also been recently deployed to drill boreholes for deep tubewells for drinking purposes in hilly/semi-hilly areas of Talwara block. 


Centre’s no to jatha
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 21
The Centre has decided not to allow Sikh pilgrims to visit Pakistan to mark the martyrdom day of Guru Arjun Dev which falls next month.

Mr Tarlochan Singh, Vice-Chairman, Minority Commission, talking to The Tribune on the telephone said senior officials of External Ministry and Union Home Ministry whom be had met in New Delhi were of the opinion that it was not safe for the members of the Sikh jatha to visit Pakistan amid heightened tension in the region.

Mr Tarlochan Singh said senior officials of the Central Government felt that when marching orders had been given to Pakistan’s Ambassador to India, it was practically impossible to send jatha to Pakistan in such surcharged atmosphere.


Panel to select Pbi varsity VC
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 21
The Punjab Government has reportedly taken a decision to institute a three-member search committee to select the new Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University which is likely to include three former Vice-Chancellors.

According to sources, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has directed Punjabi varsity acting Vice-Chancellor N.S. Rattan to request Dr R.P. Bambah, a former VC of Panjab University and currently a member of The Tribune Trust, Board, Mr G.S. Kalkat and former Punjabi University VC, H.K. Manmohan Singh to become members of the search panel.

The name of Dr S.S. Johal had also been considered for the search panel but he had expressed his helplessness because of other commitments.

The committee will start functioning in a few days and that as a first step it might review the bio-datas of nearly 20 scholars lying with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. Sources disclosed that the committee would not be bound to make its choice from among these persons only.

Most of the applications submitted to the Chief Minister include academicians from Punjab only.

The motive behind the constitution of a three-member committee was to make the selection of the new Vice-Chancellor completely objective and remove any doubts that considerations other than merit might be considered for selection to the post.


Best entries announced in Green Corps contest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 21
The Punjab State Council for Science and Technology has announced the best entries selected in a statewide competition organised under the National Green Corps Programme.

According to Dr Satnam Singh Ladhar, Principal, Scientific Officer (Environment), a total of 275 best entries were received in the council. To evaluate the entries for state-level awards and further nomination for the national-level competition, a meeting of eminent experts was held in the council on Saturday which was coordinated by Mr Ram Boojh from the Centre of Environment Education, Northern Region, Lucknow.

Explaining the background, Dr Ladhar stated that in connection with participation in the World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, from August 26 to September 4, the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, had initiated various activities for national-level preparations. As part of this, nationwide competitions for school children , particularly from schools selected under the National Green Corps Programme launched by the Ministry during 2001, had been conducted.

In Punjab, 1,700 schools have been selected under the programme for building up awareness levels at the young stage for the protection of vital natural resources and creation of a healthy environment. As many as 85,000 students have been made members of this gigantic scheme.

The Punjab State Council for Science and Technology is the Nodal Agency for the implementation of this scheme in Punjab.

Students from classes from VI to XII participated in the competitions organised at the junior and senior levels. The competitions included essay writing, poetry writing, poster making and photography on the following themes: “India of my dreams”, “10 wishes for a wonderful world”, “What I will do to make my village/city/country clean and green”, “Green India, clean India”, “Beauty of India”, “The world has enough for everyone’s need but not for anyone’s greed”, “Better environment for better life” and “Conservation — an Indian tradition”.

The following best entries have been selected for the state-level awards:

At the junior level for essay writing: Bindu Rani, Government Senior Secondary School (G), Gidderbaha, Muktsar district, Gurashish Singh, Government Senior Secondary School, Sada Singh Wala, Mansa district and Gurinder Kaur, Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Khumano Kalan, Fatehagarh Sahib district; for poetry writing: Dilshad Akhtar, Government Senior Secondary School, Nathumajra, Sangrur district, Devinder Kaur, Government Senior Secondary School, Kishanpura, Ropar district and Amarjeet Kaur, Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Gidderbaha, Muktsar district. For poster making: Kiranjeet Kaur, Government Girls High School, Baam, Muktsar district, Rajwant Kaur, Government High School, Dhanauri, Ropar district and Deepanshu Singh, Government Senior Secondary School, Khamano, Fatehgarh Sahib district.

