Saturday, July 20, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Put off loan recovery, plead parties
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
Drought has become an issue in Punjab. While former Punjab Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal has urged the state government to postpone the recovery of all crop loans and to announce compensation for drought-hit farmers, the state CPI wants that a team of the Union Government should immediately visit various parts, especially the Malwa and Kandi belt, to assess the damage caused to various crops.

Dr Joginder Dayal, Secretary of the state CPI, assessed the damage to paddy and other crops around 40 per cent in the Malwa belt, which is worst affected. Mr Badal says it is up to 50 per cent. If there is no rain in the coming 72 hours, the loss will be much more than the figure I quoted today,” Mr Badal adds.

The former Chief Minister said the entire economy of the state would be destablised. It would have a cascading effect crippling not only the farming community but also commission agents in the urban areas, The tax collection would also be affected. The state government should provide maximum power to the agriculture sector. The Union Government should also come to the help of not only farmers of Punjab but also of other parts of the country as drought was a countrywide phenomenon.

Mr Badal has urged the state government to roll back taxes levied on fertilisers, purchase of milk and pesticides, keeping in view the prevailing situation in the agriculture sector. There was no scope of further taxation in the agriculture sector and the government should do away with its plans of charging power bills and “ abiana” from farmers, he added.

Unofficially, the government agencies also say that the loss due to drought is between 20 and 30 per cent. However, the Punjab Government has not yet announced any special “girdavari” to assess the loss yet.

Chief Secretary, Y.S. Ratra said the Union Government had not sent any special instructions with regard to the prevailing dry spell. When asked is there was any order from the Union Government to postpone the recovery of crop loans etc keeping in view the prevailing situation, Mr Ratra replied in the negative.

Dr Dayal said an all-party delegation should go to meet the Prime Minister to request him to declare Punjab as a drought-hit state. Punjab Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh, should call an all-party meeting soon to discuss the issue of sending such a delegation to Delhi. “The issue concerned Punjab’s economy and all parties should join hands to put pressure on the Centre to announce a special relief package for the state”, Dr Dayal said.

The CPI Secretary said the farming community had to pay a heavy price because of SAD-BJP rule in the state in the past five years. The SAD-BJP Government did not oppose any decision of the Union Government to increase the prices of diesel, fertilisers and other inputs meant for the agriculture sector.

Punjab is already facing a serious financial crisis. It is not in a position to announce any compensation for the farming community at the moment. Farmers have suffered a huge loss because of the prevailing dry spell.

Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, General Secretary of the SHSAD, said today farmers should be given relief in cash immediately as they needed money to spend on diesel to save their crops.


PF interest rate not to be cut

Sangrur, July 19
The Union Government, in principle, had accepted not to reduce the interest rates on Provident Funds of the employees, said Union Labour and Employment Minister Sahib Singh Verma here today.

Mr Verma, who was talking to newsmen, however, said he would soon meet Union Finance Minister Jaswant Singh in this connection.

The minister said after receiving the Labour Commission report his ministry would formulate an action plan for providing employment opportunity to one crore youths of the country as announced by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. The minister also assured to liberalise the ITI admission process, enabling maximum number of students to get vocational education and training.

Mr Verma said the Centre was worried about a drought-like situation prevailing in Punjab due to bad weather and delayed monsoon. He said the affected farmers of the state would be compensated by the Centre.

Punjab BJP President Brij Lal Rinwa and other senior leaders were also present at the press conference. UNI


Role of Sikh clergy under scrutiny
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 19
The former SGPC Secretary, Mr Kulwant Singh, has given a full account of the role of the Sikh clergy and Presidents of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) in the post-Operation Bluestar period which may put most of them in a tight spot.

The book of the former SGPC Secretary, which is likely to be released next week, has alleged that since Giani Kirpal Singh was Jathedar of Akal Takht at the time of Operation Bluestar, the Centre or the state government had directly or indirectly influenced the appointment of the Sikh clergy. The author has given a number of instances to substantiate his allegations when Sikh clergy or presidents of Shiromani Committees violated “Sikh maryada” or bylaws of the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925.

The author also mentioned the mismanagement and alleged misappropriation of SGPC funds. Mr Kulwant Singh, who served the SGPC for about four decades in different capacities, narrated first-hand information about the role of SGPC members and its employees. He said the SGPC had failed to come up to the expectations of the Sikh masses as many of those who contest the election distributed liquor and intoxicants to woo the voters.

However, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar of Akal Takht, refuted the allegations of Mr Kulwant Singh. On the rescinding of the “hukamnamas” (edicts) issued by Giani Puran Singh in his capacity as Jathedar of Akal Takht, Jathedar Vedanti said the edict wherein Bibi Jagir Kaur, the then SGPC chief, was excommunicated could not be described as “hukamnama”. He said the “hukamnamas” could not be issued to settle personal scores. Moreover, Giani Puran Singh had issued the ‘edict’ from a PCO which could not be justified and hence after his (Jathedar Vedanti’s) installation as Jathedar of Akal Takht the Sikh clergy had rescinded all the “orders” of Giani Puran Singh.

Mr Kulwant Singh mentioned the “misappropriation” of funds by Bibi Jagir Kaur during her tenure as SGPC chief. However, Bibi Jagir Kaur said she had never “embezzled” any funds as mentioned in the book. She said Mr Kulwant Singh had levelled “baseless” allegations as he was removed as SGPC Secretary during her tenure.

“His (Mr Kulwant Singh’s) role had been under suspicion as he remained a close confidant of Mr Tohra”. Moreover, Mr Kulwant Singh was removed as he was not “qualified” for the job and had attained the age of 62 years.

She further said that Mr Kulwant Singh had collected some money on her name from the shopkeepers in the SGPC complex and she got the same returned. “It is unfair on the part of Mr Kulwant Singh to retaliate by indulging in character assassination”. However, Mr Kulwant Singh claimed that his confidential reports were meritorious and he was never issued any charge-sheet throughout his career.

It is pertinent to mention here that in his book Mr Kulwant Singh has alleged that he had opposed all the ‘wasteful expenditures’ as Bibi Jagir Kaur wanted to use “gurdwara funds” like “government funds”. He claimed that being a Secretary he had been opposing such expenditures and saved huge amount of the SGPC. “This was why I was removed as SGPC Secretary and Dr Gurbachan Singh Bachan, a close confidant of Bibi Jagir Kaur was first brought as her OSD who later on replaced him as Secretary SGPC”.



Book exposes Badal, says SHSAD
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
Launching a counter-attack against former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, the SHSAD said today that the unpublished book authored by former SGPC Secretary Kulwant Singh had exposed the real face of Mr Badal.

Excerpts from the book were carried today by The Tribune. Commenting in this connection, the General Secretary of the SHSAD, Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, said it had been proved beyond doubt that Mr Badal used official machinery and various other means to destroy various Panthic institutions and to remove the Jathedar of Akal Takht and SGPC Chief G.S. Tohra to serve his ( Mr Badal) political ends.

Addressing a press conference, he said Mr Kulwant Singh, who was once a confidant of Mr Badal, had discloued how Mr Badal used to pressure various members of the SGPC and Jathedars of various Sikh Takhts and make them to decide in his (Badal) favour.

He said if Mr Badal had the courage, he should accept the open invitation extended by Mr Tohra to hold a public debate on various Panthic issues. The harm caused by Mr Badal to the Panthic institutions was many times more than what was done by Mrs Indira Gandhi and her father, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.

It was only Mr Tohra who, when called by the then SAD chief, Sant Harchand Singh Longowal, reached the Golden Temple shortly before “Operation Bluestar” while Mr Badal did not respond to Mr Longowal’s call and locked himself at his house in native Badal village. If Mr Badal wanted that Mr Tohra should respond to what Bhai Ranjit Singh had stated about him (Tohra) then he should also reply to what Bhai Ranjit Singh had stated about him (Mr Badal), Mr Chandumajra said.

Mr Badal was playing a petty political game by levelling false allegations against Mr Tohra. He said that Mr Badal would not be able to revive his political fortunes by resorting to a false propaganda that Mr Tohra was playing the Congress game in the state.


Ahluwalia’s book removed from MA course
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 19
After the ouster of Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia from vice-chancellorship of Punjabi University, now a collection of poetry under the title “Sach Di Bela’’ written by him and which was a part of the curriculum of MA (II) Punjabi, is being shown the door. Ironically, the same Board of Post-Graduate Studies in Punjabi which had recommended that Dr Ahluwalia’s book be made part of the syllabus for the session starting 2001, has now ‘’realised’’ that the book is ‘’indecent and vulgar and not fit for being part of the university syllabus’’.

A decision to remove the book of poetry was taken at a meeting of the board which was presided over by Dr Balwinder Kaur Brar. Earlier, Head of the Punjabi Department, Prof Bhupinder Singh Khaira, had submitted representations filed by Government College, Faridkot, and Mohindra College, Patiala, urging the university to remove the poetry book from the syllabus.

