Saturday, August 3, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Parliamentary forum to visit dry-spell areas today
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Budhlada (Mansa), August 2
Even as farmers continue ploughing paddy fields in various pockets of Bathinda and Mansa districts, Governor, Punjab, Lieut General JFR Jacob (retd) and members of Parliamentary Farmers Forum will tour affected areas of this district tomorrow.

Official sources said General Jacob would tour the affected villages in Talwandi Sabo subdivision of Bathinda district while members of the Parliamentary Farmers Forum would tour the affected villages in Mansa district particularly in Sardulgarh and Budhlada areas.

Sources pointed out that Agriculture Department authorities had started predicting, perhaps for the first time, target of paddy fixed by the state government, the main kharif crop of the season, would not be met this year. Earlier, the state government had been failing to meet the target of cotton crop for the past six years.

Official sources said that in Bathinda district paddy in 600 acres had been ploughed whereas in Mansa district, the crop in 400 acres. In Bathinda as per the official figures, cotton in 100 acres had also been ploughed. In Mansa district, though the Agriculture Departmental officials claimed that cotton crop had not been ploughed but in reality, the growers had been ploughing the same.

In Budhlada block, paddy in 15 acres had been ploughed in Akkawali village 15 acres in Sirsiwala, 14 acres in Rampur Mander, 14 acres in Boha and 12 acres each in Bare, Saidewala and Bahadurpur villages. Paddy in about 15 acres of land in villages falling in Bhikhi and Jhunir block was ploughed on August 1, while paddy in about 23 acres was ploughed today in Jhunir block alone.

Mr Sardar Ali, Statistical Officer, Agriculture Office, Mansa, when contacted, said the trend of ploughing the paddy fields had been catching up day by day. He added that about 12 villages in Bhikhi block of this district received about 12.6 mm of rain on July 29 and 2 mm of rain on July 30. The paddy had been damaged due to the inadequate availability of water for irrigation.

Official sources said due to delayed monsoon, cotton crop in about 12,100 hectares of the total 23,000 hectares in which it was grown had been damaged beyond 70 per cent while paddy in about 2,000 hectares of the area had been damaged beyond 70 per cent in Mansa district alone. The officials of the Agriculture Department in Bathinda district had been assessing the losses.

In Muktsar district, paddy in about 60 hectares of land had been ploughed. Today, the farmers in Tappa Khera, Mani Khera and Bhittiwala villages of Muktsar district ploughed the paddy, which had started drying up due to the acute shortage of water. The district received 77 mm of rain on July 31.

Meanwhile a few small and marginal farmers, have started selling wheat, they had stocked for family consumption to meet day-to-day expenditure and to pay diesel for operating tube-wells.


BKU (E) to hold protests
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 2
The Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta) today announced its decision to hold demonstrations at all district headquarters on August 19 to demand compensation for damage to the crops due to drought in the state besides raising other issues.

Stating this here, the state general secretary of the union, Mr Gurmeet Singh Dittupur, said following the agitation at the district headquarters, protests would be held at different levels to get accepted the demands, including waiving of loans of farmers and procuring paddy at rates proportionate to the expenditure incurred on it.

Mr Dittupur said village-level Committees of BKU (E) workers had been constituted to assess the loss due to drought to claim compensation for the damaged paddy and cotton crops. He said these committees would take affidavits from farmers about the extra expenditure incurred this year and assessment of the decrease in yields. He said compensation would be demanded according to the extent of loss in different areas. He rejected different relief schemes proposed by the government.

Mr Dittupur said farmers had spent Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000 extra money per acre this season on diesel alone. By resorting to diplomatic phrases like nominal compensation and getting “girdawari” done, the government was pushing the farmers into a corner that they bore the burden themselves. Rejecting the argument to postpone the recovery of loans, the BKU (F) leader said the government should instead write off the loans for the entire season on the pattern of the sick industries.

The BKU (E) also condemned the imposition of increasing amounts of taxes on agricultural inputs by the government on the directions of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Mr Dittupur said this had been done to destroy the Indian farmer so that foreign agricultural products could be easily sold in the country. He also rejected the arguments of the government on diversification saying it could be done only when renumerative prices were announced for the alternative crops.


50 pc paddy damaged in Faridkot villages
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, August 2
Nearly 50 per cent of paddy in the region has been damaged due to the dry spell. This was stated by Sukhpal Kaur, sarpanch of Sangat Pura village in the Hithar area of the district.

The villages which have been affected include Navan Killa, Sukhanwala, Chet Singhwala, Sher Singhwala, Dohk Sarkari, Beehlewala, Machaki Kalan, Machaki Khurd, Mehmuana, Jandwala, Sadhuwala, Khuduwala, Kingre, Bhag Singhwala and Veerawala.

Talking to this reporter yesterday, she said 70 per cent of the crop had been damaged in the village. About 90 per cent of farmers who had taken loans for purchasing agricultural equipment had failed to return these loans. Besides the water table had gone down considerably.

She said the girdhawari should be conducted jointly by senior officers of the Agriculture and Revenue Departments, besides raising the strength of 2R minor which would benefit 15 villages.

Another farmer from Sadiq village, Sarabjit Singh said due to inadequate irrigation facilities, about 900 acres was likely to be damaged against the total cultivated area of 1800 acres.

He also said the Irrigation Department had jailed to check the erratic water supply to L2 minor.

Sarabjit Singh urged the state government to give a compensation of Rs 5,000 per acre to the farmers.

Guran Singh, a small farmer of Mehmuana village, said out of 10 acres, 6 acres under paddy had been damaged.

Moneylenders in the village had also refused to advance loans to them. He said in 2000, the then Chief Minister and the Agriculture Minister had visited the village and had said work on the 20-km Mudki minor passing through the village would be completed. However, nothing had been done in this regard.

Meanwhile, according to reports, 15 per cent of paddy has been damaged against the cultivated area of 87,000 hectares in the district.

