Wednesday, August 21, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Chaos marks launch of ‘sadhbhavana yatra’
Tribune News Service

MP Sunil Dutt releases pigeon
MP Sunil Dutt releases pigeon to launch the "sadbhavana yatra" at Jalianwala Bagh in Amritsar on Tuesday. — PTI photo

Amritsar, August 20
Confusion and chaos preceded the much-hyped “sadhbhavana yatra” (peace march) launched by cine star and Member of Parliament Sunil Dutt from Jallianwala Bagh to Jammu and Kashmir here today.

Lack of coordination among organisers, security staff of the Chief Minister and the district administration in utter confusion regarding the venue of launching the yatra.

As per official schedule, the yatra was to be launched from Guru Nanak Auditorium by Capt Amarinder Singh and Mr Dutt. The organisers had planned that the Chief Minister and Mr Dutt would pay obeisance at the Golden Temple together. However, till the last moment the organisers were not sure whether the yatra would be launched from the Golden Temple, Jallianwala Bagh or Guru Nanak Auditorium.

Mr Dutt reached the Golden Temple to pay obeisance, along with senior Congress leaders, including MLAs. However, he did not visit the information office of the SGPC where senior officials were waiting to honour him. Probably Mr Dutt was not aware that the SGPC officials were waiting for him to honour him with a model of the Golden Temple and books.

Then it was the turn of Capt Amarinder Singh who virtually left the senior SGPC officials high and dry. Though Mr Harbeant Singh, Secretary, SGPC, and Mr Raghbir Singh, Personal Assistant in the SGPC, along with the staff, kept waiting for the Chief Minister, yet he did not visit the Golden Temple.

The Chief Minister left for Longowal (Sangrur) after the flag-off ceremony of the yatra at Jallianwala Bagh, which is a few yards from the Golden Temple.

During his first visit to the Golden Temple in his capacity as Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh was not presented “siropa” (robe of honour) which evoked a lot of criticism. Even Bibi Jagir Kaur, former SGPC chief, had criticised the SGPC for not presenting “siropa” to the Chief Minister. However, this time, Capt Amarinder Singh chose not to visit the Golden Temple though his wife and Member of Parliament, Ms Preneet Kaur, had said that such an act would get adverse publicity.

Later talking to mediapersons, Capt Amarinder Singh used unparliamentary language for the arrested Akali leaders. To a question, the Chief Minister said the demand for President’s rule in Punjab was being raised by some “badmash” Akali leaders after their arrest under corruption charges. He said they (the Akalis) never sought President’s rule in Gujarat where a number of innocent persons died in communal violence.

Earlier, an unsavoury incident occurred when a person raised slogans against Mr Dutt and Capt Amarinder Singh in front of the Golden Temple. He was taken to a police station immediately.

Surprisingly, the Deputy Commissioner, the DIG and even the district police chief were not aware that Capt Amarinder Singh had suddenly cancelled his visit to the Golden Temple and left for Longowal to attend the death anniversary of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal.

In a separate function held at Guru Nanak Auditorium, Capt Amarinder Singh paid floral tributes to former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to mark his birth anniversary.


MP’s pun on Akalis
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 20
As the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, was about to release caged pigeons to mark the launch of the “sadbhavana yatra” from Jallianwala Bagh here today, Mr R.L. Bhatia, MP, remarked in a lighter vein, “I hope the Chief Minister is not going to release the Akali leaders lodged in various jails on corruption charges”.


Badal sidelining jathedars: Tohra
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Sherpur (Sangrur), August 20
The Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal President Gurcharan Singh Tohra, who was proclaimed as the real Akali Dal leader by Rashtriya Janata Party President Laloo Prasad Yadav, today alleged that SAD President Parkash Singh Badal was now preparing to jettison Akal Takht Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti.

Addressing a rally here at the village where former SAD President Sant Harchand Singh Longowal fell to the bullets of assassins, Mr Tohra said former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had been constantly sidelining jathedars who did not suit him and Jathedar Vedanti was likely to be next in line in this series.

Appealing to all Akalis to come together under one banner, the former SGPC President said “Soon you will know the agenda which Mr Badal wants the new Akal Takht Jathedar to follow’’. He said his party would hold a number of rallies across the state to make the people aware of the “anti-Panthic” agenda followed by the Badal dal when it was in power in the state. He also ridiculed the SAD for holding dharnas in the state saying that one could not hold dharnas asking the government not to pursue those who had indulged in corruption in the past.

The conference also passed two resolutions on the occasion by raising of hands. The resolutions were read by senior leader Prem Singh Chandumajra. The first one called for implementing the Anandpur Sahib resolution besides calling for remaining discrimination against Punjab on the sharing of river waters with Haryana and transferring Punjabi speaking areas in Haryana to Punjab.

The second resolution called for giving special compensation at the rate of Rs 5,000 per acre to drought-hit farmers in the state, paying farmers half of the cost of digging tubewells besides giving compensation to farm labourers of the state. RJD President Laloo Prasad Yadav was the star speaker on the occasion.

