Tuesday, July 2, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Punjab MLAs make beeline for AICC office
Prashant Sood
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 1
With the Congress high command having given green signal to the expansion of Cabinet in Punjab, aspiring MLAs have begun making rounds of the AICC office here.

The modalities of the expansion will be worked out when the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, comes to the Capital. The high command is also in the process of selecting PCC chief for the state. Capt Amarinder Singh, who is also holding the post of PCC chief, has urged the high command to appoint a new party chief and the issue will be discussed during his meetings with AICC leaders here.

There are indications that some first-time MLAs may also get ministerial berths in the party’s attempts to give representation to the weaker sections and women.

Sources said with the Chief Minister having drawn flak over the transfer of Intelligence Wing officials who had handled the Ravi Sidhu case, dissident leaders had begun raising voices against the method of working of the Chief Minister.

At their meetings with the highcommand, the leaders had not only accused the Chief Minister of “causing a divide” in the state police, but they had also conveyed to them the resentment among some MLAs over the appointment of advisors by Capt Amarinder Singh. They had told the high command that advisors were normally appointed during the President’s rule and an elected government should give responsibilities to the MLAs.

The dissidents said instead of the MLAs getting the facilities of a high office, these were now being enjoyed by workers and officials close to the Chief Minister.

AICC sources said post of PCC chief might go to a Dalit party leader from the minority community who was able to take along all leaders of the party in the state.


Bhattal meets Ajit Singh
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 1
Punjab Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal today met Union Agriculture Minister Ajit Singh over the issues concerning agriculture in Punjab.

She also invited Mr Ajit Singh to Punjab. Sources said the Minister suggested holding a meeting of senior officials of the Punjab Government to find practical ways of diversification. Ms Bhattal is likely to call on the Union Rural Development Minister tomorrow.

Ms Bhattal, who today met AICC treasurer Motilal Vora and General Secretary Ambika Soni, is also likely to meet Sonia Gandhi.


Punjab defers one-man judicial panel
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 1
In a significant shift in its pronounced policy, the Punjab Government has decided to defer setting up of one-man judicial commission to look into all acts of omission and commission of the previous SAD-BJP government and has instead opted for setting up special courts for speedy trial of vigilance cases.

The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, while admitting that no suitable retired Judge could be found for heading the commission after the original choice, Justice A.S. Garg (retd), resigned quoting personal reasons several weeks ago, said the previous experience of such commissions was also not “satisfying”.

They took too long without any end result, he said, revealing that the government did make efforts and cast a panel of 10-12 retired Judges. “One of the retired judges approached by the government for heading the commission politely turned the offer saying that he had no time,” the Chief Minister said.

Instead, the government was of the considered view that expeditious trial of cases registered by the Vigilance Bureau would be more appropriate. This could be achieved by setting special courts on the pattern of the special courts of the Central Bureau of Investigation, he said.

The Chief Minister mentioned that the government might set up one-man commission to initially scan through all complaints of corruption against the previous government received from the general public and other sources. After scanning, only genuine complaints in which prima facie charge of omission or commission could be established would be referred to the Vigilance Commission for probe. This would be followed with a trial in the special court, he said.

But this sudden shift in the stand of the government is surprising as the Congress had maintained throughout in its election campaign of setting up a time-bound judicial inquiry into all acts of omission and commission of the previous SAD-BJP government in the state.

After Justice A.S. Garg Commission came under fire following serious allegations of pressuring his subordinate judicial officer to get the arrears of his son waived from the Chief Minister of Haryana, the government initially promised to announce the name of the new Judge soon.

It also approached the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to spare a sitting Judge to head the commission. The Chief Justice, however, quoted shortage of Judges as reason for turning down this request of the government.

Though the government maintained that it had drawn a panel of 10 to 12 Judges, both Advocate-General, Mr Harbhagwan Singh, and the Chief Secretary, Mr Y.S. Ratra, expressed their total ignorance of the panel.

Probably only the Home Department knew about the panel of Judges whom the government wanted to approach.

This evening when newspersons persisted on knowing the government’s stand on the one-man judicial commission, the Chief Minister announced special courts as an alternative to it.

The matter of setting up of special courts would be referred to the Punjab and Haryana High Court for approval. Initially, the number of such courts may be small depending upon how many Vigilance Police stations are attached to each such special court. 


Govt reneges on pay parity issue
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 1
Backtracking from its earlier decision to enforce parity between pay scales of employees of public sector undertakings with that of government employees, the Punjab Government today authorised the PSEB authorities to use its discretion on the implementation of the order.

Led by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, top officials of the government and the PSEB today held a lengthy meeting with representatives of various organisations of PSEB employees. The Chief Secretary, Mr Y.S. Ratra, member (administration) Harjeet Inder Singh Grewal, and the Secretary of the board, Ms Jaspreet Talwar, were among those present. The Chairman of the board was away to Bangalore and the Principal Secretary, Finance, Mr K.R. Lakhanpal, was also out of station.