An expert in the Agriculture Department said the district had received only 27.7 mm rainfall last month against the requirement of 150 mm.


Salinity: farmers seek gypsum
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, August 2
The unavailability of gypsum to treat salinity deposited on the root zone of the soil has added to the woes of the paddy growers of Ferozepore district. More than 8000 hectares of paddy has been affected by this problem.

Mr Gian Singh, Chief Agriculture Officer of the district, told TNS here today that the underground water in most parts of the district was saline in nature. Since the farmers were pumping out underground water for their paddy crop, a strong layer of salt had got deposited on the root zone of the soil restricting the growth or even resulting in drying of the paddy plant.

There is a requirement of at least 20,000 metric tonnes of gypsum in the Ferozepore district to treat salinity of water. “But for the last three years gypsum has not at all been supplied to farmers,” said the Chief Agriculture Officer.

Punjab Land Development and Reclamation Corporation (PLDRC) was the sole agency for supplying gypsum to farmers in the state on a subsidy of about 50 to 75 per cent shared by both the Central and the state governments. Now it would be tough for the farmers as the state government has decided to wind up the PLDRC without making any alternative arrangement of the supply.

Mr Gian Singh said Ghal Khurd, Guru Har Sahai, Jalalabad and Fazilka blocks of the district were the worst affected due to salinity of underground water.

The Agriculture Department has estimated that in 8000 hectares of worst-affected areas, the production of paddy was likely to drop between 40 to 50 per cent. On an average, the yield was likely to fall by 3 quintals per hectare in this border district. The farmers who have managed to irrigate their paddy crop with the help of water pumps run on either diesel or generator sets had suffered additional expenditure of at least Rs 2200 per hectare. Meanwhile, the Agriculture Department has advised the farmers not to worry about water at this stage. This is the time when paddy crop requires least water. There is no need of standing water on the soil.


Rainwater harvest scheme for DAC
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 2
Four wells will be sunk within the District Administrative Complex (DAC) to collect rainwater from rooftops of various government offices here.

This rainwater harvest scheme, envisaged by the hydrology division of the Agriculture Department, would not only lift the groundwater level but would also encourage people to undertake such projects at their level.

As many as 152 tubewells in the city, which pump out about 175 million litres of water daily, are unable to meet the city’s daily requirement of 191 million litres. “We have selected the DAC for the availability of large quantity of rainwater due to a number of pucca structures of offices over an area of 12,712 square metres”, said an expert of the department.

Mr B.S. Kahlon, Chief Agriculture Officer, said officers and staff of the DAC would also be trained in techniques of rainwater harvest. He said four recharge wells, each with a borehole of 450 mm, would be constructed at a cost of about Rs 8 lakh. The rooftop rainwater, according to him, would be allowed to pass to three tanks from where it would be injected into ground with the help of specially designed wells, the life of which could be around 20 years.

Mr K. Siva Prasad, Deputy Commissioner, said the funds for the scheme would be provided by the Centre and work was likely to be completed within one year.


PSEB forced to go in for longer power cuts
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 2
Water level in the Pong dam has fallen by an unprecedented 50 feet from its normal position which coupled with reduced share from the Bhakra and other hydel projects has resulted in undue burden on various grid stations of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) which have started load-shedding meaning more power cuts in urban areas of the state.

Sources disclosed that the PSEB was receiving less power both from Pong dam and the Bhakra dam besides other hydel projects. This has resulted in undue load on its thermal stations which find it difficult to handle. They said due to this the board had increased cuts in all important cities of the station from seven to nine hours.

The board is also facing problems because Uttaranchal has stopped the Rs 10 lakh units it was giving to the state everyday and Jammu and Kashmir has reduced supply of power from 20 lakh units to 10 lakh units a day.

Speaking about the position of its grids, board engineers said they would have to go in for repeated cuts in the next few days as the grid positions were precarious. They said the board was managing things on the basis of its thermal plants which were generating 486 lakh units per day to meet the major part of the restricted consumption of 1012 lakh units per day with 231 lakh units being purchased from the central pool.

The engineers said they wanted to avoid the collapse of the grid like the one recently happened in the Western grid. They said while the normal grid frequency was at 50 cycles, the thermal stations of the board were set to trip at 47.5 cycles. They said at present the frequency in the state was hovering at 49 cycles and sometimes even went below it necessitating load-shedding.

Among the measures taken by the PSEB include imposing 10 and a half hour cuts in all its 24-hour rural feeders. The cuts in the urban cities have been fixed at seven hours and those in urban and industrial areas at 10-hour. Rural areas will face 12-hour blanket cuts.

Now the board is likely to go in for power cuts in urban areas during the time when air-conditioners were on.


PSEB staff to get full salary
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 2
The PSEB authorities have issued directions to its field offices to pay full salary to its employees.

Sources said the PSEB had taken this decision when a Division Bench comprising Mr Justice Swantantar Kumar and Mr Justice S. S. Saron of the Punjab and Haryana High Court stayed the operation of an order passed by the Under Secretary (Finance), PSEB, on July 22, whereby it was said that 25 per cent of the carry-home salaries of all classes I-III employees and 10 per cent salary of class IV employees should be deducted for July and August.

However, the PSEB circular did not make it clear whether the deduction made in the salaries of those employees who had already taken the salaries should be refunded.

Due to the order passed in connection with the cut to be made in the salaries, various employees’ union of the PSEB had been resorting to agitation and the PSEB management was under pressure to keep the employees contented. Though the Division Bench had fixed August 7 as the next date of hearing in the case, the PSEB withdrew the order passed by the Under Secretary (Finance).


Cops stay put in 30 canal rest houses
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 2
At least 30 rest houses of the Irrigation Department which were occupied by the Punjab police, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) or the PAP during militancy, are still under the unauthorised possession of the security forces. Some of the rest houses are occupied by even the Army and the Border Security Force.

