Tuesday, July 23, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Cotton crop wilts for want of water
DC orders survey of affected areas
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

A farmer prays with his grandson
A farmer prays with his grandson for the rain in Fatehgarh Sahib district, Punjab, on Monday. — Reuters photo

Bathinda, July 22
Farmers’ woes in this land of “white gold”, it seems, are never-ending. With inadequate water supply seriously affecting the output of paddy in this region, it is now the turn of cotton, often referred to as white gold, to be affected by the drought-like situation prevailing in southern Punjab.

A visit to areas adjoining Bathinda reveals that large tracts of land where cotton has been planted are parched and crops wilting. Farmers cite the absence of monsoon, low supply of canal water and unsuitable groundwater as reasons for the cotton crop to be so affected.

While the absence of rain has reduced the chances of the cotton crop being affected with the American bollworm, a pest which has played havoc with the cotton crop over the past few years and thereby significantly reducing the output, it has not brought and end to the farmers’ problems.

Even though cotton requires relatively less water for cultivation, farmers say that the water crisis had diverted all their attention to irrigating their fields of paddy, thereby ignoring cotton plantations in the hope that the monsoon would be normal.

“All water is being diverted to paddy fields as it requires more water,” said Gurdev Singh, a farmer of Ganga village whose cotton crop has been affected. “We did not irrigate cotton fields thinking that monsoon would do the needful,” he added. But it was not to be.

Cotton plantation starts from mid-May and the crop requires the fields to be watered for the first time within 35 to 45 days. Generally, the arrival of monsoon by the end of July does the needful. This season, however, the region is yet to see the onset of monsoon.

Although the soil conditions here are favourable for growing cotton, the water situation is creating problems. While the level of water in the canal feeder systems is already low, groundwater is stated to be unsuitable for cultivation as it is saline and contains high levels of affluents, which affects the growth of crops.

The area under cotton plantation in this region has already decreased from 1.62 lakh hectares last year to 1.20 lakh hectares. This accounts for a decline of about 30 per cent in cultivation. With the crop now being damaged due to the drought-like situation, the yield is expected to further decline.

The state government as well as the Agriculture Department had motivated the farmers to go in for hybrid cotton seeds, which are resistant to bollworm. These seeds are relatively expensive and the farmers had to shell out more to procure them, thereby putting a further economic pressure on them.

The officiating Deputy Commissioner, Bathinda, Mr G. K. Singh, has reportedly directed officials of the Agriculture Department to conduct a survey of affected areas. Three teams have been constituted to survey sangat , Talwandi Sabo and Rampura Phul blocks and access the damage.

Meanwhile, the government is also motivating farmers whose paddy crop has been destroyed due to lack of water to start sowing maize and cereals instead of leaving their fields barren. Directives have also been issued to inspectors in the Agriculture Department to ensure that the quality of seeds, fertilisers and pesticides is being maintained by dealers and retailers, and that optimum prices are maintained.


Bhattal’s claim on crop damage misleading: BKU
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 22
The BKU said today that the statement of the Punjab Agriculture Minister, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, that only 200 acres of paddy crop was damaged in state was false and misleading.

The leaders of the union while addressing the gatherings in the district said the Agriculture Minister was issuing statements not based on facts.

They said the extent of damage to the paddy crop was much more and added that either a proper survey was not conducted or the officials of the Agriculture Department were misleading him.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan, state general secretary of the union, said thousands of acres of paddy crops was damaged throughout the state.

Meanwhile, the farmers continued the dharna on the second day today near various power grids of the district, as a part of state-wide agitation. They urged the state government to get a special girdawari done to assess the loss due to the drought like situation.

The farmers also blocked the vehicular traffic at some places. They said the government was not taking sincere steps for helping the debt ridden farmers who were facing hardships due to present drought like situation. They threatened to launch another agitation if compensation to farmers whose crops had been damaged was not paid. 


SAD rejects panel on drought
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
Rejecting the panel nominated by the Congress Government to assess the impact of the “drought-like conditions” in Punjab, the SAD said today that the entire state should be declared as “drought hit”.

The use of the words “drought like” by the government in its statement indicated that the government was not willing to concede the enormity of the situation caused by drought in the state.

SAD spokesman Manpreet Singh Badal criticised the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, for rejecting the demand for compensation to the drought-affected farmers. He said an all-party meeting should be called to discuss various measures to tackle the drought and help the farming community. The ruling Congress’ ally, the CPI had already demanded that the Malwa region should be declared as a drought-hit area. All local MLAs should be involved in the assessment of the impact of drought.

The interest on loans should be freezed and their payment should be deferred for six months. The increase in sales tax on fertilisers, pesticides and cattlefeed, apart from other items as passed by the Budget should be withdrawn immediately. The government should ensure adequate supply of power and canal water to salvage the situation and should order special “girdawari” to assess the damage. Compensation should be paid to those farmers who have suffered loss due to drought in the past days. Farm labour should also be included in the compensation package to be announced for farmers.


Drought impact to be monitored
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
A state-level control room has been set up in the Agriculture Directorate to monitor the impact of drought in Punjab. All Chief Agricultural Officers are to send daily reports on the condition of crops.