At senior level for essay writing: Gurbir Kaur, Government Senior Secondary School, Jhallian Kalan, Ropar district, Harparveen Kaur, Government High School, Khirkian Wala, Muktsar district and Amandeep Kaur Khalsa, Government Senior Secondary School, Jhaj, Ropar district; for poetry writing: Sukhjeet Kaur, Government Senior Secondary School, Boormajra, Ropar district, Gurmeet Kaur, Government Senior Secondary School, Nathumajra, Sangrur district and Kulwinder Kumar, Government High School, Barwa, Ropar district; for poster making: Paramjit Kaur, Government High School, Dhanauri, Ropar district, Hardeep Kaur, Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Sohana, Ropar district and Kanchan Rani, Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Gidderbaha, Muktsar district; for photography: Parminder Singh, Government High School, Bhaini Jassa, Sangrur district, Rajesh Kumar, Government Senior Secondary School, Dholbaha, Hoshiarpur district and Tejinder kaur, Government Senior Secondary School, Manauli, Ropar district.

The winning entries in each category will be sent for participation in national competitions.


Budget session from June 12

The Budget session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha will be held from June 12 to 18. This was stated by Capt Amarinder Singh here today. He said since the Speaker, Dr Kewal Krishan, had to attend an international conference of Speakers at Bangalore from June 19, the Budget session would end on June 18.”In case some important issues are left, we can extend the session by resuming the sittings after Dr Krishan returns from Bangalore on June 23,” he said.

He said there would be a double sitting on each day of the session.


Indiscipline in party worries BJP leaders
Our Correspondent

Sunam, May 21
A two-day state-level meeting of the BJP concluded at Sangrur today. The main focus of the workers and office-bearers of various district and state units was on the cause of the BJP’s defeat in the Assembly poll in Punjab and in other states.

Mr Sangh Priya Gautam All-India General Secretary of the BJP and in charge of Punjab affairs of the BJP while addressing a press conference at PWD Rest House, Sangrur, admitted that corruption had spread in all spheres due to nexus between politicians, traders bureaucrats and mediapersons.

Mr Gautam said due to indiscipline in the party its image had received a set back.

Answering a question regarding its defeat in elections especially in Punjab, Mr Gautam said neither the ministers could maintain their links with the voters nor could they get development works carried out as per their commitment for the voters in the election manifesto.

Mr Gautam said to avoid such things in future, a disciplinary action committee (DAC) had been constituted at each district headquarter in the country, which would direct the ministers to meet workers at the grassroots level to listen and redress their grievances, otherwise the DAC would take action against such ministers. Besides this the DAC would also be empowered to take action against those party workers who create indiscipline in the party.

Mr Gautam said the Congress in Punjab was adopting the policy of repression in Punjab. He urged the Congress government to take stern action against the Bhikhiwind culprits immediately.

Among others present included Mr Sanjay Joshi organising general secretary All-India BJP, Mr Harjit Grewal General Secretary, All-India Kisan Morcha, BJP, Bibi Gurcharan Kaur, MP Mr Vinod Khanna MP, Mr Brij Lal Rinwa President Punjab unit of the BJP, Mr Avinash Khanna MLA, Garhshanker, Mr Sukhpal Singh Nanu, MLA, Ferozpore, Mr Baldev Raj Chawla and Mr Madan Mohan Mittal both former Punjab ministers, Mr Swarna Ram, Mr Avinash Jaiswal organising secretary of the Punjab BJP Mr Malwinder Bhardwaj district press secretary of the BJP.


Muktsar plunges into darkness
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, May 21
This city and residential areas falling within 30 km of its radius plunged into darkness yesterday night when the 132 KV power transformer caught fire after its bushing got burst.

The fire which started at about 10.40 p.m. was brought under control and ultimately put off at about 3 a.m. The fire tenders from Abohar, Ferozepore, Bathinda, Moga, Kotkapura and Malout were pressed into service. Some senior civil official of the district remained on the spot till the fire was put off.

Mr R.S. Dhillon, Chief Engineer, PSEB, said though the board official with the help of district administration managed to save the other power transformer from catching fire, it has suffered a loss of about Rs 1 crore as per preliminary investigations.

He added that power supply to some of the areas of the city had been restored while arrangements to other areas were being made at war footing. He said the spark inside the power transformer led to the bursting of bushing.

This power transformer was manufactured in 1989 and normally it life span last for 25 years. The transformer was installed in the local powerhouse after repairing the same in 1998.

Mr Dhillon said an inquiry would be conducted into the matter by a standard committee comprising three Chief Engineers of the PSEB. So far preliminary investigations had revealed that it caught fire on its own without the fault of any official deployed at the powerhouse. He added that people had been advised to use electricity as per their requirement and not to run air-conditioners and desert coolers till the regular supply was restored.


Tension in two localities, village
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 21
Tension prevailed in the Basti Danishmandan, Makhdoompura localities and Lambran township, where three different incidents of violence and hooliganism took place late last night.