Sources said the Chief Secretary said the government had not issued any directive to the board with regard to the alignment of pay scales with that of their counterparts in Punjab. The government had just written a routine letter to examine the parity issue and wherever necessary the pay scales of the employees of the PSUs should be curtailed to bring on a par with their counterparts in the government departments.

It may be mentioned that in May, as a part of the implementation of the decision of the Cabinet sub-committee, the Chief Secretary had sent a directive to all Administrative Secretaries with regard to the restoration of parity in pay scales in the boards, corporations and other organisations under their control immediately. He had told the Administrative Secretaries that in case of failure to enforce the directive, they would be held responsible.

The sources said the other issue discussed at the meeting was privatisation of the board and its disinvestment. The Chief Minister, made it clear that there was no programme for the privatisation of the board.

The third issue was of invoking the Essential Services (Maintenance) Act by the government in case of any agitation by the employees. The government took a stand on this issue and said as employees were daily issuing threats of agitation, the government had to invoke ESMA.

Senior engineers today told the Chief Minister at the meeting that senior officers of the civil and police administration in districts resort to power theft. Earlier, the PSEB had conducted a survey in which a large of number of senior officers of the government were reported to have been stealing power.


SGPC member caught smuggling opium into jail
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 1
Mr Sadhu Singh Ragi, Member, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee (SGPC) and former chairman, Market Committee, Bhadur (Sangrur), was caught red-handed by the local central jail authorities while trying to smuggle opium into the jail today. He returned to jail after attending court hearing in the criminal case registered against him earlier in connection with the smuggling of narcotics.

Jail authorities confirming the incident pointed out that 15 gm of opium was recovered from the turban of Ragi while his person was searched before he was allowed to enter jail premises. After the opium was found in the possession of Ragi, the police was informed for further action.

Sadhu Singh Ragi, an associate of senior SAD functionaries, who allegedly indulged in smuggling of narcotics in Bathinda and Barnala areas during the previous SAD-BJP combine government in Punjab, was arrested on May 28 this year following a tip-off and a case under the NDPS Act was registered against him by the Dialpura police station on May 27.

The accused, who made money from smuggling of narcotics and indulged rural youth into addiction, was booked in a criminal case under the NDPS Act when the police recovered huge quantity of poppy husk from the personal car of Sadhu Singh Ragi. Jagsir Singh Seera, a close associate of Ragi, who had been transporting the poppy husk from Rajasthan to various parts of Punjab, was arrested on the spot.

After Ragi was arrested, he tried to secure bail from the court by taking an affidavit from his associate Jagsir Singh Seera to establish the fact that he (Ragi) had sold his car to Seera two months ago it was caught by the police. However, Ragi did not succeed. The arrest of Ragi was first step by the district police authorities toward unearthing politician-smuggler nexus.

Information gathered by the TNS revealed that Ragi had been smuggling the narcotics and indulging into the sale of it in connivance with a police official. He was also wanted by the Barnala police in various cases pertaining to illicit liquor.

Mr Swaran Singh, Superintendent, Jail, when contacted, said that a police party which came from Civil Lines, Police Chowki took the accused into custody. He added that it was routine in the jail that whenever drug-addicts come back after attending court, they were checked before being allowed to enter the jail.

A fresh case under the NDPS Act would be registered against Sadhu Singh Ragi. Further investigations were being made to know the fact that who supplied opium to Ragi and at which place, the police authorities pointed out.


Package afoot to revive units in border districts
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 1
Mr Ashwani Sekhri, Minister of State for Industry, Punjab, said here that Industry in three border districts would be revived and added that Chief Minister Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh had given an assurance to this effect.

The state government was working on a comprehensive package, to industry including incentives on a par offered to trade and industry in Jammu and Kashmir and the north east by the central government.

Mr Sekhri pointed out that border districts of Punjab faced similar situation in days of militancy and suffered dislocation as these were close to the international border. He said that the Union Government had already announced total tax holiday including exemption from Excise Duty, Income Tax, Sales Tax incentives besides capital subsidy which Punjab units also needed.

The minister regretted that the previous government did not provide benefits announced in the industrial policy of 1992, which promised incentives like capital subsidy and tax benefits etc.

Assuring representatives of the industry, Mr Sekhri said that subsidy due since 1996 and amounting to Rs 450 crore was being released under a special package on priority. Other incentives like tax exemptions were being notified for the revival of sick units. The government was planning to set up export zones in various parts of the state, including special agricultural zones to give fillip to the farm sector, the mainstay of the state.

He said that a special package was being worked out for the declared sick units which were unable to clear dues of the state financial corporations, banks etc.