This was disclosed by Punjab Agriculture, Rural Development and Panchayat Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal at a meeting of officers of various departments today. Committees had been formed at the subdivision level also to monitor the kharif crops. 


BJP workers stage dharna
Cong ‘vendetta’ in guise of anti-graft drive
Tribune Reporters

Gurdaspur, July 22
More than 200 BJP activists staged a dharna in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner here today in protest against the framing of false charges against the party workers by the ruling Congress party. Mr B.K. Mittal, president of the district unit of the BJP, presided. The protest call was given by the Punjab unit of the BJP.

Prominent among those who addressed the gathering included Mr Mohan Lal and Mr Satpal Saini, both former BJP ministers, Mr Satish Mahajan, president, Municipal Council, Pathankot, Mr Rakesh Jyoti, president, Municipal Council, Gurdaspur, Mr Ashwani Sharma district secretary, Mr Dev Raj Chachowalia, district president, Batala police district, Mr Ram Lal, former MLA, and Dr Anil Mahajan, president, district Yuva Janta.

The speakers condemned the Congress government for letting lose the rain of terror against Opposition workers by framing false charges against them.

Later, the workers accompanied by party leaders marched to the office of Deputy Commissioner and urged him to came out and receive their memorandum. The Deputy Commissioner refused to oblige and asked them to send 10 responsible persons with the memorandum instead. In the spree BJP workers got-annoyed and pasted a copy of memorandum outside the Deputy Commissioner’s office and dispersed peacefully.

NAWANSHAHR: The district unit of the BJP led by Mr Shakti Sharma, General Secretary of the state unit of BJP, on Monday submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner for onward submission to the Governor of Punjab. They were protesting against the “revengeful acts” of the Amarinder government under the guise of its much publicised anti-graft drive. The Chief Minister had been acting as a “maharaja of his princely state” instead of an elected representative of a democratic state and had brought the state under “police raj”. The Congress government, till date, had not taken any step for the welfare of the public, alleged BJP leaders.

AMRITSAR: BJP activists, office-bearers and mandal heads, took out a protest rally from its headquarters here on Monday and submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner to be forwarded to the Governor of Punjab.

The rally was headed by Mr Avinash Jaiswal.

The memorandum stated that the Congress government had unleashed a personal vendetta against the Opposition parties to divert attention from its non-developmental policies and higher tax imposition in the entire state.

Talking to mediapersons Mr Jaiswal stated that the Congress in order to divert attention from the missing amount of Rs 2 crore from the locker of the tainted PPSC chairman’s had arrested Mr Ashok Lumba, a member of the Punjab Subordinate Service Selection Board (PSSSB) without any prima facie evidence against him.


BJP takes to streets over Cong ‘vendetta’
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, July 22
On a call given by the state unit of the BJP, party workers took out a protest march against the alleged vendetta of the Amarinder Singh government nearly 100 BJP activists led by Mr Surjit Kumar Jyani, former MLA of Fazilka and minister, councillors, took out a procession through the main bazaars of the town and burnt an effigy of the Chief Minister.

Addressing the workers, Mr Jyani alleged that the Congress regime was not keen on development schemes. On the pretext of raising revenue, it had deprived traders, senior citizens, employees, farmers, Dalits etc. of various facilities provided to them by the SAD-BJP government.

The issue of corruption raised by the Congress had fizzled out, added Mr Jyani. He said that Mr Ashok Loomba, senior BJP leader who was a member of the Punjab Subordinate Services Selection Board, had been implicated in a false case of corruption.

They gave a memorandum to the Governor, Punjab, through the SDM of Fazilka.


HC restrains final orders against Badungar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
Acting on a petition filed by SGPC President Kirpal Singh Badungar against three members of the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission, besides the state of Punjab and other respondents, Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today restrained the respondents from passing final orders in the case against the petitioner.

In his petition, Mr Badungar had earlier stated that the members “restored to the judicial commission” were giving special attention to cases in which political opponents of former SGPC chief G.S. Tohra were involved. He had added that a case seeking his removal as SGPC executive member was also pending before the commission and was being taken up for hearing on an almost day-to-day basis. He said he was apprehending that the commission might pass an order without even waiting for the high court verdict in the matter.

Mr Badungar had also sought the quashing of a notification whereby the previously constituted Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission was ordered to be restored. He had also sought the quashing of another notification rescinding an earlier notification vide which Mr Manmohan Singh Brar, Mr Ajwant Singh Mann and Mr Amrik Singh were appointed as judicial commission members on its reconstitution.

Going into the background of the case, the petitioner had contended that on January 6, 1999, a notification was issued removing Mr Dara Singh, Mr Kashmir Singh and Mr Raghbir Singh as members of the judicial commission and appointing other members in their place. Mr Dara Singh and Mr Kashmir Singh subsequently filed a petition in the court, challenging their removal and appointment of other members. The matter was referred by a Division Bench of the court to a larger Bench. The judgement was reserved after the conclusion of the arguments.

However, during the Assembly elections in February, Mr Tohra joined hands with the Congress. As part of the design to enable Mr Tohra regain his lost position, the Congress government issued the impugned notification. 


