Monday, June 10, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Harsh fiscal reforms on anvil: CM
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 9
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today hinted at harsh fiscal reforms in the face of a severe financial crunch but refused to comment on the likelihood of fresh taxes to meet the huge deficit. However, he stressed that money would not be diverted to loss-making public sector units and that small and marginal farmers would benefit from certain schemes to be launched after the Budget session.

The Chief Minister was in the city on his first official visit to attend the general body meeting of 2 Sikh Regiment at Maharaja Ranjit Singh War Memorial.

Addressing mediapersons, he said the government was now concentrating on fiscal reforms after fulfilling its poll promise of tackling corruption and good governance. “ I know that everything is not possible in just 100 days, but the people will feel the difference in the coming months, “ he remarked.

Commenting on the deficit, he said the state was facing a huge shortfall and certain steps had been initiated to plug the deficit but what was being done would only be revealed in the Budget session. He said the Finance Advisory Committee, headed by Mr Surinder Singla, was yet to give its report. Other committees — the SS Johal Committee on Agricultural Reforms and AS Chatha Committee on Industrial Reforms — too had not submitted their report. Strict power reforms were also on the anvil, he pointed out.

On crop diversification, he said he had taken up the matter with Union Minister Shanta Kumar and had urged him to give incentives to farmers for switching to oilseeds. A complete revamp of the food policy — Punjab has a stockpile of 35 million tonnes of foodgrain — was needed since the farmers would not change the current crop pattern unless they were sure of the marketing infrastructure, he added.

Elaborating on the plight of the small and marginal farmers, he said more agro-based industries would be set up in the state so that small farmers could benefit from them. Free power to this category of consumers would continue as promised by the party but he evaded queries if this privilege would be withdrawn from the big farmers.

The Chief Minister emphasised that biotechnology and Information Technology were the major areas of thrust and he wanted that Punjab should have a major share in the $ 36 billion technology exports within the next five years. Similarly, measures were being initiated to bag big industrial projects for the state. Many large industrial houses had evinced keen interest to invest in the state, he added.

On the Vigilance Bureau-Intelligence rivalry, he claimed that there were no differences since both wings had a vital task to perform but added that he had issued instructions for both units to concentrate on their jobs and unearth more wrongdoings.

He clarified that he was not conducting a witch-hunt against anybody but was genuinely pursuing an agenda to cleanse the system and check the prevalent corruption. He, however, expressed his satisfaction with the way the investigations were shaping up.

He later met party workers and said the issue of shortlisting mayors of the civic bodies in the state had been referred to a committee — on the demand of the party MLAs — which would submit its report to him. However, the mayors could not be sworn in till after the Budget session, he indicated.


SAD to take on CM in House
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
Facing rough weather outside, the leadership of the Shiromani Akali Dal ( SAD) is marshalling all its resources to take on the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, in the Punjab Assembly, the eighth-day Budget session of which is to start on June 11.

Obviously, the Akalis are in low spirits following the registration of criminal cases against certain former Ministers and the exposing of a number of scandals. But they want to leave the past behind to mount a counter-attack on the Congress government to lift the sagging spirits of the Akali rank and file.

The President of the SAD, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, will lead the charge, it is learnt. He is working hard to take part as a main speaker of the party on a discussion on the Governor’s Address that will be held on June11 and 12. Mr Badal has called a meeting of the party MLAs tomorrow to discuss various issues to be raised in the House.

The general secretary of the party, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, told TNS that the party was fully prepared as the main Opposition party to take on the Congress government in the Assembly. There would be no unnecessary walkouts and disruptions. “ We will come out with hard facts to put the Government on the mat “, he added.

While Mr Badal is to speak on the Governor’s Address, on the Budget “I will be leading from the front to expose the Congress party’s anti- people, anti-employee agenda”, said the former Finance Minister.

He said among the main issues to be taken up by the SAD’s legislature party were repression against Akali workers by registering false cases, the worsening law and order situation that led to the murder of certain Akali leaders, putting of the development process in cold storage and non-performance on the governance front.

He said unrest among employees was spreading fast because of the anti-employee attitude of the Congress government. The government had not given DA instalments in cash. There was talk of freeze of allowances and also of throwing out a large section of the employees from public sector undertakings. The wages of employees of PSUs had been already axed.

Election promises made to employees or other people of the state had not been fulfilled. Government machinery, especially the police, had been used in a blatant manner to win the Malout assembly elections and later to make Akali candidates withdraw from the zila and panchayat samiti elections, he added.

A large section of the employees had started realising that their support to the Congress in the last Assembly elections was a “bad” decision. The Vigilance Bureau was being used to create terror among employees. In fact, the bureau was being used to streamline the functioning of various departments instead of the administrative secretaries who were supposed to do the job, he said.

Another senior Akali MLA said that the Congress party’s overall strategy was to demolish the SAD, the principal Opposition party, by making “selective use of the Vigilance Bureau and the police” against former Ministers and other senior leaders.

A number of inquiries, including the ones against the former Chairman of the PPSC, had been handed over to the Vigilance Bureau by making media reports their basis. He wondered why the same pattern had not been adopted in the case of the Congress MLA from Beas, Mr Jasbir Singh Dimpa, against whom a transporter early this week levelled serious charges of amassing wealth. The transporter had shown a video film on Dimpa’s property, including buses. What had the government to say about a Minister against whom a section of the employees had levelled serious charges for ordering a record number of transfers, he added.

The Congress was trying desperately to establish that it was the only party of honest politicians while its main rivals were all corrupt. Encouraged by the anti- people and anti-employee attitude of the Congress, a section of the police had adopted a hostile posture vis-a-vis the Akalis and employees.


SAD supporters cry foul over missing names
Tribune Reporters

Chhatt (Patiala), June 9
It appears that the Congress has resorted to winning elections by hook or by crook. An instance of such kind is visible in this village.

This morning when over 600 voters came to the polling station to exercise their franchise for electing members of the Zila Parishad and Block Samiti, they were shocked to find their names not figuring in the voters’ lists. All of them were supporters of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).

Even the name of the village Sarpanch, Mr Gurcharan Singh, was missing from the electoral rolls. “I along with other 10 family members had polled the vote in the last Assembly election but now all of a sudden our names have been removed from the lists”, he told TNS. In fact, names of almost all voters belonging to Lobana community, a section of Saini community, who are considered to be supporters of the SAD have been deleted from the voters’ lists, he added.

“We brought the matter to the notice of the Deputy Commissioner and the SDM concerned on May 30. They had promised to do justice with us. But today when we came to the polling station, we were asked to return back as our names were not on voters’ lists”, said an agitated Mr Gurcharan Singh and several others. Affected persons raised slogans against the Punjab Government.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh, who represents this area in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, said it was deliberately done. He said he got a lead of about 700 votes in the Assembly election from the local village and now names of most of the voters who supported me in that election had been deleted. “ We will move the court to seek justice”, he added. What was the need to hold elections in a dubious manner. It would have been better if the Congress had got members nominated instead of conducting the election fraudulently, he said. He also gave many instances that how the nomination papers of Akali candidates for Zila Parishad and Block Samiti elections were rejected in Patiala and Fatehgarh Sahib districts without assigning any reason at the behest of Congress leaders.

He said after examining the voters’ lists of his constituency atleast 22,000 names of his supporters had been removed to deny them right to vote.

A number of villagers also alleged that senior police officers threatened them with dire consequences for supporting the Akali candidates in current elections.

FEROZEPORE: A moderate 52 per cent polling to the Zila Parishad and Panchayat Samiti elections has been reported in the border district of the state.

According to Mr D.K. Tiwari, Deputy Commissioner of Ferozepore, no violent incidence has been reported from any part of the district. But negligence on part of the elections duty officers has led to the cancellation of poll in Dhami Thakkar Singh village of Abohar zone where ballot papers were exchanged with other station.

Although, the re-polling date for this village has yet not been announced but it is expected on Tuesday as the counting is scheduled for Monday. The district administration has cleared that the results of the disputed zone will be announced later after including the counting of re-polled station.

The election observer of the district, Mr Jagpal Singh Sandhu, visited most of the areas of Ferozepore, Jalalabad, Mamdot, Fazilka and Abohar zones and raided a few booths. No complaint of bogus voting has been received with the election office so far.

As per the details available, five candidates out of the total of 22 for the Zila Parishad have already been elected unopposed. Similarly, 57 candidates in the Panchayat Samiti elections out of the total of 187 were declared elected unopposed.

At least 43 candidates are in the fray to the Zila Parishad and 336 to the Panchayat Samiti elections.

CHANDIGARH: The CPM state Secretary, Mr Balwant Singh, has represented to the state Election Commissioner against the Returning Officer for wrong printing of party symbol on the ballot paper. Instead of ‘’sickle, hammer and star’’, the ballot carries the symbol of “‘sickle and ear’’.

The party head office had received this complaint from its Banga branch Zone 7 (Khankhana) candidate.

The Akalis are already protesting ‘’excesses’’ committed by the police at the behest of the state government during the polling. Now even the CPM has felt the heat.