Tension prevailed in the Basti Danishmandan locality, where Rinku, a son of Ram Lal, a councillor, was attacked and injured by as many as six hooligans, alleged to be supporters of Mr Pars Ram, a rival of Mr Ram Lal. As Rinku was attacked, hundreds of supporters of Mr Ram Lal, came on the roads in protest against the attack and lawlessness, demanding the arrest of attackers. Mr Pars Ram and his family denied that the attackers had anything to do with them and alleged that supporters of Ram Lal had attacked the house of his sister. The incident took place when Rinku was returning home late in the night after lodging a complaint with the police that he could be attacked by some people. his car was smashed by the attackers. The police has registered two separate cases, it is learnt.

In a similar incident, about six armed youth attacked a house in the Makhdoompura locality and injured three inmates-identified as Johny, Sanju and Pahra. The incident also evoked widespread protests as hundreds of residents converged on the road to lodge their protest against the attack. Police has registered a case.

In a separate incident, about 20 armed youths attacked the farm of one Baldev Singh at Bhagwanpura near Lambran and allegedly ploughed seven kanal of land forcibly. Baldev Singh alleged that this was handiwork of another farmer of the same village. The police has registered a case.


Bar for action against ‘tainted’ judges
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, May 21
The Amritsar Bar Association has condemned the corruption by PPSC Chairman Ravi Sidhu and resolved to endorse the view of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association.

Appreciating the editorial by Mr Hari Jaisingh in The Tribune, the association demanded that an inquiry by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court should be ordered to review all recruitments made by the PPSC.

KAPURTHALA: The Rail Coach Factory unit of the Indian Railways Technical Supervisors Association has appealed to the high court to expeditiously decide the pending cases so as to mitigate the agony of the poor litigants.

Appreciating the courageous initiative of The Tribune in highlighting loopholes prevailing in the judicial system through its editorial, the association has also supported the demand of the high court bar association for stern action against “tainted” judges who had their wards appointed by corrupt and unfair means through the PPSC Chairman, a press note by Mr Brij Mohan, zonal and press secretary of the association, said on Tuesday.

ROPAR: On the call of the District Bar Association, lawyers observed a strike here on Tuesday, demanding withdrawal of work from “tainted” judges.


Charges against clergy: proof to be submitted
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 21
The Khalsa Panchayat, which has levelled charges of corruption against some Sikh high priests, has agreed to submit proofs to substantiate the allegations before an inquiry committee of high priests on the condition that Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, and Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar, Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib, should not be its members. The panchayat has alleged that both jathedars are party to the case and hence should not be part of the proposed committee which will take up the matter.

Though Mr Charnjit Singh Channi and three of his associates had claimed that Jathedar Vedanti and Prof Manjit Singh had agreed in principle to stay away from the proposed inquiry committee, the jathedars refused to divulge the details to the Press about the in-camera hearings held at the Akal Takht secretariat today. The meeting of Sikh high priests lasted for more than two hours in a surcharged atmosphere.

This was for the first time that the Sikh clergy took up the cases which pertained to the allegations of corruption against Sikh high priests. The members of the panchayat had published a pamphlet — ‘Paigam’, which had alleged that the Sikh high priests had tilted many decisions after accepting bribe.


Sikhs to oppose war against Pak: Mann
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 21
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President, Akali Dal (Amritsar) and MP, today said the Sikhs would not support war against Pakistan.

Mr Mann, who was on tour of this area, addressing mediaperson at Kothe Kartarpur Thande village, said the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee had consulted the AICC President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, on the Indo-Pak war issue and ignored the Sikh leadership in the matter despite the fact that even the British used to consult the Sikh leadership in issues pertaining to war.

While welcoming the stand taken by the CPI and the CPM on the Indo-Pak war issue, Mr Mann wondered why the BJP-led NDA government was so much agitated over the Kaluchak incident, when it could do nothing when 43 Sikhs were killed in Chattisinghpura.


Functions held in Rajiv’s memory
Our Correspondents

Bathinda, May 21
The death anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi was observed as anti-terrorist day here today. Speaking at the official function, SDM, Mr Upjeet Singh Brar, said many leaders had fallen prey to terrorism.

The DCC observed the anniversary at the local Congress Bhavan. The DCC president, Mr Bhagat Singh Dhaliwal, and others attended the function.

The Rajiv Gandhi Lok Bhalai Manch also observed his death anniversary. The Chairman of the manch, Dr Sat Pal Bhateja said for building a healthy nation, it was necessary that all should work for weeding out terrorism. A similar function was also held at Muktsar.