Badungar sees plot by Cong, Tohra
Tribune News Service

Anandpur Sahib, July 22
“The Congress government and Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra, who claims himself to be a Sikh leader acceptable to all are jointly hatching a “conspiracy” on the Baba Bhaniarawala issue which could prove a threat to the peace and communal harmony in the state in the near future”. Jathedar Kirpal Singh Badungar, president of the SGPC, levelled this allegation while talking to mediapersons at Kisan Haveli here today.

Jathedar Badungar said allegations levelled against him that he had relations with Baba Bhaniarawala were baseless, as he had never seen his face. Baba Bhaniarawala had claimed that he had visited his dera on August 23, 2000, to seek his blessing and appreciated his controversial granth. However, the fact was that in those days he was not even present in the state, he added.

With regard to serving a notice on Baba Bhaniarawala, Jathedar Badungar said if he did not reply to his notice, he (Badungar) would prove in the court that he had never met Bhaniarawala. He also lashed out at Jathedar Tohra for levelling allegations against him regarding his meeting with Bhaniarawala. Legal notices have also been served on Jathedar Tohra and Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, former acting President of the SGPC, for issuing defamatory statements against him, Mr Badungar said.

The committee formed by the five high priests had exonerated him from the charges of having relations with Bhaniarawala. However, instead of honouring verdict of five high priests, Tohra was believing Bhaniarawala, he added.

The Congress government was bent on disturbing the peaceful environment in the state. The police had entered gurdwaras and efforts were made to change management committees at eight places during the last four months in the state. However, Jethedar Tohra and his colleagues issued statements supporting the police entry into the gurdwaras, he said.

When asked about the complaint submitted to him by the Khalsa panchayat against the former secretary of Jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Mr Budungar said that he had yet not gone through the complaint. 


Govt volte-face on IT institutes
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 22
In a volte-face, the Punjab government today issued a public notice denotifying two earlier notifications wherein it had withdrawn affiliation to 12 Information Technology colleges running single-faculty institutions.

The public notice today said, “it is notified for the general public that the Punjab Government has withdrawn with immediate effect its notifications issued on May 20 and July 5 regarding affiliation of institutions imparting technical education with PTU, Jalandhar. The position before the issuance of these notifications will continue”.

The government had earlier issued notifications stressing that only colleges which were multi-faculty in nature could continue to run IT courses and would continue to remain affiliated with Panjab University, Guru Nanak Dev University and Punjabi University. It had said that single-faculty institutions running IT courses and affiliated with any of the three universities should seek affiliation from Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar.

The notices, which affected 12 IT institutes affiliated with Punjabi University, were challenged by the institutes which claimed that Punjabi University had moved in haste against them because its acting Vice-Chancellor, Dr N.S. Rattan also held the post of Principal Secretary, Higher Education. The institutes, which had taken up the matter with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, also conveyed to him that other universities had not withdrawn affiliation to IT colleges affiliated with them.

It was also alleged by the institute managements that Punjabi University had not followed its own calendar while taking action on the government notifications. They claimed that they had been granted affiliation after due inspection and had paid lakhs of rupees to the university in the form of affiliation, examination and other fee. They said in case they were to be disaffiliated, the university was bound by honour to move the case in the Academic Council and then put it up before the Syndicate before taking any action against them.

The government action is being perceived to be a snub to the acting Vice-Chancellor Dr N.S. Rattan. Dr Rattan had made the closure of the single-faculty IT colleges, which had come up during the tenure of the ousted Vice-Chancellor, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, among his first priorities immediately after taking over. He had announced then itself that these Institutes would have to take affiliation from PTU, Jalandhar.

The government action against the colleges followed this line, but aggressive lobbying by the institute managements with the Chief Minister, saved the day for them. Also affected by the public notice is the present top-level management of Punjabi University which includes anti-Ahluwalia men whose animosity to these institutes was no secret and who had even issued notices after the government notification urging students not to be swayed by the institute managements and warning them that they would be taking admission in these institutes at their own risk.

The institutes which have won a reprieve include the Punjab College of Information and Technology, Punjab College of Management Technology, Guru Harkrishan College of Management Technology, CMT, ICMT, SRE Institute and Sat Guru Institute, all from Patiala, Desh Bhagat Institute of Management and Computer Science, Mandi Gobindgarh, RCMT, Bathinda, and WC Institute of Management, Dera Bassi, besides two others.


Sidhu’s plea on loose cheques rejected
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 22
The Punjab and Sind Bank in its reply, acting on an application moved by the suspended PPSC Chairman Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu, today maintained in a local court that the bank could not issue loose cheques to Sidhu as his account had already been frozen by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau.

Earlier, Sidhu had moved an application in a local court to direct the Manager of the Punjab and Sind Bank, Sector-17-C to issue him 10 loose cheques in order to fulfil his daily needs. The court has adjourned the case to July 27 for consideration.

The bank in its reply through the Senior Manager of Punjab and Sind Bank, Mr J.S Kohli, said the account number of Sidhu 10390 had been frozen by the Superintendent of Police Vigilance Bureau along with his relative s accounts. Meanwhile, a local court has issued fresh notice to the Chief Secretary, Punjab and S.P Vigilance Bureau, Punjab to file a reply acting on the application moved by the suspended Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) Chairman, Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu till July 27.

