Monday, June 3, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



CM engineering local poll results: Badal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 2
Shiromani Akali Dal President Parkash Singh Badal today accused Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh of trying to engineer a Musharraf-like poll outcome in the forthcoming elections to the zila parishadas and panchayat samitis in the state.

“The Chief Minister is virtually presiding over the criminalisation of the democratic process in Punjab ever since the Malout Assembly elections. The success of muscle and money culture in Malout has emboldened him to try the same rough tactics in every elections, “ Mr Badal said.

In a statement, Mr Badal said the entire process had been vitiated by the brazen interference of the state administration with a view to producing a predetermined result. He said not only had the voting lists been subjected to massive tampering and arbitrary deletions, but the process of filing of nominations had been reduced to a farce. Nomination papers of candidates belonging to the SAD and allies had been subjected to a mass rejection in a statewide pattern, he alleged.

Mr Badal said his party had repeatedly complained to the authorities and to the Election Commission, but the situation continued to be bad. He said the official machinery in the state was functioning like petty retainers of the ruling party. He said the demarcation of zones had not been intimated to the candidates belonging to the SAD alliance.

The former Chief Minister said events in Punjab were a part of the conspiracy to terrorise the state’s political psyche, which was being subjected to denial of democracy on the one hand and to the culture of political murders on the other.

Mr Badal said his party would mobilise public opinion in Punjab against the introduction of dictatorship through the backdoor. He would also take up the matter with leaders of various national parties as the issue pertained to the future of democracy in the country.


Cong wins panchayat samiti poll
Our Correspondent

Abohar, June 2
The Congress has gained two-thirds majority in the Khuyiansarwer Panchayat Samiti as its 16 candidates were elected unopposed following the withdrawal of nominations on Saturday.

Stating this Mr Sajjan Kumar Jakhar, president, District Congress Committee, said on Sunday that only three BJP candidates would be contesting elections now in the rest of seven zones of the samiti. The SAD had not fielded any candidate. Some nomination papers were rejected on technical ground as some candidates had not got their certificates attested by the appropriate authority, he said. Those elected unopposed include Mr Sanjay Kumar, Mr Nathu Ram, Mrs Amarjit Kaur, Mr Chiman Lal, Mrs Saroj Rani, Mr Surender Kumar, Mr Maam Chand, Mrs Puja Rani, Mrs Nandi Devi, Mr Jagdish Kumar, Mr Kingpal Singh, Mrs Raj Rani, Mr Dharampal, Mr Sajjan Kumar, Mr Ram Kishan and Mr Baldev Singh. However for panchayat samiti, Abohar only four candidates were elected unopposed out of 25 zones. At least 21 nominations were rejected and 36 candidates withdrew their nominations, leaving 58 candidates in the fray.

In the Guruharsahai Panchayat Samiti also the Congress gained two-thirds majority after the withdrawal of nomination papers. In 14 out of 18 zones Congress candidates had won. They include Mrs Mohinder Kaur, Sarvan Singh, Mrs Jasbir Kaur, Mrs Kaushalya, Harjinder Singh, Jaideep Singh, Ved Parkash, Mrs Santosh Rani, Amolak Ram, Gurjinderpal Singh, Mrs Kailashwanti, Balbir Singh, Mrs Kailash Rani.

For panchayat samiti, Fazilka, 59 candidates were left in the fray for 18 zones as 47 candidates withdrew their nominations on Saturday. Four Congress candidates Mr Raj Kumar, Mr Des Raj Kamboj, Mr Ram Lal and Mr Bakhu Shah were elected unopposed. Four candidates Mr Sunil Kumar, Mrs Paramjit Kaur, Mr Gurdip Singh and Mrs Bhajno Devi were elected unopposed for the Jalalabad panchayat samiti. The Congress candidate, Mrs Gursharan Kaur, was also elected unopposed for zila parishad from the Ladhuka zone, reports said.