ROPAR: Anti-terrorism day was observed under the presidentship of Deputy Commissioner, Seema Jain at the mini secretariat. Officers and employees of various departments attended the function.

PHAGWARA: Congress activists observed the death anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi here. Local MLA and former Punjab minister Joginder Singh Mann, Block Congress Committee (Urban) president Ashok Prashar and other leaders paid tributes to Rajiv Gandhi.


Memorial gate for martyr
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, May 21
The Punjab Government will set up a “memorial gate” at Farwal village in the honour of sepoy Manjit Singh, who was killed along with his wife and children in the Jammu terrorist attack. This was stated by Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, PWD Minister, here on Sunday, after visiting the Farwal village on behalf of the Punjab Government.

He said, after consulting the authorities the village school and link road would be named after Manjit Singh.

The minister said, time had come for the Centre to take appropriate action to stop terrorism in the country. “We have seen black days of terrorism in Punjab. Our Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh will extend all possible help to end terrorism”, he said.


Campaign against FMD from tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 21
For the first time in the state, the Punjab Animal Husbandry Department is going to launch a fortnight-long mass vaccination campaign aimed at vaccination of about 85 lakh cattle in the state against the foot and mouth disease (FMD) and haemorrhagic septicaemia (HS) and to educate people about the two dreaded diseases found in cattle, from May 23.

The campaign would be kick-started from Jalandhar by the state Animal Husbandry Department Minister Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, from Pholriwal village of Jalandhar district.

According to the cattle census, there are about 28.51 lakh cows and 56.5 lakh buffaloes in the state, which has largely been free from the HS, particularly, during last year, even as a number of FMD cases had come to light during last year, when their outbreak from the PAU Ludhiana’s Dairy Farm had created panic among people of Punjab in general and veterinary scientists in particular.


Harpal Tiwana cremated

Patiala, May 21
Noted Punjabi film director and theatre personality Harpal Tiwana, who died in a road accident near Chintpurni in Himachal Pradesh on May 19, was cremated at Bhadungar village, near here, this afternoon.

Gurdas Mann, Palwinder Dhami and Raj Tiwari were among the prominent artistes who attended the cremation. Theatre artistes from abroad were also present during the cremation. Tiwana was 77 and is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter. UNI


Worker inhales gas, dies
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 21
A worker of a vegetable oil mill yesterday died after inhaling poisonous gas.

According to information received here, Rohtas, son of Kurda Ram, was cleaning a 6-foot-deep waste tank at the mill located on the Abohar-Malout road. As he felt suffocation other workers rushed to his help. Five of them were also affected by the gas.

Hospital sources said six persons were brought to the emergency ward at 4.15 p.m. in an unconscious condition. Doctors started treatment, but Rohtas, originally a resident of Jhunjhunu (Rajasthan), died after an hour.

Others who have been admitted to the hospital included Harbans Lal, Goga, Jagdish, Vinod, all residents of Gobindgarh village, near Abohar, and Diwan Chand of Dharangwala village. Their condition was described as stable.

Officials of the mill present in the hospital said cleansing of the tank was a daily routine. It was for the first time that such an incident happened. All workers, according to the management, had insurance cover against such mishaps.


Market panel bodies to be abolished
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 21
The Punjab Government today decided to abolish nominated governing bodies of various markets committees in the state. Administrators would be appointed to run the affairs of these bodies. Governing bodies were nominated by previous SAD-BJP Government.

Meanwhile, the state government has decided to direct all deputy commissioners not extend any sort of hospitality to visiting ministers in their respective districts. The decision was a part of austerity measures drive started by the government.


Bathinda doc makes it to Civil Services
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 21
Dr Sanjay Goel posted at the local Civil Hospital, Goniana Mandi, 15 km from here, has brought laurels to the citizens of this region by making it to Civil Services exams.

Dr Goel has done MD (Paediatrics) from Government Medical College, Patiala.


Tehsildars’ appointments come under shadow
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, May 21
Three Superintendents in the Deputy Commissioners’ offices in three cities of Punjab have alleged violations of norms in the appointment of tehsildars recently.

About five tehsildars were appointed on April 24. However, Mr Kaman Singh, Mr Tejinderjit Singh and Mr G.S. Singh, Superintendents in the Deputy Commissioners’ offices in Amritsar, Nawanshahr and Mansa alleged that they were ignored.

Two of the selected tehsildars are allegedly drawing double benefits. They are enjoying the posts of G-II (Revenue and Judicial) and Superintendent-general in their respective offices whereas there is a ban on giving the current charge in the light of an apex court judgement.