Today’s meeting unanimously decided that the book was not fit to remain in the curriculum and should be discontinued from this academic session. The board has simultaneously included in the syllabus a book written by Paash by the name of “Sadha Samay Vich” which it felt represented “progressive poetry’’.

Ironically, the same board had earlier included the poetry of Ahluwalia in its curriculum for post-graduate students, saying that Dr Ahluwalia best exemplified “progressive poetry”. In fact, the then Board Chairman Dr Jaswinder Singh, wrote an eulogy in praise of Dr Ahluwalia which along with praises by other writers formed nearly 40 per cent of the pages of the book.

The lavish praise showered in the foreword of the book which has only seven poems and reams in praise of Ahluwalia going back to quotes written on him in the 1960s was also taken up by the board yesterday. A board member, Dr B.S. Khaira, said it was felt that the foreword and introduction written by Dr Jaswinder Singh in the book were unethical from the academic viewpoint. He said it was also decided that, henceforth, no head of the board would write articles to project any writer in the book which was being included in the course curriculum. He said it was felt that this did not allow students to form their own opinions about the author and, instead, tried to thrust an opinion on them which was unwarranted.

Dr Khaira said the role of other members of the board who had earlier lavished praise on Ahluwalia and heralded him as a progressive poet was also taken up at the meeting. Speaking about Dr Jaswinder Singh, one member said the academician had been under pressure from the former Vice-Chancellor to write a favourable article in Ahluwalia’s book.


HC stays order cancelling PTU admissions
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
Staying the operation of orders whereby admission to different courses under the Distance Education Programme of Punjab Technical University were cancelled, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notice of motion for August 9.

Delivering the orders, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice Jawahar Lal Gupta and Mr Justice S.S. Grewal, observed: “Advocate for the petitioners contends that the instructions issued by the government vide its letter dated July 17 are totally without jurisdiction. Under the provisions of the Punjab Technical University Act, 1996, the state government has no jurisdiction to supersede the decision made by the Board of Governors. Notice of motion for August 9. In the meanwhile, operation of the order shall remain stayed”.

Seeking the quashing of the memo, Kumar Gaurav and 47 other students admitted to courses under the Distance Education Programme had contended that the university, set up under the relevant Act, was an autonomous and statutory body. They had added that as such the state government had no control over its affairs. The impugned order was completely destroying the autonomous character of the university.

“The very purpose of framing the PTU Act would be frustrated if the state government was permitted to intervene in the matters specifically vested with the university by the virtue of the statutory provisions,” counsel had submitted.

Giving details, they had added that university was otherwise also empowered to generate and maintain continuing education programmes and confer degrees, diplomas and certificates.

Arguing on their behalf, counsel for the petitioners had added that the impugned order was the mastermind of Ms Romila Dubey, appointed as Vice-Chancellor. Even before her appointment as the VC, she started issuing press statements criticising the Distance Education Programme, he had concluded.


PTU acting VC's order overruled
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 19
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today virtually snubbed Ms Romila Dubey, Punjab Technical Education Department's Principal Secretary and Acting Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Technical University by terming her action of scrapping the Distance Education Department of the PTUs “not a government order”, putting an end to speculations about the future of the department and the career of at least 50,000 students associated with it.

Ms Romila Dubey, had kicked a row by ordering the winding up of the department on Wednesday, allegedly even without consulting the Punjab Technical Education Minister, Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, who had expressed his displeasure over the manner things had been moving after her taking over as the Acting Vice-Chancellor varsity the orders were also stayed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court after 48 students had filed a writ petition on July 18.


Waiting for NRI husbands
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 19
Kulwinder (name changed) has been looking after her two children with the hope that one day her husband will return from the USA.

However, Kulwinder, a resident of Moga district, who has been waiting for her husband for the past eight years, on making enquiries came to know that her husband had divorced her after getting her signature on the divorce papers fraudulently and had subsequently married a US citizen.

In another case a professional girl of Ferozepore district got married to a citizen of the USA about five years ago. She went to the USA after about two years of her marriage. However, she was left on her own the moment she landed in New York. She has been living there alone.

“I was married to Mohinder Singh of Sangrur district, who was working in Italy in 1992 and was blessed with a son in 1995. I went to Italy and returned with my husband. When my husband left for Italy again, he refused to take me and my son along with him. Later, she was thrown out of her in-laws’ house. My complaint with the local police did not yield any result”, alleged Samarjit Kaur (name changed).

She has been living in her parents’ house with her son in the hope that the police authorities will bring back her husband.

Devinder Kaur (name changed) of Ludhiana district got married to Ravinder Singh, an NRI. After the marriage Ravinder Singh flew to Canada and immediately after she was thrown out of her in-laws’ house. Now living with her parents, she has approached the Jagraon police for getting justice.