The RJD leader lampooned the BJP saying that it was tragic that those who had no contribution in the freedom struggle were presently ruling the country. He also accused the Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee with implicating freedom fighters during the freedom struggle by filing an affidavit naming those who were responsible for attacking a police station.

Ridiculing the BJP for accusing him of having eaten fodder, he said the party had now earned the reputation of a “petrol pump party”. He said the manner in which the government had distributed land to its well wishers in the Capital was also proof of how corruption had riddled the party. 


BKU condemns Longowal for accord
Tribune Reporters

Kajoli (Ropar), August 20
Even as major political parties of the state today observed the martyrdom day of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal in Sangrur district, the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) and the International Human Rights Organisation (IHRO) declared him a “traitor to Punjab”. Hundreds of supporters of both organisations, at the Kajoli SYL canal bridge near Morinda, condemned Sant Longowal for signing the Rajiv-Longowal accord and paving the way for the construction of the SYL canal. They also declared the martyrdom day of Sant Longowal as ‘gaddari divas’ (day of treachery).

The protesters, led by Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, president of the Punjab unit of the BKU, and Mr D.S. Gill, chairman of the IHRO, burnt an effigy of Sant Longowal at the SYL canal bridge and blocked the traffic there for about 35 minutes. However, the police diverted the traffic through various routes towards Ludhiana and Morinda. The protesters were carrying placards and raising slogans demanding dismantling of SYL canal and stoppage of river water supply to Rajasthan and Haryana.

Various leaders of the BKU and the IHRO, while addressing a gathering, also condemned the Akali and Congress leaders for observing the martyrdom day of Sant Longowal. When Sant Longowal signed the accord, both Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra and Mr Parkash Singh Badal declared him as a “traitor” who surrendered the interests of Punjab, they said. However, now in a complete reversal of their earlier stance, they were trying to derive political mileage out of the so-called martyrdom of Sant Longowal, they added.

The BKU leaders also felicitated the killer of Sant Longowal, Gian Singh, on the occasion. They praised him for his action. Gian Singh said speeches of the Akali leaders motivated him to “punish” Sant Longowal for surrendering the interests of Punjab. Even after undergoing 16 years’ imprisonment for the crime, he felt he had done nothing wrong by punishing the Sant whereas the Akali leaders had reversed their stance for political gains.

Mr Lakhowal announced that the BKU would burn an effigy of Sant Longowal at this place every year to make the people aware of his treachery over the SYL issue.

He said on August 27 the BKU had convened an all-party meeting at Kisan Bhavan in Chandigarh to discuss the issue of diversion of Punjab waters to other states. On August 30, along with like-minded parties, they would hold a rally in Delhi and submit a memorandum to the Prime Minister at his residence.

Mr Lakhowal said the farmers of the state would not allow water from Punjab to flow in the SYL canal at any cost. The farmers would not hesitate to even sacrifice their lives for the purpose. He also rejected all previous accords related to the diversion of Punjab waters to other states.

Mr Gill criticised Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister of Punjab, for his statement that he would not allow even a single drop of Punjab waters to flow to other states whereas despite his tall claims “he has not yet filed a review petition in the Supreme Court over the SYL canal issue. Instead he was observing the martyrdom day of Sant Longowal despite the fact that the latter had nothing to do with his party and had harmed the interests of the Punjab”.

Mr Gill also took a dig at the Akalis by alleging that 75 per cent construction work of the SYL canal was completed during the stint of Mr Surjit Singh Barnala as Chief Minister in 1985. They had organised this protest to expose besides Sant Longowal all those political leaders who had sold the interests of Punjab for petty political gains, he said.


Bhattal skips Longowal function
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
The Punjab Agriculture, Panchayat and Rural Development Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal skipped Chief Minister Amarinder Singh organised death anniversary programme of the slain Akali leader Harchand Singh Longowal to attend a function in the city to pay tribute to the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Ms Bhattal’s presence at a function in the memory of the late Prime Minister and husband of the All India Congress Committee President Sonia Gandhi is apparently to project Capt Amarinder Singh ''an old Akali'' for choosing Longowal over Rajiv Gandhi as well as making a dent into the old hardline Congressmen who despised ''communal politics of Akalis.''

Ms Bhattal has sought to apparently make the two functions look as Rajiv versus Longowal.

When asked why she did not go to the programme of Longowal despite the area falling under home district, Ms Bhattal said, ''Rajiv Gandhi was a greater leader than Mr Longowal.''

The Punjab Minister, an arch political rival of the Chief Minister, when contacted to come for the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee programme on Rajiv Gandhi in the morning said she would confirm her programme in an hour.

Ms Bhattal confirmed her programme apparently to avoid Capt Amarinder Singh's function and to score a political point over the Chief Minister by respecting the feelings of old Congressmen in Punjab who are opposed to the Congress dabbling into Akali affairs.

The Punjab minister kept her programme secret and informed certain mediapersons about her programme to go to a function in memory of Rajiv Gandhi instead of Longowal immediately before coming to Rajiv Gandhi Bhawan in Sector 35.

