Friday, August 16, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



State on way to prosperity, says Amarinder Singh
Tribune Reporters

Patiala, August 15
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today said an era of accelerated development would be ushered in the state with the International Financial Consortium (IFC) agreeing to provide Rs 5,000 crore for rural development programmes.

Speaking after unfurling the national flag at the YPS Stadium here at a state-level Independence Day function, the Chief Minister said the money would be used for improving water supply, sanitation and providing public amenities in rural and urban areas. He said a plan would also be chalked out to provide drinking water facilities in all villages in the state.

Speaking at the YPS Stadium, the Chief Minister reiterated his firm resolve to provide clean, transparent, corruption-free and efficient administration to the masses besides ensuring the benefits of welfare schemes to the masses. He took a salute from contingents of the Punjab police and NCC cadets and inspected the parade along with Deputy Commissioner Tejvir Singh and district police chief Paramraj Singh Umranangal. Former MP Sant Ram Singla and city Mayor Vishnu Sharma were also present.

The Chief Minister honoured prominent personalities, including the Wadali brothers, Puran Chand Wadali and Pyare Lal Wadali, Ustad Bakar Hussain, noted singer Surinder Kaur besides Gurmeet Rai, Harjit Singh, Shamsher Singh, Dr N S Buttar, Dr Jarnail Singh Hundal, Dr Sanjay Bansal, Amar Nath, Bhupinder Singh, Gursharanjit Singh, Dr Rajinder Singh Boparai, Unish Masih, Sunil Saini, Kaka Singh, Jaswant Singh, Mazhar Ali Khan and Javed Ali Khan with "Samman Patras'' on the occasion. Later he also attended a At Home function held at the Circuit House.

Separate functions were also held at the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) and the Diesel Component Works (DCW) on the occasion. PSEB Chairman Sudhir Mittal unfurled the national flag at the PSEB headquarters. At DCW its Chief Administrative Officer Ashoka Baijal hoisted the national flag.

BATALA: Mr Ashwani Sekhri, State Minister of Industries, Cultural and Tourism, unfurled the national flag at the old Grain Market. He took salute from contingents of the Punjab police, the Home Guards and NCC cadets of the senior and junior divisions. Mr Parneet Bharadwaj SDM presided over the function.

FARIDKOT: The Punjab Industry Minister, Mr Avtar Henry, unfurled the national flag at a district-level Independence Day function at the local Nehru Stadium on Thursday. He tool the march past salute from the contingents of different forces and distributed 10 sewing machines and tricycles to the needy.

FATEHGARH SAHIB: Independence Day was celebrated with enthusiasm and fervour at Mata Gujri College Stadium here. Mr Khushal Behal, Minister for Education unfurled the national flag. The minister presented 10 tricycles and 15 sewing machines to the physically challenged and widows donated by the District Red Cross Society. The minister also honoured brilliant students and a crain driver Satnam Singh, who saved the lives of two labourers last month. Saplings were distributed by the Forest Department to inspire the people to plant the trees in vacant lands near their houses.

MANSA: Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, Animal Husbandry Dairy Development and Fisheries Minister, Punjab presided over the 55th Independence Day celebrations at Mansa. Mr Kang hoisted the national flag in the grounds of Government Nehru Memorial Postgraduate College.

The district administration also awarded commendation certificates to over 10 citizens.

Interestingly, the electricity supply in the city was off on Thursday when the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, addressed the nation from ramparts of Red Fort. The electricity was restored the moment the Prime Minister ended his speech.

MOGA: Independence Day was celebrated here on the premises of Guru Nanak College. State Minister for Health Jasjit Singh unfurled the national flag.

NAWANSHAHR: The district-level Independence Day function was organised here at the ITI grounds with great enthusiasm. Chaudhary Santokh Singh, Social Security and Welfare Minister, unfurled the national flag. As many as 20 freedom fighters and eight eminent personalities were honoured on the occasion. Besides, 60 sewing machines and 10 tricycles were given to widows and physically-challenged, respectively.

ROPAR: Independence day was celebrated with patriotic spirit at the Nehru Stadium here. Mr Tej Parkash Singh, state Transport Minister, unfurled the national flag.

The minister gave away five sewing machines to the needy women and five tricycles to physically-challenged on behalf of the District Red Cross Society. He also honoured 18 persons, including doctors, educationists and employees.

KAPURTHALA: Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, Technical Education Minister, unfurled the national flag at local Guru Nanak Stadium on Thursday in connection with celebrations of Independence Day.

Mr Kaypee distributed sewing machines among 23 poor women, tricycles to three physically-challenged and four wheel chairs to four disabled persons.

Reports of celebration of Independence Day were received from Sultanpur Lodhi, Bholath sub divisions, local municipal council, office of the District Congress committee.

HOSHIARPUR: Mr Romesh Chander Dogra, Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Punjab, unfurled the national flag at the local police ground and took march past salute from the BSF, Punjab Police and the PRTC jawans, Home Guards, ex-servicemen, NCC cadets, scouts and girl guides.

Twenty four persons, who did a commendable job in social work, education and sports fields, were honoured on this occasion. Fifteen sewing machines and 15 tricycles were given to needy persons.

PHILLAUR: Independence Day was celebrated at the Punjab Police Academy here on Thursday. Dr G.S. Aujla, ADGP-cum-Director of the academy, saluted the national flag. The Director announced to give the award for police medal for meritorious service, by the Government of India, to the Chief Drill Instructor of the PPA, Mr Jagtar Singh. SDM Sandeep Hans hoisted the national flag at government senior secondary school here today. A cultural programme was organised by the schoolchildren.

AMRITSAR: Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, Minister for Local Government, Labour and Employment and Parliamentary Affairs, unfurled the national flag at Guru Nanak Stadium. Mr Sunil Datti, Mayor, unfurled the flag at corporation house. The day was also celebrated at several schools and colleges here.

TARN TARAN: The national flag was unfurled by SDM Bhupinder Singh here. While, SDM Desh Deepak unfurled the national flag at Khadoor Sahib, Mr Sukhdev Singh Shahbazpur, Congress leader, performed the ceremony at Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Goindwal. Mr Jatinder Kumar Sood, president of the municipal council did the honours at council premises.