Earlier, Sidhu had moved a plea in the court of the UT Judicial Magistrate (First Class), Mr Sanjay Sandhir, to direct the Chief Secretary, Punjab to take possession of government accommodation (H. No. 914, Sector-39) allotted to him by the Punjab Government. And also to direct the S.P. Vigilance, Punjab to deliver the goods inclusive of everything lying in the house.

Sidhu stated in his plea that he was forcibly taken from his house in Sector-39 by police personnel on March 25, 2002 without affording him any opportunity to talk to any of his relatives or acquaintance or friends.

The police had also taken away some of the documents. He further stated that the possession of the government house was taken by the Vigilance Bureau of the police from that day and has not been delivered yet and that all the articles and valuables lying in the house are in the possession of the police.

2-yr RI for postal ex-chief

A former Director, Postal Services, Punjab, Jagat Ram, was today sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment by a local court in a case under Prevention of Corruption Act. As per the prosecution, the accused was arrested by the CBI while accepting a bribe.


Court remand for Sidhu’s associate
Our Correspondent

Kharar, July 22
Mr Roshan Lal Chouhan, Judicial Magistrate, Kharar, today remanded G.S.Manchanda, a close associate of Ravi Sidhu, in judicial custody till August 3.

Mr Jatinder Singh Punn, public prosecutor, pleaded for police remand and said the accused had admitted that he had sent the money of Ravi Sidhu abroad through hawala transactions. The amount was given to him by two persons, Kashmir Singh and Gurnam Singh. The public prosecutor admitted that Manchanda had visited Hong Cong several times and added that more information was yet to be collected from the accused.


Decision on Dheera statement today
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 22
District and Sessions Judge S.N. Aggarwal today postponed till tomorrow the announcement of the decision on whether PPSC job scam accused Randhir Singh Dheera and Prem Sagar could give their statement under Section 306, CrPC, to turn approve in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Paramjit Singh tomorrow.

Earlier the accused had submitted an application in the court of the CJM disclosing that they wanted to turn approvers in a case registered here on April 30 in which they were accused of soliciting bribes from candidates wishing to get selected to various posts.

CJM Paramjit Singh had contended that he did not have the power to take a decision on any approver and that the application should be submitted in the trial court of the Sessions Judge.

District Attorney (Legal) Vijay K. Markan today, during the hearing of the case, quoted a Supreme Court judgement during arguments on the application claiming that if any charge sheet was presented in the court of the Sessions Judge, then the Sessions Judge could give direction to the CJM to record the statements of accused who wanted to become approvers. 


Akalis keen to float new party
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
Senior Akali leaders led by Mr Ravi Inder Singh, former Speaker, and Baba Sarabjot Singh Bedi, convener of the Panthic Morcha, here today met for six hours to discuss Panthic issues.

Sources said the main issue at the meeting was to build a strong Akali party as arrival to the SAD. It may be mentioned that already Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President of the SHSAD has announced to float a new Akali party in which all Akali leaders opposed to Mr Badal would be welcomed. He will hold a convention in this connection in September.

Baba Bedi said the Panthic Morcha should be given the shape of a political party.

However, there is difference between two main constituents of the morcha Mr Tohra and Mr Simranjit Singh Mann have been criticising each other. It is not possible for both to pull it off together in the morcha.

Various speakers talked about Mr Tohra’s importance in Panthic politics. Mr Jaswant Singh mann, founder secretary-general of the World Sikh Council, according to sources, laid stress on building an Akali party which should be able to meet the challenges to the Panth.

A six-member committee comprising Baba Bedi, Mr Gurdarshan Singh Grewal, Mr Ravi Inder Singh, Mr Suchha Singh Chottepur, Mr Surinder Pal Singh Mann and Mr Manjit Singh Khaira has been set up to consult various Panthic leaders to set up a new Akali Dal, it is learnt.


Tandon lashes out at Congress
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
The Punjab unit of the BJP has also launched a political attack against Amarinder Singh’s government.

The BJP’s senior leader, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, in a statement today said that unrest had spread in almost all sections of society within five months rule of the Congress in Punjab. The government was following only one — agenda to crush the voice of people and the Opposition parties. He alleged that certain former members of the Punjab Subordinate Services Board (PSSB) had been arrested without giving a copy of the FIR to them and their advocates.

Mr Tandon said the government should implement the promises made to people before the elections. He reminded the government that it was supposed to pay a bonus Rs 30 per quintal on paddy to farmers and increase the medical allowance of employees, besides giving promotional benefits after four, nine and 14 years of service.


‘Encroachment’ by ex-minister
PUDA fails to take action
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 22
While local Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) officials are trying to shift their responsibilities of initiating criminal proceeding against former minister, Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, and his close kin, Mr Megh Raj in connection with the alleged encroachment of its 1800 square yards piece of land, to the Deputy Commissioner, the district administration has claimed that it had directed PUDA to register a criminal case against the former minister and other encroachers on June 28.

Mr G.K. Singh, officiating Deputy Commissioner, today said while acting on the report of PUDA submitted on June 6, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, had given clear instruction that a case should be registered against all those, who had encroached upon the PUDA land. The report submitted by PUDA to the Deputy Commissioner also contained reference of encroachment of its land by Mr Garg and his kin.

The matter pertaining to alleged encroachment of PUDA land by former minister and his kin came to light when a local advocate, Mr N.K. Garg, filed a suit in civil court last year. Though PUDA had filed its reply in the civil suit, it failed to launch criminal proceeding against Mr Garg and his kin.

While Mr G.K. Singh disclosed that a demi-official (DO) letter had been written by him to then Additional Chief Administrator, PUDA, Mr D.P.S. Kharbanda, on July 19 to implement the orders issued by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Verma, on June 28, Mr Kharbanda, who has now been transferred as Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development) when contacted said he had not received any such letter. He added that PUDA had made a written request to Deputy Commissioner about a few weeks ago for making arrangements for the registration of a criminal case against Mr Garg and others. He added that proceeding for getting the encroachers evicted from the land had been launched.

Mr Darshan Singh Grewal, ACA, PUDA, who joined duties today, when contacted, said he would summon the file pertaining to this issue tomorrow and would take action accordingly. He said he was not able to tell whether the case had been registered against former minister and his kin or not.

On the other hand, Mr G.K. Singh said it was duty of PUDA officials to get the case registered against encroachers on their land.

Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, when contacted, said he had purchased 1800 square yards of land along with his kin Mr Megh Raj in 1970 when PUDA had not come into existence. Few years after the mutation of that piece of land were done in their names. He added that so far PUDA had never given them any notice claiming that same piece of land had been acquired by it. PUDA never sought their objections when it made the acquisition of the same piece of land. He said he was ready to handover that piece of land to PUDA in lieu of compensation.

While alleging that PUDA had been harassing them unnecessarily, he said a civil suit was pending pertaining to same piece of land. he added that he had received a notice for eviction from PUDA and when he appeared before the Estate Officer, PUDA, he was told that a fresh notice for eviction would be issued to him.


Bibi Kiranjot writes to Vedanti
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 22
In a letter to Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, Bibi Kiranjot Kaur, General Secretary, SGPC, has expressed concern at non-revival of the religious advisory board ‘to scrutinise complaints received by Akal Takht that had resulted in the Takht being caught in a web of controversies.

The SGPC General Secretary said it was a matter of concern that despite resolutions passed by the Executive Committee, no action had been taken to revive the board. “I am pained to read controversies embroiling the Sikh High Priests everyday.” She said without any concrete proof, serious allegations like accepting graft were being levelled against the jathedars.

The letter reads: “Akal Takht is the supreme temporal seat for the Sikhs and every Sikh takes a lead from it. This is not a police station which should take up the cases of personal enmity between two groups. Cases like rape should be settled through court or by the police and not through Akal Takht.”

Bibi Kiranjot Kaur alleged in the absence of the religious advisory committee, many issues had been complicated. The SGPC General Secretary urged Jathedar Vedanti to constitute a committee of Sikh scholars which should work as an ‘advisory board’ for the Sikh High Priests.

When contacted, Bibi Kiranjot Kaur admitted that Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, SGPC President, too, had not bothered to implement the decision of the executive.


Badal stands by Wahid’s wife
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 22
Former Punjab Chief Minister and SAD President Parkash Singh Badal last night paid a visit to the residence of Mr Jarnail Singh Wahid, former member of the PSSSB, who was arrested by the Vigilance Bureau here on July 13 and is now in police remand.

Mr Badal tried to boost the morale of his wife Rupinder Kaur and son Sandip.

Mr Wahid, a confidant of Mr Badal, was arrested on charges of corruption and irregularities in recruitment during his three-year term as PSSSB member.

During a chat with the media, Mr Badal claimed that due to the witch-hunt started by “Congress government and its wrong” policies, the Akali Dal would emerge stronger.

Pooh-poohing claims of Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, SHSAD President, on the revival of the “original” Akali Dal in September sans Mr Badal, Mr Badal retorted that such a Dal would be “just a wing of the Congress” because Jathedar Tohra, Mr Ravi Inder Singh, former Speaker and their associates were “hand in glove” with the Congress.


Ex-DC’s book distorts facts, says Calcutta
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 22
Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, Akali leader, has alleged that certain forces were out to defame top Akali leaders under a deep-rooted conspiracy.

Mr Calcutta said “disinformation” was being spread to defame the leadership. He claimed that the book of a former Deputy Commissioner, Mr Sarbjit Singh, — “The Operation Black Thunder” — had “distorted” many historical facts.

He said the fact was that the then Central government wanted to kill Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale to strengthen its vote bank. On the other hand, the government wanted to discredit the traditional Akali leadership.

He dismissed the theory that Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, the then SGPC chief, had any “understanding” with Mr Buta Singh, the then Union Home Minister. In fact Mr Buta Singh had never missed a chance to harm Mr Tohra politically. Mr Tohra and he (Mr Calcutta) were arrested at the behest of Mr Buta Singh, he alleged.


Review plea against Kaushal dismissed
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 22
The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) today dismissed a review application filed by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution on May 23, 2002 against an earlier order of CAT involving Punjab cadre IAS officer Mr Sarvesh Kaushal.

Earlier the CAT in its order on July 4, 2001 had said the Ministry should take further action as per the investigation report of the CBI against the IAS official. Mr Kaushal had been exonerated by the CBI. In May this year the Ministry filed a review and this was dismissed by CAT today.

Besides this a separate case between Mr Kaushal and the Ministry also came up for hearing. In February this year Mr Kaushal had moved a petition in CAT seeking quashing of explanation memos issued to him by the Union Ministry. The matter was stayed on February 26 and this remains in operation. Today the matter was adjourned till August 8.

Mr Kaushal had moved a plea before CAT alleging that he had been falsely implicated at the behest of certain persons and sought directions for quashing of the orders passed by the Chief Vigilance Officer-cum- Joint Secretary, Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution. Mr Kaushal has also sought the directions from CAT to the respondent to restrain them from proceeding ex-parte against him.


Dowry victim’s father alleges police inaction
Our Correspondent

Muktsar, July 22
Mr Avtar Singh, father of Kulwant Kaur who was allegedly poisoned to death by her in-law for bringing inadequate dowry at Phulewala village, has alleged that the police was not arresting her parents-in-law although a case had been registered against them.

Mr Avtar Singh today alleged that Sham Lal and Mohan Devi, father-in-law and mother-in-law, respectively, of her daughter, were allowed to go scot-free even after they were named in an FIR.

He has written letters to the Punjab Chief Minister, DGP, DIG (Vigilance Bureau) and the Deputy Commissioner in which he alleged that senior police officials of district were helping the accused.

Mr Avtar Singh has urged the authorities to immediately arrest Sham Lal and Mohan Devi and take action against the police officials who were not doing their duty.

Kulwant Kaur, a resident of Abohar, was married to Pawan Kumar of Phulewal in the district in November 1999. She was allegedly harassed by her in-law for bringing inadequate dowry, said Mr Avtar Singh. He said a few months ago Kulwant spent about seven months with them as her in-law used to beat her on one pretext or the other.

Mr Avtar Singh alleged that her daughter was given poison on July 5,2002, by her husband and other members of his family resulting in her death. He said after the incident the in-law of her daughter fled from the village leaving behind a one-and-a-half-year old daughter of Kulwant.

Mr Kanwaljeet Singh Pannu, SSP, when contacted on phone said there was no inefficiency on the part of the police. He said the husband and brother-in-law of Kulwant Kaur, Pawan Kumar and Satish Kumar, respectively, were arrested immediately. He said efforts were being made to arrest Sham Lal and Mohan Devi.

The SSP said there was no pressure from any one to take action. He added that the panchayat of Phulewal village had met him a few days ago and informed him that Sham Lal and Mohan Devi might be in Rajasthan or Haryana. He even said that as per the information gathered from residents of Phulewal, both of them were not in the village when the incident occurred. He, however, added that Sham lal and Mohan Devi might be arrested as they were named in the FIR.


DIG takes cops by surprise
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, July 22
At around midnight, a man walked into a police station and lamented that while he was travelling, a person fled after snatching his bag near the railway crossing at Kot Kapura in which he had been carrying more than Rs 2 lakh cash. The clerk politely offered him a seat. He then called the ASI on duty and the two started questioning the complainant. The complainant was surprised by the cooperative and courteous attitude of the police officials.

The ASI, then, took him to the SHO, who immediately recognised the person and saluted him. This complainant was none other than the newly-appointed Deputy Inspector-General of Police Faridkot range, Mr Siddharth Chattopadhyaya, who took the policemen by surprise.

Mr Chattopadhyaya immediately ordered cash reward for the clerk and the ASI and promised to issue them certificates for a prompt action and caring attitude.

The DIG, Mr Chattopadhyaya, told this correspondent that he had conducted this mock exercise to check the alertness of the officials and know their attitude towards the public.


PSEB turns blind eye to ‘kundi’ complaints
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 22
Even as on the one hand the Punjab State Electricity Board authorities have imposed restrictions on the use of air-conditioners, some residents are using power without paying for the same.

Although allegations of “illegal” connections have been levelled from time to time against influential persons, the authorities concerned have done little in this regard. Local PSEB employees say a resident of the Model Town area is getting “direct supply”.

A special note in the complaint register of the PSEB says the consumer is availing of the supply “illegally”.

No official of the PSEB could be contacted, despite repeated efforts, for comment.


2 labourers die while digging well
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, July 22
Malkiat (30) and Laddu (28), daily wage labourers of Karal village, were buried alive while they were digging a well in Bhano Longa village last evening.

The local residents reached the spot after another labourer, working nearby, raised the alarm. The villagers extracted the bodies and brought these to the local Civil Hospital. 


MES employee found dead on train
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 22
An employee of the MES died in the toilet of a coach of a train, possibly due to cardiac arrest. The deceased has been identified as Manohar Lal, a resident of Ambala.

The body was found on the Ambala-Bathinda train when it halted at Bathinda this morning. A ticket between Bhuchu Mandi and Ambala was found from the pocket of the deceased. The body was handed over to his family members after a postmortem examination.

An unidentified body was found from a distributary near Khialiwala village.


Freedom fighter cremated sans state honours
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Bhai (Ferozepore), July 22
An octogenarian freedom fighter, who died last night, was cremated today without honours. The family of the freedom fighter alleged that the district administration was informed well in time about the death but no one turned up in time to pay tributes on part of the state government.

According to Mr Sohan Lal Bajaj, son of Masha Mehar Chand (80), his father died last night at a private hospital in Ludhiana of heart attack.

He said his father actively participated in the freedom struggle. He was sentenced to 15 months’ of imprisonment during the Quit India Movement.

Former Irrigation Minister Sewa Singh Sekhwan and MLA from Ferozepore Cantonment Ravinder Pal Singh Sandhu reached and paid the last tributes.


Seminar on world faiths held
Tribune News Service

Anandpur Sahib, July 22
Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, Governor of Uttaranchal, today called upon the religious and spiritual leaders to work for control of population in the country which had already crossed one hundred crore. Due to a continuous increase in the population, the county was heading towards destruction. If the country failed to curb the rate of population growth, all development works would prove a futile exercise, he said.

Mr Barnala was presiding over the inaugural session of a seminar on “World Faiths and Sustainable Development” organised by the SGPC and Sikh Human Rights Group, London, at Khalsa College, here.

In a satirical tone, he said the country had achieved sustainable development in the population area, which would prove harmful in the long term.


Reduce traffic jams, urge traders
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 22
Traders of the city have urged the authorities that special attention should be paid to remove bottlenecks caused by buses, rehris and rickshaws near the roundabout at old bus stand. There were frequent traffic jams near the roundabout due to stopping of buses and other vehicles.

In a letter to the Deputy Commissioner, the Auto Traders Association, has said although there was a place earmarked for the halting of buses at the old bus stand away from the roundabout, yet bus operators stop buses near the chowk.

Mr Sukhpal Mittal, President, urged that special instructions should be issued to the bus operators and owners of rickshaws and rehris so that they should stop their vehicles away from the roundabout.


Punjab postings, transfers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
The following postings/transfers were ordered in Punjab today.

Mr Karam Singh is now Director, Hospitality, relieving Mr Ravinder Kaushik of the additional charge. Mr Vivek Pratap is Registrar, PAU, Ludhiana, while Mr Sumer Singh Gurjar has been posted as ADC, Nawanshahr.

Mr Gurpal Singh Bhatti has been named Additional Director (Administration), DPI (Schools) while Mr Harbhupinder Singh has been posted as ADC, Amritsar.

Mr Arvinder Singh Bains is Additional Managing Director, PSIDC; Mr Balijit Singh is ADC (Development), Amritsar; Mr Gian Singh Bal is ADC (Development), Ferozepore; while Mr Zora Singh is Joint Secretary, Welfare of SCs and BCs while Mr Pritam Singh will be SDM, Phagwara, Mr Harjinder Singh has been posted as SDM, Nawanshahr, according to an official press note.


Two murders rock city
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 22
Panic gripped the city after two murders, including that of an old granthi of Anand Nagar area late yesterday.

Certain persons attacked Karam Singh (80), a granthi, while he was in the gurdwara complex, killing him on the spot. The body was found at 5 a.m. by some women devotees who had come to pay obeisance. Bricks lay scattered around the body.

In another murder the brother and cousin of Babita allegedly murdered her husband because of matrimonial dispute. Earlier, Babita had alleged that unidentified persons had killed her husband.

Dr S.K. Kalia , SP (city), said she had confessed that her brother and cousin had killed her husband.

Preliminary investigation in the granthi’s murder revealed that he was a money lender and was murdered by persons who had borrowed money from him. They wanted the mortgage paper as the entire room had been thoroughly searched. Two persons have been rounded up for investigations.

Meanwhile, a car-borne youth looted Rs 10,000 and gold jewellery from two couples who were going to a religious place near Jandiala canal at about 1.00 am. The car used in the crime was stolen from Heritage Club here.


Man shot at
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, July 22
Daljit Singh, a resident of Bathawali under Dinanagar police station, was injured after he was shot at by his cousins Baldev Singh and Bachittar Singh, of the same village in a fight over a disputed piece of land on Monday. The victim was admitted to the Civil Hospital here and his condition was stated to be out of danger. The accused were handed over to the police. A case under Section 307 of the IPC has been registered against the accused. 


Undertrial escapes from hospital
Our Correspondent

Mansa, July 22
Naginder Singh Harika, Managing Director, Khalsa Rural Dental College and Hospital, Nangal Kalan in the district, who was arrested by the Sadar police here on May 1, 2001, following the registration of a case against him under Section 420, 465, 467, 468 and 471 of the IPC, has absconded from the PGI Chandigarh, where he was sent for a medical check up while in police custody.

Mr Harika was facing trail in the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate here regarding the above case which was registered on a complaint of an IAS officer of New Delhi cadre, Mr Suresh Kumar Sharma, on November 4, 1999.