He added the new policy would boost existing units and encourage the setting up of new units in the state. On the proposed changes in the labour laws in view of liberalised economy and reforms set in motion he replied that the new labour policy would be progressive and flexible and protect rights of the labour.


Sidhu’s police remand extended
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 1
A court here today extended police remand of suspended PPSC Chairman Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu till July 4 as Sidhu’s counsel filed a fresh petition challenging the remand order given on June 27.

Granting police remand of Sidhu till July 4, the court ordered that the record should be summoned and fixed the same date for argument.

Sidhu’s counsel, moved another petition challenging the extension of Sidhu’s remand on June 27 till July 1. Counsel contended that the order was violative of the fundamental rights of Sidhu.

Meanwhile, sources said the Vigilance Department was following some leads in the case following questioning of Sidhu and that four teachers were questioned by it in Chandigarh today. These teachers used to mark the answer sheets as per the wish of Sidhu.

Meanwhile, the judicial remand of three alleged touts of Sidhu was today extended till July 14 by District and Sessions Judge S.N. Aggarwal.

The accused are — Randhir Singh Gill, alias Dheera, Parmjit Singh Pammi and Prem Sagar.

All three were made accused in the second FIR registered against Sidhu on April 30.


Production warrant against Sidhu
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 1
The UT Judicial Magistrate, Mr Sanjay Sandhir, today issued production warrants against the suspended chairman of the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC), Ravi Sidhu, for July 10 as the Punjab Vigilance Department failed to produce him in the court in a case under the Arms Act registered against him.

The cases against Sidhu under the Excise Act and the Arms Act was registered after the recovery of 14 bottles of foreign liquor, 250 rounds of .12 bore gun and 225 rounds of Springfield rifle from his house in Sector 39.


Minister promises dues to employees
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, July 1
The Punjab Finance Minister, Mr Lal Singh, said here today that the government was sympathetic to the financial demands of its employees but sought their cooperation as the state’s fiscal health was bad and it was necessary to tighten the belt.

Mr Lal Singh, who was speaking to mediapersons after inaugurating a blood donation camp at the Canadian Institute of Computer Science and Technology (CICST) here on the occasion of the Canada Day, said the employees must cooperate with the government to prevent a situation in which the payment of their salaries would become difficult. He assured them that all their genuine dues would be paid by the government as soon as the fiscal situation improved.

The minister said all efforts would be made to wipe out the image of Punjab being a bankrupt state. The state’s representatives would meet officials of the World Bank, the RBI and the Central Government for financial assistance. He hoped that the fiscal health would change substantially for the better by the time of the next budget.

He said committed expenditures relating to four spheres could not be ignored — salaries, pensions, education and health. He said it was difficult to manage these aspects. When the previous SAD-BJP Government had taken over, the deficit was Rs 1,357 but the figure rose to Rs ,842 crore when that government was voted out.

Mr Lal Singh said the expenditure on the Chief Minister’s security had to cut to one — third of what it was during the previous government’s tenure.

During 1992-97, he further said, the expenditure on the police in the state was the maximum due to militancy. However, during the term of the Parkash Singh Badal government the figure doubled instead of coming down. As many as 1,200 persons and 129 vehicles were linked to Mr Badal’s security set- up.

The Finance Minister said the then Badal government had given the contract for the online lottery to a single party for Rs 855 crore, but as it amounted to a poll code violation it was not executed. However, the Congress on coming to power set up a committee of senior officials on the matter, adopted the open tender system and gave the lottery work for Rs 9,301 crore.

He said the state’s economy would improve if NRIs invested in Punjab. A department had been set up to help NRIs.

The minister, defending the government’s decision not to involve the CBI in the investigation of various scams, said the Vigilance Bureau was on the right track.

He could not comment on why Dr Kehar Singh, Chairman of the Punjab Education Board, had not been arrested even though his name figured in the case in which former Education Minister Tota Singh had been taken into custody.

Mr Birdevinder Singh, Kharar MLA, said he would take a team of MLAs from the Congress and Independents to meet the Prime Minister to inform him that former Chief Minister Badal had misled him regarding the situation in Punjab. It was unfortunate, he said, that a team of the NDA proposed to visit the state in this connection.


Elevation of Advani flayed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 1
Mr Sirmanjit Singh Mann, MP, president of the SAD (Amritsar), has criticised the elevation of Mr L.K. Advani as Deputy Prime Minister.

Describing it as a “retrograde step,” Mr Mann said the role of Mr Advani during “Operation Bluestar” was condemnable as he supported the Congress and the then Prime Minister, Mrs Indira Gandhi, and his posture was very “offensive to the minorities in general and Sikhs in particular.”


Govt victimising Bhanoki: SAD
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 1
Activists of the SAD-BJP and the BSP today staged a demonstration outside the local Sadar police station and took out a protest march. They also held a rally in the courts complex and presented a memorandum, addressed to the Governor, to SDM Zora Singh against the registration of cases against Akali leader Baldev Singh Bhanoki, sarpanch Bhanoki village and Block Samiti member from Bhanoki zone, under Sections 364, 452 and 506, IPC and 25, 27 and 54/59 of the Arms Act.

They demanded the suspension of SHO Bhupinder Singh and raised slogans against the police, local Congress MLA Joginder Singh Mann and the government for unleashing political vendetta against the Akalis and their allies. The ruling party had got rattled because the alliance had secured a majority in the Block Samiti and Zila Parishad polls in Phagwara, alleged the protesters. They threatened to intensify the stir if the cases against Mr Bhanoki were not withdrawn.

The protesters alleged that Mr Bhanoki was framed in the cases to baulk him of the chairmanship of the Block Samiti and reduce the 11-member strength of the allies in the 19-member samiti to the advantage of the Congress.

They further alleged that even their Zila Parishad member Kashmir Singh Mahi was being threatened and harassed.

Among others, former Punjab minister and senior BJP leader Mr Swarna Ram, Akali stalwarts Jarnail Singh Wahid, Gurmukh Singh, Sarwan Singh Kular, BJP leaders Ram Sarop Arora, Chander Mohan Chawla, BJYM leader Arun Khosla and BSP leader H.S. Balalon addressed the rally.

When contacted, local DSP Harmanbir Singh Gill said he would conduct a probe into the matter and action would be taken against those found guilty.


Probe finds irregularities by ex-minister
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 1
The inquiry report regarding the alleged irregularities committed in appointments by former Local Bodies Minister and senior and senior BJP leader, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon during SAD-BJP rule in the state would be submitted to the Punjab Chief Minister next week.

Talking to reporters at local Circuit House here yesterday, the Punjab Local Bodies Minister Chaudhary Jagjit Singh said serious lapses surfaced during inquiry into the alleged irregularities committed in appointments by the former Local Bodies Minister.

“We are collecting documentary proofs to establish the wrongdoings of the previous regime in appointments and inquiry report in this regard will be submitted to the Punjab Chief Minister next week for appropriate action against the erring officials and the then minister concerned,” the minister asserted.

The then BJP MLAs, Mr Satpal Gosain and Mr Jagdish Sahni, had levelled serious allegations of corruption through affidavits in 1999 against the then BJP ministers, including Mr Balramji Dass Tandon. These MLAs had alleged that money had changed hands for getting appointments in Local Bodies department.

Meanwhile, Mr Tandon refuted the allegations and said the Congress regime was out to malign the image of certain political personalities and parties just to gain political mileage.” I am ready to face any probe in this regard. The policy of political confrontation adopted by the Amarinder government will severely hamper development of the state and is not in the interests of the people of the state,” Mr Tandon added.

“Why the scope of this anti-corruption drive is limited to the SAD-BJP leaders, whereas the Punjab Lokpal had already indicated senior Congress ministers of the Beant Singh government for their involvement in corrupt deeds? question Mr Tandon.


Buses ply illegally, ADGP seeks report
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 1
A number of buses have been plying illegally on different routes all over the state by using the numbers of three-wheelers or two-wheelers causing huge loss to the state exchequer by evading road and passenger taxes etc.

What came to the notice of the Vigilance Bureau during the state-wide checking of buses plying illegally on different routes is only the tip of the iceberg. At least five such mini-buses were impounded by sleuths of the Vigilance recently. Apart from this, unauthorized gharukas (indigenous vehicles) which were banned by the Punjab and Haryana High Court have been plying unchecked in various districts of the state.

Illegal plying of such buses came to light when Mr T.P. Singh, SP (Vigilance), submitted a report to the visiting ADGP (Vigilance), Mr A.P. Pandey. The SP (Vigilance) complained to the ADGP that the district transport authority had failed to lodge an FIR against those transporters who tried to hoodwink the authorities concerned by using the number plates of three-wheelers.

Mr A.S. Bharbhakar, DTO, pleaded that an FIR would be lodged tomorrow positively. However, Mr Pandey took a serious note of the inordinate delay in the registration of an FIR and directed the SP (Vigilance) to submit a report to him immediately.

It is learnt that the transporters, including senior leaders of the ruling party, pressurize the district administration to not initiate any action if such a scam is unearthed.

Meanwhile, the ADGP, who addressed a meeting of senior officials of Amritsar and Gurdaspur, asked them to cooperate with the Vigilance Department in its drive against corruption. Replying to a question, while he was talking to mediapersons, Mr Pandey admitted that more former ministers belonging to the Akali Dal or BJP could be nabbed in the coming days. He directed the Vigilance officials to prepare detailed reports about officials of different departments who had amassed huge properties, disproportionate to their known sources of income.

Mr Pandey said after the raids conducted by the Vigilance Bureau, most of the alleged culprits had withdrawn their valuables and cash from their lockers and accounts.

Mr Pandey called upon the public to boycott all those who were found indulging in corruption. He said the drive to weed out corruption could not succeed unless people cooperated with the Vigilance Department.

Replying to another question, Mr Pandey said officials of the Intelligence wing should not come out publicly with statements as such ‘unbecoming acts’ hamper investigations. He said the Vigilance Bureau had already submitted its detailed report on judges to the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and nothing was concealed. He refused to divulge the details as the case was with the Chief Justice.


Beant case: 2 record statements
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 1
Statement of two witnesses, Inspector P.K Sharma of the CBI and Rajmohan was today recorded in the Beant Singh assassination trial before the UT District and Sessions Judge, Mr H.S Bhalla, in a special court in the Model Burail Jail.

Inspector P.K. Sharma stated before the Judge that after getting directions from his senior officials he had conducted a raid in the house of one of the accused reportedly involved in the Beant Singh assassination, Lakhwinder Singh, in Kansal village on September 5, 1995. Mr Sharma said that he had conducted the raid along with other CBI officials and a team of UT police personnel and had seized documents about two FDs, other documents, and photos from house of the accused.

An independent witness of the raid, Rajmohan, a resident of Khuda Ali Sher, said before the Judge that a CBI official had asked him to accompany them on September 5, 1995 to the Kansal village. He added that the CBI had recovered some documents about FDs and other documents from Lakhwinder’s house.


Kanjla’s petition dismissed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 1
Punjab MLA-cum-former Cabinet Minister Gobind Singh Kanjla’s petition, seeking the grant of anticipatory bail “in case a first information report was registered against him by the Vigilance Bureau under the Prevention of Corruption Act”, was today dismissed as withdrawn by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

In his petition taken up by Mr Justice Nirmal Singh of the High Court, Kanjla had earlier stated that he was being victimized due to political rivalry at the instance of the Congress Government which was out to defame and harass him. Going into the background of the case, Kanjla had stated that Congress candidate Harchand Kaur, defeated by him in the Assembly elections held in February, 2002, got a false and a frivolous complaint filed against him as she was close to the Chief Minister.

Arguing on his behalf, his counsel had contended that the Vigilance Bureau, acting on the complaint, had registered a case against the MLA without verifying the facts. He had added that the FIR’s copy was not being supplied either to him or his friends even though the cops, in order to arrest him, were visiting his house.

Next hearing

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday fixed July 8 as the next date of hearing on a petition filed by Vice-Chairman of the Punjab School Education Board Gurdev Singh Sidhu.

The High Court, on the last date of hearing, had directed that Sidhu will not be arrested till further orders in the Tota Singh case. The Court had also asked the Vice-Chairman to appear before Superintendent of Police (Vigilance) Surinder Pal Singh.


SGPC-run medical institute approved by MCI: Principal
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 1
The Director-Principal of the SGPC-run Sri Guru Ram Das Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Dr Ujagar Singh Dhaliwal, has clarified that the institute is approved by the Medical Council of India.

In a press note issued here today, Dr Dhaliwal quoted from the notification dated June 25, 2002, issued by the Government of India informing the college to carry out regular admissions in MBBS classes for the year 2002-2003.

Dr Dhaliwal, however, added that the case for permanent recognition to the institute for the course was under consideration of the government and pointed that the final notification for proper recognition was expected soon. The MCI had inspected the institute in December, 2001, and recommended to the Central Department of Health and Family Welfare to give it due recognition.


Complainant turns accused
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 1
In an interesting case, the district police authorities have decided to launch criminal proceedings against Suba Singh, a resident of Mansa Kalan village when he was found accused of committing fraud during an inquiry conducted into the complaint lodged by him (Suba Singh) to Chief Minister and DGP, Punjab police, in connection with the snatching of his tractor by DSP, Talwandi Sabo, Mr Ashutosh.

In his complaint lodged to the Chief Minister and DGP, Suba Singh alleged that his tractor had been snatched by DSP Ashutosh and same was handed over to Naib Singh, who was a commission agent. He added that though he owed nothing to Naib Singh, his tractor was taken away forcibly by the DSP, Mr Ashutosh, in connivance with Naib Singh. He added that he was the registered owner of that tractor.

He alleged that when he visited Talwandi Sabo to meet Mr Ashutosh along with some prominent persons and showed him the registration certificate to establish his ownership of the tractor, Mr Ashutosh also snatched away the registration certificate. He added that Mr Ashutosh told him that the tractor had been handed over to the rightful owner.

The DSP, Mr Ashutosh, also threatened him that if he approached the higher police authorities or filed any suit in the court, he (Suba Singh) would have to face dire consequences, which included his implication in false criminal case. Due to these threats, he along with his family members were living under constant fear.

An inquiry conducted into the allegations, Mr L.K. Yadav, SP (H) found that original seller of tractor was Mr Joginder Singh of Hukamawali village in police station Ratia of Haryana. The original affidavit in connection with the sale of tractor was given to Naib Singh by Joginder Singh. What Suba Singh did was that he prepared a fake affidavit of Mr Joginder Singh and on the basis of it he prepared registration certificate of tractor establishing his own ownership of the same.

Mr Yadav, when contacted, said during the inquiry three witnesses produced by Suba Singh in his favour, made different statements in connection with the mode of payments in lieu of tractor, which he (Suba Singh) claimed to have purchased from Mr Joginder Singh. He added that Mr Joginder Singh had also disclosed that he had never given any affidavit to Suba Singh in connection with the sale of any tractor.

He said that a case under Sections 420, 465 and 467 would be registered against Suba Singh today at city police station, Bathinda.

Mr Ashutosh, when contacted, while denying the allegations of Suba Singh, alleged that he (Suba Singh) was telling a lie.


Spinning mill staff threaten ‘do-or-die’ protest
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 1
The employees and labourers of the local spinning mill have urged the government to make arrangement for the payment of salary due to them for the past eight months. They have threaten that if no action was taken in this regard till July 6, they would launch a ‘do or die’ agitation.

The resentment prevailed among the employees of the mill as they had not been paid salary for the past many months. They have been holding rallies dharnas to get their demands fulfilled, but to no avail.

Mr Iqbal Singh, General Secretary of the Punjab Cooperative Spinning Mills Labourers/ Employees Coordination Committee, said in a press note that the employees were facing hardships due to the non payment of salary. He said that the condition of those employees who fell ill was worse. The employees held a dharna on June 26 at Chandigarh after which they gave a memorandum to the officials concerned of the government detailing their problems.


Bathinda unprepared for monsoon
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 1
Even though the monsoon is expected any time in the city, the authorities concerned has failed to make arrangements for the speedy drainage of rain water so far.

No desilting of the underground sewerage has been done and no new pipes to increase its capacity have been laid to face the situation.

“During rains water enters our houses and remain there for days making our lives miserable”, Mr B. Sharma, a resident of Jogi Nagar, said.

“In the rainy season it becomes too difficult to move out of the house because 3 to 4 feet of water accumulate in the streets and roads”, Mr Kaushal, a resident of Ajit Nagar, said.

“In every monsoon water enters our house causing loss to household goods, but this year we have shifted our belongings to safer places to avert the losses, Ms Sushma, a resident of Partap Nagar, said.

In every monsoon the city roads are flooded even after a small spell of rain. The unique topography of the city, skewed growth of the city and apathetic attitude of the authorities concerned have made the city a flood-prone area during rains. The residents do not enjoy rain here even though summer here is quite hot.

The situation is worse in the low-lying areas of Parasram Nagar, Partap Nagar, Jogi Nagar, Alam Nagar and Gurukul Road. Here 3 to 4 feet of water remain stagnant for weeks. The areas like the Power House road, Amrik Singh road, Ganesha basti, Mall Road, Nai Basti, Ajit road and parts of the Goniana road also get flooded with the rain water.

Though crores of rupees have been spent over the years by the successive governments for laying down sewerage system for quick drainage, still the system fails to drain the rain water.

If it rains heavily in the city, many educational institutions and business establishments remain closed for a day or so. It is normally a holiday in schools on a rainy day as students can not reach schools due to flooding of roads.

People reach their offices late as it takes hours to cover a kilometre on car or scooters. Heavy traffic is to be diverted to other routes to tackle traffic problems. The flooding of Mall Road makes it difficult for patients to reach hospitals situated on it.

The rainy season also affect the functioning of district administration. The areas where the offices of the Deputy Commissioner, District Public Relations, Public Health, District Courts, Markfed, Income Tax, Mandi Board and District Red Cross are situated, remain surrounded by water for days, even after a little rain.

Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, when contacted said tenders have been given to clean the gutters and drains. He added that fallen of trees always create problem in the drainage of water. To avoid this, the week and old trees are being felled in advance. In addition to this, the service of pumping stations installed at places in the city for drainage purpose was being done. The nearby transformers and electricity connections were also being checked, he added.

Mr R. S. Gulati, SE (Bathinda circle), Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board, when contacted said Bathinda did not have the storm water drainage system so water could not be drained easily. He added that city sewerage was already overburdened and the pipes laid here were of less capacity.

Mr Gulati said a project “storm water drainage system” was in the pipeline. He claimed that after getting this project executed, the problem of drainage would be solved completely.