For the past many years the instances of deserting their wives by NRIs has been rising.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that most parents of girls, who were deserted by their NRI husbands never bothered to inquire the credentials of the foreign-based bridegrooms as their main concern was that their daughter would live a comfortable life with all facilities in foreign lands.

Another aspect was their hope of making to the greener pastures after their daughter became a citizen of foreign country.

Mr Balwant Singh Ramowalia, MP, has written a letter to the Chief Minister, Punjab to take deterrent measures in this regard. He demanded that the guilty bridegrooms should be brought back to India through extradition treaty and be prosecuted as per law. An anti-fraudulent marriage cell should be established in each district, and the role of middlemen in marriages should be probed and be punished accordingly.


Farm strategy meeting on July 23
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
Even as kharif prospects are being assessed in Punjab in the wake of the delayed monsoon, there is a move to frame a basic policy, based on the report of Dr S S Johl Committee on Agriculture policy. A meeting to draw up an ‘’integrated’’ actionable strategy is scheduled here for July 23.

Dr Johl told TNS today that there had been several independent presentations to the Chief Minister on agriculture, agribusiness, Agrivision, dairy and allied sectors, setting up of Punjab agro-food grains corporation etc in the past fortnight.

At present there are varied views on a variety of issues. For instance, the proposed 4 per cent purchase tax on milk by the Excise and Taxation Department was opposed by the Animal Husbandry Department at the Council of Ministers meeting on July 12. This has held up the requisite notification.

The Chief Secretary, Mr Y.S. Ratra, when asked about the clash of ‘’interests’’ that send wrong signals said he would discuss the issue with the Chief Minister and an in-house mechanism would be worked out to put into practice an actionable ‘’integrated’’ policy.

Dr Johl said foreseeing such problems in the politico-administrative system, he had suggested to the Chief Minister to constitute a small ‘’core’’ group within the Planning Board to examine all available reports, pertaining to agriculture and allied sectors, industry and disinvestment, education — general, technical, professional — and prepare an integrated approach policy in each specific field. Even the name of Dr R.P. Bambah, a member of the board, was suggested for this highly important and technical job. He would be assisted by professionals and representatives of the disciplines concerned. Such a task can be completed in six months.

Referring to the July 23 meeting, Dr Johl said it was time to sit down and work out the modalities in respect of management (diversification) of wheat and paddy and short-list specific crops (vegetables, fruits, flowers, forestry) and processing projects that were to be introduced.

For the success of any scheme, it is imperative for the producers to get assured market and remunerative returns. In terms of agribusiness or processing, the scheme or project has to be bankable, attractive to institutions and the corporate sector. Hence, the Punjab Agro-Industries Corporation has also prepared an ‘’agrivision’’ and a background paper on processing industry that lists 15 scheme/projects that will help switchover form high-volume, low-return crops to high-value addition alternatives having global market acceptability.

The basic aim of the agro-industries corporation proposals is to obviate farmers’ dependence on the central and state procurement agencies and put Punjab on the fast track that is in line with WTO standards. To give just one small example in respect of processing, even if 25 per cent of the wheat produced in Punjab is processed into bread and other value-added bakery products it will mean the creation of additional value of Rs 10,000 crore, almost 1.5 times the total value of wheat produced. The same holds true in respect of poultry and dairy.

In the larger interest of the state, the government is also considering to have a standing committee of eminent economists, bureaucrats concerned to monitor the ‘’integrated’’ action plan.


Defeated candidate claims victory
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, July 19
Mr Harjit Singh Shahri of Hasta Kalan village of this subdivision who had contested the zila parishad poll in June this year has in a petition filed before the Deputy Commissioner, Ferozepore, claimed that he had won the election but had been declared defeated.

Harjit Singh said he contested the election from Zone. No. 14 of Hasta Kalan against Congress candidate Amar Singh. He claimed to have got 8658 votes while Mr Amar Singh got 8294 and thus he had won the election. But he was declared defeated by Mr J.C. Sabarwal, SDM-cum-returning officer, Jalalabad.

Releasing a copy of his affidavit and petition to the press he stated that he had not been provided a certified copy of the result by the authorities concerned despite repeated requests made by him.


Married at 17, deserted in 3 months
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 19
Deserted by husband after a few months of marriage and disowned by her in-laws, a minor girl Sangeeta, hailing from UP, still and waits an end to her agony.

While she was going to her mother’s house at Panipat (Haryana) after remarrying while her first husband is living. Sant Ram, a local resident abducted her from train and brought her in Balraj Nagar here on the pretext that he would send her to her mother’s house.