In the Assembly segments represented by Mr Sunil Kumar Jakhar and Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, the Congress nearly swept the elections. There will be contested only in two zones falling in the Abohar constituency now. The opposition parties had failed to mobilise workers to file nomination papers in majority of the zones.


20 block samiti nominees elected unopposed
Tribune Reporters

Hoshiarpur, June 2
Twenty candidates for the block samiti elections have been elected unopposed in three districts of Punjab. Ten Congress candidates and one of SAD have been elected unopposed in 185 zones of 10 block samitis in Hoshiarpur district. Mr Janak Raj, District Development and Panchayat Officer, told mediapersons here today that there were 486 candidates left in the fray in 174 zones of 10 block samitis in the district.

FEROZEPORE: Fortyeight candidates have been left in the fray for elections to the zila parishad in the district while five candidates from the Guru Harsahai block have been declared elected unopposed.

According to Mr Avtar Chand Sharma, Returning Officer, of a total of 22 zones, elections would now be held in 17 zones. Those who have been declared unopposed are Mr Sukhdev Singh, Zone No 7 (Ferozepore), Ms Gurvant Kaur, Zone No 8 (Mamdot), Ms Jagdish Kaur, Zone No 9 (Mamdot), Mr Sant Singh, Zone No 10 (Guru Harsahai) and Ms Harpreet Kaur, Zone No 11 (Guru Harsahai).

FARIDKOT: Ms Sonia and Mr Darshan Singh of the Congress have been elected unopposed from the Golewala and Wara Draka zila parishad zones. Ms Kashmir Kaur, Ms Lakhwinder Kaur, Mr Lakhwinder Singh Brar and Mr Jaswinder Singh Brar all Congress candidates, have been elected unopposed from the Faridkot Dehati, Pakhi Kalan, Golewala and Kotsukhia block samitis, respectively.


SAD man ‘forced’ to withdraw papers
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, June 2
Mr Sikandar Singh, sarpanch of Chak Kalyan and candidate of the SAD from Wara Draka Zila Parishad zone for the forthcoming zila parishad and block samiti elections in the district, today charged Mr Avtar Singh Brar, a former Congress Education Minister, with pressurising him to withdraw his nomination papers in favour of Congress candidate Darshan Singh.

Talking to this correspondent at the residence of Mr Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon, local SAD MLA, today, Mr Sikandar Singh alleged that the supporters of Mr Brar along with his gunmen forced him into a Tata Sumo near Machaki Mal Singh canal yesterday and took him to a house in Green Avenue here while he was going on his scooter to the office of the Returning Officer to witness the scrutiny of his papers. Mr Brar along with some other Congress leaders tried to lure him to withdraw the nomination papers. However, on his refusal to do their bidding he was shifted to the residence of the in-laws of the Congress candidate at Ugoke village near Baghapurana in Moga district and detained throughout the night. There also they pressurised him and got the withdrawal form signed.

Mr Sikandar Singh said today they brought him to the office of Mr Mukhtiar Singh, Returning Officer, and deposited his withdrawal papers in the presence of a large number of people. He said he repeatedly conveyed his willingness to contest the elections to the Returning Officer but nobody listened to him. He had also conveyed his grievances to the state Election Commission and many other senior officers related with the elections besides the Deputy Commissioner and the SSP, Faridkot, he added.

Mr Dhillon also blamed the district administration for not giving NOCs and house tax certificates to many senior party candidates to contest the poll. Criticising the role of the district police he alleged that a large number of party workers, including Mr Makhan Singh Nangal, member SGPC, had been booked in false cases. He said he had brought the matter to the notice of party supremo Parkash Singh Badal.

Meanwhile, refuting the charges as baseless and fabricated, Mr Brar denied that he or his party workers’ had harassed the SAD candidate or forced him to withdraw his nomination papers.


Govt victimising SAD candidates: Manpreet
Our Correspondent

Bathinda June 2
Mr Manpreet Singh Badal, a senior SAD leader and MLA, alleged today that the Congress government was victimising SAD candidates for zila parishad and block samiti elections. Addressing a press conference here, he said several SAD candidates had been threatened by police officials to either withdraw their nominations or face dire consequences.

He alleged that the Congress government was using the police as a tool to settle a political score with the Akalis. He said as SAD candidates had refused to withdraw their nominations from the Gidderbaha block, the police was likely to implicate them in false cases.

Mr Manpreet Badal said in some cases, nomination withdrawal papers with forged signatures had been submitted by their opponents. He said the authorities concerned, even after knowing that these papers had been forged, had refused to act as per the rules and regulations. He alleged that the names of certain SAD candidates had been withdrawn even though they wanted to contest the elections.

Welcoming the drive against corruption launched by the Congress government, Mr Manpreet Badal said the allegations against Congress leaders should also be probed. He claimed that the allegations against his former personal assistant, Mr Charanjit Singh, and his wife were baseless. He said the Congress government had “handed over” the state to the Vigilance Bureau.


Cong MLA plying buses illegally?
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, June 2
The functioning of the state Transport Department has come under a cloud amidst allegations that an Amritsar-based private transporter and Congress MLA, in connivance with transport officials, has been running buses on the Amritsar-Jalandhar route without a permit, causing a loss to the state exchequer of about Rs 6 lakh per month.

Addressing a press conference here today, the director of New Piar Bus Service, Mr Jagjit Singh Chahal, alleged that though the Transport Department had declared the Amritsar-Jalandhar route as a “monopoly” route and no private transporter was allowed to run buses on it, the Congress MLA from Beas, Mr Jasbir Singh Dimpa, in connivance with department officials, was allegedly running 24 buses on the route.

He said though Mr Dimpa was allotted only six permits for different routes other than the Amritsar-Jalandhar one in 1997, the latter was running 24 additional buses on fake registration numbers. “Transport officials have refused to take action against the Congress MLA despite the fact that I have submitted several complaints, along with the requisite proof, to them. Instead, the transport officials are harassing me by illegally challaning my vehicles on one pretext or the other during the past six months,” he alleged.

Mr Chahal said Mr Dimpa’s buses were covering 5400 km daily on this route, causing a loss of Rs 6 lakh per month to the state exchequer.

Mr Chahal demanded that the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, should intervene in the matter and order a vigilance probe into it.

Meanwhile, Mr Dimpa, refuting the allegations, said Mr Chahal had recently been booked for running buses on fake permits. “Mr Chahal is running 13 buses on fake permits. He has been allotted only two permits by the department concerned. My company is not in any way involved in this matter,” he said.


ISI active in Bathinda region: agent
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 2
The city and surrounding areas seems to have become a favourable region for agents of Pakistan’s ISI to carry out their operations, going by the disclosure of Ashgar Ali, an ISI agent who was arrested from Jaipur a few days ago. He disclosed during the interrogation that he had plans to open a branch of a fictitious financial agency at a place near the Bathinda cantonment. Ashgar Ali, who came from Pakistan a few years ago, had been operating through his conduits in this region for the past many months. Three of his conduits who were residents of the city had earlier been arrested.

The conduits of Ashgar Ali used to give transistors to shepherds, mostly Gujjars, instructing them to keep these on continuously while roaming near the cantonment to note down the number of sound disturbances and their duration. This exercise was being carried out to determine the range of radars set up by the Indian security agencies at its various installations.

Though the Army and the police have remained tight-lipped in this connection, information gathered by TNS revealed that a few years ago, the counter-espionage branch of the Delhi police arrested a sepoy, Ahsan Ahmed, of 101 Engineering Regiment stationed in the local cantonment, on the charge that he was acting as a spy for the ISI. A few years ago, the Delhi police arrested Khalid Mahmood, an agent of the ISI from Badarpur area. He stayed in Bathinda for many years, ran a tea shop in front of the Civil Lines police chowki here and trained people in playing musical instruments while he was collecting information from the strategic defence establishment of the region.

The modus operandi of Ashgar Ali was that he would contact non-Muslims and pay them a handsome amount to get vital information about the cantonment and other establishments. He and his conduits would make telephone calls to Army officers late at night and ask about the whereabouts of a particular officer by claiming to be his friend. This was being done to know about the movement of troops to forward locations.

Most of the conduits and other accomplices of Ashgar Ali, who initially operated in the Sriganganagar area, would establish their bases in different towns and cities by working as vegetable vendors, shawl vendors or mechanics.

They had also been collecting information from the local railway station about the movement of troops. They had been using cyber cafes for sending messages to the high command.

In a recent meeting of the police and Army authorities, it was decided that all mentally challenged persons who were roaming near the strategic areas should be kept under confinement.


Racket in blood sale

Jalandhar, June 2
Nand Lal, a resident of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh created a record of sorts when he donated — rather sold — his blood at various private nursing homes in the city and in nearby towns allegedly 21 times last month.

Nand Lal and 25 others were today arrested by the city police under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act of 1940 registered at the Division Number-II police station here.

These arrests helped the police detect a major racket involving the unauthorised sale of blood to private nursing homes through a welfare society,which allegedly provided donors on payment.

The police is still trying to find out whether the nursing homes hiring the donors adopted proper medical procedures involving various tests, like the Elisa test for AIDS, while accepting blood from these donors. After consulting the civil and medical authorities, the police has decided to carry out blood tests and other medical tests on the 26 arrested persons.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Rajpal Singh Sandhu, who is investigating the case, told reporters here that a team of doctors had been formed at the instance of the district Civil Surgeon to medically examine the arrested persons and verify whether proper guidelines were followed while bleeding these so-called donors.

Giving details, Mr Sandhu said among those arrested were the president, cashier and a member of the Blood Donation Welfare Society that sent the donors to hospitals. He identified the three as the society’s president Khem Bahadur, member Ram Kishore and cashier Narshima.

Khem Bahadur is a resident of Nepal and has been residing in the city since 1983 and he formed the society.

According to police, Khem Bahadur recently purchased a house in a posh locality.

The police has sealed the society complex located outside the Surjeet Hockey stadium. All records, too, have been seized by the police.

Mr Sandhu said nursing homes contacted the society for donors on telephone or through relatives of patients. For each donor, the society charged Rs 100 and a receipt was handed over to the nursing homes or the relatives.

While the rare blood group donors selling their blood were paid Rs 700 per unit the others were paid Rs 500 per unit by the wards of the patients-directly or through the nursing homes. Some of the donors who were paraded before newsmen showed receipts of reputed nursing homes they had been to.

The records seized by the police revealed that Ram Bahadur a resident of Nepal, had sold his blood 64 times in eight months while Ajay Kumar had done so 51 times in five months. On an average, a person sold his blood seven to eight times a month. UNI


Will Punjab be able to tackle floods?
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 2
Will the Punjab Government be able to take adequate flood-control measures at this stage when the monsoon is just a few weeks away?

The monsoon is expected to hit this region in the last week of this month. As per the predictions of the authorities concerned for the current year, it will again be a normal monsoon in the region.

It will be difficult even to do 30 per cent of the work needed to counter the threat of floods in flood-prone areas in the state at this stage, according to official sources. Only a few cosmetic touches can be given to the already existing flood-protection works.

As a lot of earth work is involved in flood-control measures, it is difficult to handle such work once the monsoon sets in.

The sources said till the end of the last month, the state government had not released funds to initiate flood-control measures in the state. The matter was brought to the notice of the government by the authorities concerned.

The sources said normally the Drainage Department was required to start work on flood-control measures in March-April in the flood-prone areas to finish the job well before the start of the monsoon. However, this year, work had not been started so far due to paucity of funds.

The sources said that at a meeting held on May 28 under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, the authorities concerned were assured of the release of adequate funds for flood-control measures. The Drainage Department had sought Rs 23.67 crore for the job. However, Deputy Commissioners in the state had recommended works pertaining to flood control worth Rs 37 crore.