While two of the tehsildars have been posted in the office of the Commissioner, Ferozepore. Two others were appointed in Roopnagar district of Patiala and one in the office of the Commissioner, Faridkot, through a joint memorandum from Chandigarh by the Deputy Secretary to the Revenue Department.

According to rules, a minimum of five years’ experience, in addition to seniority and merit, are considered for such a promotion. However, the impugned order shows that the three Superintendents were never even considered for the promotion, despite meeting the eligibility criterion. These officials allege that a copy of the orders was also not supplied to them.

Moreover, the points reserved for the said posts in the relevant rules have not been allotted to the appointed tehsildars.


Rs 70,000 in fake currency seized
Our Correspondent

District police chief Narinderpal Singh shows fake currency notes on Tuesday. — photo Rajiv Sharma

Amritsar, May 21
The district police with the help of the CIA has seized fake currency notes which were allegedly sent by Pakistan’s ISI through Nepal into the border villages and other areas of Punjab. The police has arrested two persons in this regard.

While talking to the mediapersons, Mr Narinderpal Singh, district police chief said here today that fake currency notes worth Rs 70,000 had been seized from Pardeep Kumar of Rajasansi and Badri Khanal of Nepal. The accused were coming from Loharka village when they were apprehended.

The SSP said the police had got information that the ISI was sending fake currency notes to India for weakening its economy. The police with the help of the CIA got the information about the accused, Pardeep Kumar, a businessman dealing in carpets. He used to go to Nepal for his business. there the came in contact with Badri Khanal. He said that Badri had given Rs 50,000 fake notes for a sum of Rs 30,000 and Rs 2,31,000 fake notes for 1,50,000, respectively.


LIC officials robbed of Rs 9.93 lakh
Our Correspondent

Samana, May 21
A sum of Rs 9.93 lakh were taken away by some persons at 11.30 a.m. near the bus stand here today. Mr Anil Bhardwaj, Assistant Manager, local LIC branch, and Sham Sunder, a peon, were going to deposit the money in a bank close to the LIC office. Two persons, however, snatched the bag containing the cash at gunpoint. One of them had a pistol while the other was sitting on a scooter.

Shopkeepers when contacted said they had not seen any such incident. The police has registered a case.


Absenteeism among teachers down
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, May 21
Residents of more than two dozen villages falling in the Kandi area in Balachaur subdivision of the district have experienced a surprise change in functioning of schools.

The general public is quite happy with the change as absenteeism among teachers as well as poor attendance of children has reduced, particularly in the primary schools in Jameetgarh, Danduha, Fatehpur, Jania, Kamalpur, Dilawerpur, Nanowal and several other villagers of the area.

Schools in these villages which were virtually lying closed for want of teachers, have started functioning to the satisfaction of the villagers, thanks to the efforts of the District Education Officer, Mr Ujjagar Singh Mahi, who, following the directions of the state government is striving hard to provide quality educational facilities to the children of the remote villages of the Kandi area.

Mr Ram Kishan Kataria, former MLA and Secretary, PPCC, Mr Ram Parkash Chaudhary, a senior Congress leaders, Mrs Harbans Kaur, Sarpanch, Nawan Garan, Mr Ashok Kumar, Sarpanch, Nanowal Bet, Mr Sarwan Ram, Sarpanch, Jeetpur, while talking to this correspondent, said the school teachers, who were earlier averse to join or attend their duties in the schools situated in the remote villages, were now reaching their respective schools in time.

Expressing his opinion on the change in the attitude of school teachers after the formation of the Congress government in the state, Mr Kataria said while some teachers may not be happy with the change, the public in general was quite satisfied with the changed scenario in the schools in the Kandi area.

He said the attendance of students of various schools had improved and even in the harvesting season 85 to 90 per cent children had attended the schools. Due to it, the faith of the people in government schools had been restored and the trend of getting their wards admitted in public schools had started diminishing, said Mr Chaudhary.

He said in some villages people had again admitted their wards in government schools, adding that earlier, in the absence of teachers in government schools, they had no alternative but to spend a lot of money on the education of their children in so-called public schools.

Mr Sarwan Ram, Sarpanch, Jeetpur village, has urged the authorities concerned to improve the functioning of the village primary school which is virtually lying closed. Similarly, residents of Sehwajpur, Thanwala, Kalar and Bholewal villages have also been waiting for the authorities concerned to take steps so that their children could also get education in the village schools.

Mr Mahi, DEO, when contacted, said that as many as 53 ETT teachers had been appointed recently in the primary schools in the Kandi area. He said efforts were being made to provide educational facilities in the remaining villages also.

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