Though the question was raised on the floor of the Assembly and the matter was taken up with the Chief Minister by the Irrigation Department yet the security forces neither vacated the rest houses nor paid the rent which is more than Rs 2 crore. Most of the rest houses need immediate repair and the repeated reminders and requests by the Irrigation Department fell on deaf ears.

According to official record, the Canal Rest House, Amritsar, was occupied by the CRPF, Punjab police and PAP on July 11, 1986. The tentative monthly rent of the rest house is Rs 27,310 and the total amount recoverable is more than Rs 55 lakh. Similarly, the Canal Rest House, Daburji, was occupied by the Punjab police on July 1, 1989. By adding the meagre monthly rent of Rs 1,237, the total recoverable rent comes out to be more than Rs 2 lakh. The department has written a number of letters to the DIG (Border) and the SSP (Batala) but to no avail.

A demi-official letter of the Chief Engineer, UBDC (Upper Bari Doab Canal) written to the Principal Secretary, Irrigation, speaks volumes about the efforts of the department to get the canal rest house vacated.

The other rest houses which are under the unauthorised possession of the security forces include, Canal Rest House, Iban (CRPF), Khalra (Army), Kathunangal (CRPF), Chhehrta (BSF), Rayya (CRPF), Naushehra (CRPF), Jandiala (BSF), Aliwal (BSF), Fatehgarh (CRPF), Kunjar (Punjab police), Atwal (CRPF and BSF), Ghagar Bhana and Nanu Nangal (both Punjab police), Valtoha (CRPF and Army), Jaura (Army), Tibri (CRPF, BSF and Punjab police), Harchowal, Panj Graian and Hargobindpur (Punjab police and paramilitary forces).


MLA meetings or recreational visits?
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, August 2
The Government is taking austerity measures to improve the financial health of the state. Cuts are being imposed on pay and perks of employees and development works have almost come to a standstill. However, these measures seem to apply only to common man. Ruling party MLAs are going on free trips along with their kin and friends, courtesy Assembly committees, putting burden on the government exchequer.

An Assembly committee comprising 10 MLAs, along with about four employees of the secretariat, visited the district yesterday. A battery of their kin and friends, who enjoyed official hospitality, accompanied the MLAs. All of them came in official vehicles.

As per a letter received by the official authorities, the committee members had come to hold a meeting at the Sutlej Sadan rest house of the BBMB. However, they reached Nangal yesterday and went to Bhakra Dam for boating and sight-seeing. Rooms were booked in the names of Mr Ravinder Singh Sidhu, MLA, and Chairman of the committee, Mr Jeet Mohinder Singh, Mr Jora Singh and Sardar Sawinder Singh, all MLAs.

After enjoying the hospitality of the BBMB and the local administration, the committee members left for Chamunda Devi Temple in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh today.

Sources said every year, lakhs of rupees were spent on the recreation of the MLAs who were members of Assembly committees in the garb of holding meetings across the state. The committee on papers laid or to be laid on the table of the Vidhan Sabha had no business to hold meetings in different parts of the state and visiting tourist spots in adjoining states. By doing so, the members of the committee are ignoring the austerity measures announced by the government.

The sources said the tradition of forming Assembly committees to facilitate the recreation of MLAs had been continuing since long. Data collected from various tourist spots in the district revealed that during the past year, as many as 338 MLAs, MPs and ministers have enjoyed “recreation” in the garb of Assembly or parliamentary committees.

Several bureaucrats have also enjoyed the official hospitality on the pretext of meetings which are held at tourist spots. During the past year, 21 IAS officers have visited various tourist spots in the district.

Leaders of employees’ unions have demanded that the Chief Minister should ensure that the austerity measures are adhered to at the top by curbing the recreational trips of MLAs.


Malout firing: Sikh bodies meet on Aug 5
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 2
Taking a serious view of the Malout firing, the Sikh high priests today with the support of the SGPC, decided to call a meeting of the representatives of various Akali factions, Nihang sects, Singh Sabhas and other Panthic organisations at Teja Singh Samundari Hall here on August 5.

A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of Sikh clergy, attended by Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar Akal Takht, Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar Kesgarh Sahib, Giani Bhagwan Singh, head granthi Akal Takht, Giani Gurbachan Singh and Giani Jagtar Singh — both granthis of Golden Temple.

The Sikh high priests said that it was a matter of grave concern that despite repeated warnings, Mahant Ashutosh was allowed to hold his programme under heavy police security. They alleged that the self-styled Baba had been making inflammatory speeches and used derogatory language against Sikh Gurus, Guru Granth Sahib and the Sikhism.

Ridiculing the announcement of the state government to form an inquiry committee to probe the provocative speeches of Mahant Ashutosh, the Sikh clergy said that no action had been taken against the police officials directly responsible for opening fire and resorting to lathi charge on ‘Sikh Sangat’.

Sounding a note of warning, the Sikh clergy said that the indifferent and non-religious approach of the state government had again created conditions of blood-bath in the state. The high priests said that the meeting had strongly condemned police firing and lathi charge at Malout.

Jathedar Vedanti said that the Sikh Sangat would not allow a repeat of the ‘Sikh-Nirankari’ clash of 1978 after which thousands of innocent persons lost their lives.

Meanwhile, the Khalra Mission Committee, today held the Congress government and the then SSP, Muktsar, Mr Kanwaljit Singh Pannu, responsible for the Malout firing, saying “had the police acted in a responsible manner, the Malout tragedy could have been averted.”

Mr Alwinder Singh Pakhoke, senior vice-president, SGPC, Mr Jaswinder Singh advocate and Mr Sukhwinder Singh Jhabal — both SGPC members — have described the constitution of “inquiry committee” as eyewash.

UNI adds: On Wednesday last, about 10 AISSF and Khalsa Panchayat activists were injured when police lathicharged them and later opened fire near Malout to prevent them from clashing with the followers of Baba Ashutosh who was holding a religious congregation there on the same day.