BARNALA: Independence Day was celebrated at the local new Grain Market complex with a lot of enthusiasm. Mr N.S. Walia, Sub-Divisional Magistrate, unfurled the national flag.

The Congress too organised Independence Day celebrations at the local Shaheed Bhagat Singh Chowk.

JALANDHAR: The Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker, Dr Kewal Krishan, unfurled the National Flag at Guru Gobind Singh Stadium.

Later he gave away six tricycles and sewing machines to the needy. Punjab Revenue Minister Amarjit Singh Samra hoisted the national flag at Nakodar.

PATHANKOT: Mr Darbari Lal, Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, unfurled the Tricolour at the S.D. School ground here.

The Deputy Speaker took the salute from contingents of the Punjab police, NCC cadets, Home Guards and scouts.


Freedom fighters feel slighted on I-Day
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 15
For Chand Singh, police beating, dark cells of jails and atrocities of the British during freedom movement were not as painful as the indifferent treatment he received today in the stadium here where 55th anniversary of independence of the country was celebrated.

The freedom fighters who sat through the proceedings of function were not honoured by Punjab Excise and Taxation Minister, Mr Sardul Singh, who unfurled national flag on the occasion and delivered a speech.

Mr Chand Singh, along with about 20 other freedom fighters, some of them accompanied by their wives came on their own to participate in the function organised by the district administration returned disappointed as they were not offered tea despite many persons were pressed into service to look after and serve cold drinks, tea and snacks to others, sitting in the other gallery of the stadium.

He alleged that he was made to pay fare despite his having the facility of free bus travel from the state government.

Kartar Singh (86) another freedom fighter, alleged that even in their old age they always made it a point to participate in such functions as they were attached emotionally with country’s independence though they faced a number of difficulties to reach the stadium. The authorities concerned did not bother to arrange transportation for them so that they could reach the venue of function without inconvenience due to heavy traffic. Both Chand Singh and Kartar Singh were dropped at the bus stand by SDM, Mr Upjeet Singh Brar, after the function was over. They were picked from the gate of stadium while they were waiting for help to reach the bus stand. They narrated the whole incident to Mr Brar also. Other feedom fighters went on their own to their respective destinations.

A senior functionary of district administration pointed out that tea and snacks could not be served to the freedom fighters, as they were directed not to do so by the authorities concerned. He added that Cabinet Minister, Mr Sardul Singh met the freedom fighters only for a group photograph. He added that a few shawls, arranged for presentation at the direction of chief guest, were also returned.

However, another senior functionary claimed that freedom fighters were served tea and snacks and taken care of in a proper manner. He added that earlier an “At home” was organised by the Municipal Council in honour of the dignitaries and freedom fighters were offered tea and snacks at that party. But today, no “At home” was organised which offended the freedom fighters.

Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, Bathinda, when contacted, said that as per his information the freedom fighters were provided tea and snacks. He added that he would inquire into the matter and take action accordingly.

Meanwhile, Mr Sardul Singh gave away sewing machines and tricycles to needy persons after unfurling the flag. He also took the salute from contingents of Punjab Police, Army and paramilitary forces and NCC cadets.


Don’t forget martyrs: Irrigation Minister
Tribune Reporters

Bathinda, August 15
The Independence Day was celebrated with traditional fervour at the district sports stadium and the chief guest of the programme was Mr Sardul Singh, Excise and Taxation Minister. The day was also celebrated at Rampura Phul and Talwandi Sabo sub-divisions and the respective sub-Divisional Magistrates unfurled the tricolour.

Mr K.K. Batra, Regional Commissioner (II), Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation, unfurled the tricolour at the district office of the fund. The family members of the office took part in the cultural festival and those who presented various items were given token prizes by Mr Batra.

At a district-level function held at Muktsar, the Punjab Irrigation Minister, Mr Gurchet Singh Bhullar was the chief guest. He said those countries which forget their martyrs could not remain free for long.

FARIDKOT: Punjab Industries Minister Avtar Henry has called upon people to devote themselves to make the state more prosperous. He addressed a gathering to mark the Independence Day.

Seven distinguished persons, including two sportsmen, were honoured.

Besides 12 sewing machines and 10 tricycles were distributed.

Earlier, the minister took salute at a march past at an impressive show by contingents of the Punjab police and the Home Guards.


Don’t force kids to attend I-Day function’
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, august 15
Mr Bagga Singh, president, and Mr Satpal Goyal, general secretary of the district unit of the Association for Democratic Rights, in a written statement issued here today, said children below 15 years should be allowed to participate in functions of the state government only after taking their health and season into consideration.

The demand was made after the death of Jagpreet Kaur, student of a local private school, on August 11. She had reportedly suffered from a sunstroke on August 5 while taking part in rehearsal for Independence Day parade at the district sports stadium.

They said even a jawan of the Indian Army had died while rehearsing for the Independence Day parade.

Mr Goyal said schoolchildren should not be forced to attend the functions of the state government and its ministers. He said children were made to stand along the roads with flags in their hands to receive ministers and VIPs. He demanded that this practice should be stopped immediately. They urged the authorities concerned to make arrangements for giving first aid to the students in the school premises.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, had ordered a probe into this incident.


Liquor shops open on I-Day
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 15
While Independence Day had been declared as dry day all over the country, the liquor shops here remained open throughout the day even as the Punjab Excise Minister, Mr Sardul Singh, was here in the city.

Mr Sardul Singh, who was the chief guest at an official programme here, remained in the city, for the entire day.

Mr Anurag Verma, District Magistrate, said he had received information that the liquor shops remained opened throughout the day. He said the orders regarding the dry day were to be implemented by the district police and the excise authorities.

He added that he had asked the district police chief, Mr Ishwar Singh, and the Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner to look into the matter and close all liquor shops for the day.

Sources said most of the liquor shops in the city and surrounding towns and villages remained open today. Even the licensed ‘ahatas’ remained open.

All liquor shops near the railway station, bus stand, hotels and the district courts, too, remained open.


Candlelight vigil for peace held
Our Correspondent

Wagah, (Amritsar), August 15
Notwithstanding the chill in Indo-Pak relations, Pakistan human rights activists, led by Ms Asma Jahangir, last night provided a new dimension to the candlelight vigil for peace between the two nations by raising “Hind-Pakistan dosti zindabad” slogans. Enthused by the warm response from across the border, eminent journalist and MP Kuldip Nayar, welcomed Ms Jahangir who had taken the initiative to bring 20 activists from the South-Asian Fraternity Group from Lahore and Islamabad.

