Tuesday, August 13, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Baba Dhanwant’s kin denies bribing Vedanti
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 12
Sikh high priests facing charges of corruption today received a respite when Mr Fauja Singh clarified that he had not given any bribe to get favour for his relative, Baba Dhanwant Singh, who has been facing charges of moral turpitude and rape.

In a message faxed to the Akal Takht secretariat, Mr Fauja Singh said his name was being unnecessarily dragged into the controversy as he had neither given bribe nor was he a witness to bribe giving.

The Khalsa Panchayat had alleged that the Jathedar of Akal Takht and his former PA had taken bribe for showing favour of Baba Dhanwant Singh and Mr Fauja Singh was the mediator.

However, Mr Rajinder Singh, convener, Khalsa Panchayat, said that the decision of the Sikh clergy was not acceptable as Jathedar Vedanti had no locus standi to decide the case as he was party to it. He said the Khalsa Panchayat would decide the next course of action shortly.

Meanwhile, the five Sikh high priests who met here today claimed that the charges of corruption against Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, and his former personal assistant, Mr Prithipal Singh, were baseless and misleading. The high priests resolved that they would summon the members of the Khalsa Panchayat at Akal Thakt for lodging baseless complaints.

However, they said that it would take time to summon them since one of the complainants, Mr Charanjit Singh Channi, who was injured in the Malout firing was under treatment.

Prof Manjit Singh, a high priest, said strict action would be taken against the complainants and their allies for denigrating the prestige of Akal Takht under a ‘deep-rooted’ conspiracy.

The Khalsa Panchayat had laid the pre-condition that Jathedar Vedanti and Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar, Kesgarh Sahib, should not attend the meeting since they were facing serious charges.

The meeting of the Sikh clergy was attended by Jathedar Vedanti, Prof Manjit Singh, Giani Bhagwan Singh, Head Granthi, Akal Takht, Giani Jagtar Singh and Giani Gurbachan Singh, both Granthis of the Golden Temple.


Govt to seek review of crop damage criteria
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
Punjab will represent to the Centre to seek a change in the parameters for determining the damage to crops. The suggested changes will form a part of the assessment report to be submitted to the Centre after the “special girdawari” now under way in the state, said Agriculture and Rural Development Minister, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, at a meeting of the state-level committee on kharif prospects here today.

The farmers had incurred an additional expenditure on diesel and pumpsets to meet the irrigation requirements of the paddy crop. This had put a great financial burden on them and also pushed up the cost of cultivation. Moreover, Punjab paddy had suffered on account of drought and power deficiency.

The non-availability of additional electricity from the National grid had added to the woes of the farmers, who were already reeling under the impact of debts. In the given situation, even sub-soil water was getting depleted, resulting in rendering 50 per cent of the tube wells dry.

Farmers had been forced to plough 11,196 hectares of paddy fields. The crop on nearly 1 lakh hectares was adversely affect at the early stage of sowing. The committee’s assessment is that the yields of major kharif crops like paddy, maize and cotton would decline.

In addition to natural calamity, a large area remained unsown in the border districts owing to mines laid out there. Since transformers were also located in such areas, the situation got worse there. Efforts were being made to provide at least 8 hours to 10 hours of power supply to the agriculture sector to operate tubewells at the cost of supply to industrial and domestic consumers, which would also be taken into account while assessing crop damage. The low level of reservoirs at the three dams had also affected generation of power.

The Centre had to consider all such factors while re-writing the parameters for paying compensation to farmers in the case of drought. “Punjab’s case is different. As the Centre’s crop damage assessment criteria do not support and suit the cause of the farmers, these have to be changed”, she added.


Committee to examine payment to farmers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
Directing the state of Punjab to constitute a high-powered committee for examining proposals aimed at benefiting the farming community in paddy procurement, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has asked state counsel to contact the Secretary of Food and Supplies for the purpose.

Issuing the directions, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall, added that the Secretary concerned should, through Punjab’s Senior Deputy Advocate General, inform court counsel about the committee’s composition, along with the time and venue of the meeting. A proper invitation should also be handed over to court counsel for attending the meeting, the Judges further added.

Fixing September 30 as the next date of hearing in the case, the Judges asserted that a “report prepared on the basis of deliberations made in the meeting should be produced before the Court within six weeks”.

Court counsel, on the last date of hearing, had told the Judges that in Andhra Pardesh payment to the farmers was being made through cheques. He had added that his suggestions, if accepted by the government and implemented by its agencies, would go a long way in avoiding harassment being faced by the farmers.

In their detailed order, the Judges observed: “State counsel has stated that the government was eager and willing to examine any proposal which may benefit the farming community in the matter of paddy procurement. She has further stated that the government would also consider any suggestion made by court counsel. Director of Food and Supplies G. Vajralingam says he himself would be ready to discuss any proposal which may be made by court counsel. In our opinion, it would be appropriate for the government to constitute a high powered committee to examine the issue”.