AMRITSAR: Hot and humid weather kept a large number of rural people indoor resulting in lower turnout in Zila Parishad and Panchayat Samiti elections held here on Sunday. The Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Election Officer, Mr S.S. Puri, said in 283 zones of 16 Block Samitis, and 25 Zila Parishad zones the turnout was about 43 per cent.

It may be recalled that 42 candidates were declared winners unopposed, four from the Zila Parishad and 38 from the Block Samitis, 33 of these candidates belong to the Congress.

FARIDKOT: Nearly 45 per cent to 50 per cent voters exercised their franchise during the polling in 40 Block Samitis and eight Zila Parishad out of 46 and 10 Block Samitis and Zila Parishads, respectively, on Sunday. Meanwhile, Mr Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon, local MLA of the SAD has charged Congress workers with capturing two polling booths and beating up SAD workers, Mr Pritam Singh and Mr Dalour Singh, seriously in Pakhi Kalan village of this block. He accused Congress workers of capturing a booth at Moranwali village.

JALANDHAR: The State Election Commissioner has ordered postponement of voting at 15 polling stations for Zila Parishad and Panchayat Samiti elections here, even as no incident of violence was reported during the poll on Sunday.

In a press note issued here, the District Returning Officer, Mr K. Siva Prasad, said voting at 15 polling stations had been postponed, including 10 polling stations of Jalandhar (West) and five of Phillaur subdivision due to different reasons. Interestingly, the voting at five polling stations of Phillaur was postponed due to non-supply of correct voters' lists. On some polling stations the name and symbol of an independent candidate was found missing forcing the authorities concerned to defer the poll in Isspur zone of Jalandhar (West). The voting would take place at these stations tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the polling for 19 Zila Parishad zones and 173 Panchayat Samities zones ended smoothly. Even as 50 per cent polling was reported from different zones of the district, the voters seemed to be less interested in casting their votes due to scoring heat wave sweeping the areas this afternoon. Most of the voters casted their votes in the last hours of polling. The president of the district unit of Punjab Congress, Choudhary Manjinder Singh, said party poll agent for zone No 8 of Panchayat Samiti elections at Sadiqpur village in Shahkot township was not allowed to sit inside the polling station by the Presiding Officer concerned. The polling remained disrupted for about 25 minutes due to dispute over identity of the polling agent, which was later sorted out.


43 pc polling in ZP, panchayat elections
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 9
Barring a few clashes among members of rival parties, polling for zila parishad, and panchayat samiti in the district today was peaceful.

Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, said 43 per cent of voters exercised their franchise in today’s polling. He said 38 candidates were in fray for zila parishad election while for panchayat samiti, the number of candidates was 321.

Tension gripped Malooka village when supporters of SAD clashed with those of Mr Gurpreet Singh Kangar, MLA from Rampura Phul.

Similar scuffles was reported from Gidder village where members of two candidates reportedly engaged in a clash.

Meanwhile, an official statement issued by the Muktsar Deputy Commissioner said polling for zila parishad and panchayat samiti in the district was 50 per cent.

Meanwhile, the police has booked nine persons in separate cases for indulging in clashes. Two residents of Tungwali village were booked for damaging vehicles belonging to supporters of a rival party. Five persons of Gidder village and two of Ganga village were booked in poll-related violence. All these have been booked in separate cases at the Nathana police station.

Meanwhile, two liquor vends were sealed by the Additional Deputy Commissioner as they were selling liquor despite a ban imposed on the opening of liquor vends on the election day today.


Workers detained, says SAD
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, June 9
Mr Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon and Mr Mantar Singh Brar, senior leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), and MLAs of Faridkot and Kotkapura, respectively, have charged the district police with arresting and detaining more than 100 party sarpanches, panches, jathedars and senior workers in the wee hours of today from villages like Pehluwala, Bhagthala, Kabalwala, Dhudi, Bhana, Pakka, Wander Jatana, Sadiq, Beehlewala, Pindi Balochan, Doad, Deep Singh Wala, Simrewala, Dhab, Bhuj Harike, under false charges to give undue favour to Congress candidates in the Block Samiti and Zila Parishad elections in the district. The detainees include Gurjeet Singh, Buta Singh, Gurdit Singh, Jagdev Singh, Karnail Singh, Raj Balwinder Singh, Narsingh, Sukhmandar Singh Fouji, Balwant Singh, Pappu Singh, Sham Lal, Balour Singh, Roshan Singh, Raj Maur, Bali Singh, Baldeep Singh and Daljit Singh.

Talking to this reporter on telephone both Akali leaders also accused supporters of senior Congress leaders for firing in the air yesterday evening at Bhana village to create panic among SAD supporters and for stopping them from exercising their franchise.

Both Akali leaders also accused Congress workers and the police for openly supporting Congress candidates at polling booths in Pakhi Kalan village. They further alleged that their 112 supporters were not allowed to cast their votes at Lambwali village on one pretext or the other. Both Mr Dhillon and Mr Brar alleged that BDPOs had also denied no objection certificates (NOCs) and Chulla Tax (House Tax) certificates to many party candidates which compelled the SAD to change its candidates at the last minute. Both MLAs disclosed that their party would raise the issue during the Budget session of the Punjab Assembly which begins on June 11. Refuting the charges as baseless and fabricated, Mr A. Venu Prasad, District Returning Officer-cum Deputy Commissioner said the police had yesterday arrested only eight persons at the Dehati area for creating nuisance in the polling areas. However, they were later on released. Mr Prasad further stated that Dr Harkesh Singh, ADC (Development), along with some other senior officers had been visiting different polling stations and villages to ensure fair and free poling. Moreover, both SDOs (Civil) of Jaitu and Faridkot were keeping a watch on the situation. The District Returning Officer denied having received any complaints from leaders of any political party.


4 hurt in poll violence
Tribune Reporters

Ropar, June 9
At least four persons were injured in an alleged brick-bating and firing in front of a polling booth at Singh village, about 10 km from here on Sunday. The clash took place between supporters of two candidates for Ropar block Panchayat Samiti; The local police has registered a case against seven persons, including Narinder Singh, alias Nindi, all supporters of Mr Jaswant Singh Bawa, Congress candidate for Panchayat Samiti, under Sections 307, 148 and 149 of the IPC. The police has arrested Simranjit Singh of Rasoolpur village, who is reportedly a close relative of Nindi, while the remaining six are at large.

According to the villagers, the clash between supporters of Puran Singh Rodmajra, an independent candidate, and Jaswant Singh Bawa, Congress candidate, started over the allegations of “bogus” votes made by a party.

Mr Ajit Singh alleged that Narinder Singh and Jaswant Singh Bawa came to the polling booth and stopped his son from casting his vote as they were the supporters of Puran Singh Rodmajra, independent candidate. Narinder and Jaswant also abused them and later started pelting stones. Supporters of Jaswant Singh opened fire which hit Randhir Singh and Sapinder Singh, a polling agent of Rodmajra.

Meanwhile, according to an official information 57 per cent votes were polled on Sunday for 12 zones of the Zila Parishad and 117 zones of the block Panchayat Samitis. Mrs Seema Jain, Deputy Commissioner, said in Ropar block 57 per cent votes had been polled besides 56 per cent in Nurpur Bedi block, 60 per cent in Chamkaur Sahib block, 50 per cent in Morinda block, 54 per cent in Kharar block, 60 per cent in Majri block, and 57 per cent in Anandpur Sahib block.

PATIALA: Barring an incident of booth capturing, polling to nine Block Samitis and the Zila Parishad of this district, which was held on Sunday was conducted in a smooth manner.


Punjab BKU (E) to hold rallies on June 14
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 9
Leader of the Punjab unit of the BKU (Ekta) said today that if the Haryana Government failed to accept the demands of agitating farmers there, it could directly involve itself in their agitation. The Punjab unit of the BKU (Ekta) in order to show solidarity with the Haryana farmers, had decided to hold rallies and dharnas at all district headquarters in Punjab on June 14.

The leaders alleged that lathi charge or firing on farmers, agitating peacefully, was uncalled for. They said same type of tactics were adopted by the Punjab Government to curb the agitation of farmers a few months ago, but the government had failed to do so.

Mr Joginder Singh Ugrahan, state president of the union, said the Haryana Government was treating the farmers as criminals. He condemned the decision of the Haryana Government to announce a cash prize for the arrest of the BKU (Haryana) president, Mr Ghasi Ram Nain. Meanwhile, Mr Sukhdev Singh Kokri Kalan, state general secretary of the BKU (E) said today that the union would launch a massive campaign in the state for getting their loans waived.

He said their main demands included cancellation of false cases registered against farmers of Bareta in connection with death of an arhtiya, decrease in price of diesel, 16 hours uninterrupted power supply for tubewells every day.


Cong for consensus on presidential candidate
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 9
The newly elected Rajya Sabha member from Punjab, Mr Ashwani Kumar, has said that the presidential candidate should be elected through consensus after consultations with all political parties. Addressing a press conference here today, the Congress spokesman regretted that Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee had not taken any initiative to start a dialogue with Opposition parties on the issue.