As she was trying to come to terms with the tragedy which took place to her Aitapraspur village in Gonda district in UP, where she was married, hoping that she would be with her mother shortly, another shock came when she was taken to Jaito town of Faridkot district by Sant Ram and his three associates and sold to Mithu for a few thousand rupees.

She saved herself from sexual harassment by Sant Ram and his associates though she lived with him for one month, but was raped repeatedly by Mithu in the 14 days she stayed with him at Jaito.

Before selling off her to Mithu, the accused through an advocate got prepared the documents relating to the court marriage with consent. Signatures of her were also obtained on those documents.

Fed up with her sexual harassment, she gathered courage and asked Mithu that she wanted to meet Sant Ram at Bathinda and came with him here. After reaching Sant Ram’s house, she met another victim of Sant Ram, who was living in his neighbourhood and sought her help.

Both she and another victim met Mrs Gurdev Kaur, member of the Executive Council of the CPI, Bathinda district and narrated their tales of woe. Mrs Gurdev Kaur presented both victims before the SP(D), Mr Rajinder Singh today.

Narrating her tale of woe, she alleged that when she met Geeta, Sant Ram and his associates got suspicious and beaten up her mercilessly. She also showed marks of injury on her face. She added that Sant Ram and other accused tried to gave her electric shocks also.

She alleged that when she was taken to Mithu at Jaito, Sant Ram took some money from him. After that she was forced to wear bridal dress and forced to pose for photographs with Mithu to give impression that she had consented to marry Mithu. The accused also produced her before the judicial magistrate after taking her signature’s on the documents.

She said that other accused included Shankar, Rani and Geeta. She added that she could not go to her mother as she (her mother) had remarried. She said that she did not know whether her father, who was sick when she married, was alive or not.

Another victim, wife of rickshaw-puller was also sold to Mithu by the same accused few months ago. However, she saved herself after spending two days with Mithu and now is living with her husband.

Mr Rajinder Singh, SP(D), said that an FIR would be registered after taking the statement of the victims and the accused would be arrested soon.

The police has arrested Amarjit Kaur, a member of the gang involved in looting the unsuspecting rural people by arranging their fake marriages for money.


Kaushal denies move to chargesheet him
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
Mr Sarvesh Kaushal, Principal Secretary, Local Bodies, Punjab, today denied that there was any move by the Centre to charge-sheet him for any irregularities allegedly committed during his tenure as the FCI Regional Manager from 1993 to 1998.

In a statement issued here, Mr Kaushal complained that a disinformation campaign was being launched against him in a section of the media by some vested interests, to malign his image, though the CBI inquiry had exonerated him. He said there was no question of charge sheet being issued to him at this stage as he had already challenged the explanation memoranda served on him by the Union Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Ministry before the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT).

The explanation memoranda were sought by the Centre to seek Mr Kaushal’s version on charges levelled against him so as to decide whether proceedings against him should be initiated. Mr Kaushal said he challenged the explanation memoranda in the CAT as in the light of the CBI inquiries the allegations of irregularities had been proved wrong. The CAT had observed in February that “the desirability of issuing a charge sheet, if any, to him would be decided by a competent authority”. The order was ratified by the CAT on April 24, pending which nothing else could be done by the state.

Mr Kaushal denied having filed any application before the CAT against any alleged order to charge sheet him. “Even otherwise, any authority which might have contemplated to pass an ex-parte order on the explanation of memoranda to charge sheet me under ignorance, mistaken belief or extraneous pressure, would have indulged in an exercise in futility”, he contended.


Doc’s negligence led to her death?
Surinder Bhardwaj

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 19
Residents here today protested against the death of Saroj Wadhwa (35) allegedly due to negligence on the part of Dr Saroj Sethi of the local Civil Hospital yesterday while conducting tounsils operation when she allegedly cut another vein. They demanded the immediate arrest of the doctor.

Till the filing of the report the body was lying in front of the DC office as the relatives of the deceased wanted to have a post-mortem examination conducted by the PGI or Rajindra hospital, Patiala, by a board of doctors. The PGI refused as they declared her brought dead and the ADC had directed the local Civil Surgeon to get the post-mortem examination conducted from Patiala as the relatives apprehended that the doctors here might not mention the real cause of death.

Mr Naresh Kumar, resident of Sirhind, and husband of the deceased told The Tribune that his wife was suffering from tonsils. They went to the Civil Hospital and the doctor recommended operation and he got his wife admitted there. He said at about 11 am his wife was taken to the Operation theatre and after few minutes the operation staff came out and said the operation had been successful. He said he went to bring refreshment for the doctors, but on returning found that his wife was being put in an ambulance, which the doctor called from the Civil Hospital, Bassi Pathana.