The Pakistan Rangers, allowed the Pakistan group to walk till zero line during the beating retreat ceremony, though just for about 20 minutes. The slogans raised by activists from Pakistan seeking a thawing in the tension-ridden Indo-Pak relations marked a change in the candlelight vigil which had remained one-sided affair for the past six years.

Mr Nayar along with Begum Hamida Sayyad, President of the All-India Muslim Women Board, Ms Mohini Giri, human rights activist and Justice Rajinder Sachar besides a large number of activists from India waved at the Pakistan group and hoped that one day the South-Asia group of countries would carve out their own identity in the region by breaking the shackles of animosity and hatred among the people.

Mr Nayar described the last night’s events as a major breakthrough in bringing the people from across the border, led by Ms Jahangir closer together. He felt that such a warm response would force the political leadership of both countries to see the ground reality and amicably settle their differences.

The rare occasion, though brief, lasted only about 20 minutes as the Pakistan Rangers urged Pakistan human rights activists to retreat while the Indian group continued to raise slogans for permanent peace between the two neighbours. Mr Nayar, greatly relieved at the response from the Pakistan side, said it was for the first time that he saw a spark and glow on the faces of Pakistanis who had come all the way from Islamabad and Lahore to greet them and there was no anti-India or anti-Pakistan rhetoric.

Later in the night, as the clock struck 12, Mr Nayar along with his group lit candles on the Indian side of the border on the outer gate to herald another year praying for permanent peace and goodwill.

Mr Nayar, talking to reporters, said the suspension of train and bus services between the two countries had made the common man on both sides of the border suffer as this blocked people-to-people interaction. He urged India and Pakistan to resume these services for better relations between the two countries as these were the only links which helped the people to maintain contact. He said the trade had also suffered with the stoppage of the railway services and affecting the economic growth of the two nations.

Commenting on the recent communal riots in Gujarat, Mr Nayar said these riots had left a scar on India’s credentials as a secular nation. India stood for unity in diversity, but the Gujarat riots had sullied the image of India in the international community.

The President of the All-India Muslim Women Board, Begum Sayyad, while talking to mediapersons said that all countries from this region from Myanmar to Afghanistan must form a some kind of a kind of brotherhood on the European Union pattern which would strive for overall peace and development in the region. She advocated a dialogue among all nations to solve the problems of poverty, health etc.

Later a cultural programme was organised which drew large crowds from the border villages of the area. Sufi singer Hans Raj Hans and prominent folk singer Pammi Bai regaled the audience with their folk music and songs. The programme continued late in the night, amidst tight security as the Punjab police cordoned off the entire area.

BSF gifts sweets to Pak Rangers

Commander of Pakistani Border Guards Col. Sher Zaman (L), receives sweets from his Indian counterpart
The commander of the Pakistani border guards, Col Sher Zaman (L), receives sweets from his Indian counterpart at the Wagah border post on Thursday. 
— AP/PTI photo

Wagah, August 15
Despite the tension on the border, the BSF in a reciprocal gesture today gifted a basket of sweets to Pakistan Rangers at the joint checkpost here.

Senior officers of the BSF, from their headquarters at Khasa near here, led by DIG Hemant Purohit handed over the gift to Pakistan Rangers, led by Wing Commander Sher Zaman.

Pakistan Rangers on behalf of their government had gifted sweets to BSF officials here yesterday on the occasion of their Independence Day.

The exchange of gifts at the joint checkpost here has been an old tradition between the two border forces on the occasion of their Independence Days.

Pakistan Rangers had gifted sweets, including halwa, burfi and Ggulab jamun, yesterday while the BSF reciprocated by handing over a tastefully decorated basket containing traditional Indian sweets and fruits.

Both BSF and Pakistani soldiers mixed with one another in a relaxed mood and exchanged pleasantaries with smiling faces.

Residents of nearby villages assembled near the checkpost to watch the rare gesture of goodwill. PTI


CM to seek Central relief
Dry spell costs Punjab Rs 2000 cr
Tribune News Service

Isru (Ludhiana), August 15
Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh announced today that he would soon be writing to the central government for the assessment of the drought-situation in Punjab. He said, although Punjab had also suffered phenomenal losses due to poor monsoon still it did not qualify for being declared to be a drought-hit state.

Talking to reporters before addressing a public rally here today, the Chief Minister agreed that according to current and specified norms Punjab could not be declared a drought-hit state. It can be declared so only if the losses by drought were more than 50 per cent. But, he added, there are other losses which should be taken count of.

Captain Amarinder was addressing a political rally here today to mark the martyrdom anniversary of two freedom fighters, Karnail Singh and Bhupinder Singh.

Captain Amarinder said, “Mr Badal is right in saying that. “Our main target is Mr Parkash Singh Badal and his family and we are gathering proof of his and his families involvement”, he declared, adding, “it may not take much time now when everything would be ready”. The CM said that Mr Badal was the fountain head of corruption when he ruled the state.

On the issue of not appointing a judicial commission to probe the corruption charges, Capt Amarinder Singh said, “we want immediate justice that is why we are not appointing a commission as it will take much time”. However, he clarified that the Vigilance Bureau was only investigating and collecting the proofs and everything was being decided by the courts under due judicial process. He observed that Mr Badal was panicky as he had realised that the countdown had started and soon he would meet his nemesis.

Capt Amarinder Singh justified his foreign tour to attract investors and said it was successful with the state having been assured of of $ one billion aid by the International Financial Consortium (IFC). He hoped that the money should start coming in November after all formalities are completed.

The Chief Minister said that the Government of India should not have any objection to his tour as all projects for which the aid was solicited were state subjects only and the aid was meant for public welfare projects. Chief Ministers of other states had also undertaken such tours for foreign investment, he pointed out.

He disclosed that he would unveil achievements of his tour tomorrow at a press conference in Chandigarh. He added first instalment was likely to come in December. The aid would come for three years.

The Chief Minister said that part of the money was aid and not everything had to be repaid. He said, during tour he had met representatives of a number of multinational companies who assured him of exploring possibilities of investment in Punjab.