Tubectomy death: docs, staff found guilty
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 2
A magisterial probe conducted by the Additional Deputy Magistrate, Mr G.K. Singh into the reasons which led to the death of a 24-year-old Rani, few hours after her tubectomy operation at the Civil Hospital, Raman Mandi, on July 3, has held the Civil Hospital authorities responsible for the same.

Sources said though Mr G.K. Singh was yet to submit a report to the District Magistrate, Mr Anurag Verma, it had been established that Rani, mother of three, died few hours after the operation due to the negligence of the Civil Hospital authorities.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that in the report it was mentioned that had she been given post-operative care, she would not have died. The report also fixed the responsibility on doctors and members of paramedical staff, the names of whom could not be known yet.

Rani, wife of a brick-kiln labourer, was operated upon at about 3 pm for tubectomy and allegedly sent home on a donkey cart at 4 pm by the hospital authorities despite the instructions that no patient, who had undergone surgery, would be discharged before three hours of the operation.

Rani, who developed complication at her relative’s house, was not given post-operative care by the doctors and members of the paramedical staff on duty. She was again taken to the hospital. However, the staff on duty told her kin that she should be shifted immediately to the Civil Hospital, Bathinda, 40 km from Raman Mandi. She died at about 2.15 am.

The hospital authorities, instead of taking action against the staff, tried to bring about a compromise between the kin of the deceased and the medical staff. Even a post-mortem examination was not conducted.

Dr G.S. Sidhu, who performed the operation, claimed that Rani was running high-grade fever and was “denied” post-operative care by the paramedical staff on evening duty.


Judicial remand for Langah
Our Correspondent and UNI

Kharar, August 2
Mr Roshan Lal Chouhan, Judicial Magistrate, here today remanded Sucha Singh Langah, former PWD Minister, Punjab, in judicial custody till August 16 today and ordered that he should be produced in the special court, Ropar, on that day.

Mr Jatinderjit Singh Punn, public prosecutor and Mr Gurmakh Singh DSP, Vigilance appeared in the court and pleaded for police remand of the accused. They said the Vigilance Bureau did not get sufficient time to interrogate him as he was sent to one-day police remand from this court last evening. The court rejected their appeal and sent him in judicial custody.

Meanwhile, when Mr Langah was coming out of the court room there was lot of scuffle as mediamen wanted to talk to Mr Langah. He was not allowed to meet the media. At this Mr Langah shouted and refuted the allegations.

He alleged that a former Speaker was trying to malign his image. Later he was whisked away by Vigilance Bureau men.

While being taken away, he said he had made no confession or disclosure in the Vigilance custody. He alleged that all confessions and disclosures attributed to him were concocted.

Mr Langah claimed that he had not implicated any member of the Badal family in any “illegal” act, as alleged by the Vigilance.

Describing the whisking away of Mr Langah as illegal, his counsel said his client should have been handed over to the regular guard for lodging him in jail as per the court orders.

Meanwhile, the Vigilance today admitted in the court that they had kept Mr Langah for night stay at its Chandigarh office during police custody, which was violative of the court jurisdiction which envisaged his stay in Vigilance police station at Mohali. But the prosecution defended its action, saying it was in compliance of the court’s order to provide at least eight-hour sleep to Mr Langah which was not possible in the Mohali police station lock-up which did not have a fan.


Amarinder should resign: Badal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
Questioning the moral right of the present Punjab Government to continue in the office in the wake of Chief Justice’s letter, the SAD President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal said today that the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Mr Justice Arun B. Saharya’s, observations that investigations into the recruitment scandal were seriously hampered by the government’s decision to transfer the intelligence top brass was a damning indictment of Capt Amarinder Singh’s government.

“Capt Amarinder Singh led government has no right to continue in the office as it stands indicted,” Mr Badal said.

He said the Chief Minister should explain his stand in this regard.

In a statement issued through the party officer here, Mr Badal said “the Chief Justice’s observations had exposed the government’s sincerity in its so called drive against corruption”. That such an indictment has come from the highest seat in the state points also towards the government’s motives in removing the honest officers from the probe. “This was done to prevent them from exposing the involvement of the Chief Minister’s office in the disappearance of crores of rupees from the bank lockers.”

Mr Badal was reacting to the letter written by the Chief Justice to the Punjab Governor, Lt Gen J. F. R. Jacob. In his letter the Chief Justice had praised the “exemplary work “done by Mr A. P. Bhatnagar, the transferred ADGP (Intelligence). The Akali leader asked the government to explain why an officer who has earned praise from the head of the judiciary was treated so shabbily. The government had still not answered the issues raised by Mr Bhatnagar. He had raised serious doubts about government’s motives behind preventing him and his team from interrogating bank manager.


NRI students owe lakhs to SGPC institute
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 2
The SGPC-run Sri Guru Ram Dass Institute of Medical Sciences and Research has issued notices to eight MBBS students for 2000-2001 and 2001-2002. These students were admitted under the NRI quota. The notice directs them to deposit their dues failing which they would not be allowed to attend classes.

The college authorities have put the names of the defaulting students on the notice board. Besides letters have been dispatched to their parents for clearing the dues as directed by the SGPC Trust at its meetings held on March 3 and July 19.

The students (2000-2001session) who have failed to deposit the second and third installments of $17,500 each or their equivalent in Indian currency by August 14 are Aswinder Bawa, Charnpreet Singh Grewal and Karan Sandhu. The notice issued by the Director-Principal of the institute reads, “They (the students) have not deposited the second and third installments as per the conditions of the prospectus. They are, therefore, directed to deposit the fee amounting to $ 35,000 or its equivalent by August 14 positively with the accounts section of this institute, otherwise they will not be allowed to attend the classes.”

Similarly, five students admitted during the 2001-2002 session, including Jaspreet Kaur Mann, Jagjit Singh, Harneet Batra, Praduman Setia and Kirandip Samra, were also directed to pay the balance fee by August 30.