When he asked the doctors why he was told that her condition had deteriorated during the operation and they were shifting her to the PGI.

He said on reaching there the doctors went missing. The doctors of the PGI refused to admit her and declared her brought dead. They also refused to conduct a post-mortem examination and sent the body to the Civil Hospital, Sector 16. He alleged that she had died due to overbleeding as the doctor during the operation had cut another vein and just to hide her negligence took her to the PGI.

When contacted Mr O.P. Chabra, Civil Surgeon, denied the allegation that the patient died due to negligence of the doctor. He said though the real cause of death would be known only after a post-mortem examination, but as per prima facia she died due to cardiac arrest during the operation. He said the doctors accompanied the patient to save her life.

Meanwhile, Ms Anita Takyar, Municipal Commissioner, has demanded strict action against the erring doctor and demanded her arrest. She said the patient had definitely died due to negligence of doctors. She said the residents are would continue to protest till the doctor was arrested.

A case has been registered under Section 174, CrPC.


Minister orders probe into land grab allegation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
Shaheed Udham Singh Engineering College which was in the news due to unauthorised construction in the Punjab New Periphery Control Act, is now again in the eye of a storm with allegations of encroachment and land grab being levelled against it.

Mr Baljinder Singh, Nambardar of Tangori village who belongs to the minor community had made a complaint against the management of the college to high officials of Punjab Government and the Vigilance Bureau, Punjab, in this regard. As per a copy of the letter written to the minister.... the Nambardar has alleged that the land on which the building of the college has been constructed belongs to the minor community cremation area, burial ground. The khasra numbers of the land are: 531/15(8-0) 52//19/9(8-0) 20 (8-0) 22(8-0), 56/1(7-11) 2(8-0) 52//9 (8-0) 10 (7-12) 11 (4-18) 12 (8-0) 53//12/3 (1-18) 53//6(7-11) 8/1 (3-8) 13/3 (1-16) 13/4 (4-0) 62(1-11) 63 (1-11).

Chaudhary Santokh Singh, Minister for Welfare of SC/BC, yesterday sent written directions to the Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, to immediately look into the matter and give a report within three days. He said the welfare of the Dalits and the downtrodden was a top priority with the government and the government would take immediate action if it was found that the rights of these communities were being denied in any form.

According to sources the management of the college — Mr J.S Sidhu, Mr Jasmail Singh Dhaliwal and Mr Gurlabh Singh — had not purchased the complete 25 acres of land required as per the All-India Council For Technical Education (AICTE) norms for opening the college. The remaining land which is necessary for fulfilling the affiliation norms thus had allegedly been encroached upon by the college. The Punjab Government has, according to sources, not provided any certification for the conversion of land- use from agricultural purposes to educational activities. In fact last year PUDA had stayed the construction work on the new building block of the college.

Mr Baljinder Singh had already complained to the Tehsildar, SAS Nagar, in this regard through a letter (dated 20.7.2001). The Tehsildar had marked an inquiry to the patwari concerned in this regard. While submitting his report, the patwari had mentioned that the said college had already constructed a building on the same land.

The management has also allegedly encroached upon panchayat land and had constructed the boundary wall of the college and also converted it into football ground.

The vice-chairman of the management of Shaheed Udham Singh Engineering College, Mr J.S Dhaliwal, however, said the college had taken the land on lease from the panchayat and had purchased seven acres of land initially. The rest of the land will also be purchased soon, he said. He also said that the management had taken approval from PUDA after the construction, whereas as per the norms such approval has to be taken before starting construction.


Directive to CM on poll plea
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
Fixing August 13 as the next date of hearing on a petition accusing Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh of indulging in corrupt practices during the assembly elections, Mr Justice Jasbir Singh of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed that written statement on his behalf should be filed by then.

Issuing directions, Mr Justice Jasbir Singh further directed that the copy of the statement should be supplied to counsel for the petitioner in advance. “If need be, counsel for the petitioner will file a replication”, the Judge concluded.

In his petition, Mr Harkirat Singh of Patiala had earlier sought the quashing of the election from Patiala town assembly constituency on the ground of adoption of corrupt practices. Giving details, he had claimed that the services of Class I gazetted officer, Bharat Inder Singh Chahal, working as Joint Director in the Information and Public Relations Department, were used for helping the respondent during the election campaign.