The High Court, it may be recalled, had taken suo motu notice of newspaper reports claiming that Rs 25 per quintal of paddy procured was being charged by the commission agents for being passed on as bribe to quarters concerned.

Status report

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the state of Punjab to submit a status report giving details of steps taken for the imposition of heavy fine and penalty on violators of sanitation bylaws.

In a ruling, a Division Bench of the High Court, comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall, also directed that the status report should also provide information regarding the completion of solid waste disposal plants in cities with Municipal Corporations, besides details of privatisation of sanitation work in all the municipal areas of Punjab.

The Bench added that information on measures to be taken for the disposal of bio-medical waste on the pattern adopted by Ludhiana’s Municipal Corporation should also be provided in the report.

In their detailed order, the Judges observed: “Director of Local Bodies, present in person, has invited our attention to the steps taken by municipalities in the state regarding the disposal of solid and bio-medical waste. He has assured that the government would effectively initiate the process of setting up solid waste disposal plants in all corporation cities within two months. He has also assured that in all the remaining municipalities, necessary steps would be taken for the disposal of solid waste”.

The Judges added: “State counsel has urged that the case may be adjourned for two months for enabling the state government to place before the court fresh status report. The request of counsel is accepted. Case is adjourned to September 30”.


Loss to industry also to be assessed
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 12
Even as field staff of the Revenue Department has been pressed into service to hold a special girdawari, the Punjab Government has started collecting information in connection with the loss suffered by the industry due to unprecedented power cuts.

Sources said the Industry and Commerce Department had been collecting information so that the case of industrialists could be put up before the state-level committee on drought and power.

In a letter to General Manager of District Industry Centres in the state, the chief coordinator of the Industry and Commerce Department had directed them to get information from important industrial associations. 


Kohar alleges torture in custody
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, August 12
Mr S.K. Goel, Duty Magistrate, today extended the police remand of former minister and president of the district unit of the SAD, Mr Ajit Singh Kohar, till August 14.

Vigilance Bureau officials, along with Mr Kohar, came into the court at 1 p.m. and demanded further police remand to ascertain facts about the disproportionate assets allegedly amassed by Mr Kohar.

The defence counsel, however, argued that there was no need to extend the remand since the verification of the assets could be conducted by checking revenue records.

Mr Kohar alleged that the Vigilance Bureau officials had tortured him in police custody and he was not even allowed to sleep during his two days’ remand. He said he was made to stand throughout the night with his hands up. Besides, no medical aid was given even as he had complained of chest pain to the officials, he alleged.

He offered to give keys of his locker in UCO Bank. Meanwhile, tight security arrangement was made in and around the court.


Bhunder’s bail plea rejected
Tribune News Service

Mansa, August 12
Mr Harbans Lal, Additional Sessions Judge, today rejected the anticipatory bail application moved by former Rajya Sabha member and former chairman, Punjab Mandi Board, Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, MLA.

Mr Bhunder, general secretary of SAD, applied for the anticipatory bail in the court of Additional Sessions Judge on August 1.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that Mr Harbans Lal had issued a notice to the state for August 5 in connection with the anticipatory bail application moved by Mr Bhunder. The Additional Sessions Judge rejected the application by finding the same as infructuous.

Sources said Mr Bhunder, a close confidant of former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had moved the application when he came to know that the state government was trying to implicate him in a criminal case. Certain residents of the Sardulgarh Assembly segment from where Mr Bhunder defeated Congress candidate Ajit Inder Singh Mofar, had given some affidavits to the state government against him with regard to bribes.

Mr Sanjit Kumar Sinha, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, Punjab, had already sent the complaint against Mr Bhunder to the Vigilance Bureau. The complaint supported by an affidavit was lodged by Mr Amrik Singh Dhillon, member, zila parishad, against Mr Bhunder.

Mr Bhunder could not be contacted, despite repeated efforts.


Police remand for Sodhi till Aug 14
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 12
A court here today remanded in police custody till August 14, former PCS officer Purshottam Singh Sodhi, arrested from his Mohali address on Saturday night on the charge of paying Rs 15 lakh to suspended PPSC Chairman Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu for nomination to the PCS.

Judicial Magistrate (First Class) Ranjit Kumar Jain passed the orders after hearing the plea of the prosecution seeking custody of Sodhi to ascertain his assets and to know how he had managed the bribe money he had paid for his nomination.

Mr Sodhi was arrested from his Mohali address on the basis of the statements of Randhir Singh Dheera, an alleged tout of the suspended Chairman, who had claimed that Sodhi along with another person Bhupinder Singh, had paid Rs 15 lakh to Ravi Sidhu at his residence in Chandigarh for nomination to the PCS (Allied).

Meanwhile, Ravi Sidhu’s counsel Sahib Singh Dhindsa today moved an application in the Sessions Court for quashing FIR number 24 registered against Sidhu and others at Patiala. He claimed that the FIR was registered without seeking approval from the authorities concerned.