Ms Bhattal asked her staff to give this programme ''good coverage'' to encourage the Chandigarh unit for the record's sake but her intentions apparently might be to send a signal to the high command that Rajiv Gandhi was at her heart.

The Chief Minister, however, began his day with paying tributes to Rajiv Gandhi in Amritsar.

Ms Bhattal also let it be known that she was working on empowerment of Panchayats, which Rajiv Gandhi passionately advocated and brought 73rd Constitutional Amendment to this end.


Tributes paid to Rajiv Gandhi
Tribune Reporters

Faridkot, August 20
The District Congress Committee held a function here today to mark the 58th birth anniversary of slain former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. While remembering his services for maintaining national integration and communal harmony in the country, speakers appreciated his decisions on lowering voting age from 21 years to 18, giving more powers to gram panchayats and preparing Rajiv-Longowal accord to bring peace in Punjab. Later, members distributed sweets among students of Government Middle School, Sanjay Nagar, here.

NAWANSHAHR: A large number of Congress workers of the district took part in a function organised by the district unit of the party to mark the birth anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi at Punjab Mata Vidhyawati Bhavan here. Mr Tarlochan Singh Soond, MLA, Banga, Mr Kuldip Singh Rana, president of the district unit of the Congress, Mr Ram Kishan Kataria, former MLA, Mr Satvir Singh, president of the district unit of the Congress, Mr Lalit Mohan Pathak (Ballu) and Mr Manoranjan Kalia (Tibla), general secretaries of the Punjab Youth Congress, were among others who addressed the gathering.

The Youth Congress also organised a blood donation camp at the BDC complex. As many as 21 units of blood were collected.


Follow Rajiv’s ideals, youth exhorted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
The Punjab Rural Development Panchayats and Agriculture Minister, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, today exhorted the youth to follow the ideals practised by late Rajiv Gandhi, former Prime Minister to make India a modern and self-reliant country.

She was addressing a youth rally at Rajiv Gandhi Bhavan after inaugurating a blood donation camp organised to make his 58th birth anniversary.

She asked the youth to wage a war against “negative forces” bent upon destabilising the country and dividing the nation on communal lines.

Mr Pawan Bansal, MP, Mr B.B. Behal, President of the Chandigarh Congress Committee, also spoke.


Accused to turn approver in Tangri case
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 20
The case against Jagdish Tangri, his son Sunil Tangri and three others today took an interesting turn with a sixth accused expressing his desire to turn approver and the submission of statements against the accused by at least three other residents of the city in a district court.

Sai Dass, the sixth accused, who was caught along with three others in July while preparing petrol bombs in the Gur Mandi area and is in judicial custody at Central Jail, has in a letter to Jail Superintendent G.S. Sidhu expressed his willingness to become an approver in the case. The jail authorities have referred the letter to the police and the Ilaqa Magistrate for further action. The identity of the three city residents is being kept secret by the police fearing threat to their lives. The three statements were recorded under Section-164 of the CrPC before a magistrate last week. The statements accused the Tangri duo of extortion and other illegal activities.

Police sources told The Tribune that the two developments had come as a shot in the arm for the district police. “The three city residents have given documentary proof of the alleged illegal activities of Jagdish Tangri, Sunil Tangri and their associates”, the sources said.

Sai Dass had been associated with the Shiv Sena Rashtrawadi Party and its chief Jagdish Tangri for the past 20 years. He along with Yadwinder Singh and Harminder Pal Singh was arrested by the police in July while making petrol bombs to thwart police raid on Gur Mandi. A number of arms were recovered from him. Apart from the father-son duo another accused Vijay Chunnia is also in judicial custody.

The sources said Sai Dass could also provide proofs to them. The police is already on the lookout of some other accomplices of Jagdish Tangri who were allegedly involved in illegal extortion.

Meanwhile, Judicial Magistrate, First Class, Balwinder Kumar, today remanded Sunil Tangri to two-day police custody. The police took the plea that there was a plethora of evidence against the accused and the police wanted to question him regarding the whereabouts of some other absconding persons besides details about the alleged illegal activities. Sunil Tangri refused to talk to mediapersons saying his stars were ‘bad’ these days.


Consider Lokpal’s report: Jacob
Nisha Kaura case
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
Forwarding the Lokpal’s inquiry report pertaining to the Nisha Kaura case to the state government, the Punjab Governor, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), has asked the government to consider certain recommendations made therein.

Denial of appointment as a science mistress to Ms Nisha Kaura in spite of her outstanding academic record was highlighted by The Tribune. She had appeared before the selection committee on November 28 last year and the result was declared on December 15.

On May 21, the Lokpal submitted the report to the Governor. Deciding the complaint made by Ms Nisha Kaura questioning the selection of 100 science mistresses by a departmental selection committee, the Punjab Lokpal, Justice D.V. Sehgal, had recommended the cancellation of the recruitments and also indicted former Education Minister Tota Singh, IAS Officer R.S. Sandhu, Chairman of the selection committee R.S.Deol and its four members.

Accepting the report, the Governor has commented that “it was apparent that the selection committee was not constituted in accordance with the decision of the council of Ministers. Secondly, proper safeguards like association of independent subject experts were not taken. Therefore, I forward the recommendations of the Lokpal concerning the cancellation of the recruitments made in pursuance of these interviews and the holding of fresh interviews after reconstituting the selection committee to the Government of Punjab for its consideration”.

However, the Governor has observed that “the facts established in the Lokpal’s report against Mr Tota Singh, former Education Minister, do not appear to be sufficient for the registration of a case. The state Government may conduct a further inquiry by the Vigilance Bureau or any other appropriate agency”.

As the Lokpal has not recommended any specific action against the Minister or any of the government employees, the matter has been left to the state government to take appropriate decision in this connection.

Accepting another inquiry report of the Lokpal pertaining to the cancellation of the appointment of Mrs Shinder Pal Kaur, the Punjab Governor has forwarded its copy to the state government for taking action as per law after giving due opportunity to her. The academic qualifications obtained by her should also be examined to see whether she has made any fraudulent claim on academic qualifications.

In this case, the Lokpal had held an inquiry on a complaint submitted by Mr Kartar Singh Sangha, who had applied for a post of primary school teacher under the posts reserved for ex-servicemen. However, he was not recruited. In his place, Mrs Shinder Pal Kaur was recruited.

The Governor has asked the government to process the appointment of Mr Sangha as recommended by the Lokpal. While considering his name for appointment, an opportunity may be given to any other candidate, who may be adversely affected by the appointment of Mr Sangha. The Governor has directed the government to examine the conduct of Mr Daljit Singh Brar, Director, Sainik Welfare Board, who was a member of the selection committee, and take appropriate action.


Judicial officers seek justice
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 20
Reacting to the decision of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to terminate their services, some of the 39 judicial officers, who held a meeting here today regretted that they were “convicted without a trial and not given a chance to be heard”. They have prayed for proper justice as they feel that they have been victimised just for the reason that they were selected during the tenure of the suspended chairman of the Punjab Public Service Commission, Mr Ravi Sidhu.

They said they had been punished for none of their faults. They argued that they were selected following proper procedure by the selection committee headed by the High Court itself as per the relevant rules of the Punjab Government.

They said, “In our case selection was duly made by the selection committee under the supervision of the Punjab and Haryana High Court through a competitive examination. Interviews were conducted by senior sitting Judges of the High Court duly appointed by the Chief Justice for that purpose, who played an important/final role in selecting suitable candidates”.

They argued that keeping in view these facts, “our selection was duly made after complying with the relevant procedure and the present appointments as a whole cannot be questioned by the High Court in its administrative capacity.”

“If we are tainted, the responsibility for this lies on the Judges who participated in the selection procedure and had selected us...then why action should not be taken against those Judges...and the present action taken against us gives the inference that we have been made the scapegoats,” they said.

They said their work and conduct was regularly being checked by inspecting Judges of the High Court who had given good and satisfactory report. “Our conduct is also regularly judged by advocates, litigants and nothing was found unfair against any of the Judges...simply because we have been selected during the period when Mr Sidhu was chairman of the PPSC is not a ground to take such drastic action which will not only affect us but also our families”, they said, adding, “it amounts to hanging a person without even an accusation”.

Further quoting the Punjab gazette these judicial officers said their selection was duly made by the selection committee under the supervision of the Punjab and Haryana High Court as rules required “the representative of the Punjab and Haryana High Court shall be associated in the selection process and its advice with regard to the suitability of the candidate shall prevail unless there are strong and cogent reasons, and for not accepting the same for which the reasons shall be recorded in writing”. These rules were properly followed in their case, they have argued.


PPSC scam accused given challan copies
Tribune News Service

Ropar, August 20
The court of Special Judge here today supplied copies of challan to Prem Sagar, Randhir Singh Dheera, Paramjit Singh “Pammi” ( all alleged touts of suspended Chairman of the PPSC, Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu), and G.S. Manchanda and his wife Surinder Kaur Manchanda, both alleged conduits of Sidhu in havala transactions.

The challan was presented in the court of the district and Sessions Judge on August 6 by the Vigilance Bureau against Sidhu and others for allegedly possessing assets disproportionate to their known sources of income. The case was registered against Sidhu on March 25 last at the Vigilance police station at SAS Nagar.

The court of Special Judge on August 8 had issued summons to the above five accused to appear in the court on August 20 as they were already on bail and were not present in the court on that day.

The Special Judge today fixed August 27 for the scrutiny of documents, supplied today to the accused.


Fast-track courts not yet functional
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 20
The fast-track courts to be set up in Punjab are yet to become functional with the state government either not having set up these or not having appointed judicial officers.

The idea of fast-track courts was conceptualised by Mr Arun Jaitly when he was Union Law and Company Affairs Minister.

Under the scheme, all expenses of these courts, including infrastructure,, payment to the staff and miscellaneous expenses, were to be borne by the Central Government. Thirty courts were sanctioned for Punjab. These courts were to be set up on a trial basis for a period of two years. After the Government of India notification, the matter went to the Supreme Court, which also approved it and asked all state governments to set up such courts for speedy disposal of cases. All state governments across the country are supposed to file the status report with the Supreme Court by August 30, 2002.