He had further claimed that Chahal had actively participated in a press conference addressed by the respondent. Subsequently, a show cause notice was also issued to him. However, after taking oath on February 27, the respondent appointed him as Adviser to the Chief Minister.

Arguing on behalf of the petitioner, counsel for the petitioner had alleged that the assistance of Patiala’s Superintendent of Police Gurnam Singh Mehra was also procured. The CM also exercised undue influence on voters by projecting himself as “Maharaja of Patiala” in the posters. Moreover, the respondent had spent more than the prescribed limit of Rs 6 lakh on the election campaign, it was alleged.

Curbs on Baba quashed

Allowing a petition filed by Piara Singh Bhaniarawala, Mr Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel of the High Court on Friday quashed orders restricting him from entering Ropar district.

The Baba was arrested by the police under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code for violating the orders of Ropar’s District Magistrate asking him to leave the district within three days. The DM had also banned his entry into the district till September 12 fearing a danger to public tranquility.

Scam approver’s plea dismissed

A Division Bench of the High Court today dismissed a petition filed by approver in Punjab Public Service Commission recruitment scam Jagman Singh seeking the grant of interim bail.

In his petition taken up by the Bench, comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall, Jagman Singh had contended that his wife was in “advanced stage of pregnancy” and the expected date of delivery was July 17. He had added that except for him there was no one to look after her.

Going into the background of the case, the petitioner had contended that he was taken into custody in a case registered in the PPSC scam under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption Act by the state Vigilance Bureau at SAS Nagar on March 25. Claiming to have been implicated in the case, he had added that his name had not been mentioned in the first information report registered by the Bureau.

Counsel for the petitioner had added that Jagman Singh was later projected as a tout of suspended PPSC chairman Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu.

3-day notice to Maluka, if wanted

Taking up a petition filed by a former cabinet minister in Badal government Sikander Singh Maluka, seeking the grant of pre-arrest bail, Mr Justice K.S. Garewal ruled that a three-day notice should be issued in case he was required.

Seeking the grant of anticipatory bail, the former minister had contended that he was apprehending arrest due to political vendetta. He added that the current government, soon after taking over, had launched a state-wide campaign against Akali Dal members.


Dheera, Sagar to record statements today
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 19
Two of the prime accused in the PPSC job-for-money scam, Randhir Dheera and Prem Sagar, will appear before the sessions court here tomorrow to record their statements as approvers.

Both Dheera and Sagar obtained permission to turn approvers from the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate yesterday. The two alleged touts of former PPSC Chairman Ravinder Sidhu appeared before the Chief Judicial Magistrate today to record their statements. However, the CJM directed them to appear before the sessions court stating that the recording of their statements did not fall under his jurisdiction since the challan had been presented in the sessions court.

Thereafter both Dheera and Sagar presented themselves before the Sessions Judge who directed them to appear tomorrow for the recording of their statements as approvers.


Police remand for ex-members of PSSSB
Our Correspondent

Kharar, July 19
Four former members of the Punjab Subordinate Services Selection Board namely Kulbir Singh Randhawa, Munawer Masih, Jarnail Singh and Ashoke Loomba, who had been arrested by the Vigilance Department, were remanded in police custody till July 23 today by Mr Roshan Lal Chouhan, Judicial Magistrate here.

Mr Jatinderjit Singh Punn, public prosecuter, and Mr Jaspal Jassal (DSP, Vigilance) pleaded for seven days police remand of all accused. Mr Punn said Kulbir Singh Randhawa was already in police remand in an FIR registered by the Vigilance Bureau and he was again arrested under FIR No. 15 registered at SAS Nagar.

He said the remaining accused were arrested on July 13 and remanded till July 19 by the same court.

He said the accused, during police interrogation, had revealed that they had selected many candidates by ignoring merit and by taking bribe. He said more information was yet to be collected from them about other candidates who had been selected.

Meanwhile, many workers of the BJP and the SAD held protest in the tehsil complex here and raised slogans against the state government and the Chief Minister.

They demanded that ‘false’ cases against workers of the parties should be taken back. The members of the Christian Front held a protest march against the arrest of Munawer Masih.


Vigilance raid on MC office
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 19
After the publication of the news item in The Tribune regarding the alleged House Tax scam in the local Municipal Council, the vigilance staff of the local government today raided the premises of the council and took away the record related to the House Tax case.

Certain councillors of the council had detected a scam in the House Tax department of the council and had alleged that the EO after allegedly taking a bribe had decided the Rs 5 lakh house tax case in just Rs 20,000.

Mr Charanjit Singh vigilance officer, said they were taking the record and after verification the report would be sent to the department.