Major works pertain to the Patiala-Sangrur-Mansa belt where the Ghaggar plays havoc every year. Besides, the Ravi is located along the Indo-Pakistan border. There is a need for constant flood-control measures along this river. Pakistan has played mischief a number of times earlier to change the course of this river in the Indian territory to gain a strategic advantage.

Besides the Ravi, there are two perennial rivers — the Beas and the Sutlej and several non-perennial rivers and rivulets in the Shivalik foothills. There are about 1700 km-long embankments which require to be strengthened every year as a flood-prevention measure.

In 1997-98, the government had released Rs 30 crore and in 1998-99 Rs 18.75 crore was released. In 2000-01, Rs 21.34 crore was released and in 2001-2002 about Rs 4 crore was released for taking up flood-control measures. This year, the government only last week assured to release money for this purpose. How much money will be released, however, is yet not known, according to the sources.


Cong divided over mayor’s post
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 2
As the race for the post of mayor is hotting up with each passing day, many Congress leaders aspiring for the post has virtually left the party divided into two factions.

Though everything seems fine with the Congress to an outsider insiders say two factions led by Punjab Ministers Avtar Henry and Mohinder Singh Kaypee and MLA Gurkanwal Kaur on one side and MP Balbir Singh, Punjab Minister Jagjit Singh Chaudhary, DCC Chief Tejinder Bittu and Raj Kumar Gupta MLA on the other are making effects to grab the post. Even the newly elected councillors have authorised party chief Captain Amarinder Singh to name the mayor at a meeting of party MLAs and Councillors presided over by the Punjab Health Minister Ramesh Chander Dogra here last week. Both factions are said to be busy persuading PPCC chief to throw his weight behind their candidates. Both factions are also said to be wooing Councillors to win the numbers’ game. The PPCC chief is said to be not in a mood to show his cards before the Zila Parishad and Panchyat Samiti polls, slated for June 9.

The Congress has 31 members in the 55-members House of the Jalandhar Municipal Corporation there are two front runners in Surinder Mahey and Sharavan Grover. While Mr Mahey a Scheduled Caste, is said to be close to Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, Grover, off late, has been able to gather support of most of the leaders of both groups he is also said to be supported by the Congress leaders, who want a Hindu to be a Mayor of Jalandhar as per the convention. Mahey, on the other hand, was not acceptable to Mr Kaypee, as he allegedly had worked against Mr Kaypee in the 1997 Assembly polls when Mr Kaypee had lost his Jalandhar (South) seat by a big margin.

On the other hand, Mr Kaypee was allegedly instrumental in the denial of party ticket to Mr Mahey in the 1997 civic body polls which he lost as an independent.

Both Mr Grover and Mr Mahey are rich businessmen. Insiders feel that the Chaudhary Jagjit Group, was likely to prevail upon the PPCC chief to endorse the name of Mr Mahey for the proximity of Chaudhary Jagjit Singh with the PPCC chief and for his being the Local Bodies Minister. The other group, too was strong enough to oppose his candidature and put forward the name of Mr Grover.

The ongoing daily lunch-dinner diplomacy, the Henry-Kaypee-Gurkanwal group called a meeting of newly elected Congress Councillors and claimed that 23 of them had attended the luncheon and this was enough to prove that majority of Councillors were with their group. Though they did not parade all 23 Councillors, a list, purportedly signed by 23 Councillors was released by the Henry-Kaypee-Gurkanwal group. It maintained that even if theirs was the biggest group but they would accept whatever was decided by the PPCC chief Mr Avtar Henry said,” all of us have decided that finalisation of candidates should be left to the PPCC chief. But some partymen were defying the basic objective of the party by making unnecessary utterances in the media.” On the other hand, Mr Mahey, claimed that his rival group had failed to muster enough support and only six councillors supporting the other group, had gone to Chandigarh yesterday to meet the PPCC chief at Chandigarh showing that their exercise was nothing but a “flop show”.


Railway tightens security in Punjab
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, June 2
Northern Railway has tightened security in trains on railway stations, platforms, railway bridges, and railway lines in view of tensions on Indo-Pakistan borders.

Railway sources, confirming tighter security steps, said here yesterday, that Railway police, Railway protection Force assisted by Railway commandoes have been deputed on 24-hour patrolling on Railway lines to keep watch on the situation.

Sources said patrolling of sensitive rail sections including Pathankot-Jammu, Amritsar-Khemkaran, Firozepur-Fazilka, Amritsar-Pathankot sections has been intensified.

Searches of the trains on the Pathankot-Jammu section have been ordered. Railway passengers have been asked to inform railway authorities about any suspicious looking article observed by them.


Health employees call off dharna
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, June 2
Mr Surinder Ghai Co-convener Co-ordination Committee of Para-Medical and Health Employees, Punjab in a press note here yesterday said that to discuss recent mass transfer of Health staff, the committee met Dr Davinder Pal Singh Sandhu, Director Health, Punjab and Dr Joginder Singh, Director Family Welfare, Punjab, Chandigarh following which many transfers were cancelled. The committee pleaded that transfers on administrative grounds should be done in the cases of the employees found guilty.

The Director assured the committee that another meeting would be held to discuss other demands. The meeting decided that the multipurpose health workers (female) and multipurpose health supervisors (female and male) whose services were not regularised on February 28, 1969, January 1, 1973 and March 31, 1977 after having completed regular service would be regularised from due dates.


Safety measures in event of war
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 2
Apprehending war with Pakistan, the Civil Defence wing of the district administration has issued a set of guidelines to general public a precautionary measure.

According to the safety measures, in case of aerial attack, siren will be sounded on a two-minute gap and its end will be indicated with a long siren. The administration has advised the public to avoid standing near windows and preferably to lie low and flat on the ground and switch off all lights in the event of aerial raids. In case of motor travel, the lights should be kept off throughout the journey.

The measures also suggest keeping enough sand bags and water in close proximity. 


Doctors against use of nuclear weapons
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, June 2
Anguished at the tension between India and Pakistan and possibility of nuclear weapons being used, the Indian Doctors for Peace and Development (IDPD) and the Pakistan Doctors for Peace and Development (PDPD), along with Dr Ronald S. Mccoy, president of the International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), have sent a letter to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf asking them to realise the danger of war, particularly the nuclear weapons, and take steps to ease the tension.

The letter warns both countries that even a small nuclear weapon could cause the deaths of 160,000 to 866,000 people, destroy everything within a range of 1.1 km radius and cause firestorms up to 2 km. Radioactive fallout from the explosion could spread to hundreds of square miles, many thousands would die of cancer and genetic mutations would plague generations to come, says the letter.

The letter is signed by Dr Mccoy, Dr L.S. Chawla, president of the IDPD, and Dr Tipu Sultan, regional vice-president of the PDPD. The letter was sent to Mr Vajpayee and General Musharraf on May 29, said Dr Raman Aggarwal, a member of the IDPD.


Bank employees threaten stir
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 2
Mr N.K. Gaur, general-secretary, All-India State Bank of Patiala Employee Association, yesterday alleged that the bank authorities were not fulfilling their commitments with the association.

Mr Gaur, addressing a rally at the zonal office of the bank here said that in an agreement between the association and the bank authorities it was decided that a peon and a security guard would be employed in those branches where vacancies existed and the employees would be provided a lunch subsidy of Rs 200 per month. But these demands are yet to be fulfilled by the authorities concerned, he said.

He alleged that even after a section of the employees had opted for Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) and about 200 retired from their services no recruitments were made.

Mr Gaur said the policies of the bank regarding the welfare of the employees, including the transfer policy, should be made mote transparent. He said that if the authorities did not fulfil their demands, the employees would be forced to launch a countrywide strike.