He said the Congress wanted that NDA leaders should invite all political parties for discussion on a consensus candidate. He said in case the NDA decided to go ahead with its own candidate, then the Congress was prepared to put up its own candidate in consultation with like-minded parties. Mr Ashwani Kumar said he would work for the revival of Punjab’s economy. He said the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and other Congress leaders would meet the Prime Minister for securing a special package for Punjab to bring its economy back on the rails.

The Rajya Sabha member, who visited Gurdaspur border areas, said the district administration had provided compensation to a large number of farmers whose fields had been occupied by the Army to lay mines. Mr Advani Kumar assured that he would seek more aid from the Central Government for border farmers.


Border areas haven for drug trade
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 9
The border districts of Muktsar, Moga, Amritsar and Ferozepore are proving to be havens for drug peddlers. Large hauls of smack, opium, heroin and poppy husk seized from these areas recently are strong indicators of the drug trade prevalent in these districts. Maqboolpura, a locality in the district here, has gained the notorious distinction of being the “locality of widows”, owing to the rampant drug addiction which has claimed the lives of many youths in this area.

Mr Rajan Gupta, IG, Border Range, said 131 cases under the NDPS Act were registered in May with the arrest of 141 persons in various cases of drug dealing and peddling.

More than 20 kg of opium and 2 kg of heroin were seized by the police from various border areas.

The tightening of the security here due to the heightened tension along the Indo-Pakistan border has put pressure on the local police to keep a vigilant eye on anti-social elements, especially smugglers, intelligence sources said.

About 42,000 drug capsules, more than 37 kg of bhang and about 1 kg of smack have also been seized in the past 30 days. In addition to these, more than 41,000 kg of poppy husk and about 2 kg of charas were seized from border villages.

A huge cache of arms and ammunition has also been seized recently in the border districts. The largest haul, comprising nine AK-47s and 47 magazines, was seized from a village under the Sarai Amanat Khan police station. The cache, buried sometime in 1992 during the days of terrorism in the state, was seized only last month.

Several stolen vehicles used to deliver contraband goods or commit other crimes have been recovered. At least 14 stolen vehicles were recovered from Amritsar, 18 from Gurdaspur, six from Tarn Taran, 11 from Ferozepore and six from Majitha. These consisted of 11 cars, 17 motor cycles, and equal number of scooters, two trucks, four tractors, a bus, a tractor-trailer and three mopeds.


Engineers for old supervisory system
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
The Joint Action Committee of Punjab PWD (B and R) engineers has urged the state government to restore the “territorial system” pertaining to the functioning of subdivisions and divisions in the department. Under this system in a particular territory, the supervisory engineer of a subdivision or a division supervises all work, including the construction of roads, buildings and bridges.

This system was prevalent before 1988. However, after this the “functional system” was introduced under which different officers were posted to supervise different works. Such a system not only bred corruption but also led to the unequal distribution of work. Vested interests in the department always tried to get posted where big projects were in progress. The committee has rejected the three-member panel set up to decide the functional aspect of divisions. It has sought for immediate amalgamation of works.

Meanwhile, the PWD (B and R) Subdivisional Engineers Association today urged the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, that since the names of engineers selected for the department by the Punjab Public Service Commission headed by Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu did not figure in the list of “tainted” persons, they should not be removed from service.

Mr N.P. Singh, general secretary of the association, said that only one batch was recruited in 2000 by Sidhu.


PPSC scam: tiny tots seek justice
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 9
Tiny tots held a demonstration here today to demand justice for their “innocent” parents whose services are under constant theat of being terminated in the infamous PPSC scam.

Children of serving doctors, engineers, lecturers, and other categories of affected officers assembled at the children’s park in the Baradari here this morning. Most of them were carrying placards and were accompanied by their mothers.

The placards supported by them appealed to the authorities to spare the genuine and meritorious officials.

Meanwhile, all technocrats like PCMS and dental doctors, veterinary doctors, lecturers, engineers of the Public Health Department and B&R and Town Planning Officers have joined hands to fight the issue to save innocent officers and formed an organisation named Rule of Law and Justice.

The PCMS Association has decided to form the Punjab State Services Officers Confederation by taking representatives from various state services to take up the issue with the government. The convener of the confederation will be Dr M.S Randhawa.


‘Change lifestyle to avoid heart disease’
Tribune News Service

Nangal (Ropar), June 9
“Due to the rising incidence of coronary artery disease (CAD) during the past 20 years in India, nearly 50 million people are now suffering from this disease throughout the country. The emergence of the CAD at this rate in the country will prove a major killer if timely preventive steps are not taken in this regard.”

This was stated by Dr C.S. Pruthi, CMD, BBC Heart Care Centre, Jalandhar, while addressing a seminar on “prevention of heart diseases”, organised by the Rotary Club, Bhakra Nangal, at the ABC auditorium here last night. Mr Amar Chandel, Deputy Editor of The Tribune, was the chief guest while Rana K.P. Singh, MLA from Nangal, presided over the seminar.

Dr Pruthi said many risk factors were responsible for developing coronary artery disease in the human beings. These factors included stress and strain, sedentary lifestyle, physical inactivity, smoking and improper diet. He suggested the gathering to adopt remedial measures as prevention of any disease was better than its cure.

Mr Chandel called upon the gathering to improve their food habits to avoid the heart diseases. He emphasised on regular exercise and asked the people not to depend on the doctors. He also urged the gathering to adopt the lifestyle of labourers for a healthy life.

Rana K.P. Singh, appreciating the services being rendered by the Rotary Club, also suggested regular exercise to lead a healthy life. He said people should give up all those food habits which led to heart diseases.

Mr Narinder Sharma, Chief Engineer of the Bhakra Dam, Nangal; Dr S.N. Chawla, a heart and chest specialist; and Mr Ashok Manocha, president of the Rotary Club, Bhakra Nangal, also addressed the gathering.

Earlier, a free heart check-up camp, organised by the Rotary Club Bhakra Nangal in collaboration with BBC Heart Care Centre, was inaugurated by Mr Chandel. 


Fortis holds cardiac camp
Tribune News Service

Moga, June 9
Fortis Heart Institute today organised a one-day free cardiac check up camp in association with Mittal Hospital and Heart Center Moga. More than 750 patients from Moga and nearby towns like Faridkot, Ferozepore, Zira, Jagraon, Barnala, Muktsar, Hussainwala Cantonment, Harike, Fatehgarh, Jalalabad, Dharamkot, Kotkapura, Malout, Ramiana, Raikot and other nearby areas got themselves examined.

These patients also got tests like ECG, ECHO, Color Doppler, TMI, blood tests etc, done free of cost.

According to doctors of institute, “There is an alarming increase in the incidence of heart related ailments in our country today. The world average of the incidence of heart disease is 1.5 per cent whereas in India, the average doubles to 3 per cent. Studies show that in Punjab, it is 6 per cent which is four times the world average. 


Farmers plant paddy as troops keep vigil
Tribune News Service

Chandu Wadala (Western Sector), June 9
Farmers of the village, which is just 1 km from the international border are busy in paddy plantation. In the first look, everything appears to be normal. However, there is more to it than meets the eye. There are long rows of bunkers situated along the distributary of a water canal. Soldiers of the Army are positioned in these bunkers. With their fingers on the triggers of their guns, they keep on moving their eyes from one corner to another, while their fellow countrymen are busy in farming nearby.

For the farmers, as Mr Balkar Singh, a local farmer puts it, “It is a privilege to see the soldiers around”. He says the farmers feel proud of the soldiers who are keeping vigil round the clock. “We wish we could be helpful to them in some way, he maintains, while appreciating the discipline of the ever-alert soldiers.

Mr Balkar Singh has more reasons to be proud of the soldiers. His 28-year-old son Kudeep Singh is also in the Army and is posted in Jammu and Kashmir. Despite being on the border, the village has not seen such a massive military movement earlier. There were some BSF vehicles that could be seen going to the border outpost, but for last six months, it has only been the Army vehicles that are doing regular and frequent rounds in the area.


Residents not aware of war precautions
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, June 9
Amidst hovering war clouds and daily coverage of mass migration from border villages here, the local residents are completely unaware of the necessary safety measures to be taken in case of war.

Although the civil administration, in coordination with the civil defence, had recently organised two rehearsals of blackout, yet a large number of local residents are not aware of the precautions to be taken in the event of war.

According to Raman Handa, a jeweller in the Androon Bazar here, war is inevitable. He said he was interested in civil defence training but the local administration had not launched any programme to train the residents regarding the civil defence measures.

Jagdish Shukla, a resident of the Shahpur chowk, alleged that no collateral measures had been planned or discussed with the public.

The civil defence authorities, said we have prepared a comprehensive plan to educate the masses about the safety measures to be adopted by the residents.


CM urged to visit border areas
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, June 9
Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, has urged Captain Amarinder Singh, to visit border villages along with his Cabinet colleagues to boost the morale of the people living there.