The local Sadar police registered two cases and the Bhikhi police of the district registered a case of cheating and forgery against Harika.


Mann gives Rs 2 lakh for school

Moga, July 22
The SAD (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann today donated Rs 2 lakh for the expansion of school building of Jawahar Lal Navodaya School at Lohara in Moga District at a special function organised by the Panchayat.

Mr Mann donated the amount from MP’s area development fund. he also visited the cancer hospital by an NRI family. PTI


Adhyapak Dal rally tomorrow
Our Correspondent

Barnala, July 22
The Punjab Adhyapak Dal activists will go on fast, wear black badges and participate in a rally in front of the office of Director, Public Instructions (DPI) Schools, Punjab, at Chandigarh on July 24.

Punjab Adhyapak Dal leaders have been demanding the acceptance of 16-point charter of demands. The charter includes the demand for the implementation of letter pertaining to bringing the GPF scheme at the DDO (Drawing Disbursing Officer) level, abolition of decision regarding freezing of DA, withdrawal of decision regarding finishing vacant posts, restoration of LTC facility, doing away with cess on petrol, promotions for all teachers, withdrawal of decision pertaining to handing over education management to private bodies and school management to panchayats, stopping the Vigilance Department raids on government schools and non-educational works to teachers.

It also includes financial sanctions to new upgraded schools as well as all posts, settling left out cases of all categories and passing the A.C.P. right to District Education officers.


Chart-makers for hire; what next?
Gurvinder Kaur

Patiala, July 22
It’s the end of your son’s summer vacation and you are frantic, the two charts assigned as part of the homework have yet to be completed and your son has no time to spare as he is busy with his tuitions and extra classes. Having never scored better than Bs in your drawing class, but considering the fact that your husband fared even worse, the onerous task of making charts falls on your shoulders.

All too familiar a scenario? Well the days of worry are presumably the days of the past as all you have to do now is to walk into the nearest stationery store and place an order . For a small amount of money your charts, maps, models and other such assignments can be made to order by a professional chart-maker employed by the shopkeeper for the purpose.

What is more disquieting is that this unhealthy trend has gained the approval of both students and parents alike and has been adopted with great enthusiasm over the past couple of years.

This being mid-July you can order your chart today and get the finished product tomorrow as the ‘lean season’ has begun with schools having reopened only recently. However, as the session progresses the orders keep on increasing and the rush is at the peak around both November and February when terminal and final assignments have to be submitted. The waiting period for orders to be delivered extends up to even four days during those months.

The shopkeepers here have been quick to recognise a lucrative opportunity and have hired artists on either contract or piece-basis payment. “I employed a chart-maker about eight months back when I was smothered with requests from children and their parents to arrange for someone to do their art work. In the face of such tremendous demand I got some charts made by a professional artist on a trial basis and never looked back,” states the owner of a big stationery shop in Tripuri market area.

“You cannot blame parents for being a willing party to this. With more and more couples being in employment and handling many other stresses, they either don’t have the time or the talent to help out their children. And the children with their hectic schedules finely balanced between homework, tuitions and exams cannot always take out time and energy needed for such creative work,” explains a parent when asked about the propriety of what is going on.

Whether it is our faulty education system, our indifferent teaching community, busy parents or the stressed child at fault, the fact remains that there exists a cut-throat competition in studies. The way things are shaping up, we may shortly see the emergence of many more new services. So do not be surprised when you see a board proclaiming “Home work done here, contact within”.


‘Amend Labour Laws’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
The PhD Chamber of Commerce and Industry submitted a memorandum to the Punjab Labour Welfare Board on proposed changes in Labour Laws here today. The Chamber has urged the Centre to amend the Industrial Dispute Act (I.D.Act) 1947, to include a provision to allow the employer to dispense with the services of workmen who do not perform or are indisciplined.

Mr Beant Singh, Resident Director of the chamber, pointed out that there was no procedure for termination or discharge of a workman under the ID Act 1947. Further, according to the item no 10 of Schedule IV, the management could not introduce new technology or upgradation which would lead to retrenchment of workmen unless provision of Section 9-A was complied with. So the government should delete item no. 10 from the Act.

Under Section 10 of the I.D.Act, he said, the state government was empowered to refer an industrial dispute for adjudication to the Labour Court or tribunal. Since there was no limitation for raising the industrial disputes, the state government usually referred even the belated disputes. The Chamber suggested that as in other Acts, I.D.Act should be amended to provide time limitation.

Regarding Section 17-B, the Chamber submitted that the employer was liable to pay full wages to the workman till the matter was pending in the court. This provision encouraged workmen to continue with the litigation. The Chamber suggested that it should be made incumbent for the workman concerned to file an affidavit about his non-employment every month. The Chamber further submitted that Contract Labour Act, 1970, should be amended to make the contract labour system legally permissible. The Chamber also demanded that rehabilitation amount should be introduced by the Punjab Government for the retrenched workers. Prior financial aid should be given to the workers suffering from chronic diseases which might be deducted from their E.S.I bills. The government should also arrange “entrepreneurship development training” for employees opting for VRS.

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