Villagers block traffic, demand regular power

Jalandhar, July 1
Hundreds of residents of Lalian Khurd, Rampur and adjoining villages today blocked traffic on the Jalandhar-Nakodar road near Badshahpur village for three hours to protest against the failure of the Punjab State Electricity Board to restore power supply for the past 10 days.

The residents alleged that despite claims of a continuous power supply by the board authorities to villages, the latter had failed to restore power supply to these villages for the past 10 days.

The residents held a dharna in front of the sub-divisional office at Badshahpur village and raised anti-government slogans. Later, they blocked traffic on the Jalandhar-Nakodar road for three hours to protest against the anti-rural policies of the board.

“We are being forced to live under miserable conditions due to irregular power supply. The power supply is available only for one hour every day to the residents for the past 10 days. Why the people residing in rural areas are being treated as second class citizen, even as we are paying equal price for power consumption?” questioned Baldish Kaur, panch of Lallian Khurd village.

Later, the dharna was lifted following assurances of the SDO concerned to resume power supply by evening. The Chief Engineer (North) was not available for comments. PTI


Shifting of Intelligence officers flayed
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 1
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, Member of Parliament and President, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) yesterday said that shifting of a section of officials of state intelligence including ADGP, A.P. Bhatnagar, had dealt a setback to the ongoing anti-corruption campaign launched by the Congress government in Punjab.

Talking to The Tribune here on Sunday, Mr Mann pointed out that the anti-corruption campaign of the state government had been suffering setbacks time and again as Punjab Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh was being misguided repeatedly by a section of bureaucrats and his political aides.

He added that due to the dilution of the anti-corruption campaign some of the accused, who had collected huge sums of money by misusing their official positions, had started getting bails in various corruption cases registered against them.

Mr Mann said that his party was not in favour of imposition of President’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir while holding Assembly elections.


Probe into use of ‘sangat darshan’ funds begins

Moga, July 1
The district administration has started a probe into the utilisation of funds distributed by former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. Three committees headed by subdivisional magistrates of Moga, Baghapurana and Nihalsinghwala, respectively, have been constituted for this purpose.

Another committee for the Dharamkot area, headed by the secretary of the Zila Parishad, SDO, Panchayati Raj and Naib Tehsildar has also been constituted.

Stating this here today, Additional Deputy Commissioner, H.L. Kumar said that the committees would be probing the utilisation of funds given under the sangat darshan programme.

Mr H.L. Kumar said every committee had been directed to submit its report by July 6. PTI


Mystery over property dealer’s death
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 1
Confusion prevails over the death of Raman Kumar (30), resident of Shivala colony, at 9.30 a.m. here today. While the in-laws of the deceased said he committed suicide, Raman’s mother Prem Kumari alleged that his in-laws had murdered him.

Raman, a property dealer, who also used to teach vehicle driving, had been living with his in-laws for the past 22 days. The mother of deceased in the FIR alleged that Raman was murdered jointly by father-in-law Tara Chand and brothers-in-law Babla and Sona, who used to threaten him as Rekha (wife of Raman) wanted to live separately. However, the in-laws said that Raman was upset due to some reasons and had committed suicide.

The police had taken the .12 bore gun with which the alleged murder was committed.


Invitation for talks accepted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 1
The Confederation of Employees of the Punjab Excise and Taxation Department has accepted the invitation of the Excise and Taxation Commissioner for talks at Patiala on July 3 to sort out various problems, including the “prevalence of suffocating work atmosphere in the department”.

The confederation had started a work-to-rule stir on June 21 in protest against “fear psychosis and suffocating work environment in the department which, it alleged, had claimed the lives of an ETO and two Inspectors”. The confederation also observed June 25 as a “black day”.

According to Mr Sucha Singh Cheema, president, Excise and Taxation Officers Association, the decision to accept the invitation for talks was taken at a meeting of the confederation at Ludhiana yesterday.


Delhi-Ferozepore Shatabdi sought
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 1
The local Railway Passengers Association has urged the Railway Minister to start the promised New Delhi-Ferozepore and New Delhi -Sriganganagar Shatabdi trains so that residents of the area are benefited.

Mr R.K. Goyal, general secretary of the association, in a press note issued here today said that the area was being neglected while starting new trains.


Sacked MC worker not paid dues
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 1
Mr Surjit Singh, of the Jogi Nagar area of the city has been running from pillar to post to get his salary for four-and- a-half months released and secure the job back while the local municipal council authorities are not paying any heed to his requests.

In a letter written to the Chief Minister, Mr Surjit Singh has alleged that while he had worked with the local municipal council as a pump operator from June 20, 1996, to February 28, 1997, he was paid salary for only four months. He alleged that he was sacked from the job without any notice and the salary for the remaining period was not paid.