Parents, who had been issued notices to deposit the balance amount, have alleged that the influential students admitted in the 1999-2000 batch have only paid token money and were not issued notices to clear the dues. However, Dr U. S. Dhaliwal, Director-Principal of the institute, claimed that no discrimination was done against any student or his parent while issuing notices. He said notices could not be issued to the students who had got the exemption from the payment of fee by the SGPC Trust. He categorically stated that the defaulting students won’t be allowed to take their examinations scheduled for November in case they failed to clear their dues.

Meanwhile, Mr Narinder Paul Singh, a leader of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, in a petition-filed before the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission, has sought the removal of Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar as SGPC chief for his alleged failure to recover dues from the students admitted under the NRI quota . The petitioner has also demanded disqualification of former SGPC presidents Bibi Jagir Kaur and Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi for five years as SGPC members on similar grounds. He alleged that the respondents had committed acts of malfeasance, misfeasance, breach of trust, neglect of duty and abuse of power and failed to recover the huge fee from the students, admitted under the NRI quota. The petitioner said that the funds of the trust, which was the property of the Sikh sangat, could not be misused by anyone — howsoever high he may be.


MC chief resigns
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 2
The no-confidence motion move against the acting president of the Sirhind-Fatehgarh Sahib Municipal council was amicably settled with the timely intervention by the Forest Minister Dr Harbans Lal, yesterday. The minister during his visit to the town yesterday got the resignation of the acting president a day prior to the no-confidence motion and assured the opposing councilors that he would get it passed at the earliest. The senior Congress leaders of the area played a vital role in sorting out the matter.

Certain councillors had submitted a no-confidence motion against the senior vice-president of the council alleging that they had lost faith in him due to his style of working and record increase in corruption. The vice-president of the council had become the acting president to fill the gap as the president was also removed through no-confidence vote, but within a short span certain councillors of the minister’s group got annoyed from him alleging that he even deceived the minister by getting a stay from the High Court without consulting any councillor or even the minister. The working of the council during this period became controversial as several allegations and counter allegations of corruption were levelled by the councillors.


Hanspal’s appointment welcomed
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 2
The convener of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee Scheduled Caste Cell and former legislator, Dr Satwant Singh Mohi, PPSC Task Force Chairman, Mr Avtar Singh Bathoi, and senior district leader, Mr Chiman Lal, today welcomed the appointment of Mr H.S. Hanspal as President of the PPCC.

In a statement here, the leaders thanked party President Sonia Gandhi and state Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, in this regard.


Magistrate’s order on summons quashed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
The Punjab and Haryana High Court, in a significant judgement, has ruled that an accused in a complaint case can appear before the trial magistrate and show that the proceedings against him are liable to be dropped.

Delivering the verdict on a petition filed by the then Principal and Director of Sri Anandpur Sahib’s Dasmesh Academy —Group Capt Mohinder Singh Sihota, Mr Justice Viney Mittal of the High Court observed: “It is always open to a accused or a person summoned in a complaint to appear before the trial magistrate, who has passed the summoning orders, and show to him that no case was made out against him or that the proceedings against him are liable to be dropped”.

Mr Justice Mittal also quashed the orders passed by the magistrate whereby an application filed by the petitioner for reconsidering the summoning order was dismissed. The Judge also directed that remitted the matter back to the trial magistrate for rehearing and reconsidering the petitioner’s request.

In his detailed order, the Judge observed: “A perusal of the order shows that the trial magistrate, while noticing the submissions made by the petitioner, held that reconsideration of the matter at that stage would amount to review of the earlier summoning order.... In fact these observations run contrary to the law laid down by the apex court”.

The petitioner was summoned on the basis of a complaint filed by a teacher. Seeking the quashing of the complaint, the petitioner had contended that it was filed as the teacher was charge-sheeted and ordered to be removed for misconduct.

Summons to PPSC scam accused

A Division Bench of the High Court today directed Kurukshetra University professor, Amarjit Singh Kang, an accused in Punjab Public Service Commission recruitment scam, to appear before the vigilance authorities on August 5.

The Bench, comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall, also asked the professor to appear before the authorities as and when summoned. The Judges fixed August 13 as the next date of hearing.

PTU told to consider request

Taking up a petition filed by a student of Dasmesh Girls College at Badal in Muktsar district seeking directions to the state of Punjab and other respondents for permitting her to migrate to Apee Jay Institute of Management in Jalandhar city, Mr Justice Jawahar Lal Gupta and Mr Justice S.S. Grewal of the High Court have directed that the “petitioner’s request for migration shall be considered by Punjab Technical University”.

In her petition, Pooja Dabra had contended that the petitioner’s application for a migration certificate was forwarded with a recommendation from Punjab’s former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to Dasmesh Girls College, but no action was taken. Her counsel had added that the petitioner was fulfilling the conditions laid down and had secured marks “equivalent to or more than the last general category candidate admitted to the institute. After hearing counsel, the Judges directed that a copy of the decision that might be taken by the appropriate authority be placed on record on August 6, the next date of hearing.


Protest against power Bill from Aug 9
Tribune News Service

Ropar, August 2
With a view to opposing the Electricity Bill 2001 power engineers throughout the country are going to observe a “mass awakening fortnight” from August 9 to August 24. This Bill has been listed for discussion in the current session of Parliament. The Bill seeks to repeal the Indian Electricity Act, 1910, Electricity Supply Act, 1948, and the Electricity Regulatory Commission Act, 1998.

Talking to The Tribune here today, Mr V.K. Gupta, secretary Northern India Power Engineers Federation (NIPEF), said the Bill would prompt mushrooming of licensees in power generation, transmission and distribution.

Mr Gupta also said this Bill would not only abolish Rs 27083 crore subsidy, presently being given to the agricultural sector but would also divide the country between rural and urban India. The Section 4 and 5 of the Bill states that the Union Government would prepare a national policy for power generation for rural areas. Distribution of power in the rural areas would be responsibility of the panchayati raj institutions, rural cooperatives and non-government organisations while in the urban areas, the private companies would supply the power.