He said the aid would be used for providing basic amenities to people particularly in rural areas. This includes drinking water, better health services and other amenities.

The IFC money, which is partly grant and partly as soft term loan would be spent under the supervision of the United Nations Office for Project Services, which would act as monitoring agency. It would have members both from the United Nations and the Punjab government.


Mann for interest-free loans to drought-hit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 15
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, SAD (A) President, said today that drought-hit farmers should be given interest-free loans and their earlier loans should be waived. Till these loans were waived, their recovery should be suspended, he added.

As the state was facing a big crisis on the power front, an atomic power station should be set up in Punjab to improve the availability of power. Opposing the move to put the river waters on the Concurrent List, Mr Mann said river waters was a state subject and it should continue to be so. “We would not allow the Union Government to change the existing riparian laws to favour other states”, Mr Mann said.


Daunting tasks await Punjab Chief Minister
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 15
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, returned yesterday after a 12-day foreign visit to daunting tasks back home. Besides a hostile opposition ready to grill him on the “drought” issue, he also faces a volley of queries both on the “sanctity” and “usefulness” of his visit to the UK and the USA.

Even the CPI which had seat adjustment with the Congress in the last Assembly elections, is now openly “criticising the state government” on various issues in general and for “ ignoring the farm sector” in particular. It was a party to the decision of isolating the Congress on the “tactless handling of drought facing the state”.

He would also be required to attend to the criminal and civil defamation cases filed against him by his predecessor, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, in the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Chandigarh.

Though the Chief Minister after return from his visit claimed that “a substantial portion of Rs 5,000-crore assistance from the IFC would be in the form of a grant and the rest in the form of a soft loan”, yet financial experts continue to hold a contrary view. Many quote a June 16 report in a Mumbai-based newspaper about the “IFC funding a drinking water project in Punjab”. The report said: “The Punjab government has chalked out an ambitious Rs 4,800-crore drinking water supply and sewerage project for areas that lack these essential facilities. The project is currently being given the final shape. “The five-year plan will cover 7,000 of the 12,000 such villages and will also be extended to urban areas.”

“The IFC will bear 50 per cent of the total project outlay as the first instalment. The loan is required to be repaid in 30 years at 1 per cent rate of interest. Other foreign agencies from the Netherlands and Japan are also keen on participating in the project.”

“Further, the state government is zeroing in on rural water supply in Ropar district where over 58 villages do not have adequate water. New schemes will be introduced at a cost of Rs 4.67 crore. The project at Goslan village in Ropar has already been inaugurated,” the report said. If that be the situation, the claim of success of the Chief Minister’s visit is not without suspicion as the project was already cleared and the work would have started on it last month. Still others hold that the IFC cannot and will not make any advances or loans to a government and it does not even accept government sureties.

These issues apart, much water has flown down the Sutlej since the Chief Minister went abroad. The SAD organised a series of workers’ conferences at various places accusing the ruling party of launching a “political vendetta”. Dharnas were organised at all district headquarters on August 9. A massive rally is planned to be held at Longowal on August 20 to coincide with the death anniversary of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal.

The SAD-BJP leadership is also keen that an NDA team should visit Punjab, but not immediately, to keep pressure on the state government, over the issue of “police excesses and framing of Akali leaders and workers” at various levels.

But the most important issue has been the failure of the government to declare Punjab a drought-hit area. Even after the recent rain, the Malwa belt spread over Bathinda, Muktsar, Abohar, Fazilka, Mansa and Sangrur, has remained dry. It is this area which has been reeling under the impact of drought. Politically, it is this area from where the SAD bagged a majority of its Assembly seats in the last elections.

The employees’ agitations against the cut in their perks and salaries are continuing. Uncertainty continues to haunt all 4,000 persons who were appointed to class I and II services on the recommendations of the PPSC during the tenure of Ravi Sidhu.

Two universities continue to be without regular Vice-Chancellors. And the state government is yet to keep its pre-poll promise of appointing a one-man inquiry commission “to look into all acts of omission and commission of the previous SAD-BJP Government ”.


PSEB, govt differ on farm cess
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 15
On the issue of imposing cess on the agricultural sector, the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) and the Punjab Government have taken opposite stands. The board has appealed to the State Electricity Regulatory Commission to either impose a cess of Rs 2 per unit on the agricultural sector or ask the government to compensate the board in case the hike is lower than this figure.

A top-level management of the board made this plea to the Regulatory Commission at a meeting held recently, besides stressing upon the commission to decrease the burden of loan on the PSEB for the Ranjit Sagar project, ensure there was no cut in power purchase as proposed by the board the hike was imposed from April or else balance the hike for the entire year in eight months. According to board sources, it pleaded with the commission that if the government wanted to give power below the cost of supply to the agricultural sector, it must give cash subsidy to offset the loss to the board.

At present the government has committed to a cash subsidy of Rs 150 crore only. The government has also committed Rs 100 crore as capital subsidy, which is to be used for executing works.

The sources said even though the government had not challenged the hike plea before the Regulatory Commission, it had argued that the hike was too drastic and the ‘’inefficiences’’ of the board could not be put on consumers. Even if this meant the government was likely to accept a lesser hike, it had yet to come out with details as to how it would compensate the board for the losses it would incur in providing electricity to the farming sector.

The Regulatory Commission is likely to interact further with the government on the issue of levying cess on the farming sector. The next few days will be crucial with the Union Power Secretary also visiting the PSEB Headquarters here on August 16 where he is scheduled to hold a meeting with the full board.

Meanwhile, the sources said the PSEB had also asked the Regulatory Commission to scale down the 79 per cent loan amount put in its share by the government on account of the Rs 5,000 crore loan taken for establishing the Ranjit Sagar project.

The board management said the PSEB share in the loan should not be more than 60 per cent as the dam was also expected to deal with the problem of flooding in the area.

The PSEB Engineers Association senior leader, Mr Padamjit Singh, when questioned on the issue, said the association felt that someone had to pay for the sops given by the previous government. He said the financial health of the board had to be restored and the only way to do so would be to go in for a tariff hike. 


Clean’ officers to sit for interview again
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 15
Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh today said judicial officers who had been divested of their work on the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court would have to appear for interview again along with other candidates who had cleared the written test in their respective batches for re-selection to the PCS (Judicial).

Talking to mediapersons here after presiding over a state-level Independence Day function, the Chief Minister said this interview would be open to only those candidates from among the 39 from whom work had been withdrawn but had not been accused of bribery or using influence to get themselves selected to the judicial service.

He said the government would relax the age criterion to ensure all those who had cleared the written test for the PCS (Judicial) from among the batches which had been selected during Ravi Sidhu’s term as PPSC Chief could appear for the interview again.

The Chief Minister said ADGP A.P. Bhatnagar would not be let off for the indiscipline created by him after he was posted out of the Intelligence Department. He said the government machinary would collapse if people starting defying it openly. This kind of behaviour would not be tolerated.

He said Mr Bhatnagar had been asked to explain his position following press reports attributed to him after he was posted out of the Intelligence Department. He had filed his reply, but as the government felt he could not justify his actions, it had issued him a show-cause notice, asking him to reply to specific questions.

The Chief Minister pooh-poohed allegations that a sum of Rs 2 crore allegedly removed from certain lockers was missing and should be accounted for.

He said Mr Bhatnagar had served in the Intelligence Department for more than three months and if he was preview to such information, he should have brought it up before him. He said there was little sense in talking about such issues after he had been removed from the post.

He said the proposal to appoint a commission to look into various irregularities committed by Ravi Sidhu had been dropped as the Vigilance Department was giving good results.

When questioned about the resignation submitted by the suspended PPSC Chairman, he said he would have the issue examined.

The Chief Minister, talking on the Satluj-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue, said his government would take the matter to the Supreme Court. Even though Punjab had 105 lakh acres under cultivation as compared to 80 lakh acres in Haryana, distribution of water was in Haryana’s favour.

Capt Amarinder Singh dashed hopes, if any, of additional funds being given to the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) to offset its losses, saying the government simply did not have the money to do so.

He refused to comment on whether the government was in favour of applying a cess on the agricultural sector in view of the huge losses run by the board.

The Captain said his government would ask the Centre to rethink the parameters on which a state was declared drought-hit and became eligible for compensation. He said the paddy crop of farmers had been saved because of eight to 10-hour power supply as well as additional money spent by farmers on diesel.


Judge of ‘tainted’ batch feels dejected
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 15
Mr Tejinderbir Singh, a Civil Judge-cum Judicial Magistrate who had pronounced verdicts on over 40 court martial cases in his capacity as Judge Advocate General during his 10-year tenure in the Indian Army is now himself in trouble.

He is among the 39 judical officers whose work has been withdrawn by the District Session Judge on verbal orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Dejected, Mr Tejinderbir Singh refuses to answer any question from any quarter, including the media. According to sources, it was family circumstances which compelled him to leave the Army and join the judicial services.

His family says there is hardly any scope of bribe given to the tainted former Chairman of the Punjab Public Service Commission, Mr Ravi Sidhu as there were only two vacancies in the quota of ex-servicemen and Mr Tejinderbir Singh was found to be the only eligible candidates in this category. In the absence of any other ex-serviceman in this category, a dependent of an ex-serviceman was recruited to fill the second vacancy.

Members of the bar association are all praise for Mr Tejinderbir Singh as he has been serving here since his appointment. Mr Tejinderbir Singh belong to the first batch of judicial officers, recruited during the five-year tenure of Mr Ravi Sidhu.

Other batch-mates of Mr Tejinderbir Singh also feel dejected follwing withdrawal of work from them.


Tohra, Mann flay each other
Tribune News Service

Isru (Ludhiana), August 15
With the Panthic Morcha having become non-functional and two of its senior leaders Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra and Mr Simranjit Singh Mann already parted ways, they seem to agree on one point support to the anti-corruption drive of Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, besides having common enemy in former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal. Both Mr Tohra and Mr Mann organised separate rallies to mark martyrdom day of two freedom fighters Karnail Singh and Bhupinder Singh.

Mr Mann said although he supported the Chief Minister’s anti-corruption campaign, yet he had some reservations as there were some corrupt ministers within the Congress ministry who also should be turned out. He apprehended that there were vested interests in the government, the Congress and also in judiciary which were trying hard to derail the anti-corruption drive of the Chief Minister.

In similar vein, Mr Tohra too supported the drive of the government against corruption. “It is not only me but all people and the media who have appreciated the anti-corruption drive launched by the Chief Minister and there is nothing wrong if we support it”, he observed.

Admitting the Panthic Morcha had disintegrated, Mr Mann was equally critical of Mr Tohra and Mr Parkash Singh Badal and claimed that he alone represented the real Panthic interests and would form the real Akali Dal. The radical Akali leader ridiculed Mr Tohra and Mr Badal for glorifying Sant Harchand Singh Longowal. He alleged that both Mr Tohra and Mr Badal were responsible for the killing of Sant Longowal as they told the militants that he (Sant Longowal) was a traitor as he had signed an accord with Rajiv Gandhi.

Mr Tohra refused to be drawn into any controversy with Mr Mann but admitted that the Panthic Morcha had met with an unfortunate fate. But he expressed confidence that the “real Akali Dal” will emerge soon to watch the Panthic interests only. The senior Akali leader was of the opinion that Akali politics had to take the Panthic interests into consideration and without considering this fact their survival would be impossible.

Mr Tohra also denied the charges of Mr Mann that he had aligned with the Congress. He said, only time would prove as who had aligned with whom. “This is quite an old charge levelled against me again and again and every time I have come clean”, he asserted.


Withdraw false cases against SAD men: Kairon
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 15
Mr Surinder Singh Kairon, former Congress MP and relative of former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, sought the withdrawal of “false” cases against Akali sarpanches of various villages in the border areas.

At a press conference here yesterday, sarpanches of villages accompanied by Mr Kairon alleged that the police had been harassing them due to political rivalry. A sarpanch of Naarli Suraj, Mr Uday Singh, alleged his younger brother was taken into illegal custody on August 5 and booked in a case of possessing smack. He was brutally tortured during custody.

Similarly, Mr Baghicha Singh, sarpanch of Darajke, alleged that Mr Sarabjit Singh and Mr Gursadh Singh of his village and workers of the SAD were taken into 10 days’ illegal custody in a false murder case. They were released after protests by village residents.


Badal charges CM with vendetta
Tribune News Service

Isru (Ludhiana), August 15
Former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today vowed to fight Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on all fronts including political, legal and public.

Addressing a political rally here today, Mr Badal asserted that he was not afraid of anyone, much less the Chief Minister, who had launched a campaign of vilification against him.

Accompanied by senior Akali leaders and former ministers in his government, Mr Badal blamed the Congress for all ills being faced by the people. He alleged that the Congress had looted the country for 50 years hence the people were still poor, illiterate and unemployed.

Training his guns on his arch rival, Captain Amarinder Singh, he observed that the Chief Minister had failed to meet miserably the expectations of the people of the state at a crucial time. “When the farmers of the state were suffering due to drought, the Chief Minister went on world tour”, he alleged, while ridiculing the claims of the Chief Minister of having secured a loan of Rs 5000 crore for the state.

Painting grim picture of law and order situation in the state, Mr Badal alleged that police in the state had been assigned only one job of targeting Akali leaders and workers. “They (the police) are helpless as they do not find time to focus attention on law and order as they had been directed to implicate Akali leaders and workers including the panches and sarpanches”, the former Chief Minister claimed.


Tanneries pollute rivulet
PSIEC yet to repair treatment plant
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

The Kali Bein rivulet has virtually turned into a stream of sullage with 45 lakh litres of untreated poisonous water from over 100 tanneries flowing into it daily due to the non-functioning of the treatment plant at the local leather complex.

The untreated water, released by about 110 tanneries situated within the complex has also become a health hazard for people and animals in 12 villages, including Lambran and Kala Sanghian, along the rivulet. The groundwater of several villages has got polluted due to the heavy presence of lead and other harmful chemicals flowing freely into the rivulet, once known for its clean water.

The state government had shifted about 110 tanneries and leather units to the leather complex, where a treatment plant to treat 15 lakh litres of water daily was also set up at a cost of Rs 2 crore in 1992. But since the capacity of the treatment plant was lower as against the inflow of about 45 lakh litres of untreated water, it developed a snag a few months ago. The treatment plant has since then been lying non-functional as the fault has not been fixed by the Punjab State Industrial Export Corporation (PSIEC), which set up the plant.

A visit to a number of villages revealed that while the rivulet water had turned almost black, the underground water had also got polluted and turned unfit for human consumption. “What can we do as we have failed to move the authorities? Most of the hand pumps have been rendered useless for their water has turned black,” said Pritam Singh of Singhpura village. Similarly, an anguished Jeet Ram of Lambra said there was no way out for villagers except for resorting to an agitation to jolt the authorities concerned. Dr Dalbir Singh Bhaur of “Dhart Shuhavi”, an environment organisation, said the matter demanded urgent attention since the polluted water was affecting the lives of hundreds of villagers and livestock.

Resentment prevails among the leather unit owners too who alleged that though the PSIEC had collected Rs 2 crore from them with an assurance that the capacity of the plant would be doubled, this had not been done even after a lapse of so many years. “It has neither increased the plant’s capacity nor refunded any money to us”, alleged Mr Parvin Kumar, President of the Punjab Leather Federation. Mr Parvin Kumar said apart from Rs 2 crore given by the leather unit owners, subsidy amounting to Rs 1 crore was provided by the Central Government. “Now we are being pressured to install individual treatment plants”, maintained Seth Satpal, an executive member of the federation.

Sources in the PSIEC said the corporation was planning to install a new treatment plant with a capacity to treat 50 lakh litres of water daily at a cost of Rs 22 crore, but officials failed to explain why the existing plant was not being set right.


Hospital initiative to help poor patients
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 15
In a novel gesture, the local Sri Devi Talaab Charitable Hospital and multinational companies have joined hands to provide costly medicines to patients at a no profit, no loss basis.

While a pharmacy section has been set up by the hospital management within the hospital premises, a number of multinational pharmaceutical companies have started supplying medicines at slashed prices — about 35 per cent less than those in the market — for disbursal among needy patients.

It is for the first time that any hospital has taken up such an initiative in Punajb to cut down the prices of medicines for the benefit of poor patients undergoing treatment at the hospital for different ailments.

“We have already started providing medicines to patients from our pharmacy section and we are transferring the entire benefit to patients as we are running the section on a no profit, no loss basis,” explained Mr Shital Vij, Chairman of the Devi Talaab Hospital Management Committee.

He added that at least 1,000 patients were being benefited daily.

The pharmacy section, according to hospital officials, was developed after an in-house study which revealed that a large number of patients were poor and could not afford costly medicines.

Most of the patients visiting the hospital belonged to the labour class, particularly, migrants.

The hospital management took up the issue with about 24 known pharmaceutical companies, which finally agreed to supply medicines to the hospital on a no profit, no loss basis after a pharmacy section was set up within the hospital last week.


DC: Health Dept has failed to check sex tests
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 15
As the district health authorities have failed to check sex determination tests the Deputy Commissioner yesterday ordered that the Sub-Divisional Magisterates (SDMs) concerned would accompany Health Department officials while raiding the ultrasound clinics in the district.

The Deputy Commissioner, Ms Usha R. Sharma, while presiding over a meeting convened in connection with checking the menace of foeticide said the action by the health authorities was not yielding the expected results. She said the health officials concerned were not taking the matter seriously. Taking a notice of the progress in the matter and mushrooming of ultrasound clinics that conduct the sex determination tests, she said surprise raids should be conducted on such clinics and she should be given a monthly report in that connection.

Ms Sharma claimed that she was determined about removing the menace of female foeticide from the district in the minimum possible time. She asked officials of the Health Department to make sincere efforts in that connection.

Ms Sharma presided over a number of meetings today concerned with the development works in the district. Addressing a meeting she warned officials that stern action would be taken against those found guilty of misappropriating funds meant for various development works in the district.


Many marriage palaces face closure
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 15
Even as seven more marriage palaces are coming up in the city, taking their number to a whopping 188 in a survey completed recently, many palaces are “proposed to be closed down” in the district.

The Deputy Director, Local Government, Amritsar, in his report has directed all Executive Officers (EO) of the Municipal Corporation, Nagar Panchayats and Improvement Trusts of the region to ensure that “no new marriage palace is constructed without the prior approval of the competent authority as provided in the building bylaws applicable to all these civic bodies.”

“No new licence is to be issued in this regard under Section 121 of the Punjab Municipal Act, 1911, and violations in this regard would be the sole responsibility of the respective EOs,” he has said.

The palaces which are proposed to be closed down are three out of four in Jandiala Guru, eight in Tarn Taran, one in Majitha, four of the five in Patti, one each in Rajasansi and Ajanala and seven under the Amritsar Improvement Trust. None of the four in Rayya are regularised.

Significantly, the Deputy Director has proposed “not less than Rs 50,000 per unit as compounding and penalties be imposed where buildings are residential and converted to marriage palaces, that too on the condition that a licence, proper fire fighting arrangements, exists/entry points, parking, water tank and kitchen are at least 20 feet away from the hall.”

As per the survey, 84 of the 188 marriage palaces in the city are without sanction, with sheds, dharmshalas and even mandir land having been converted into palaces. These are flourishing near hospitals, educational institutes and in residential areas.

At least 72 of these have an area of less than 500 sq feet, violating guidelines of a minimum area of 2000 sq feet. Interestingly, one Vikram Palace is operating in as little as 118 sq feet of area.

A majority of them use inflammable material for erecting pandals, posing a serious danger to life in case of fire.


NRIs to fund new industries in Malwa
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, August 15
The Punjab Government will set up at least 10 big industrial units in the Malwa belt to improve its economic condition and generate better avenues for the unemployed youths of the area. Power supply and land would be given at concessional rates to the promoters. NRIs from Columbia, California and the UK have expressed their desire to install the units by investing huge funds.

This was stated by Mr Avtar Henry, Minister for Industries, while talking to this reporter here.

The minister who had arrived to preside over the Independence Day function here said that a seven-member high-powered committee comprising the Industry Minister, the Chief Secretary, Mr Y.S. Ratra and headed by the Chief Minister, Capt. Amarinder Singh, will in November finalise the modalities with the NRIs.

He disclosed that NRIs in the USA had promised to invest huge funds for the development of the state durng the recent visit of the Chief Minister to that country.

Mr Henry said with the completion of the project, more than 50,000 youths would get employment. The Industry Minister further stated that the government was also considering to establish agro-based industries to improve the financial condition of the farmers. He disclosed that the industrial policy would be announced next month.


Jor Mela celebrated
Our Correspondent

Doraha, August 15
Jor Mela at Gurdwara Manji Sahib, Kottan celebrated with fervour and enthusiasm by the Sikh community, concluded yesterday.

Beginning August 12 every year, it concludes on the third day in the evening, August 14. Sikhs gather to commemorate their sixth Guru, Shri Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji.

Dhadi jathas and Kavishari jathas, including Balbir Singh Bur, Shamsher Singh Neelon, Gurmukh Singh, Mohanpur, Jaspal Singh, Mohinder Singh Mann, Jassa Singh, Johri and Sandeep Singh Rupalon, recited shabad kirtan and enthralled the sangat with instances of Sikh history.

On the concluding day, after the bhog of Guru Granth Sahib, Jathedar Kirpal Singh Badungar, President, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandhak Committee, shared his views on Sikhs and Sikhism and the significance of the day.

At night, the gurdwara was lit with attractive colourful lights.


685 youths to get training in driving
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 15
Mr H.R. Gangar director, SC BC Welfare Department, Punjab said today that 685 educated unemployed youths would be given two months’ training at driving schools under a scheme sponsored by the centre.

Mr Gangar, who presided over a meeting of welfare officers of Mansa and Bathinda held here yesterday, said on completion they would be given a certificate and a stipend of Rs 1,500. They would also be issued driving licences for heavy vehicles.

He said under the scheme the Union Government would give a subsidy of Rs 10,000 to each trainee who will run his own taxi under the self-employment scheme. The principal of the driving school would get Rs 1,000 per month for providing infrastructure for the training.

Mr Gangar said under another scheme 108 society welfare centres were providing training in three disciplines for which Rs 65 lakh had been earmarked. Under the discipline children up to the age of six years would first be given basic education at Bal Bhavans from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and in the second scheme Scheduled Caste women alongwith women of the general category would get training in stitching, cutting, knitting and embroidery.


Deaths ‘not due to enteritis’
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, August 15
Senior Medical Officer (SMO), Civil Hospital, Dr Subhash Sharma, today denied reports in a section of the Press that three children had died due to gestroenteritis here in the past few days.

He said he visited Khothran road, Onkar Nagar, along with two doctors and conducted a probe but did not find evidence of the outbreak of the disease nor any death by it.

However, he said residents of the area were living in unhygienic conditions. He said the municipal engineer had been sent to the mohalla in this regard.


Army jawan commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 15
Jagdish Singh, a jawan of the Signal Regiment posted in the local cantonment, allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself with a rope late last night.

Police sources said a case in this connection had been registered under section 174 of the Cr P.C. The body was handed over to the authorities concerned after a post-mortem.

In another case, the body of Sukhdev Singh, a local resident who had been missing since August, 12, today found from the canal village.

The body was handed over to the parents after a post-mortem.


SHO’s bail application rejected
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 15
A local court yesterday rejected the anticipatory bail application of Kotwali Station House Officer Didar Singh who allegedly escaped from Kotwali police station during a vigilance raid after accepting a bribe of Rs 25,000 from a relative of a youth whom he had been keeping in illegal custody.

Opposing the bail application, Public Prosecutor Vijay K. Markan said Didar Singh was accused of not only demanding Rs 50,000 from the relatives of Sandeep Makkar whom he kept in illegal custody for several days but was also accused of taking over the Indica car of Sandeep.

Mr Markan said the relatives of Sandeep had contacted the Vigilance Department which laid a trap for the SHO at Kotwali station. He said Didar Singh accepted the money from Sandeep’s relative Bhushan Kumar and handed it over to Assistant Sub-Inspector Hari Singh. He said the SHO, however, fled the spot when a policeman whispered something to him.

He said in the light of these events it was essential to question the accused in police custody. 



Badal, supporters denied tea?
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 15
Former Punjab Chief Minister and now leader of the Opposition, Mr Parkash Singh Badal and his supporters were not served tea allegedly by employees of the circuit house here during Badal’s press conference despite advance payment having been made. Mr Om Parkash Sharma, Press Secretary, SAD (Badal), Bathinda district, said that he would make a formal complaint to the Deputy Commissioner in this connection tomorrow for appropriate action in the matter.

Mr Sharma claimed that he had deposited Rs 550 in advance with the manager of the circuit house, Mr D.S. Mann at his (Mr Mann) demand for tea during the press conference addressed by Mr Badal here yesterday evening. He alleged that no tea was served and when he went to the room of employees of the circuit house it was found locked. Mr Mann did not give any receipt for Rs 550 taken by him.

He added that apart from complaining to the DC the SAD would take up the matter with higher authorities seeking action against the guilty.

He added that he would meet the party’s media incharge, Mr Manpreet Singh Badal in this connection.

Yesterday, when Mr Badal came to the circuit house, he and his supporters were not served tea while he addressed the press conference. After addressing the conference, Mr Badal left for Haji Rattan gurdwara to address workers’ meeting there.

One employee of the circuit house on the condition of anonymity said that Rs 550 were given as advance to Mr Mann. Mr Mann returned the balance to Mr Sharma after keeping the charges of the tea served to Mr Badal and his associates.

Mr D.S. Mann, when contacted said that water and tea was served to Mr Badal and his associates and even photographs proving it could be seen from photo journalists present in the press conference.

While denying the fact that he had taken any money from Mr Sharma, Mr Mann said that SAD workers were yet to make payment of the bill of tea served to them in the press conference. Even gunmen of Mr Badal had tea.

He pointed out that he came to the circuit house late as he met with minor accident and according to his information two employees Surinder and Jasbir served water and tea to Mr Badal and his supporters. 


Report on privatising roadways soon
Tribune News Service

Ropar, August 15
The transport sub-committee formed by Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh will submit its report on privatisation of Punjab Roadways and the PRTC to the Cabinet soon.

Talking to mediapersons at the Canal Rest House here today, Mr Tej Parkash Singh, Transport Minister, said if the sub-committee gave its nod to privatisation, it would also recommend ways and means to do the same.

He said the committee would also mention in how many phases privatisation should be done after hearing arguments of employees in this regard.

The Transport Minister said only those bus routes had been closed which had been running in losses. He had directed the transport authorities not to allow the plying of unauthorised buses on roads. Several buses being plied without a valid permit had been impounded.

The Cabinet committee would make recommendations on covering the losses for providing better bus stands and other facilities to passengers.

Mr Tej Parkash Singh said he had directed the authorities to extend to freedom fighters and journalists free bus pass facility even in buses plying under the kilometer scheme. 


Torture of family: 6 booked
Our Correspondent

Barnala, August 15
Bowing to pressure and protest by residents of Naiwala village, 15 km from here, CPI and Akali Dal (Amritsar) activists, a case was registered against six persons under Sections 427, 447, 511, 148, 149 and 336, IPC, today.

They had reportedly helped in getting land in the possession of a Dalit family of Naiwala vacated. Thirteen family members, including children, were rounded up and allegedly tortured by the police on August 12.

The CPI and the Akali Dal (Amritsar) activists joined a protest march today. They also held a demonstration and blocked traffic in front of the police station.

The protesters raised slogans against Mr Jugraj Singh, SHO, Sadar police station, and demanded his transfer.


Several booked for gambling
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 15
According to a press note issued by Dr Utpal Joshi, SP (Headquarters), a police party headed by ASI Gurnam Singh of the Khamano police post arrested Balwant Singh, a resident of Mandi Gobindgarh, while allegedly operating satta. Another police party headed by ASI Vijay Singh of the Khamano police arrested Avtar Singh, a resident of Khanna, while allegedly operating satta near the Khamano bus stand; ASI Rajwant Singh caught red-handed Varinder Kumar, a resident of Khanna, while allegedly operating satta near the Khamano truck union; and Hawaldar Pal Singh arrested Shiv Nath while allegedly operating satta near the railway crossing Mandi Gobindgarh. The police seized cash from all the accused and registered a case under Sections 13-A, 3 and 67 of the Gambling Act. Similarly ASI Devinder Singh, in charge, Anti-Gunda Staff, arrested Barinder Kumar, a resident of UP, and seized 24 kg of poppy husk.

Opium seized: The Jagraon police, on a tip off, raided the house of Maghar Singh of Kothe Pona and seized from his possession 1 kg of opium and registered a case under Sections 18/61/85 of the NDPS Act.

Liquor seized: The local police, on a tip off, arrested Hardip Dass, alias Happy of Agwar Dala and seized 340 pouches of liquor, in another tip off, the police arrested Avtar Singh, alias Tari of the same locality and seized 260 pouches of liquor. The 600 pouches bore the mark ‘for sale in Chandigarh only’. Both the accused have been booked under Section 61-1-14 of the Excise Act.



Travel agent remanded
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, August 15
Manmohan Singh, a travel agent of Lohian, was yesterday remanded to judicial custody till August 26.

He had been arrested under Sections 420 and 406 of the IPC for defrauding Jaswant Singh, a resident of Nurpur Rajputan village, and Balwinder Singh, a resident of Sangorla village of Rs 5.16 lakh for sending sons, Harjit Singh and Raghbir Singh, to Italy. 

However, they had neither send their sons to Italy nor returned their money and passport.


Teachers’ forum to oppose fiscal policies
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, August 15
The Democratic Teachers Front (DTF) Punjab will hold conventions at each district headquarters to bring all government and semi-government employee associations on one forum to oppose Punjab Government’s “oppressive” fiscal policies. The first convention in this regard will be held at Gurdaspur on August 17.

This was stated by Mr Dattar Singh, state president of the DTF, while addressing a rally of teachers from Faridkot, Bathinda, Moga, Muktsar, Ferozepore and Mansa.

He said if the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, was keen to check the state financial crisis, he should first initiate steps to reduce the size of his ministry, the number of IAS and IPS officers and other senior officers in various departments. Mr Dattar Singh said the government should generate income from other sources and stop harassing employees. Another DTF leader urged the Chief Minister to ensure the recovery of thousands of crores of sales tax not paid by big industrialists and businessmen.

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