PSEB Chairman’s arrest stayed

Chandigarh, August 12
Punjab and Haryana High Court Justice R.C. Kathuria today stayed the arrest of Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) Chairman Kehar Singh and issued notice to the Punjab government for October 4.

His arrest has been stayed in the case registered under Sections 420, 467, IPC, against former Education Minister Tota Singh, now in judicial custody.

However, Mr Justice Kathuria directed the petitioner to appear before the vigilance authorities on August 19 to join the investigation. UNI


High drama over MC chief’s resignation
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 12
All the development works in the Municipal Council, Sirhind-Fatehgarh Sahib, have come to a standstill due to the piquant situation created by the acting president of the council by first submitting his resignation to the local Minister, Dr Harbans Lal from his post, who forwarded it to the EO of the council, and later turning hostile. The acting president alleged that he had never tendered any resignation, but some elements had forged his signatures and submitted it to the EO. This incident has put the prestige of the minister on stake and it has become a hot topic of discussion in the district as well as in the administrative circles.

Meanwhile, the majority of the councillors have demanded that a thorough probe should be conducted, and if the signatures are forged then who are the culprits, and if the signatures are authentic, then action should be taken against the acting president.

According to information available, the acting president handed over his resignation to the Executive Officer, and he, vide receipt No. 2579 dt 6.8.2002, received it. The acting president in his two-line resignation has mentioned: “I hereby tender my resignation from the post of senior vice-president and it should be immediately accepted”. The sources said that this resignation was submitted as a part of the understanding reached between the councillors, minister and the acting president as certain councillors of the Sirhind-Fatehgarh Sahib Municipal Council have submitted no-confidence motion against the acting president to be decided on August 1, but the no-confidence was defeated with the intervention of the Minister of the area, Dr Harbans Lal, who persuaded the councillors to defeat the motion and assured them to remove him from the post at the earliest.

Sources said the Minister has kept his promise in the presence of party workers by forwarding his resignation. But as soon as the acting president came to know about the development, he immediately wrote to EO that he had never submitted his resignation. It is worth mentioning that the vice-president of the council became the acting president as the president of the council, Ashok Sood, was removed in a no-confidence passed against him.


Woman got job on forged papers
Action against PSEB staff likely
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 12
Sixteen years after a woman joined the PSEB on the basis of a forged transfer order and three years after the case was first detected, the board management today decided to pin responsibility on those who facilitated the illegal appointment.

Jagir Kaur, who had been working as a lower division clerk until she was dismissed in September last year, appeared for a personal hearing against her dismissal before Mr K.S. Kang, member, administration, today. Her appeal against the dismissal had been rejected in May.

The member reportedly asked for her service file so that responsibility could be pinned on those who facilitated the appointment. Mr Kang, when contacted, only confirmed the personal hearing.

Sources said the board management is studying whether a case should be registered against the employee and the others. It is also likely to undertake an in-house inspection of records of employees to ascertain whether there were more cases.

Jagir Kaur was able to procure a false transfer order issued by the Superintending Engineer, DS circle, Bathinda, in 1987. She continued to get increments until the matter was investigated by the vigilance department of the board in 1999 following which a report was submitted to the board in June 1999.

She claimed in her reply that she had received a letter in 1986 at her house vide which she was directed to join duty in the office of the Executive Engineer, sub-urban division, Bathinda.

The matter was entrusted for inquiry to the Deputy Secretary in which it was proved that the employee had joined the board on the basis of forged documents.

The case is now likely to be contested in the labour court where she has moved an application.


Kept without treatment for 9 months
Our Correspondent

Ropar, August 12
“She had been reduced virtually to a skeleton with only a thin membrane of skin covering her body. The lower portions of the legs had joined with thighs giving her the shape of Incas mummies being shown on the Discovery Channel”, said Dr Gurjit Singh, SMO, Ropar Civil Hospital, while describing the condition of Kuldeep Kaur, a resident of Bharatgarh at the time she was brought to the hospital with 90 per cent burns.

After remaining in hospital for over three months, she is now stated to be out of danger. However, she still resembles a skeleton.

Kuldeep Kaur was brought to the hospital in May this year almost nine months after she suffered 90 per cent burns at the house of her in-laws in Nalagarh on July 30, 2001.

She was hospitalised at Chandigarh for two days and taken home by her husband, Karamjit Singh.

She was kept without treatment for about two months before her parents took her to Bharatgarh.

As they couldn’t arrange money for her treatment, she was not provided any medical care for another seven months.

It was only after her pathetic condition was brought to the notice of the district administration through a complaint accompanied by her photographs that Kuldeep Kaur was given proper treatment.

The Ropar Deputy Commissioner, Ms Seema Jain, directed a team of doctors from the civil hospital to take care of the girl.

Dr Gurjit Singh who handled the case said on seeing her condition, they had little hope of her survival. She was kept under intensive care all these months. Her legs were put into shape gradually by surgeries.