Passengers resent change in bus routes
Our Correspondent

Batala, June 2
Buses plying on Batala-Dera Baba Nanak, Batala-Kahnuwan and Batala-Aliwal routes have been recently diverted to the bypass circuit which has put the passengers to undue delays and inconvenience.

Some daily commuters while appreciating the steps taken by the Batala police chief, Ms V. Neerja, said buses be allowed on the standard route and re-routing should apply to trucks and ‘rehras’, the plying of which is banned on the G.T. Road.


‘Paddy stocks misappropriated’
Our Correspondent

Mansa, June 2
Mr M.S. Bawa, state secretary of the Food Corporation of India Employees Congress, in a communication address to Dr V.K. Singh, Senior Regional Manager, FCI, alleged that there was a shortage of thousands of quintals of wheat and rice in the godowns of the FCI at Sardulgarh. He said the FCI District Manager, Bathinda, had taken no action into the matter although the matter had already been brought to his notice.

In the letter, Mr Bawa had stated that there was a large-scale misappropriation in the stocks of paddy and wheat here also. He said Mr Ram Lal Bansal, AG-2, had been placed under suspension and his headquarters shifted to Ferozepore but he had been allowed to continue in Mansa.

An official of the FCI said here today there was a large-scale shortage of paddy, wheat and rice in the godowns here. He alleged huge stocks of wheat were rotting away.

He alleged that the FCI staff was indulging in malpractice as stocks of wheat were being sold illegally and water was being poured in the bags to make up for weight loss because of which the stocks were rotting away. He further said no fumigation of the stocks was done which had also been responsible for damaging the stocks.


2 held for making spurious food items
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 2
A racket involving the manufacture of spurious food items with ‘fake’ ISI mark has been unearthed with the arrest of two brothers Ravinder Handa and Rakesh Handa, following a raid conducted by a high-powered team headed by Mr S.S. Wig, Joint Director, Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), Chandigarh.

The BIS team and the Sultanwind police seized huge quantity of spurious food items and raw material. However, two suspects, Rohit Handa and Rajnish Handa, are still at large.

The raid was conducted on a complaint of Mr Deepak Bhardwaj of Delhi-based “Ajanta” manufacturers of food products. He had reported to the BIS and the police that the Handa brothers and sons had been producing spurious food items under their registered trade mark under the name of ‘Ajanta Product Company’.

The Sultanwind police has registered a case under Sections 63, 65 of the Copyright Act, 78, 79 of the Trade Mark Merchandise and 420 of the IPC.


Two arrested in rape case
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 2
The district police authorities today arrested Prabhjot Singh and his mother, Ranjit Kaur, involved in the rape of a minor girl after she was kidnapped.

Police sources said Prabhjot Singh had allegedly kidnapped a minor girl of the city on February 18 and with the help of his mother had allegedly raped her repeatedly. On the day of the incident, the accused had forced the victim to sit in his car. She was take to Ludhiana where the accused raped her. Next day Prabhjot Singh took the girl to Chandigarh, along with his mother Ranjit Kaur and sister Rishu. Some persons, who were carrying arms, accompanied them.

The victim was forced to record here statement in the court at Chandigarh that she had married Prabhjot Singh of her own will. She was, then, taken to Jalandhar where Prabhjot Singh locked her in a room. He then started harassing her and beating her for getting money from her parents.

The victim, however, managed to call her parents here on April 25, and narrated to them the entire incident. Thereafter, Ranjit Kaur came to Bathinda with the victim and left her with her parents. 


Anti-tuition drive hits students
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 2
The recent raids by the Vigilance Bureau on the premises of lecturers of mathematics and science subjects of a local college in which three lecturers were caught giving tuitions had affected not only the ‘tuition business’ but also the students who had been preparing for competitive examinations.

Students here are a confused lot as no teacher is willing to give tuition. Some teachers are even returning fees charged from the students fearing the raid.

More than 450 students who are preparing for competitive examinations have shifted to other states, mainly Kota in Rajasthan and Chandigarh, while others have joined some local private coaching centres. 

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