Friday, June 7, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



PWSSB slaps Rs 97.46-lakh payment notice on MC
Our Correspondent

Abohar, June 6
The Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board (PWSSB) has served a notice on the local Municipal Council for non-payment of maintenance charges.

The council yesterday received a letter from the PWSSB reminding the council that the annual maintenance charges for the waterworks and sewerage system were estimated at Rs 97.46 lakh till the month of May, the board had spent Rs 13.60 lakh on the maintenance work. Out of this, the council had so far paid a sum of Rs 5.4 lakh only leaving Rs 8.56 lakh to the board. A letter signed by Mr Shukal Kumar, Executive Engineer of the Board, said the monthly expenditure on maintenance was more than Rs 8 lakh, but the council issued cheques amounting to Rs 2 lakh only, whereas a collection of Rs 3 lakh was made on account of water and sewerage tax from the consumers.

The letter said the Deputy Commissioner had convened an emergency meeting due to a similar situation created by the council a few months ago also. The council promised to pay Rs 2 lakh in the first fortnight of each quarter, but the promise was not fulfilled. The Board even is not in a position to pay salary to the employees now. The Subdivisional Engineer had reported to the headquarters that the machinery could not be repaired due to paucity of funds. This could create a serious threat to the drinking water supply and sewerage disposal system in the coming rainy reason. De-silting machines were already lying idle.

The Executive Engineer of the PWSSB has asked the Executive Officer of the council to clear all debts by June 13 failing which the Board would be compelled to give up the responsibility maintaining of the waterworks and sewerage system with effect from June 17. The Board on March 31 had relieved all 72 employees of the council who were on deputation with the Board for the past two years. This had sparked an agitation as the council was ready neither to take back its employees nor resume the maintenance of the water and sewerage system as it had no technical staff for this purpose. The Deputy Commissioner and Mr Sunil Jakhar, MLA, had intervened to defuse the situation.

The council, headed by the BJP once had agreed to cooperate with the Board but the paucity of funds came in the way. Later, the council started having income from the restoration of octroi duty but did not pay instalments to the Board.

Three executive officers were transferred from the council in the past five months. The president was issued a show-cause notice by the Secretary, local government on May 21 for the alleged misuse of Punjab emergency powers. But sources in the council said he reportedly had been “avoiding” to receive the notice. Members of his family said he was in New Delhi to attend an RSS training camp. However, residents of Ramdev Nagri said, he was seen here last week.

Notice by the PWSSB to the council has caused concern among the citizens as the sewerage was a shambles and in rainy season low-lying areas and parks would turn into ponds. Capt. S.K. Dutta president, Teachers Club yesterday requested Mr Jakhar to intervene to smoothen things.


All calm and quiet at Army base
Vimal Sumbly & Ravi Bhushan Puri

Pathankot, June 6
It is calm and quiet here in the largest Army base of the country. Although most of the field formations have already moved out to forward areas, but it has been like this even in December 2001 and early January this year, after the terrorist attack on Parliament House.

Although a lot of war hype has been created after May 14 Kaluchak incident, the general public here is as casual and cool as at any other place. For them the mobilisation of the Army is not a big factor. Even people associated with the defence feel that there has not been any significant field movement after May 14 Kaluchak incident. A senior retired Army officer, who is based here for quite sometime, besides having served here, said there had not been any marked change in the movement of the Army which could signify much.

Pathankot serves as a major supply base for the Army for the entire north. Considered to be the biggest Army base in Asia it serves as lifeline for the country’s defence forces during the emergency period.

In fact the sources here disclosed that the entire Pathankot and Gurdaspur sector have not witnessed any skirmishes or firing. But it is only the “spill over” from the adjacent Paharpur area which falls in the Kathua sector of Jammu and Kashmir.

However, some villages like Plaha, Kotli Jawahar, Dhaltar, Bhopalpur and Simbal-Sakol have been hit by the firing, primarily due to their being quite close to the Paharpur area along Indo-Pakistan border of the Kathua sector. While the entire border between Pathankot and Gurdaspur sector is fenced with barbed wire from Paharpur onwards, which falls in Jammu and Kashmir the border is open. Pakistani troops have mainly been resorting to firing in this area since Pakistan considers it to be disputed.

According to Ms Bhavna Garg, the Sub-divisional Magistrate here, there has not been any major migration from the border villages either. However, she disclosed that 1300 persons have migrated from affected areas and all of them have been provided shelter in two relief camps set up at senior secondary school, Narote Jaimal Singh and Panchayat Rest House, about 15 km from here. These people are also being provided daily ration.