However, still grafting had to be done on the hind parts of her legs to enable her to walk. The problem was that there was hardly any muscle left in her body that could be used for grafting, he said.

When asked about the total recovery of the girl, the doctor said nothing could be said at present. Her recovery would depend upon the diet and care she would get for a year.

The mother of the girl, Amarjit Kaur, said the matter had been reported to the Ropar police, which was investigating.

The Deputy Commissioner said the Red Cross and the hospital staff had borne the expenses on the treatment of Kuldeep Kaur.


Drinking water projects may be closed
Villagers fail to contribute their share
Jaswinder Paul Singh
Our Correspondent

Muktsar, August 12
The much-hyped Central Government sponsored Sector Reform Project, aimed at providing drinking water and proper sanitation facilities to the rural areas could face closure in many villages of the district as the residents of these areas had failed to contribute their share of funds. As a result of the work on the project has not started in some villages though even the scheme was launched more than two years ago.

The work on the project had so far started only in seven villages although 27 villages had been selected for the purpose. Even where it has started it is not upto the mark and in the others it is yet to start, thus putting a question mark on the utility of the project.

As per the guidelines of the authorities concerned the Central and the state governments had to provide funds for the project in some proportion. Both these governments were to contribute 90 per cent of the total cost of the project. The rest was to be arranged by the residents of the respective villages.

The official sources said although the governments had given their share of first instalments but barring a few, the villagers had not contributed their 10 per cent share. Hence, the projects could not be started in those villages.

The residence of these villages, where work under the project has not yet started due to paucity of funds could face difficulties in getting supply drinking water. As per the guidelines, the project could be shelved if no work started on it till September 30 this year. The sources add that if the project was taken back by the government it was also possible that no funds were given to the district for providing drinking water under some other project in rural areas.

The district administration has launched a campaign for creating awareness among villagers so that they given their share of funds and work on project could be started. Although the district officials are tight lipped as to why no work had started on the project but they maintain that efforts would be made to start work so that the project was not closed.

The possible reason could be that the financial condition of residents of villages was not to found that they could make the contribution.

When the villagers failed to contribute their share the government changed its policy and asked them to give five per cent in cash and the rest in the shape of labour.

The Principal Secretary of Public Health Department, Punjab, Mrs Gurvinder Kaur Chahal, while addressing a seminar here today to motivate the villagers said if they wanted to get pure drinking water they should contribute their share.

Ms Usha R. Sharma, Deputy Commissioner, when contacted on phone also said that mass efforts were being made to motivate villagers to contribute for the project.

Ms Sharma said if some villages still failed to fulfil the requirements of the project the same could be sanctioned to some other villages. 


BJP takes Amarinder to task
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
The Punjab BJP today criticised the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, for preferring to visit the UK and the USA rather than extending any help to the drought-hit people.

Mr Avinash Jaiswal , General Secretary of the party, said at a meeting of the state unit office-bearers that it would have been better if the Chief Minister had toured the drought-hit areas instead of going on a foreign tour. The Punjab Government had done nothing to present the state’s case with regard to drought before the Union Government. The BJP praised the Prime Minister for releasing relief to Punjab on his own.

A number of resolutions were passed at the meeting. Through one resolution, it condemned the ban imposed on the promotion of employees. The government was pushing the employees to the corner by resorting to various anti-employee policies, the BJP said.

The Amarinder Singh Government which was maligning its political rivals in the name of the anti-corruption drive would be exposed at the party’s rally in Ludhiana on August 18. Several senior leaders of the BJP will come from Delhi to address the rally.


MC poll: BSP blows hot and cold about alliance
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, August 12
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) continues to blow hot and cold over the issue of its alliance with the SAD-BJP combine in the coming municipal council polls in Phagwara, Muktsar, Ajnala, Rayya. While its leaders had first announced to have seat adjustment with the SAD-BJP combine its state Secretary Mr Satish Bharati had declared at a press conference here on August 3 that the BSP would go it alone in the September 8 poll and keep equidistance from both Congress party and SAD-BJP combine. Mr Bharati even cited the directive of BSP supremo Kanshi Ram in this regard.

However, after two days ie on August 10, Mr Ashok Sandhu and Mr Harbhajan Singh Balalon, senior BSP leaders, attended a meeting of the SAD and BJP here and declared that the party would have seat adjustment with the combine for council polls as it had done in the block samiti, zila parishad elections.

The two leaders were also present at Mr Bharati’s press conference organised after the party’s meeting held to decide its poll strategy.


Differences in DCC resurface
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo, August 12
Even as Dr Bhagat Singh Dhaliwal, DCC president, has claimed that the district unit was united, differences resurfaced when former MLA Harminder Singh Jassi and his loyalists did not attend a function organised by a section of the Congress rank and file led by Mr Ajit Singh Kanakwal and Mr Harinder Singh Jaurkian in connection with the inauguration of a public grievances redress cell here today.

Mr Kanakwal and Mr Jaurkian, special invitees of the PPCC, are confidant of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

When Punjab Agriculture Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, accompanied by Local Bodies Minister, Jagjit Singh, visited this town a few days ago, nobody from the DCC turned up at the hostel where Mrs Bhattal held a meeting with her loyalists and district officials.

Leaders said Mr Jassi had been intimated about the function but they did not know why he did not turn up.

Though Dr Bhagat Singh Dhaliwal could not be contacted in connection with today’s developments, he claimed in a press note that the party had won 12 out of 14 zila parishad seats due to unity. He said no worker would be allowed to indulge in anti-party activities.

He pointed out that some members of the DCC were absent from the functions of the Governor and Mrs Bhattal as the district administration had not informed them about the visits.


Cut IAS, IPS staff strength: Dal
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, August 12
A rally of the Punjab state Karamchari Dal with employees of the departments like PWD, Public Health, Food and Supply and Panchayat Secretaries held here today to protest against the state government’s anti-employee proposals in this year’s budget urged the government to curtail strength of IAS and IPS officers who the rally said were the major burden on the exchequer.

The government proposals include freezing of DA instalments of the employees for three years, ban on recruitment and promotions, stopping of LTC, implementation of medical insurance scheme in place of the payment of medical allowance, 40 per cent cut while commuting retirement pension, termination of services of 50 per cent employees under voluntary retirement scheme besides handing over civil dispensaries and primary schools to the gram panchayats. The rally said nearly Rs 30 lakh were spent by the government on every IAS and IPS officer every year besides giving many benefits vis-a-vis pay scales of class III and class IV employees. Many opportunities and benefits were also cornered by the senior officers of other departments.

Mr Hari Singh Tohra state president of the Karamchari Dal said that there were nearly 500 IAS and IPS officers in the state while the demand was for 200 officers in Punjab after reorganisation in 1966. He disclosed that since 1980 no recruitment of employees had been made rather their strength had gone down from four lakh to 3.67 lakh in the state. Expressing concern over the indifferent attitude of the state government towards class III and class IV employees he said decision of the government to abolish nine corporations like the Punjab Tubewell Corporation, the Punjab Tourism Development Corporation, the Punjab Water Sewerage Board would also render 30000 employees jobless. It would also push up unemployment as 8.33 lakh unemployed youths were already looking for employment.

Mr Tohra criticised the government for failure to give job benefit to the kin of 5000 employees who died in service. Their files were lying in the personnel department of the government. Mr Tohra assailed the termination of the services of 4752 employees who were recruited by the Punjab Subordinate Services Selection Board in the past. Lauding the court ordering stay in the case of 134 employees of Punjab School Education Board whose services were terminated by the government, he said 93 employees from this category had been serving the board for the past 10 years.

He further criticised the state government for its failure to pay the salary to part-time employees in education and police departments for the past eight months.

Mr Tohra also decried the previous SAD-BJP government for paying its more attention towards the high-ups rather than redressing grievances of class III and class IV employees.

He disclosed that the dal would intensify the stir. Other speakers addressed the rally include Mr Madan Mohan Deora, Mr Harpal Singh Bhullar and Mr Karamjit Singh vice-presidents of the state karamcharis dal besides presidents of several employees organisations.


PPA to train dogs, horses
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Phillaur, August 12
In a first time move aimed at resource generation as well as to seek public help in checking crime, the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Punjab Police Academy (PPA) here has opened its doors to people interested in getting their dogs and horses trained at the academy’s Kennel and Equestrian Club.

The academy has also decided to introduce specialised courses in tackling bio-terrorism as well as equip the future police force in understanding and handling the concept of world terrorism .This was stated by Dr G. S. Aujla, ADGP-cum-Director of the academy to The Tribune, after a passing out parade of 602 trainees of basic and promotional courses in the academy. He said the modalities for providing training to dogs and horses were being finalised. The academy was specially concentrating on opening the Kennel Club to the public and expects a good response.

Dr Aujla said the dogs trained at the academy would provide better protection from anti-social elements besides being more vigilant. He said the charges for the training would be nominal. Same condition would apply to the training of horses, he added.

Talking about new challenges before the police, he said the academy had decided to provide specialised training in handling bio-terrorism and world terrorism. Special courses for tackling cyber crimes had also been initiated. Dr Aujla, IPS, took the salute at the passing out parade of the academy here early this morning.

A total of 602 trainees of various basic and promotional courses passed out. These trainees belong to Manipur, Punjab, Andaman and Nikobar, Dadar and Nagar Haweli, Lakshadweep and Chandigarh. Dr Aujla gave away prizes to trainees of various courses.

The following trainees were given awards in various categories.

Upper school course for ASIs:- All-round first — Mr Sukhjit Singh; all-round second — Mr Charanjit Singh; first in outdoor —Mr Kuldeep Singh; and first in indoor —Mr Sukhjit Singh.

Intermediate School Course for Head Constables: All-round first — Mr Rawel Singh; All-round second —Mrs Prabha Kumari; first in outdoor — Mr Yashpal; First in indoor — Mrs Prabha Kumari.

Lower school course for constables: All-round first: Mr Sukhwinder Singh; all-round second — Mrs Sarabjit Kaur; first in outdoor — Mr Sukhwinder Singh; first in indoor — Mrs Sarabjit Kaur.

Basic recruits class : all round first Mrs Amanjot Kaur; All-round second — Mr Armesh Kumar P. Pandey; first in outdoor — Mr Jignesh D. Rohit; first in Indoor — Mrs Amanjot Kaur.

A colourful programme including a motor cycle show, tent pegging, dog show etc were presented on the occasion. A ‘bara khana’ and a cultural programme were also organised for the passing out trainees on Saturday night in which Dr Aujla and other officers of the academy participated. 


Fly ash for cost-effective roads
Sushil Goyal and Lalit Mohan

Ropar, August 12
Fly ash generated by thermal plants may cease to be a nuisance if experiment by the Gujarat Ambuja Cements is approved.

The Ambuja Cements has advocated the use of fly ash for the construction of economical, long- lasting and environment-friendly roads. The company after experiments in laboratories has inferred that if 50 per cent of fly ash was used in the RCC roads construction costs would decrease.

According to norms the cost of construction of 1 km of RCC roads is Rs 27 lakh and its life 30 years. If 50 per cent of fly ash in place of cement is used for the construction of RCC road, cost decreased to Rs 23 lakh per kilometre while life remains the same. The new formula would make the RCC roads cost effective compared to bitumen road. The cost of bitumen road comes to Rs 18 lakh per kilometre with life of just six years. So if one kilometre of fly ash road costs Rs 23 lakh and lasts 30 years, cost of bitumen road comes to Rs 90 lakh per kilometre for the same period i.e. 30 years.

The local unit of the Ambuja Cements today demonstrated the use of fly ash in the construction of a road on the premises of its plant, claiming that this 600-metre-long stretch of the road will be first of its kind in the country. After laying the road, the company officials will invite the government and semi-government organisations to show the usefulness of fly ash in the construction of roads.

Mr K. S. Duggal, General Manager of the Ropar GACL, told mediapersons on the spot, that the strength of the roads constructed using fly ash would have M-40 strength against the low strength of roads made using bitumen.


CPM threat over ‘false’ case
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 12
The CPM has threatened to gherao the Tarn Taran (City) police station in protest against the “false” case registered against Sarabjit Singh of Pandori Gala and his family members, including three girls.

At a press conference here today, Mr Karampura of the CPM alleged that a case of hitting of a dog by Sarabjit Singh led to a quarrel in which Tript Singh, owner of the dog, allegedly cut some fingers of Sarabjit Singh with a kirpan and lodged a “false” complaint against Sarabjit Singh, members of his family and 18 labourers.


Ashok Masti’s tribute to Vijay Sachdeva
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 12
Ashok Masti, Punjabi singer, performed at a cultural programme organised last night to mark the death anniversary of Vijay Sachdeva, mentor of several Punjabi singers.

The programme was organised by the Vijay Sachdeva Sangeet Memorial Society.

Among other artistes who performed were Pargat Bhagu, Subash Goyal, Zeenat Anjuman and Hakam Sufi, a veteran Punjabi Sufi singer.

The programme was over an hour behind schedule due to a power cut.


Akali leader’s mother killed in accident

Faridkot, August 12
The mother of Youth Akali Dal leader Nadharak Singh Brar died and his father was seriously injured in a collision between their scooter and a truck in this district yesterday, the police said today.

Sukhdeep Kaur (62) and her husband Manjit Singh were returning to Mangewala village in Moga subdivision after attending a function of Baba Farid Society, the police said.

Brar has been in a Moga sub jail for the past four months in connection with a criminal case.

The driver of the truck is missing. PTI


Nihang told to wash clothes as ‘tankhah’
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 12
The Sikh clergy today directed Bhai Sukha Singh, a Nihang, to wash the clothes of his jatha for a week as part of “tankhah” for visiting the dera of Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara, who has been excommunicated from the Sikh Panth. It is for the first time that a person has been given such a punishment.

Meanwhile, the Sikh high priests pronounced “tankhah” on nine Sikhs, including priests, for carrying the holy Guru Granth Sahib to a “samadh” and marriage palaces in violation of Akal Takht edicts.


Sawan Ashtami fair begins
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, August 12
The annual five-day Sawan Ashtami fair started today. Thousands of devotees of Chintpurni Mata from all over the region participated in a sammelan where Sankirtan Mandalis held kirtan.

Langar has been organised on the way to the Shrine from this city to Gagret by various voluntary organisations.


Bhawalpur Samaj celebrates Sesa
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 12
People belonging to the Bhawalpur Samaj (those whose forefathers lived at Bhawalpur, Pakistan) descended on the banks of the Bathinda canal late yesterday to celebrate their traditional festival Sesa — which is organised every year to appease the rain god during the month of “sawan”.