Harpreet murder case: order reserved

Patiala, July 1
Additional Sessions Judge S.P. Bangar today reserved order on the plea of Parmjit Singh Raipur, who sought the court permission to go abroad.

Parmjit is an accused in the case of mysterious death of Harpreet Kaur, alias Rosy, daughter of former SGPC chief Jagir Kaur. Ms Jagir Kaur is the prime accused in the case. UNI


CM mourns Sikh pilgrims’ death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 1
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Transport Minister Tej Parkash Singh, Public Works Minister Partap Singh Bajwa and Minister of State for Tourism Ashwani Sekhri have expressed grief over the death of 13 Sikh pilgrims in a bus accident in Chamoli district yesterday.

Capt Amarinder Singh has requested Uttaranchal Chief Minister N.D. Tiwari to direct the police authorities and medical teams to provide all possible help to the injured. He has also requested Mr Tiwari to make adequate arrangements for sending the bodies to their respective destinations.


Unpopular trades in ITIs to be phased out
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 1
The Punjab Government has decided to phase out 127 units of 25 unpopular and obsolete trades in all the state-run ITIs. The new courses would be introduced from the forthcoming session.

Stating this here today, Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, Technical Education Minister, Punjab, said in order to impart industrial training in the technical institutions equal number of units of modern art trades were being introduced. The trades of book binder, letter press machines, painter, manufacture of footwear, moulder, watch and clock repair, pattern maker, radio and TV, sheet metal worker, surveyor were being replaced by the trades of information technology, consumer electronics, medical electronics, industrial electronics, computer hardware, foundry and auto electrician.

The minister said no new posts would be created for the new trades of modern technology.

Regarding change in the admission procedures to be implemented from August 2002, the government has decided to make all seats available in one pool and a candidate possessing minimum prescribed qualification would be considered for admission on merit.

Mr Kaypee further pointed out that many of the aspiring candidates could not get admission due to the dual merit system, this policy of admission was not found suitable for the youth of the state. However, the candidates having higher qualifications would be given preference in the form of additional marks, added Mr Kaypee.


Miscreants’ lock school premises
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, July 1
Students of the local government primary school and women teachers and representatives of different political parties had to stage a dharna to get the school premises unlocked. Some miscreants locked the school today on the first day when the school reopened after the summer break.

The school is running from a building of the Wakf Board. Some shopkeepers took possession of the school building during the summer vacation and today when the students and the teachers went to the school they saw it locked. Students and teachers sat in the bazaar in protest. Leaders of different political parties, including Mr Anil Joshi (BJP), Mr Ram Singh (SAD), Mr Inder Jit Walia and Mahant Gurmukh Das (both Congress), Mr Lalit Kumar Lovely (BSP) and other people of the town staged a dharna at the local Char Khamba crossing. As a result, traffic remained disrupted for hours together.

Mr Gurpreet Singh, DSP, Mr Surjit Singh, DSP (D), along with police force reached the spot and unlocked the school main gate where the miscreants had put one more lock on the school lock.

Mr Narinder Bhargav, SSP, said the police had imposed 144 Cr P.C. on the disputed site whereas the miscreants have been booked under criminal case by the local city police.

Mrs Gurbachan Kaur, headmistress of the school, said that the school has been running from this site since 1949 and some miscreants want to take possession of the school forcibly. Mr Baldev Singh, Deputy DEO (P), Amritsar, and Mr Bhupinder Singh, local SDM, too reached the spot to assist the police.


Pvt college teachers hold rallies

Moga, July 1
In response to a call given by the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union, private college teachers throughout the state today wore black badges and organised rallies in their respective colleges affiliated to various universities of the state to protest against the “negative policies” of the state government.

President, PCCTU, S.S. Hundal said here that college teachers were protesting as the state government had “completely failed to release the arrears of their salaries pending by up to seven months”.

He said the “most disturbing” was the decision of the government to lower the 95 per cent grant-in-scheme by 10 per cent.

Mr Hundal said the teachers were demanding immediate withdrawal of such “unjust” orders. PTI


Guru Nanak varsity appointments
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 1
Prof. B.R. Batra today took over as head of Guru Ramdas School of Planning, Prof M.P. Mahajan of Applied Chemistry Department, Dr Renu Bhardwaj of Botanical and Environmental Sciences, Prof Gurupdesh Singh at English Department and Dr Gajendra Singh of Pharmaceutical Sciences of the Guru Nanak Dev University for a period of three years while Dr H.K. Mangat took over as head of Zoology Department for a period up to September 25.

Prof Daljit Singh took over as head of newly set-up school of Legal studies at GNDU regional campus Jalandhar while Prof Anil Tiwari of English Department and Dr Tejinder Kaur was appointed head of the Punjabi Department at Jalandhar campus.

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