He further said during the ongoing ninth Five-Year Plan, the private sector had failed to achieve a generation target of 17,588 MW and had only added 5061 MW. Likewise at the national level, the country had also failed in achieving its generation target of 40,245 MW by generating only 19,015 MW. Thus increasing the gap between demand and supply.

The bankruptcy of the state electricity boards (SEBs) was due to the fact that they could not decide the tariff independently. The Union Government had planned to electrify 62,000 villages during the Tenth Five Year Plan, starting from 2002. He said the rural electrification would become an unintentional casualty because private companies would work for it.


Case against Coop MD: staff to go on strike
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 2
The Punjab State Cooperative Employees Union has decided to observe a strike on August 5 and August 6 in protest against the registration of a case against a Managing Director of Cooperative Societies, Punjab, by the Vigilance Bureau recently.

Stating this in a press notice here today, Mr Gurmail Singh Bharowal, president of the union, threatened that if the government did not withdraw the “false” and take action against erring officials the union would intensify its agitation and go on mass leave.

Mr Parmeshwar Singh Sidhu was arrested by the Vigilance for causing loss to the Cooperative Department to the tune of lakhs of rupees by allegedly giving loans without taking adequate guarantee.

Mr Bharowal said a meeting of the union was held in Chandigarh last night and it was felt that Mr Sidhu was being implicated. He said the officer had not done anything illegal and had only followed the directions of the government. The funds with the department had increased and the government had directed officials to give loans by relaxing some conditions.


HC orders SSPs to find newly weds
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed Senior Superintendents of Chandigarh and Hoshiarpur police to ensure the recovery of a couple allegedly taken away from the High Court premises by the girl’s father.

The two had reportedly tied the knot on July 23 against the wishes of the elders. In their habeas corpus petition, Gurbinder Singh and Pooja Abrol had claimed that they had apprehensions regarding their safety as the girl’s father was against their inter-caste marriage.

Appearing before Mr Justice Ashutosh Mohunta of the High Court, counsel for the petitioners contended that the girl’s father, along with 10-15 other persons, took both the petitioners away from the HC premises. After hearing counsel, Mr Justice Mohunta issued notice of motion for August 9 and directed the two officers to recover the couple.


2 pc plot quota for police awardees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
The Punjab Government has decided to reserve 2 per cent plots and houses in the urban estates of PUDA for Punjab Police gallantary awardees and also allow the free bus travel facility to police personnel by abolishing the concessional travel facility.

Mr M.S. Bhullar, DGP, said today that the reservation of 2 per cent quota would benefit about 240 awardees. There is a similar reservation in the PUDA urban estates for the dependents of army and paramilitary forces personnel, according to a press note.

Mr Bhullar said till the rank of Inspector, the required conditions for confirmation in every lower rank/post had been abolished by amending the Punjab Police Service Rules.

The quota for promoting constables to C-II (exemptee) had been increased from 10 per cent to 15 per cent.


DD staff’s dharna hits production
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 2
Production work in Doordarshan Kendra here today had to be stopped as the employees held a dharna in front of the kendra to protest against the transfer of All India Radio and Doordarshan employees to the Prasar Bharati Corporation without obtaining their consent.

The employees alleged that it was mandatory for the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to seek employees view if they wanted to join the corporation or not as per the Prasar Bharati Act 1990, but they were forced to join the corporation against their wishes. “We were not even informed that we were being transferred to the corporation,” alleged Mr Manjit Singh, secretary of the employees’ organisation. He threatened that if their demands were not accepted by the ministry, employees would go on a four-day strike from September 6.

Meanwhile, it was learnt that the protest by employees led to the stoppage of production work in the DD but transmission of different programmes was not affected.


BKU: dispute with transporters settled
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 2
Mr Surjit Singh, block president of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta), Maur Mandi, in a statement issued here today claimed that the dispute with the transporters regarding the bus fare on the Bathinda-Maur route had been resolved.

He claimed that the transporters were forced to charge actual bus fares by the BKU and the Sub- Divisional Magistrate, Talwandi Sabo had helped to resolve the case.

The transporters had been charging Rs 3 as bus fare from Maur Mandi to Rajgarh Kubbe village even as transport rules permit a bus fare of Rs 2 only.

He said as per rules the bus fare from Maur Mandi to Rajgarh Kubbe village was calculated at Rs 2.46 and as policy of the Transport Department a fare of Rs 2 should have been charged. But he alleged that the transporters had been charging Rs 3 and now as per mutual agreement reached upon by the BKU and transporters, the commuters would be charged a fare of Rs 2.

It was clarified by the Transport Department that if on any bus route the fare was less than Rs 0.49 a rupee would not be charged and if the fare was more than Rs 0.51 a rupee would be charged from passenger. But as this rule was not known to many, the transporters had been cheating passengers, he added.


SSP: complaint of remarriage fake
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 2
Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, yesterday said a complaint lodged by Manjeet Kaur a resident of the district, that her husband had remarried was found to be fake as she had failed to provide any documentary proof.

He said in a press note that reports in a section of the press that a DSP had found the allegations of Manjeet Kaur true while another DSP had found these to be wrong were baseless.

Manjeet Kaur, a resident of Lehra Sondha, had alleged that her husband Kuldeep Singh had remarried a minor of Channa Gulab Singhwala village in Sangrur district.

The complainant, however, failed to give any proof like photographs, statements of the priest of the gurdwara who had allegedly conducted the marriage or of the sarpanch.

The SSP said the investigation revealed that the complaint was fake. He said the reports in some newspapers were aimed at maligning the image of the Police Department.


ASI begins probe into illegal constructions
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 2
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has started an inquiry into the unauthorised constructions around the 1800-year-old Bathinda fort. A high-powered team led by Deputy Director (Surveys) along with a cameraman visited the fort today.

The team paid special attention to the buildings built after 1992 around the 100-metre radius of the fort. Measurements around the fort were taken to find out the number and nature of these unauthorised constructions. The team also looked into the 14 applications filed by the residents with the municipal council seeking no objection certificates from the ASI.

While talking to mediapersons, the officials said that vide a notification issued by the Union Government in 1992 all constructions falling in the 100-metre radius were banned.

It is pertinent here that a few weeks ago, the construction of a market near the Bathinda fort had created much controversy and the Municipal Council authorities, which had earlier sanctioned the site plan of the market, had to cancel the same.

The residents, on the other hand, alleged that the survey authorities were not permitting them to repair their damaged houses. Some of the houses are in a dilapidated condition but they were not being allowed. to construct new buildings after demolishing the old ones.


Train crushes 9 buffaloes to death
Tribune news service

Chaugitti (Jalandhar), August 2
As many as nine buffaloes were crushed to death when a speeding DMU train trampled the animals on the Jalandhar-Pathankot section here this morning.

The incident resulted in the suspension of rail traffic for about 45 minutes, which caused inconvenience to commuters.

Interestingly, even as some of the injured animals kept reeling under severe pain for about two hours at the site, no activist of any of the animal welfare organisations bothered to visit the area to extend medical aid to poor animals.

Eyewitnesses maintained that the ill-fated animals, being herded by two ‘gujjar’ women for enabling these to graze along the rail track strayed into the track all of a sudden. Nine of about 20 animals sustained serious injuries in the accident and five of the poor animals died within half an hour of the incident, followed by four others, for lack of any veterinary aid at the site.


Probe ordered into girl’s stay in SGPC serai
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 2
A girl who had run away from her house in Jammu was taken away by her parents in presence of the Jammu police. A police constable, got her a room booked in the SGPC serai under a “fictitious name”.

According to Mr Ajaib Singh, Manager, Darbar Sahib, the constable had got the room booked with a ‘bad intention’.

However, Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, SP (City), said that he had deputed Mr Sohan Singh, SHO (Ghalliara) to probe the matter. He said constable Baljit Singh earlier worked as security guard of a Sikh high priest thus he used his influence in booking a room. Medical examination of the girl could not be done as she was taken to Jammu by the parents.


Sidhu’s ‘tout’ seeks anticipatory bail
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 2
Panchkula resident, Dr Shamsher Singh, accused of being a tout of suspended PPSC Chairman Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu, today filed an anticipatory bail application with regard to a case registered against Sidhu and others.

Dr Shamsher Singh is under arrest in a case registered against him in Chandigarh. The application will be taken up in the sessions court tomorrow.


Show-cause notice to Khalsa College
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 2
The inquiry into the alleged irregularities in the contributory provident fund (CPF) of the teachers of Khalsa College took a new turn after the Regional Provident Fund (RPF) Commissioner issued a show-cause notice and summons asking for the appearance by August 6 of assessees, witnesses, production of employees records of the college from August 1982 failing which legal proceedings would be initiated against them.

The show-cause notice dated July 24, issued under Section 7A of the Employees Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952, has directed the college to present its attendance and membership eligibility registers, cash book and vouchers, payment register/paybills and any other document for ascertaining attendance in the payment register.

The inquiry was initiated in April by the RPF Commissioner on a complaint of Prof SS Kaura and three other teachers of the college.

The two-member inquiry panel of enforcement officers of the RPF, on their last visit to the college on July 8, had said in a written statement that the “college authorities failed to submit the required documents and information necessary for the inquiry. Hence a memo was issued to the organisation.” The memo stated that the “establishment must clarify why they have not been depositing their PF dues to the EPF organisation” within seven days of the notice failing which legal action would be taken against the establishment.

Dr MS Dhillon, Principal of Khalsa College, told this correspondent that the management of the college had written a letter to the RPF Commissioner yesterday requesting for a two-month period to submit records of the employees as the amount involved in accounts is more than Rs 2 crore.

However, the Principal refuted the charge, adding that he was in no way involved in the alleged irregularities as he himself was an employee of the college.

Eleven senior professors of the college had alleged that the Principal had refused to verify their provident fund in their individual records. They had also alleged that mass irregularities were going on as their provident fund was delayed by six months depriving them of accrued interest on the fund.


Siddiqui is OSD, Law and Order
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
Dr A. A. Siddiqui, on return from an inter-state deputation, will be the Officer on Special Duty, Law and Order, a spokesman of the Punjab Government announced here tonight.

Dr Siddiqui, who was working as Director-General of Police, Manipur, has been recalled by the Punjab Government. The order of his posting in Punjab was reportedly cleared by the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, before leaving for his trip abroad.

He belongs to the 1968 batch of the IPS.

Once Dr Siddiqui is promoted, all officers senior to him too, will have to be promoted. Those senior to him are Mr B.P. Tewari, Mr S.K. Verma and Mr A.P. Bhatnagar.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Government has also ordered transfer and fresh posting of six superintendents of police. They are Mr Vijay Kumar, Mr Rajpal Singh, Mr Bachan Singh Randhawa, Mr Harbhajan Singh, Mr L.K. Yadav and Mr Gurdev Singh.


Bar on DPC meetings
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
The Punjab Government has decided that no meetings of departmental promotion committees shall be held till further orders unless ordered by the courts, says a press note issued today.

The Punjab Non-Gazetted Employees Organisation has opposed the government order sent to all secretaries as this would block the promotional channel of employees. 


K. S. Pannu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
Mr Kanwaljit Singh Pannu, a former SSP of Muktsar, has been on transfer given current-duty charge as DIG (Vigilance), Chandigarh, according to a police press note issued today.


Rapists booked after fortnight
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, August 2
It took almost 14 days for the police in this district to register a case of gang rape of an unmarried girl, who later committed suicide.

The Garhshankar police yesterday registered a case under Sections 306 and 376 of the IPC and arrested three of the six rapists. The other three are still at large.

According to the police, Balhar Singh, alias Ladoo, Kamaljit Singh, alias Kamal, Avtar Singh, Gurdip Singh, alias Deepa, Lakhwinder Singh of Panma village and Talwinder Singh, alias Tikoo, of Denowal Khurd village abducted 20-year-old daughter of a farmer Bikar Singh, of Denowal Khurd and gang-raped her at their tubewell on July 16.

The girl after reaching her house later at night consumed poison. She was taken to a hospital at Daha Kalera village where she died on July 18.

Police sources said a hunt to nab Avtar Singh, Gurdip Singh and Lakhwinder Singh had been launched.


Sewerage board MD booked for graft
Our Correspondent

Kharar, August 2
The Vigilance Bureau registered a case against a former Managing Director of Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board under the Prevention of Corruption Act yesterday.

According to information available, the case has been registered at SAS Nagar. It has been alleged that the officer during the tenure of his service had allegedly amassed property worth about Rs 4 lakhs, which was disproportionate to this known sources of income. The bureau has registered a case after conducting an inquiry.


Fresh case against PWSSB ex-MD
Our Correspondent

Kharar, August 2
The anti-corruption campaign started by the present Punjab government headed by Capt Amarinder Singh intensified when the Vigilance Bureau registered a fresh case against a former Managing Director of the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board under the Prevention of Corruption Act yesterday.

According o information, the case has been registered at SAS Nagar and it has been alleged that the officer had procured property worth about Rs 4 lakh.

The VB has registered the case after conducting an inquiry into the allegation.


Councillor booked
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 2
A case has been registered against Mr Surinder Choudhry, an independent councillor, and his son, Pawan Kumar, for allegedly attacking Vinayak Sachdeva, alias Vicky, a vegetable seller, late last evening.

In his complaint, Vinayak alleged that the councillor, along with about 20 armed persons, attacked him following a minor dispute. In his complaint, he said he had some dispute with the owner of a neighbouring shop over throwing garbage. He alleged that the accused started pelting stones at him.


Dalit girl raped
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 2
A Scheduled Caste girl (18) of Balluana village of this district was raped yesterday.

Police sources said that the victim was alone in her house when she was raped allegedly by Pal Singh. The accused fled from spot after committing the crime. Sources added a case under Section 376 of the IPC was registered after conducting a medical examination.


Teachers’ dharna against DEO
Tribune News Service

Ropar, August 2
Members of the district unit of the Government Teachers Union, Punjab, led by district president, Mr Sucha Singh Khatra, sat on a dharna near the mini-secretariat here this afternoon to protest against the District Education Officer (Primary), Ropar. They were demanding her removal from the post of DEO (Primary), and registration of a case against her for allegedly “damaging” articles in her office.

They also demanded the cancellation of mass transfers done by her and the transfers allegedly done by “violating” the rules of rationalisation. They also alleged that the DEO (Primary) had suspended several officials, including lecturers and an Assistant Education Officer, about a month and a half ago, even though the suspension of these officials not fall in her jurisdiction.

Mr Khatra alleged that when the union leaders opposed the actions and decisions of the DEO (P), she got a “false case” registered against them.

Dr Malti Batra, DEO (P), Ropar, while informing about the dharna to the Punjab Chief Minister, Registrars of Supreme Court, and Punjab and Haryana High Court, and other officers, yesterday said that any such action amounts to contempt of court as the matter was subjudice. She further said that the teachers and union leaders wanted her to withdraw the case filed against the defaulters in an education scam both from the Education Department and the court.

She has also refuted all allegations, levelled by the teachers’ union leaders against her.


Trust awards for meritorious students
Tribune News Service

Ropar, August 2
The local Mahajan Education Trust has announced Awards of Excellence for four meritorious students of the CBSE-affiliated schools of the district on the basis of their performance in the plus two examination conducted by one CBSE in March 2002.

Mr Manohar Lal Chopra, general secretary of the trust, said students standing first, second and third shall be given cash awards of Rs 5000, Rs 4000 and Rs 3000, respectively.

Ms Rimpreet, a student of BBMB, DAV Public School, Nangal township, who secured 92.2 per cent marks and obtained first position, would get cash prize of Rs 5,000 while Mr Ravneet Bajwa and Mr Akhil Jain, both from Gian Jyoti Public School, SAS Nagar, would get cash prizes of Rs 4,000 each as both had secured 90 per cent marks. Mr Ravi Inder Singh also from Gian Jyoti Public School, SAS Nagar, would get third prize of Rs 3,000 for obtaining 89 per cent marks.


Govt ‘demoralising’ unemployed youth
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 2
Activists of the district unit of the Unemployed Teachers Front, Punjab, have alleged that the dictatorial attitude of the ministers of the state government, especially the Education Minister, Mr Khushal Behl, has demoralised unemployed youth.

In a written statement issued here today, the activists alleged that subsequent governments had issued advertisements for the recruitment of teachers and had collected crores of rupees as fee from thousands of unemployed youth, however, only a few persons were given these jobs. The government had formulated no concrete policy for the recruitment of teachers, they alleged.

Mr Sukhdarshan Singh, district president of the front, said if the minimum eligibility for school teachers was increased to M.A. B.Ed, for recruitment as primary teacher if was increased to B.A., E.T.T., it would lead to ‘disqualification’ of thousands of job seekers. He alleged that these steps were aimed at privatising education.

He said first the government had announced a blanket ban on the creation of new vacancies and then it abolished the vacant posts.

He said if the government went ahead with its plan to increase the minimum eligibility condition for the teachers, they would be forced to launch an indefinite agitation. 


Order to finish work on DIET hostel
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, August 2
The Deputy Commissioner of Ferozepore, Mr D. K. Tiwari, has asked the authorities concerned to complete work on the hostel for boys and girls of the District Institute of Educational Training (DIET) by August 15. The work has been pending for the past 10 years.

At a meeting here today, he was told that Markfed had constructed the building of this institute in the early nineties at an estimated cost of Rs 80 lakh but the work on hostels had not been completed due to the paucity of funds.

Also there was no proper drainage system. He asked Markfed officials to connect drainage pipes of the institute with the main road drain.

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