Special arrangements had been made for langar, which continued till late evening.

The families had brought boats made of paper and bamboos, decorated with flowers and expensive clothing. As the prayers of the priests continued lamps made of kneaded wheat flour, sweets, etc were put into the boats, were seen floating in the canal after the ceremonious prayer.

Mr Kishan Chand, (66), one of the senior members of the community, said he had been celebrating the festival every year with his family.

Recalling his childhood days in Pakistan he said they celebrated Sesa on all Sundays of the traditional month of “sawan.” He said the members of the community would go to the banks of the Sutlej and pray for good rains and harvest.


Probe into fake attorney ordered
Our Correspondent

Ropar, August 12
Acting upon the news item published in the column The Tribune a couple of days ago the Deputy Commissioner, Ms Seema Jain, has directed the District Revenue Officer Ropar, to conduct an inquiry into the fake attorneys case and submit the report within two weeks.

Ms Jain said today that it was a serious matter as a revenue official was alleged to be involved in such cases in Majri block also.


Plant workers hold rally
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 12
As part of their ongoing struggle against the decision regarding reduction in salaries, employees of the thermal plant at Lehra Mohabat and members of the city unit of the PSEB Employees Struggle Committee today organised rallies at their respective places of work.

The employees of the Lehra Mohabat thermal plant organised a rally and staged a march near the entrance of the plant while beating drums. They demanded that the PSEB authorities should hear their grievances.

Office-bearers of the thermal plant employees association said they would continue to hold rallies and dharnas till the decision about reduction in salaries and allowances was not withdrawn.

Members of the city unit of the PSEB Employees Struggle Committee said today that they would hold a complete strike in the city mandal of the PSEB tomorrow. The office-bearers of the committee alleged that the PSEB authorities were using unfair means to sabotage their agitation.


10-yr jail for 2 in dowry death case
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, August 12
The District and Sessions Judge Mr Gurdev Singh, here today sentenced to 10 years Raju, mother-in-law and Karamjit, brother-in-law of a dowry victim, Suman. The convicts belong to Bohani village in Phagwara sub-division.

They were convicted under Section 304-B of the Indian Penal Code for causing harassment leading to the death of Suman for not bringing sufficient dowry.

The judge, acquitted Jaswinder Kaur, sister-in-law of Suman, giving her the benefit of the doubt.

According to the complaint made to the police by Ram Parkash, father of the deceased, Suman married Harjinder Ram on December 13, 1998, and sufficient dowry was given to her. After three months of marriage, Harjinder Ram went to Dubai. Suman’s father alleged that his daughter’s harassment for more dowry started after her husband left India.

Suman’s father added that after a week of her husband’s departure he received a message from neighbours of Suman’s in-laws that she had consumed poison and was admitted in a hospital at Jalandhar where she died.


Gang of car thieves busted, five held
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, August 12
The district police has busted an eight-member gang of auto thieves by arresting five of its members. Several vehicles, including new cars and jeeps were recovered from them.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Paramjit Singh Gill, SSP, said Tajinder Singh of Friends Colony in Amritsar was arrested near Kang Saboo village and a Tata Indica car was recovered from him.

Meanwhile, four persons were arrested from different places during special raids. Those arrested were identified as Kulbir Singh of Sainsan Kalan village in Amritsar, Deepak Khanna of Delhi, Gurinder Singh of Amritsar and Malkiat Singh of Budha Theh village in Amritsar.

Mr Gill further said about 12 vehicles worth Rs 50 lakh were recovered from their hide-outs.


3 millers booked for paddy scam
Tribune News Service

Mansa August 12
A case under Sections 406, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC and Section 7 of the Essential Commodities Act has been registered against owners of three rice mills here in the district for their alleged involvement in misappropriation of paddy worth Rs 80 lakh belonging to the Food & Supply Department.

Mr Alok Shekhar, Deputy Commissioner in a press note issued here today, said the case was registered on a report of the District Food and Supply Controller, Mansa. In the report, the Controller pointed out that the owner of a rice mill with the help of other mill owners had misappropriated more than 11,000 quintals of paddy.

He said those booked included Kuldip Singh, Rajinder Singh, Satya Devi, Budh Parkash, Navneet Jindal, Shakuntla Devi and Makhan Lal.

In another case, Des Singh, sarpanch of Matti village in the district, has been booked under Sections 467, 468, 471 and 409 of the IPC for allegedly withdrawing money from a bank by tampering with the record of the panchayat. The case was registered on a report of the ADC (D), Mr Pritam Singh Dhaliwal, who conducted an inquiry into the complaint made in this connection.


Youth seriously injured in attack
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, August 12
Panic gripped Rampura Mohalla area following an attack on a youth today in which he was seriously injured.

According to residents of the area, Kaka, a resident of the area armed with a sword, attacked Arun Bhatia and fled.