The main idea behind setting up of these courts was to refer all old cases, both criminal as well as civil, to these courts. Besides expediting the system of justice, it was to lessen the burden on courts.

As a first step, the Punjab Government had set up four fast-track courts, including one each at Amritsar, Patiala and Ludhiana. All infrastructure is ready in Amritsar, including the courtroom and furniture. But the court is yet to start functioning. In Ludhiana a presiding officer was appointed but after his resignation, the court stopped functioning.

The presiding officers of these courts would enjoy the status of Additional Sessions Judge and all work to them would be assigned by the District and Sessions Judge concerned. The presiding officers would be appointed from among serving judicial officers or retired judicial officers. In case both were not available, then the presiding officers could be appointed from the amongst the bar members also.

Sources in judicial circles pointed out that in Punjab, with the shortage of judicial officers, particularly after the government withdrew the services of 39, the fast-track courts could provide much relief. On an average, two fast-track courts are to be set up in each of the districts in the state. However, only four have been set up so far.


Pbi varsity faculty head gets award
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 20
Dr Chaman Lal, Head of Hindi Department, Punjabi University, Patiala, is among 20 persons honoured by the Sahitya Akademi. Apart from this, four persons have been honoured with the ‘Bhasha Samman’.

Dr Lal has earned the recognition for translating a collection of slain Punjabi poet Paash’s poems into Hindi. The award carries Rs 15,000 and a plaque.

Punjabi poet Paash known for his revolutionary poems was killed by militants on March 23, 1988, in his village Talwani Salen, near Jalandhar, at the age of 38. Dr Lal is looking forward to the release of a collection of 200 translated verses of Paash on the poet’s birth anniversary on September 15.

Speaking at the awardees’ function at the Sahitya Akademi hall here on Tuesday, Dr Lal said when Paash was killed on Bhagat Singh’s martyrdom day for “ideas dear to his heart, he decided to tell the militants that they by killing people could not kill ideas. Within a month of Paash’s killing, Dr Lal translated some of his poems into Hindi and published them in PEHL, a literary journal from Jabalpur.

Dr Lal has also been selected by the Central Hindi Directorate for the national award for his translated book ‘Kabhi Nahi Socha Tha.’


Civic poll on September 8

Phagwara, August 20
The state Election Commission yesterday issued a notification for elections to the Phagwara and Muktsar Nagar Councils and to the Raiyya and Ajnala nagar panchayats to be held on September 8.

The notification said nominations would begin on August 24 and conclude on August 27 while their scrutiny would be held on August 28. The last date of the withdrawal of nominations had been fixed for August 29. The polling would begin at 8 am. UNI


Efforts to unite Akalis
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 20
Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi, president, Gurmat Sidhant Prachar Sant Samaj and Chairman of the Panthic Ekta Committee said here yesterday that they had no intention to form a third Akali Dal.

Baba Bedi said his only effort was to unite the old and traditional (Taksali) Akalis on one platform and revive the Akali Dal of 1920 as pledged at the Akal Takhat at time of the formation of the Panthic Morcha.

Baba Bedi said that the aim was to have one Akali Dal, one constitution and one president.

He said that the Panthic Committee was now busy in organising district-level seminars of true and genuine Akalis to ascertain their views about the formation and revival of the Akali Dal of 1920.

The first seminar in the series was held at GHG Khalsa College, Gurusar Sudhar in Ludhiana district yesterday, in which some prominent Akali leaders participated.

He said the statement of Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra that he would not accept any office in the new Akali Dal was welcomed at the seminar and appealed to Mr Simranjit Singh Mann too to talk of sacrifice in the interest of the Panth.

Baba Bedi said after holding such seminars a convention would be held in September to decide about the leadership issue.


BJP training camp in Jaipur
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, August 20
The BJP will organise a training camp for its workers from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi, Uttaranchal and Rajasthan in Jaipur on September 11 and 12, which will be addressed by the party President, Mr Venkaiah Naidu, and the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr L.K. Advani.

Disclosing this here today, the general secretary of the state unit of the BJP, Mr Avinash Jaiswal, said the Punjab BJP would observe protest day on September 3 against the “anti-people” policies of the state government.


Left parties hold demonstration
Tribune News Service

Ropar, August 20
Members of the All-India Forward Bloc, the CPM (Pasla), the MCPI and the CPI (ML-Liberation) today held a demonstration in the town against the “anti-people” policies of the Punjab Government.

The protesters also held a rally which was addressed, among others, by Mr V.P. Saini, state secretary of the Forward Bloc, Mr Tarlochan Singh Rana, Mr Didar Singh, both from the CPM (Pasla), Mr Prem Singh Bhangu from the MCPI and Mr Chander Shekher.

All speakers criticised the policies of the state government which they said, had failed in fulfilling its poll promises so far with regard to the welfare of the people. They also criticised the increasing police excesses in the state.


Tannery effluent samples taken
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, August 20
Even as the Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC) has failed to enhance the capacity of the Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) for the disposal of effluents released by tanneries at the leather complex here, special teams of the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) today collected samples of untreated effluent from the tanneries, accompanied by police officials.

Three teams of PPCB officials, led by an environmental engineer, Mr Sandeep Behl, reached the leather complex this morning along with police officials under the supervision of a Duty Magistrate to collect samples of untreated water from the tanneries. Most of the tanners cooperated with the teams, but some of them immediately closed their factories to evade collection of water samples.

The Chairman of the PPCB, Mr Satish Chandra, said they were conducting on-the-spot study of the pollution being caused by these tanneries by collecting and examining untreated water samples. “We are going to file a status report in the Punjab and Haryana High Court after getting laboratory reports of these samples.” Mr Chandra expressed concern over the pollution caused due to the flow of untreated water into Kali Bein and other natural water resources. “The PSIEC and the tanners should solve the dispute about setting up a CETP for the disposal of effluents at the earliest,” he added.

Meanwhile, the tanners alleged that though they were assured by the PSIEC that a CETP of requisite capacity would be installed within the leather complex, the PSIEC had failed to do so even after five years had passed.


Lampooning Laloo the right way
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 20
Travelling with Laloo Prasad Yadav is like taking the country road home while he reminds you of how food was always cooked in “desi ghee’’ earlier, how the old practices were more practical and how necessary it is to look at life from the common man’s viewpoint.

Though it may be difficult to unravel the real Laloo while travelling with him to Sherpur village to attend a conference there to commemorate the death anniversary of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal, it is easy to see his uncanny ability to relate to the common man.

Laloo is quick to open up and talk on several issues even as he constantly chews on “paans’’ from a silver box. He presents himself as a simple man open to the opinions and wisdom of others. It was not difficult to talk to him about sensitive subjects after he asked “achha yeh raja hai’’ when he was told that he was passing by the palace of state Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.

When asked that the Patna High Court had barred the producers of ‘’Ram Khilavan CM and Family’’ from screening the serial on television, he said the main actor could not even act properly. "Marial sa hai’’, he said, adding “Shekhar Suman sahi nakal karta tha’’. Sometimes the elite sections of society tended to lampoon those who threatened them, he remarked. “Moreover they wanted to popularise a channel which was in the dumps’’, he said.

Laloo seems to love food. He talked in detail of how “saag’’ was made in Punjab and how it was cooked in his state. He was incredulous when he came to know that nowadays people used the mixer to make a paste of “sarson’’ leaves. On learning that pressure cookers were also used to cook the traditional delicacy, he said “yeh to annyay hai’’. He also related that he was very fond of non-vegetarian food but had given it up following a ‘’dream’’ when he was put in jail in connection with the alleged fodder scam.

Simultaneously he keeps himself abreast of matters in Bihar. His confidant and MP Prem Gupta, who is with him constantly gets him on the phone to attend calls from his wife and Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi who wants him to come to Delhi to meet the Prime Minister along with an all-party delegation today evening itself to insist on finding a solution to the constant flooding of the state by talking to the Nepal Government on the issue. Laughing afterwards, he says Rabri told him that she would request the Punjab Chief Minister to provide a plane to him little knowing that he was going to speak in favour of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal.

All along the route to the conference, the common man comes first for Laloo. When stopped to be honoured at the local truck union office, where transporters claimed that transport officials of Bihar extored money from them, he said he would put stop to it. Later, while travelling, he says he will suspend the SHOs who detain any truck for more than 24 hours.


Ex-addl SHO remanded
Tribune News Service

Ropar, August 20
Mr Ravinder Singh, Chief Judicial Magistrate, here today remanded former Additional SHO of the local Sadar police station Tarlochan Singh and his former bodyguard Harbaksh Singh in police custody till tomorrow.

They were arrested yesterday in connection with the kidnapping of Patiala-based Malkiat Singh and the extortion of Rs 4.5 lakh from him.

The police had registered a case on August 17 under Sections 420, 389, 368, 342, 506 and 120-B of the IPC against six persons. Four of them including three policemen, have been arrested so far.

Sources said the police had allegedly recovered Rs 75,000 from Tarlochan Singh and Rs 1.5 lakh from Harbaksh Singh, out of the total amount of Rs 4.5 lakh allegedly extorted from the complainant.


MC adds to traffic chaos
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 20
The municipal corporation authorities, in bid to beautify roads, blocked a major thoroughfare to paint zebra sign here today. The authorities started painting the sebra sign on one of the busiest one-way roads by placing a road roller on it. Traffic was blocked for more than an hour at about 1 p.m.

A large number of shopkeepers and passers-by protested with the authorities, urged them to paint the roads at night and no to harass people during busy hours.

The authorities said they had taken the contractor canceled to task for creating a traffic hazard. However, the contractor said he was asked to complete the job before the arrival of the VVIPs to the city and was given the work only this morning.


Attack on Dalit: DM orders probe
Tribune News Service

Mansa, August 20
Mr Alok Shekhar, District Magistrate, today ordered a magisterial probe into a complaint lodged by the Dalit Dasta Virodhi Andolan in connection with an attack on a Dalit farm labourer by a landlord.