So far the civil defence has organised two rehearsals of black-out. The last was held yesterday between 9 p.m. to 10 pm.


Delayed telegrams affect Army preparedness
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 6
Even as the Army has been in a state of preparedness the telegraph office has allegedly failed to deliver the telegrams in time asking Army officers on leave to rejoin the services immediately.

Sources in the telegraph office revealed that the Army officials had booked about 2,000 telegrams asking the officers and jawans on leave to rejoin their duties and report to their battalions and units immediately. As these were delivered late the officers joined their duties late.

The sources added that the Army officials had taken up the issue with senior functionaries of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) seeking their explanation over the alleged negligence in the discharge of emergency duties.

It was only after this that the BSNL officials arranged additional staff to book the telegrams and also started accepting and despatching the telegrams from 7 a.m. till 8 p.m. The working hours of the employees were extended by two hours in the morning and three hours in the evening and they were paid overtime. However, more than 2,000 telegrams had to be sent to Chandigarh by a special messenger as the Chandigarh office also had unprecedented rush of such telegrams.

Senior officials of the BSNL, when contacted, admitted that the Army officials had given more than 8,000 telegrams for booking at the local office during the past 10 days. As the office had only two employees to book and send telegrams and the working hours were between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. there were no arrangements to accept or book the telegrams beyond these hours, which led to the rush.

Moreover, there are only two circuits at the office and one circuit can send only 250 telegrams per day and this was the reason a special messenger had to be arranged to send the telegrams to Chandigarh to clear the backlog.


Cong beats drums of development
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 6
Weeding out corruption, generation of hundred crores through the transparent auction of liquor vends, securing of revenue worth Rs 9,700 crore through transparent contract of online lottery, smooth procurement of wheat in the past eight years, problems-free municipal corporation elections and Malout byelections and managing a loan of $ 1.5 billion from a consortium of banks through the United Nations for 30 years at 1 per cent interest are the major achievements of the Congress government as it completes 100 days tomorrow, Mr Surinder Singla, chief spokesman of the PPCC, said.

Addressing a press conference in connection with the performance of the Congress government, he said the government had made diversification and profit-oriented crops, which were in great demand in foreign markets, the main agenda of its first Budget which would be presented in the Assembly on June 13 or June 14. He said the pre-election promises had been honoured.

Mr Singla, Chairman, High-Powered Finance Committee, said national and multinational companies were being motivated to invest in Punjab and efforts were being made to speed up industrial revolution by introducing a new policy.

“We will be announcing a lot of things in the pre and post-Budget days. We are preparing for new challenges in the agriculture and industrial fronts. Information technology, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, agro-based and other knowledge-based industries would be set up in Punjab to tackle unemployment and to put the state economy back on the rails,” he said.

Stating that the expenditure on sangat darshans by former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal would be subjected to the scrutiny of CAG, he claimed that not a single on going development project had been abandoned by the Congress government.

Asked why the government had not taken action against its own minister who were indicted for corruption by the Lok Pal, he said the then Governor had rejected that report and this proved that no Congress minister was guilty.


Coal supply to two thermal plants stopped
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 6
Due to non-payment of dues, amounting to Rs 132 crore, Coal India Limited has, it is reported virtually stopped the supply of coal to Bathinda and Lehra Mohabbat thermal plants and also reduced the coal supply to the Ropar Thermal Plant in the past 12 days.

Sources at thermal plant today revealed that the last payment of Rs 2.5 crore by the PSEB to coal India Limited was made on May 30 while the PSEB also made a payment of Rs 10 crore to Coal India on May 29 last.

The sources stated that the Bathinda and Lehra Mohabbat thermal plants had received one and two rakes, respectively, of coal in the past 12 days. The Bathinda plant received only 3364 MT of coal and Lehra Mohabbat only 7165 MT of coal while the Ropar Thermal Plant received about 90,000 MT of coal during the period.

The sources further stated that the consumption of coal during this period remained 58,600 MT at Bathinda thermal plant, 48326 MT at Lehra Mohabbat plant and 1,29,061 MT at Ropar. The balance coal stock was now 70382 MT with the Bathinda plant sufficient for 10 days; 1,37,833 MT at Lehra Mohabbat for 21 days and 3,28,540 at Ropar Thermal Plant for 19 days, the sources added.

The PSEB had been making payments to Coal India Limited twice a week in the past but in the past one week it had not made any payment. Due to acute shortage of coal, power crisis was likely to deepen in Punjab in the days to come, the sources added.


NRI brother behind murder
Our Correspondents

Phagwara, June 6
The police today resolved the mystery shrouding the kidnapping and murder of Dalo of nearby Mauli village. Dalo was robbed of over Rs 30 lakh and then strangled, local DSP Harmanbir Singh Gill told a press conference today.

The murder followed some dispute over property, said the DSP. The police has arrested one of the killers, Pawittar Singh, a relative of UK-based Sucha Singh, brother of Dalo. The two accomplices are at large. Pawittar belongs to Sadana village under Bhogpur police station.

Interestingly, the killer on June 2 lodged a complaint about Dalo’s disappearance since May 21. Following grilling by the police he confessed the crime which was committed along with two others. They were in constant touch with Sucha Singh, Dalo’s brother settled in Britain, over telephone. Sucha Singh had asked the two to first make Dalo withdraw the money that he had deposited in banks after selling a piece of land. The amount was withdrawn from various branches before Dalo was kidnapped. Dalo was taken to Nawanpind Naicha village under Phillaur police station where he was strangled in a house of Pawittar’s relative. His body was buried in a deserted place there.

The place was given the look of a “samadh”. As per deal with Sucha Singh, the brother of Dalo, Pawittar kept Rs 19.45 lakh with him after the murder while the remaining amount was handed over to the two other accomplices, the DSP said.

The accused was produced before a judicial magistrate who sent him in police custody for seven days for further police interrogation. The body of the deceased which was exhumed by the police was sent to government medical college, Amritsar, for further tests.


Separate ardas for Bhindranwale
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 6
The Jathedar of Akal Takht, Mr Joginder Singh Vedanti, today appealed to the Sikhs to forge Panthic unity.

In a message, delivered from Akal Takht to mark “ghallughara divas” (genocide day), he said it was the need of the hour to do introspection as Panthic organisations could no: yield the desired result.

Condemning “Operation Bluestar”, he said it was a matter of concern that Parliament had not yet passed a resolution criticising the operation which resulted in the killing of thousands of innocent persons. The callous attitude would always remind the Sikhs about the discrimination against them.

He said even after “Operation Bluestar”, the Sikh leadership had not learnt any lesson and was divided. He also appealed to India and Pakistan to de-escalate tension as the Sikhs, a majority of whom lived near the border areas, would be the worst-affected.

Meanwhile, the radical Sikh organisations held a separate ardas in memory of Sant Bhindranwale. Though the Damdami Taksal, which was headed by him, still believed he was alive, representatives of many Sikh organisations joined the ardas held in front of Akal Takht. It was for the first time that the Sikh Students Federation (Mehta) participated in the ardas.

Though Justice Ajit Singh Bains (retd), Mr Kanwarpal Singh and Mr Satnam Singh from the Dal Khalsa and Mr Jaspal Singh Dhillon and Mr D.S. Gill belonging to radical Sikh organisations had claimed that Bhai Mohkam Singh, spokesman, Damdami Taksal, had also participated in the ardas, he said he was not aware whether such a function was held in front of Akal Takht. He, however, said he had participated in the ardas held in memory of those killed during “Operation Bluestar”.


Panel to probe charges against head priests
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 6
Rejecting the demand of Akhand Kirtani Jatha to appoint a committee of retired Sikh judges to look into the charges of corruption levelled by the Sikh panchayat, the SGPC chief, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, said it would appoint its own committee in this regard.

Talking to the Press at its information office here today, Mr Badungar said it was a wrong precedent to level serious charges against jathedars who were holding supreme posts.

On the raising of the proposed memorial of “Operation Bluestar,” Mr Badungar said that the sub-committee constituted for the purpose would finalise the venue and shape of the same after consulting Jathedar, Akal Takht. He said funds won’t be a hindrance for raising the memorial.

When asked about the allegations of Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, secretary-general, Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, that he (Mr Badungar) had links with excommunicated Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara, Mr Badungar alleged that he was levelling serious charges at the behest of the Congress. He said there was no truth that he had ever visited the dera of Baba Bhaniara. Akal Takht had already given him a clean chit in this regard, he added. 


Kalkat, Sidhu on PAU board of management
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 6
Two agricultural scientists Gurcharan Singh Kalkat and Dalip Singh Sidhu have been appointed to the board of management of Punjab Agricultural University for three years.

As a former Vice-Chancellor of the university, Dr Kalkat, has a varied experience in the administration of agricultural development, agricultural policy formulation and its implementation at national and international levels.

He topped in graduation in Government Agricultural College, Lyallpur, and obtained a Ph.D from Ohio State University, USA. Dr Kalkat started his career in the Department of Agriculture, Punjab, and played a vital role in large-scale adoption of high-yielding wheat varieties in the state.

Later, he joined the World Bank as senior agricultural specialist and played a key role in the planning and implementation of agricultural development projects in the developing countries.

A specialist in agricultural marketing, Dr Dalip Singh Sidhu began his career as an assistant marketing officer in the erstwhile Pepsu state after graduating from Government Agricultural College, Ludhiana.

He has been associated with the PAU ever since its inception in 1962 in different capacities as farm economist, Professor of marketing, Head of the Department of Economics and Sociology and Dean, Postgraduate Studies. Dr Sidhu has worked as a consultant in the World Bank, Food and Agricultural Organisation and Asian Productivity Organisation.

He has also worked as an economist at International Wheat and Maize Improvement Centre, Mexico.


Torture victim missing
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 6
Nirmal Singh, alias Dhiddi, the victim of brutal police torture in the infamous Ghungrana treasure case, has gone missing under mysterious circumstances. The development has once again put a question mark on the role of the police in the case as the youth and his family members were allegedly being subjected to all kinds of harassment by the accused cops and their friends in the case coaxing them to withdraw the complaint.

Panic-stricken parents and relatives of the missing youth fear that he faces a grave threat to his life as he was last seen with a police party of Dehlon police station along with a suspended Sub-Inspector, who was accused of torturing the youth. The youth’s case is pending before the Punjab Human Rights Commission. The development comes immediately in the wake of reports that at least two of the four witnesses to different episodes in the case have turned hostile causing anxiety among the family members of the missing youth. Mr Jeet Singh said Dhiddi told them his son had signed some papers but did not revealed him the contents. The Tribune has learnt that two witnesses have definitely turned hostile.

The cops were making rounds of the house of the victim for the last couple of weeks. According to Mr Jeet Singh, father of the youth, the accused cop Sub-Inspector Nirbhjit Singh had been frequenting their house along with other cops and threatening them to take back the complaint. He said a week ago the accused cop also tried to lure his son, Dhiddi, with an offer of two kg gold, if he withdrew the complaint.

Revealing their seemingly unending tale of woes, the old man said the treasure had proven to be a curse for the family and especially for the youth. While he was tortured in a most inhuman manner by the Dehlon police last year, he was subjected to all kinds of harassment later when the Punjab Human Rights Commission took up his case. The Tribune had recently carried a report about the suffering of the family recently. The youth was forced to go into hiding then as he revealed to The Tribune that this was the only way to save himself from repeated police harassment or visits to his house.

Mr Mukhwinder Singh Cheena, SSP, Jagraon told The Tribune after checking up with the Dehlon police that no family member had made any complaint to the police regarding the missing youth. He said SP(H) Jagraon Amarjit Singh was conducting a departmental inquiry into the case. He said the youth Nirmal Singh had given some statement to SP(H) but he was not aware of its contents. Mr Jeet Singh, father of the youth said they were too terrified to go to the police.


Tohra aligning with Cong: Mann
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 6
The future of the Panthic Morcha, a conglomeration of various Panthic factions, is in the doldrums as Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President, Akali Dal (Amritsar), has accused Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President, Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD) of aligning with the Congress party. The SHSAD is a constituent of the Panthic Morcha.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Mann said it was shocking that senior leaders like Mr Tohra had established direct links with the Congress. He said with such developments, the Panthic Morcha, which came into being before the recently held Assembly elections, had suffered a severe setback. He also alleged that senior Akali leaders belonging to the Shiromani Akali Dal, too, had established links with the Congress high command after the Vigilance raids. He said the Vigilance Bureau, which had been chasing Mr Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, an Akali MLA, in the past, had “slowed down” now.

Mr Mann praised Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, for asking both India and Pakistan to de-escalate troops on the international border. 


Good governance by CM: MLA
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, June 6
Mr Parkash Singh, MLA, accompanied by the District Congress President, Mr Kuldip Rana, the District Youth Congress President, Mr Satvir Singh, Mr Lalit Mohan Pathak (Ballu), PPCC member, Mr Manoranjan Kalia, secretary, Punjab Youth Congress addressed public meetings at a number of villages in favour of Congress nominees for block samiti and zila parishad poll to be held on June 9.

Appealing to the voters to strengthen the hands of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, Mr Parkash Singh said the Chief Minister had set a worth-emulating example of good governance in the country. During the short span of three months, he had restored the faith of common man in democracy by providing corruption-free, transparent and responsive administration.

Now people had not to bribe officials or face harassment in the government offices to get their jobs done, he claimed. The people had been finding it strange and surprising that their routine works in government offices were being done without demanding bribe, he said while exhorting the people to extend their cooperation to weed out corruption in toto. He ridiculed SAD President and former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal for making statements that he was not aware about the corrupt practices of jailed PPSC Chairman, Mr Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu, and his Cabinet colleagues.

Exuding confidence that the Congress would make a clean sweep in the poll, the MLA said the Akalis had been finding ‘excuses’ to run away from the poll as they were left with no moral courage to face the electorate.


Lok Bhalai, CPI, BSP join hands
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 6
The district units of the CPI, BSP and Lok Bhalai Party have decided to support one another in the zila parishad and panchayat samiti elections to be held on June 9.

This was stated in a press note yesterday by Mr Sham Singh Jaura, state secretary of the BSP, Mr Jagjeet Singh Joga, district secretary, CPI and Mr Jaswinder Singh Dhillon, Lok Bhalai district organisation secretary. They said efforts to make an alliance between the CPI and the Congress for the elections had failed.


Observers appointed for parishad poll
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
The Punjab State Election Commission has appointed observers for the zila parishad and panchayat samiti elections to be held on June 9.

The observers are: Mr Arun Goel (Gurdaspur); Mr T.R. Sarangal (Ropar); Mr G. Vijralingam (Mansa); Mr B. Sarkar (Kapurthala); Mr S.K. Sandhu (Amritsar); Mr Vishwajeet Khanna (Ferozepore); Ms Ravneet Kaur (Patiala); Mr Sanjay Kumar (Ludhiana); Mr Roshan Sunkaria (Fatehgarh Sahib); Mr S.S. Rajput (Hoshiarpur); Mr Mandeep Singh Sandhu (Muktsar); Mr Jang Bahadur Goel (Bathinda); Mr Sukhpal Singh Gill (Jalandhar); Mr Som Parkash (Nawanshahr); Mr Ashok Kumar Goel (Sangrur); Mr Narinderjit Singh (Moga); and Mr Nirmaljit Singh Kalsi (Faridkot).


Campaigning hots up for ZP poll
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, June 6
Political parties are leaving no stone unturned to perform better in the Zila Parishad and Block Samiti elections to be held on June 9. At present, six candidates have left in the fray for three zones of the Zila Parishad and 43 candidates for 20 zones of the Block Samiti. Candidates fielded by the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal are contesting on the party symbols.

After the last date of withdrawals and scrutiny of nominations, the election fever have gripped the area. The candidates could be seen canvassing in groups by distributing pamphlets. Loudspeakers and cassettes are also been played as a medium of publicity.

Keeping in view the Congress rule in the state, the Congress hopes a thumping victory whereas the SAD claims to sweep a majority of the seats on the basis of their previous governments’ achievements.

Of the total of 132 polling stations, 43 have been identified hypersensitive. To conduct the poll successfully, 148 polling parties have been formed. Besides this, 18 supervisors and one Assistant Returning Officer have also been deployed. Additional police force would be deployed at the hypersensitive polling stations, said Mr Amarjit Singh Dhindsa, Returning Officer.

As many as 1,10,055 voters would exercise their franchise poll for Block Samiti while 1,30,123 would decide the future of three Zila Parishad candidates.


Probe misplacement of grant cheques: Mann
Our Correspondent

Sunam, June 6
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, MP and President of the Akali Dal (Amritsar), in a letter sent today to the Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur, has demanded an inquiry into the alleged misplacement and misuse of cheques for Rs 5.25 lakh which he had issued as grant to 11 panchayats for development works for his local area development funds.

In the letter, Mr Mann said these cheques were issued in December last year and the payment was stopped by the Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development), Sangrur, on the grounds that the model code of conduct had been enforced by the Chief Election Commissioner since December 25 last year due to the Assembly elections in Punjab.

Mr Mann said out of these 11 cheques, eight had been misplaced and the other three had been distributed among the panchayats of Khanaur Rajputa, Khadial and Bizalpur villages by Mr Baldev Singh Mann, General Secretary, Shiromani Akali Dal.

Mr Baldev Singh Mann was not authorised to distribute these cheques of an MP quota, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann said. He further said that the sarpanches of these villages had also admitted in writing that they had collected cheques from Mr Baldev Mann.

Mr Simranjit Singh Mann urged the Election Commission to take stern action against Mr Baldev Singh Mann and the district administration, with whose connivance the latter had allegedly distributed cheques among villages by violating the model code of conduct.


Veterinary hospital sans power for 3 months
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 6
Working of Veterinary Hospital in the city has been hit these days due to absence of power supply. Power to the hospital was disconnected three months ago by the Punjab State Electricity Board due to non-payment of electricity bill. Veterinary doctors and other employees working in the district-level hospital face great difficulty to work without electricity.

The hospital authorities refused to speak about the unavailability of power. But PSEB sources said electricity bill amounting to Rs 52,739 was due from the hospital.

Hospital’s pathology laboratory is the worst hit. Cultures which need preservation in the laboratory go waste in the absence of power supply. Cultures are done to test milk and urine of cattle.

Even reagents used for tests were kept in a refrigerator at the residence of a member of staff of the hospital who lives nearby. Refrigerators in the hospital are lying idle due to absence of power supply.

The hospital doctors operate on animals in the dark or make other arrangements. It is difficult to work in heat without fans, air coolers or air-conditioners.

Higher veterinary authorities asked the local authorities to pay the bill by making arrangements at the local level. The amount is big so nobody is prepared to take the risk of paying from his pocket.

Dr Seetal Dev Jindal, the in charge of the hospital, confirmed that the power was disconnected due to non-payment of bill. He said the Director had assured that arrangements would be made to pay the bill. 


7 members of civil defence staff resign
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, June 6
Anguished over the failure of the district administration to strengthen civil defence in the border district a Deputy Chief Warden and six Post Wardens have submitted their resignations to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr D.K. Tiwari.

Amid growing tensions between India and Pakistan civil defence has a major role to play in case of war. These resignations are seen as a great setback to the ongoing preparations by the civil authorities to gear up for facing an emergency.

The Deputy Chief Warden of the civil defence team, Mr Amrik Singh, Post Wardens Prem Nath Sharma, Hari Ram Khidri, Gaurav Manak, Rajesh Khanna and Harbhajan have resigned alleging that the District Commander, Mr Khushal Singh had misbehaved with them and the district administration had failed to provide them essential items like torches, first-aid boxes, etc.

It is worth mentioning here that 10 posts of the civil defence had been established in Ferozepore city and cantonment areas of which six Post Wardens resigned.

Although the Deputy Commissioner has sought a detailed report on the preparations going on under civil defence but no action has so far been taken against the District Commander.

Meanwhile, farmers’ woes in the border villages have increased with the BSF authorities restricting their farming activities beyond fencing to two hours. Most of the agricultural land beyond the fencing is still awaiting paddy plantation.


Kin of plane crash victims given relief
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, June 6
Mr Balbir Singh, the local Member of Parliament handed over cheques for Rs 2 lakh each yesterday as ex-gratia grant to the members of families of victims killed when MiG-21 plane crashed into a bank building here on May 3.

Mr Balbir Singh, accompanied by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr K. Siva Prasad, visited the houses of Ms Neelam, widow of Deepak in Basti Guzan and Ms Santosh Rani, widow of Des Raj in New Dashmesh Nagar yesterday afternoon and handed over the cheques to them.

Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh during his visit to the site of crash on May 3 had announced that the kin of plane crash victims would be given Rs 2 lakh in compensation.

Mr Balbir Singh assured the bereaved families that the state government would impart education free of cost to the wards of the victims as it was moral duty of the government to take care of the affected families.


Mechanic wins 1 cr in lottery
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
Mr Sunil Kumar, a 32-year-old scooter mechanic from Malout, has become another crorepati, by winning the first prize of Rs 1 crore in Punjab State Lotteries Baisakhi-Budh Purnima Bumper 2002. The draw was recently held at Ludhiana. He has filed a claim for the prize with the Lotteries Department.

An, ardent fan of lotteries, he claimed that he had never won more than Rs 100 earlier. What would he do with the money? The answer was simple and frank — most of the money would be used to set up a showroom for the sale of new scooters and motor cycles.

The Punjab State Lotteries has also launched a special Rakhi Bumper of Rs 1 crore to be held on August 22.


Punjab Govt seeks loan from PUDA
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, June 6
The Punjab Government has reportedly sought a loan of Rs 60 crore from the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA). 

The department had already extended a loan of Rs 50 crore to the government early this year. Sources in PUDA said that there was around Rs 57 crore in the coffers of PUDA and it could be difficult to pay the salaries.


Housefed Secy arrested
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, June 6
The Vigilance Bureau has arrested a secretary of Housefed, Mr Sucha Singh, for accepting a bribe of Rs 2000 from Satpal Gona of Chakrala village in Kartarpur town for the release of second instalment of a housing loan.

After receiving a formal complaint from Satpal Gona that Sucha Singh was demanding Rs 5000 as bribe for the release of second instalment of his housing loan and later agreed to accept Rs 2000 as bribe, the Vigilance Bureau laid a trap. The complainant, invited the Secretary to his home to give Rs 2000 for doing his job. The Secretary was caught while accepting the bribe in the presence of two shadow witnesses by the vigilance staff last night. 


Fake passports seized
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, June 6
The police today arrested two travel agents and seized fake documents, including 500 ration cards and 70 passports, from their possession.

A police spokesman said after receiving secret information, the Nakodar police raided the premises of Dhanpat Rai and arrested him and Davinder Singh of Harpur village for possessing 500 fake ration cards, 70 passports, passbooks of banks, stamps of notary public and solicitors of England and USA and stamps of several banks and educational institutions.

The police also seized several fake sponsorship letters. The police said they had duped people of lakhs of rupees on the pretext of sending them abroad.

The kingpin of the gang, identified as Paramjit Singh, was still at large. 


SAD leader arrested
Our Correspondent

Barnala, June 6
The local police arrested Mr Jarnail Singh Bhotana, press secretary of the SAD (Badal), Sangrur district, zila parishad nominee from the Tallewal zone (reserve) on Tuesday. According to reports, Mr Bhotana was arrested from the Barnala residence of Mr Balbir Singh Ghunas, MLA, Bahadur. Ms Ajaib Kaur, wife of Mr Bhotana, was also arrested.

Mr Bhotana is contesting the ensuing zila parishad elections from Tallewal zone (reserve) as a nominee of the SAD.

Mr Gurinder Singh Dhillon, SSP, Barnala, said Mr Bhotana and his wife had been arrested following the registration of a case under Section 498-A of the IPC at Barnala police station.


Life convict stabbed
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 6
Gurbhajan Singh, convicted for the life in the local Central Jail was attacked by another convict, Gurmeet Singh, with a knife here last evening.

Sources said Gurmeet Singh attacked Gurbhajan Singh with a knife in the prisoners’ compound when the counting of inmates was going on. After the attack, Gurbhajan Singh was rushed to the Civil Hospital where his condition was stated to be out of danger.

The jail authorities have approached the police in connection with the registration of a case.

Mr Mann, Deputy Superintendent, Jail, confirming the incident, said the knife did not go too deep in the stomach.

He said though about 132 inmates from this jail had been shifted to a Barnala jail, the present strength of the inmates was 1,180 against a capacity of 500. He said the Faridkot jail would be reopened soon and some of the inmates would be shifted there.


MBA interviews on June 13
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 6
A group discussion and interview for admission to MBA/MBA (HRM) first semester of Guru Nanak Dev University will be held on June 13 and 14 on the university campus here.

Interview cards have been despatched to the applicants. The candidates can contact the coordinator on June 12 if they do not receive the card by June 11.


PAU Estate Officer resigns
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 6
The Estate Officer-cum-Chief Engineer of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Mr Raghbir Singh, resigned from university service this evening. His resignation was accepted by the Vice-Chancellor, Dr K.S. Aulakh.

Confirming the development, Dr V.K. Sharma, the Acting Registrar of PAU, said he had resigned due to domestic reasons, adding that his resignation was accepted. Mr Raghbir Singh served the university for less than two years.

Mr Raghbir Singh, however, was not available for comment despite repeated attempts to contact him.

It is worth mentioning that only three days ago, he was penalised by the authorities for allegedly misusing his official car, which was seized from him. A recovery of Rs 2,000 was also ordered from him for misusing the official vehicle.


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