An old rivalry is said to be the cause of crime.

A case has been registered under various sections of the IPC.

The condition of the youth is reported to be serious and he has been shifted to a hospital in Amritsar.


40 kg opium seized
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 12
The Patiala police today announced that it had seized 40 kg opium worth lakhs and arrested two persons in this connection.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr Umranangal, district police chief, said a police party of the CIA staff seized opium that was being carried in a Maruti car (HR-01E-6241), near Kheri village following a tip-off that the vehicle was being used to smuggle narcotics.

He said four persons, Bikram Singh of Ambala, Sukhwinder Singh of Barara, Mahinder Singh of Shahabad and Sita Ram of Kasrela village in Barara, were travelling in the car. When the accused were asked to stop near the Bhakra Bridge, two of them, Mahinder Singh and car driver Seeta Ram, managed to escape, but the other two were arrested and opium seized from their possession.

During questioning it came to light that Bikram Singh was running a dhaba, Annapurna, near Ambala and the other three used to supply opium to him. He said Bikram Singh used to sell the opium mainly to truck drivers halting at the dhaba. During a recently launched anti-narcotics drive, the district police had seized more than 60 kg of opium, around 12 tonnes of poppy husk and two truckloads of liquor.

He also announced the opening of a computerised complaint window at the SSP’s office in the Baradari gardens. He said complaints of people visiting the office would be fed into computers, mentioning serial numbers, nature of complaint and the names of the officials investigating these complaints.

He said a time frame would be set for completing these investigations. The progress report in these cases would be put on the computer and provided to the persons concerned. He said this system would bring more efficiency in the system of investigation.


Teachers told to cook for students
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 12
Primary schoolteachers, already burdened with odd jobs like revision of electoral rolls and filling forms pertaining to Sarb Sikhya Abhiyan, came in for a rude shock when the District Education Authorities (Primary) recently gave verbal orders to the Centre Headteacher (CET) and the Headteacher to make arrangements for serving food to students under the mid-day meal scheme.

They were warned that any teacher found lacking in implementing the order would face disciplinary action.

The Supreme Court has directed the Punjab Government to ensure implementation of the scheme in primary schools by taking help from gram panchayats, local clubs and voluntary organisations.

Sources said to ensure the implementation of this scheme, the local district authorities had made the teachers accountable.

Mr Major Basant Kumar, secretary, Democratic Teachers Front, Punjab, pointed out that if the teachers were put on cooking job, they would not be able to teach in schools and the standard of education in government-run primary schools, would fall further.

He said the front was not opposed to the implementation of the Supreme Court’s order, but this was not possible as three or four teachers in a primary school could not cook and distribute food among 200-300 students daily. All teachers would have to spend almost five to six hours a day on the task.


Study centre of IGNOU opened
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, August 12
A study centre of Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) was inaugurated by the Punjab Technical Education Minister, Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, at Dr B.R. Ambedkar Regional Engineering College here today. Mr A.L. Sangal, Coordinator, said the REC would impart counselling for theory and practicals in the following courses — Certificate in Computing, Bachelor of Computer Applications and Master of Computer Applications.

He said more than 600 students were likely to be benefited through this programme. The centre would be operational on every Saturday and Sunday. Dr K.D. Prasad, Assistant Director, IGNOU, highlighted the efforts of the university in promoting higher education.

Earlier Dr R.Sharma, Principal of the college, pleaded for the declaration of the REC as the National Institute of Technology.


A clarification
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
In the news item, "New Punjabi varsity VC soon", published in these columns yesterday, it is clarified that no Congress leader presided over any meeting of the Search Committee constituted by the Punjab government to give its recommendation on the appointment of a new Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University. The error is regretted.


Minimum charges scheme hits small units
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 12
The Bathinda Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) has urged the government not to scrap the policy of minimum charges for power supplied to the small scale industry (SSI) till there was frequent power cuts.

Mr Varinder Mohan Garg, President, BCCI, said in a press note that due to frequent power cuts the SSI was the worst sufferer as most of the units did not have power generators.

The policy of charging minimum bills from the SSI was justified when there was round the clock power supply. At this time the policy was not justified.


Goldsmiths observe bandh
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, August 12
In response to a call given by the Punjab Swarankar Sangh, the local goldsmiths today observed bandh in protest against the wrong policies and excesses of the Sales Tax Department.

Mr Vijay Sehdev and Mr Gurcharan Singh Jaura, leaders of the sangh, claimed the strike was complete. The protesters flayed the high-handedness of the Sales Tax Department with goldsmiths of Amritsar. They also submitted a memorandum to local SDM Pritam Singh.


Traders hold bandh against raids
Our Correspondent

Amritsar. August 12
A complete bandh was observed in markets in the walled city area while a partial bandh was observed in the Civil Lines area on the call of various organisations against the alleged high-handedness of Excise and Taxation Department officials here today.

As many as 45 trade associations held a rally in protest against the “illegal” raids and manhandling of shopkeepers.

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