Talking to this correspondent here today, Mr Tandon said the situation in Punjab was explosive due to tension between India and Pakistan.

Mr Tandon said the NDA government at the Centre would not discriminate with the Congress government in Punjab but the state government would have to take first step to get more financial help.


‘Probe charges against MC chief afresh’
Our Correspondent

Maur mandi (Bathinda), June 9
Mr Jagdhir Singh, a councillor, has urged the authorities concerned to order a fresh inquiry by the Vigilance Bureau into the alleged misappropriation of funds by the president of the local municipal council, Mr Karnail Singh. The councillor said the Executive Magistrate who had conducted the inquiry was one of the “tainted” PCS officers recently reverted because their promotions were made during the tenure of Ravinder Paul Singh Sidhu. Hence, the probe conducted by him was not fair, the councillor said.

Mr Jagdhir Singh said he had written a letter to the Punjab Chief Minister, urging him that a thorough inquiry should be conducted into the alleged misappropriation of funds by Mr Karnail Singh.

He alleged that the inquiry conducted by the Executive Magistrate on May 23 was not satisfactory as the official did not record the statements of residents.

Mr Jagdhir Singh said Mr Karnail Singh could distort the records if another inquiry was not conducted into the allegations at the earliest. He alleged that the inquiry officer did not seal the records of the municipal council. He said instead of taking action, the Executive Magistrate asked the president to complete the records and development work.

Mr Karnail Singh, when contacted, said Mr Jagdhir Singh was making baseless allegations against him.


Another Tehsildar in vigilance net
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 9
The Vigilance Bureau claims to have detected an unaccounted assets of over Rs 2.50 crore of Tehsildar Rajinder Singh.

He owns triple-storey house in the Ranjit Avenue area valued over Rs 80 lakh, besides three airconditioners, and two cars, including Maruti Zen and Ford Ikon, registered in the name of his friend Jasbir Singh of Alipur Sodhian and Dharma Pal, property dealer of he Majitha road area and a Kinetic Honda registered in the name of his wife Kanwaljit Kaur.

The Bureau has seized 500 gm of gold from his house and from his locker at Punjab and Sind Bank at Tarn Taran. Rajinder Singh owns eight plots of 250 sq yd each in the name of his close relatives. He has residential plots valued over Rs 20 lakh in the name of his wife and father Harbans Singh.

Besides the movable property of Rs 2 crore, Rajinder Singh has fixed deposits for Rs 4 lakh in the name of his children and wife.


Long wait for arms licence
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 9
Insecure persons in hundreds are awaiting arms licences for over three months. Their applications have been cleared by the Deputy Commissioner’s office, but the police is sitting pretty over these cases.

As may as 287 cases of fresh licences have been pending with the office of the SSP for the mandatory police verification for past about three months. Such were cleared in a week. In the past three months, only 27 cases have been cleared.

“Moreover such delays have forced licence seekers to shell out something to middlemen,” said Ashwani Kumar, an applicant. Most of licence seekers belong to rural areas or nearby townships, who had applied for arms licences in view of spurt in crime in the district. 


SAD leader, wife released on bail
Our Correspondent

Barnala, June 9
Mr Jarnail Singh Bhotana, Press Secretary of the SAD, Sangrur district, and his wife, Ms Ajaib Kaur, were released on bail yesterday by Mr S.S. Mann, Judicial Magistrate, First Class, Barnala.

Mr Bhotana, who is SAD (Badal) nominee for the zila parishad poll from Tallewal (Reserve) Zone, was arrested by the local police on June 4 following the registration of a case under Section 498-A of the IPC at the local police station. His wife was arrested also in this case following a complaint lodged with the police by Ms Kulwinder Kaur, daughter-in-law of Mr Bhotana.

Meanwhile, Iqbal Singh, son of Mr Bhotana and brother-in-law of Ms Kulwinder Kaur, was granted anticipatory bail by Mr Sham Sunder Gupta, Additional Sessions Judge, Barnala.


Depot holder arrested
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 9
The local police today arrested one depot holder and recovered 12.50 litres of illicit petrol and 3,501 litres of diesel from him.

Dr S.K. Kalia, SP, said on receiving an information that Balraj Singh of the local Fairland Avenue and depot holder was selling illicit petrol and diesel. They enquired about the arrival of the next tanker and raided the godown and caught him red-handed.

However, the tanker driver managed to escape while his accomplice Ravi, was arrested by the police. A case has been registered.


Man sentenced to 6-month jail term
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, June 9
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Kapurthala, had invoked Section 27 of the Consumer Protection Act, accepted the execution application of complainant Ajit Singh under the Act, and sentenced respondent Navin Anand to undergo imprisonment for six months and pay a fine of Rs 2,000 for the non-compliance of forum’s orders of March 13, 1997. The judgement was given on May 28 by forum President Joga Singh and member Parvesh Kumar Gupta. This Was stated by Mr Gupta here today.


Govt College may face closure
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 9
Government College for Boys here is likely to face closure. According to university norms of affiliation, the college does not meet the required conditions. At present, the college is being run in a rented building of Red Cross at Tehsilpura. It is learnt that due to the non-payment of electricity bills, the power to the college building was cut off recently.

Dr R.S. Bawa, Registrar of Guru Nanak Dev University, confirmed that the college did not meet the requirements specified by the university. He said after an inspection of the college, the university had observed that no admissions were to be carried out till the basic requirements were met. Hence, all present admissions to the college, which runs BA and B.Com courses, are under a cloud, he said.

Dr Bawa said the university would have disaffiliated any private institute running in such conditions. “However, the university cannot take a decision by itself, in this case as the institute is a government one and all decisions are required to be taken jointly with the DPI,” he said.

The college was started barely five years ago and was inaugurated by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Chief Minister, when the Akali-BJP combine sailed to victory in 1997.

No permanent teacher was appointed in the college in the past five years. University norms, however, require that the college should have a complete permanent staff.

In the last year, not a single post of permanent teacher was sanctioned to this college. The matter of disaffiliation is likely to be raised prior to the inspection scheduled before the new session starts in July, Dr Bawa said.

Dr Charanjit Singh Gumtala, president of the Amritsar Vikas Manch, has urged the government to provide funds to revive the institute instead of depriving the residents of the area from getting affordable education.


Govt to help varsity set up heritage village
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 9
Presiding over a cultural function organised by Guru Nanak Dev University in collaboration with the Singapore Sikh Foundation, Mr Ashwani Sekhri, Punjab Minister for Tourism, Cultural Affairs and Industries, today assured the Vice-Chancellor of providing assistance for setting up a heritage village on the university premises.

Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, speaking on the occasion, said the university had established a heritage centre and a folk museum to preserve Punjab’s cultural heritage.

He also detailed the steps being taken by the university to promote Punjabi language, literature and culture.


GND varsity session from July 1
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 9
Guru Nanak Dev University will declare the result of all under graduate classes till June 20 while the results of all post-graduate courses will be declared till June 30.

The new academic session of the university will start from July 1. Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor of the university, said this addressing members of the Syndicate, which met here on Saturday.

The Syndicate accorded its approval for providing concessions as suggested by the Human Resource Development Ministry to Kashmiri migrant students for admission in educational institutions.


Amanjot national lecturer
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 9
Ms Amanjot Kaur, a gold medallist in M.Sc., in Botanical Sciences of the Department of Botanical and Environmental Sciences of the Guru Nanak Dev University has been selected national lecturer by the University Grants Commission.

She has qualified the UGC- CSIR National Educational Test (NET) for the research and lectureship. She had also been offered lectureship in Central universities.


Industrial potential discussed
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 9
A discussion on “Business opportunities in recent times” was organised yesterday by the Bathinda Management Association (BMA). Various speakers stressed upon the need to educate entrepreneurs about better management so that the area could be made industrially advanced. For the purpose, the dry port in the city should be better utilised, they said.

The discussion was organised during the general body meeting of the BMA at the local Civil Lines Club. During the meeting, new office-bearers of the association were also elected.

The speakers said the area had the potential to become an industrial hub.

They said the main constituents of an industry — money, skilled and unskilled labour, technical knowhow and raw material — were present in abundance in the area but due to ignorance and lack of enthusiasm, all these constituents were not coming together, which resulted in fewer industries.

The newly elected president, Mr Prem Kumar, said the problem with affluent people in the area was that they did not want to take risks.

He said poor management skills were also proving a hindrance in the setting up of industries.

Mr Ashok Goyal, vice-president, said the major reason for the poor state of industries in the region was that people were not aware about the presence of a dry port in the city.

Mr Goyal said only those business establishments progressed which were well-managed and value-oriented. He stressed the need for generating business opportunities in the city and surrounding areas.

He said some wealthy persons in the district spent crores on winning petty elections but were not interested in setting up an industry with that money.

The other speakers, including Mr B.K. Garg, also expressed the same views.

The speakers said if the residents of the area could spare time to think about the industrial backwardness of the area and come together to overcome it, Bathinda could emerge as a new industrial town in the state.

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