Mr Shekhar said that PGO, Mansa, had been directed to conduct a probe into the contents of the complaint made to him by Mr Karamjit Singh, president, the Dalit Dasta Virodhi Andolan and submit the report at the earliest.

Mr Karamjit Singh in his complaint alleged that a Dalit farm labourer of Mojo Khurd village was injured after he was attacked by a landlord with a spade. Though the injured Balbir Singh was admitted to hospital, he was not being given proper treatment at the Civil Hospital.

He alleged that the police in connivance with a section of Civil Hospital officials was trying to hush up the matter.

He said Balbir Singh was bonded labourer and his organisation was trying to get him freed from the clutches of the landlord. He also demanded that the medical examination of Balbir Singh should be conducted by a board of doctors and his statement recorded only in the presence of a responsible officer.

Mr S.S. Srivastva, SSP, when contacted, said he had been seized of the matter and action would be taken as per law.

Dr Hardev Singh, officiating Civil Surgeon, when contacted, pointed out that examination by a medical board could be done only with the permission of a Magistrate. He added that Balbir Singh was getting proper treatment and whatever injuries he had suffered had been mentioned accordingly in his medico-legal report.


Colonel Salaria cremated
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, August 20
The mortal remains of Col Kanwar Jaideep Singh Salaria were today consigned to flames at Pangoli, his native village, about 4 km from here, with full military and state honours. Colonel Salaria (41), Commanding Officer of a Dogra Regiment, died while fighting militants in the Naushera sector on August 18. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr K.A.P. Sinha, SDM Puneet Goel, SP Manminder Singh, Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri, Punjab minister were among others who attended the funeral.

Born in 1961, Colonel Salaria was decorated with Shaurya Chakra, Sena Medal and COAS Commendation Card for Bravery and Boldness. Wrapped in Tricolour, the body of Colonel Salaria was brought to his house this morning.

Wreaths were placed on his body by Lt-Gen V.K. Jetley, Corps Commander, Brig V.K. Sharma, SM, Sub Area Commander, Brig B.S. Kanwar, Brig S. Tiwari and other senior Army officers.

Contingents of the Army reversed their Arms and sounded the last post when his elder brother Kuldeep Singh lit the pyre. Colonel Salaria is survived by his wife, a daughter and old mother.


Probe says it wasn’t ambulance
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 20
Dr S.K. Goyal, Civil Surgeon, Bathinda, said yesterday that an employee of the Civil Hospital, Talwandi Sabo, used an 11-seater mini-bus and not an ambulance for making a private trip as per the preliminary report to the probe being conducted into a complaint which stated that the employee was using the ambulance for private purposes.

Yesterday, evening, a team of the Vigilance Bureau had seized the log book of a vehicle of the hospital while it was being used by the employee for private purposes.


Scooterist dies in mishap
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 20
An unidentified body was recovered from the Bathinda canal by volunteers of the Sahara Jan Sewa this morning.

Police sources said the body was of a male and was decomposed, after the post-mortem examination the body was handed over to the volunteers of the Sahara Jan Sewa for cremation.

In another incident, a scooterist Sunil Garg, a local resident died on the spot last evening when he tried to save a cyclist. He fell on the road near the Bathinda canal and suffered a head injury.

In another incident, Laxmi Devi, who was severally injured in a bulls' fight, on the Bathinda-Goniana road on August 13, died today after remaining under treatment in the local civil hospital.


Safai karamcharis’ protest
Our Correspondent

Mansa, August 20
Heaps of garbage and night soil are strewn on the main roads of the city posting the danger of outbreak of an epidemic. This is because the safai karamcharis of the local municipal council are on strike since August 12. They staged a demonstration today raising slogans against the council chief and in favour of their demands.

Mr Roop Chand Parocha, senior vice-president of the state unit of the Safai Sewak Union, said the safai karamcharis had been demanding timely payment of their salaries, deposit of provident fund with the Provident Fund Commissioner, supply of uniforms and soaps, deposit of 15 per cent DA, increments on the completion of 8, 16, 24 and 32 years of service and payment of Rs 10,000 for the marriages of their daughters as per the government policy.


Virus adds to farmers’ woes
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 20
Farmers of this region have started ploughing their “til” (sesamum) crop after a virus attack.

Agriculture Department officials have failed to check the spread of the disease. Almost the entire “til” crop in Bathinda, Mansa and Muktsar districts has suffered damage.

The officials have approached scientists of Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) to evolve a strategy to deal with the menace of the virus, which they claim, has resulted due to high temperature and lack of rain.

Official sources said in the past few days, “til” crop in more than 65 acres had been ploughed by farmers in Bathinda district, 40 acres in Mansa district and 200 acres in Muktsar district. Besides, more such reports were being received daily. In Bathinda, Muktsar and Mansa districts, the farmers had sown “til” in more than 5,200 hectares.

“We will hold a meeting with the staff of PAU on August 22 and 23 to discuss the matter”, said Dr H.S. Bhatti, Chief Agriculture Officer, Bathinda.

“Til crop in more than 2200 hectares in the district has been damaged and can be ploughed any time,” pointed out Mr Major Singh Brar, Chief Agriculture Officer, Muktsar.

Meanwhile, farmers are continuing ploughing paddy and cotton crops which have wilted.

Farmers have ploughed cotton and paddy crops in about 7200 acres so far in Bathinda, Muktsar and Mansa districts. Others crops, including pulses and oilseeds, have been ploughed in more than 400 acres.

Mr S.C. Khurana, Chief Agriculture Officer, Mansa, pointed out that apart from ploughing of cotton and paddy crops in hundreds of acres, cotton crop in about 24,000 hectares and paddy crop in more than 10,000 acres had been damaged. He added the pulses in about 300 acres in Mansa district had been damaged due to drought.

Meanwhile, the Agriculture Department has started distributing seeds of “moong” and “toria” free of cost to farmers who have ploughed their paddy, cotton and other crops.


Farmers stage dharna
Our Correspondent

Mansa, August 20
Hundreds of farmers drawn from all parts of the district staged a demonstration at Mansa today, demanding adequate compensation for farmers for the loss suffered by them due to drought.

The demonstration was organised by the district unit of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta).

The farmers sat on a dharna in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner.

Mr Ruldu Singh, vice-president of the state unit of the union, while addressing the farmers, said the compensation announced by the Punjab Government was a joke on the farmers.

He demanded a compensation of Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 per acre, to farmers, Rs 5000 to farm labourers, remission of farmers’ loans, supply of potato and sugarcane seeds free of cost and withdrawal of 4 per cent tax on fertilisers and insecticides.

He said the union would stage a dharna in Chandigarh on August 29. He said in case their demands were not accepted, the union would launch a “rail roko” agitation.


Check spread of enteritis: DC
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, August 20
Following the detection of 35 gastroenteritis cases in Jaitu town in the district during the past week, Mr A. Venu Prasad, Deputy Commissioner, has directed the district health authorities to find out the causes for the spread of the disease.

He has asked the Health Department to constitute special medical teams to conduct a survey of the entire district to check the menace.

In a press note issued here today, the Deputy Commissioner said nine of the 35 cases, which were of serious nature, were handled by the civil hospital and the patients discharged after providing them with proper medical aid for two days.

Directions have been issued to senior officers here of the Punjab Sewerage Board and the Nagar Council, Jaitu, to ensure the use of chlorine in reservoirs before supplying piped water to the town.


Havaldar shoots Major, self
Tribune News Service

Gazniwala (Ferozepore), August 20
A Major of the Army posted on the Indo-Pak border was reportedly shot dead late last night by a Havaldar.

According to the details available from the Mamdot police station, Major Arjun Singh Parmar, 11 Kumaon Regiment, was shot dead by Havaldar Subash Chandra at 9.45 p.m. last night following a minor quarrel. The reason behind the quarrel between the two is not yet known but sources in the Army said both were drunk. “Subash Chandra had recently applied for leave, rejected verbally by the dead officer could have led to the clash”, said a senior Army officer.

Later Subash Chandra also committed suicide by shooting himself early in the morning. His bullet-riddled body was recovered at 6.30 a.m.

Major Parmar belonged to Uttaranchal while Subash Chandra was from Haryana.



PCCTU threatens to file suit
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, August 20
Terming as mala fide the decision of the Principal Secretary (Education), Dr N.S. Rattan, and the DPI (C), Ms Nisha Sarad, to purchase NSCs amounting to 50 per cent of UGC arrears, members of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) yesterday urged Mr Khushal Behl, Punjab Minister of Education, to order the rectification of the decision.

They said college teachers would file a criminal suit if nothing was done in this regard.

Prof S.S. Hundal and Dr Tewari, president and general secretary, respectively of the PCCTU alleged that the Department of Higher Education and the DPI (C) had ordered that 50 per cent of the arrears should go towards the purchase of the NSCs. No amount had been mentioned for CPF deduction, they added.


Teachers burn copies of pension scheme
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 20
Agitating members of the Bathinda council of the Punjab and Chandigarh Teachers Union today burnt copies of the recently issued pension-cum-gratuity scheme at a rally held here. Teachers of the local DAV College, SSD Girls College, Guru Nanak Khalsa Girls College, Bhai Asa Singh Girls College and TPD Malwa College participated in the rally.

Teachers working in non-government aided colleges are feeling sore over the 10 per cent cut in annual grant, which has resulted in non-payment of salaries to the staff in these colleges. The union has demanded immediate withdrawal of the orders pertaining to the cut in the grant.

The teachers are also demanding payment of arrears following revision of grades and relaxation in the Ph.D qualification for the post of Principal for lecturers having 25 years of service. The agitating teachers also pointed out that the issue of granting lecturer’s designation for the DPEs and librarians had been hanging fire for a long time even though the proposal had already been cleared by the state Finance Department.

The teachers also condemned the proposed move by the Punjab Government to shift XI and XII classes to schools, pointing out that schools did not have the required infrastructure and staff to run these classes. They added that this move would also result in a financial loss to the already cash-starved colleges.

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