The councillors who detected the scam alleged that the visit vigilance officer did not visit the property site, where lakhs of bags of foodgrain of government agency were still lying and the council had not imposed any House Tax on that.

They said they would further complain to the higher authorities in this regard. They also alleged that efforts had been made to hush up the case.


Over 700 vehicles lying unclaimed
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, July 19
More than 700 motor vehicles cars, trucks, tractors, jeeps, scooters and motorcycles have been lying unclaimed in various police stations of Ferozepore district for a long time.

The vehicles are yet to be claimed by their owners. There have been a few enquires from the public about these vehicles, the value of which runs into crores of rupees.

Police reveal that most of the vehicles are in a deplorable condition due to lack of upkeep and maintenance. Not even a single police station in the district has any facility to keep the vehicles safe.

During a visit to Sadar police station, Ferozepore, this correspondent found an Ambassador car lying abandoned since 1979. Similarly, a canter was also found lying abandoned since 1997. More than 20 four-wheelers and 12 scooters/motor cycles were lying abandoned in this police station alone.

A senior police official said the state government had never tried to auction these vehicles.

Police officials maintain that after recovering these “unclaimed vehicles” from various parts of the district, every effort is made to intimate the state registration authorities, besides the National Crime Bureau through the police headquarters, Chandigarh, about these vehicles to locate their real owners.

One of the reasons given for the growing number of unclaimed vehicles at police stations has been unwillingness of the actual owners to get themselves involved in unwieldy litigation to claim the vehicles which were either stolen or have been surreptitiously abandoned to claim money from insurance companies.

More than 350 vehicles lying unclaimed in the district pertain to the cases related to the insurance companies. Once the claims were settled, even the insurance companies did not bother to claim these vehicles just because by the time litigation ended the vehicles were reduced to junk.


Villagers get liquor at throwaway prices
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, July 19
A different type of “Sale” is going on near Virk village in the subdivision nowadays where countrymade liquor is being sold at throwaway prices at two liquor vends in Jalandhar and Nawanshahr districts.

When the correspondent visited the site yesterday he saw a big rush comprising residents of nearby villages.

Both liquor vends were competing with each other in selling bottles of liquor. One employee of a liquor vend said we were forced to reduce the prices due to tough competition and were suffering losses of lakhs of rupees.


Civil Surgeon comes to widow’s rescue
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 19
Relatives of a widow had to struggle for about two hours to get her admitted to the Civil Hospital. It was only after the Civil Surgeon, Ferozepore, who was on a surprise supreme visit intervened that she was hospitalised.

Sources said the woman had to be taken to hospital following an alleged illegal termination of pregnancy by a private paramedical worker in the Jammu Basti locality here. She said she had been working as a maid and catering contractor had sexually exploited her, promising her a job and marriage.

Meanwhile the Civil Surgeon has issued a warning to doctors against coming late, absenteeism and private practice.


Beware of manpower agents: Ramoowalia
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 19
Mr B.S. Ramoowalia, MP and President of the Lok Bhalai Party, has cautioned the farming community in Punjab not to fall prey to the machinations of “dubious man-power agents”. In a statement issued today, Mr Ramoowalia termed them as “habitual looters and offenders who have ruined thousands families in Punjab by illegally sending their wards abroad on false passports and visas”.


A lie lands employee in trouble
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
An employee of the Social Welfare Department was arrested while trying to gain entry into the residence of the Punjab Chief Minister by identifying himself falsely. The employee, Devinder Singh (34), was trying to meet the Chief Minister to get the orders of his transfer from Chandigarh to Rajpura reverted.

The employee made an entry in the name of Surinder Singh from Bathinda. While waiting in the queue he claimed that he was a Major in the Army. A case has been registered at the Sector 3 police station.


Vehicles impounded
Tribune News Service

Moga, July 19
Officers of the District Transport Department here impounded a number of vehicles for the violation of traffic rules yesterday. Fines were imposed on the violators and huge sums realised from them. A number of such cases were referred to the local courts.


Six held for attacking truck union office
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 19
The police today arrested six persons for allegedly trying to take the “possession” of the office of the Ropar Public Carrier Union and threatening staff with dire consequences. Those arrested include Mani Singh, president of the Ropar Sehkari Truck Union.

The police said it had registered a case under Sections 448, 506, 511, 148 and 149, IPC.

Members of the Mani Singh group also pelting stones on the police party when it intervened. On this, the police took six persons in custody while the others fled.

Talking to newspersons, Mr Bachittar Singh, president of the Ropar Public Carrier Union, said nearly 100 persons attacked the union’s office and tried to take its possession, claiming that their faction was in the majority.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
122 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |