Tuesday, August 27, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SGPC to take tough stand against Ashutosh 
Sarabjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
The SGPC authorities, who have been called by the National Commission for Minorities tomorrow in connection with a petition filed by Mr Simranjit Singh Mann against the activities of a sect headed by Mahant Ashutosh, will take a tough stand against the sect before the commission.

The SGPC chief, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, accompanied by a number of other senior functionaries of the SGPC, will express the view-point of the apex body of the Sikhs before the commission. The commission has also called the Punjab Government in this connection.

When contacted by The Tribune, a spokesperson of the government said the Chief Secretary, Mr Y.S. Ratra, would represent the state government before the commission tomorrow. He would later brief the Chief Minister to prepare government’s response to the Commission.

Before his visit to the UK and the US, the Chief Minister had set up a committee under the chairmanship of Mr N.S. Rattan, Principal Secretary, Higher Education, to prepare a report regarding the activities of the sect. The report of the committee would soon be submitted to the government.

Meanwhile, the SGPC was expected to ask the Commission to urge the government to put a complete ban on the activities of the sect.

Mr Badungar told The Tribune that the sect was involved in a number of “ anti-Sikh” activities. He said he would submit various proofs in this regard before the commission.

Enlisting the four points to be raised before the commission, Mr Badungar alleged that Mahant Ashutosh was “distorting Gurbani and making additions to it.” He said the sect had been speaking against Khalsa. Besides, the sect had been attacking “Guru Shabad”, spreading “gurudom” and converting Sikh youth, he alleged.

He said the SGPC was not against any religion or sect. But it would not allow anyone to distort Sikhism. He said though the sect had tried to give certain clarifications but these were not acceptable to the SGPC.

Meanwhile, the followers of the sect were not allowed to organise a congregation at Harnampura, near Ludhiana yesterday. The district authorities said no prior permission had been taken for the same.


Implement poll promises or face stir: SAD
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
Adopting an aggressive stance against the Amarinder Singh Government , the Shiromani Akali Dal today issued an ultimatum to the state government warning it to either implement the promises made in its election manifesto by September 10 or face the demonstrations in all districts next day.

The decision to give the notice to the government was taken at a meeting of the SAD Political Affairs Committee (PAC). Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who presided over the meeting, told mediapersons that though six months have passed but the government had not implemented a single promise made in the manifesto.

As promised the government should give Rs 30 as bonus per quintal on paddy, continue free power and water supply to agriculture sector, pay Rs 10,000 per acre as compensation to drought-hit farmers and also farmhands , restore frozen allowances of government employees, pay bonus to them, lift the ban on filling of vacant posts, provide 200 electricity units free to Dalits, restore “shagun” scheme for them and make regular payment of old age pension to eligible persons and also clear pending such cases.

Mr Badal said his party would not allow the government to charge farmers for power and build the pressure on it to give at least 200 units free to poor sections of society with immediate effect. Farm production had substantially gone up because of free power to the agriculture sector and the country had benefited.

The SAD chief called a meeting of party MLAs and MPs here on August 31 to mobilise party workers to stage demonstrations on September 11 in case the government failed to implement its promises. On September 2, a meeting of the SGPC members would be held. As the government had no funds to fulfil its promises, there will be a huge financial burden on the state exchequer, he pointed out.

Mr Badal said he would take up the issue of drought hit farmers with the Union Government. However, he said it was the Congress Government’s primary duty to provide relief to affected farmers. The government had failed on this front.

At meeting a large number of resolutions were passed. Through three separate resolutions tributes were paid to late Kirpal Singh, Mr Jangir Singh Joga and Mr Joginder Singh Pheruman. Through another resolution, Capt Amarinder Singh was criticised for using derogatory language against the Akalis and demanded his apology. The silence maintained by Mr Ravi Inder Singh, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra with regard to the Chief Minister’s comments on the Akalis was also condemned.

Mr Badal said the government had discreetly instructed the authorities concerned to withdraw the special leave petition against four former Congress Ministers from the Supreme Court. The government’s so-called campaign against corruption had been exposed because of it. Capt Amarinder Singh was going out of the way to protect Congressmen facing serious charges, he added.


Youth Cong vs Akalis
Rallies and counter rallies planned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
Politics of confrontation between the Punjab Pradesh Youth Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal is likely to queer the pitch in the weeks ahead.

Close on the heels of the decision of the SAD’s Political Affairs Committee today to hold ‘’protest’’ demonstrations (from September 11) against the unfulfilled election promises made to the people by the Congress, the Youth Congress has also braced itself to counter the Akalis’ ‘’falsehood’’ by similar action. Accordingly, a meeting of the party workers to decide upon the strategy has been convened here on August 28.

This becomes clear from the meeting of the Youth Congress delegation led by its President, Mr Devinder Singh Babbu, and Vice-President Pawan Dewan, with the Chief Minister, Capt. Amarinder Singh, here today.

A party spokesman told TNS that the Youth Congress congratulated the Chief Minister for his anti-corruption drive and exposure of the misdeeds of the Akali-BJP five-year (mis)rule and also for making efforts to shore up financial resources, including a trip abroad to fetch financial assistance.

In the same breath, Babbu and Dewan pleaded that the Youth Congress should be given proper representation in the government. At the same time, the Chief Minister was apprised of the aspirations, expectations, problems and requirements of the Punjab youth in respect of education, employment and career advancement.

Mr Devinder Singh Babbu said the August 28 meeting would draw up the strategy for the proposed rallies, public meetings and dharnas to further expose the Akalis, who have sired a series of scams and scandals, effecting all walks of life. The Chief Minister would be urged to treat former Akali Ministers, including the Chief Minister, as ordinary criminals and proceed against them.

The Youth Congress would also observe the 7th ‘’shahidi diwas’’ of Beant Singh in a befitting manner on August 31.


Lokpal clears PAU VC
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
The Punjab Lokpal has dismissed a complaint against Punjab Agricultural University Vice-Chancellor, Dr K.S. Aulakh, and cleared him of all allegations made by Dr Balwant Singh, Convener of the Nationalist Congress Party Kisan Cell.

In his report, the Lokpal, Justice D.V. Sehgal, is reported to have said that there was neither substance in the allegations of “irregularities” nor any “misconduct” is said to have been committed by Dr Aulakh while discharging his duties as Vice-Chancellor.

Justice Sehgal has, it is learnt, also maintained that the jurisdiction of the Lokpal is limited to inquiring into cases of misconduct against public men. There is a different forum for any alleged irregularities and grievances of those employees, who feel that they have been harmed by such decisions of the university. They cannot use the services of the complainant, as their spokesman to bring them before the Lokpal in the form of a complaint.

Inter alia, the Lokpals decision to dismiss the complaint against Dr Aulakh also takes cognisance of the fact that information was concealed by the complainant, Mr Balwant Singh. Justice Sehgal has categorically stated that when certain matters stood concluded by the decision of the civil writ petitions of 1999 and 2001 in the High Court, the “forum of the Lokpal cannot be allowed to be used as a second attempt to re-agitate these matters”. That a writ against Dr Aulakh’s appointment as Vice-Chancellor was dismissed by the High Court, was not disclosed to the Lokpal by the complainant.

In his complaint, Dr Balwant Singh, had made a series of allegations. One was casting aspersions on the former PAU Vice-Chancellor, Dr G.S. Kalkat that he had been promoting Dr Aulakh, being a close relative, first by making him pro Vice-Chancellor and later, as Vice-Chancellor. The Lokpal found no merit in this allegation.

Likewise, the Lokpal found no ‘’misconduct’’ in various other appointments made by Dr Aulakh, including the selection of his own daughter-in-law, Ms Ramandeep Kaur, as Assistant Entomologist. Similarly, the Lokpal has also dismissed allegations of “irregularities” in the selection of heads of departments etc. Justice Sehgal has held that due process was followed. Selections and appointments were made by duly constituted selection committees and later approved by the board of management. There was no “manoeuvring”, as alleged in the complaint.

In respect of all other complaints regarding selection/appointment, the Lokpal says: “I am satisfied that in none of them is there any prima facie case of misconduct on the part of Dr Aulakh”.

Even on the charge of “unwise” investment by PAU in PUNWIRE, the Lokpal has exonerated Dr Aulakh. It could have been unsound investment but no personal interests of Dr Aulakh were involved in making that investment and none had been alleged.

For quite some time such complaints and writs in the High Court had engaged the attention of Dr Aulakh. The Lokpal judgment gives the PAU executive head a clean chit now to concentrate on important issues relating to agriculture and allied fields.


Vigilance probe against PTU ex-VC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
A vigilance inquiry has been initiated against Mr H.S. Guram, a former Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar, who allegedly committed irregularities in preparing results, appointments, misbehaved with the female staff and got bribes at the time of admission. He remained Vice-Chancellor even at the age of 66 years, while the age for superannuation is 62.

The Punjab Vigilance Bureau has also initiated another vigilance inquiry against a former minister, Tota Singh and an IAS officer J.B. Goyal.

The Chief Director-cum-ADGP of the Vigilance Bureau Mr A.P. Pandey, said that irregularities were found in the appointments in Local Bodies department during the tenure of Mr J.B. Goyal, as Director.

The former Minister, Mr Tota Singh, as Chairman of Punjab Mandi Board, allegedly appointed a minister’s son on a class II post without following any rules and regulations. This appointee was working as Landscape Officer in the Horticulture Department and was allegedly involved in embezzlements, says a press note.

Mr Pandey also said that an inquiry had been initiated against an Executive Engineer Jagjit Singh of Mandi Board at Muktsar, for allegedly amassing wealth. Irregularities and financial fraud worth crores were found against him in the construction of roads, buildings and mandis, where sub-standard material was used.

Mr Pandey said a vigilance probe has also been initiated against B S jatana MD WEAVCO and Moti Lal, Director, who allegedly bought cloth worth Rs 2 lakh at a higher than market rate and immediately ordered a deal to buy cloth and payments to the tune of Rs 39,82,158 to other cooperative societies.

A complaint has also been received against two Sports Department Officer, who had not maintained the expenditure accounts of National Games, 1989. Books were also brought without tenders and allegedly commission was received in the purchase of books for libraries. The record pertaining to the grants given to the stadia in villages and purchased the sports equipment without any demand from the District Sports Officer was burnt, says a press note.

The chief also revealed that an inquiry had been initiated against Mr S.M.S. Sandhu, SE PWD (B&R) for allegedly amassing wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income.

A thorough probe was being carried out against the FCI officials and employees of Mansa depot, who accepted higher rates for labour and cartages than the market.


Tubewell tariff may fetch PSEB 600 cr
Tribune News Service

Ropar, August 26
As it is certain that the supply of free power to run tubewells will go in the days to come, the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) is likely to earn about Rs 600 crore per annum from the tubewell connections in the state if the state Electricity Regulatory Commission allows it to impose a tariff of Re 1 per unit on the supply to the tubewells. For the past over five years, no tariff is being imposed.

As per the data submitted to the commission by the PSEB, the board is supplying 5,986 million units out of its total power supply of 22,347 million units in a year to the tubewells free of cost. It may be mentioned here that the production cost is more than Rs 3 per unit.

It was in February, 1997, that the Punjab Government, after taking a decision at a meeting of the state Cabinet to supply power free of cost to the tubewells, directed the PSEB to implement it. At that time, the government had also assured the PSEB that it would compensate the board by way of making payment to it. In 1997-98, the PSEB suffered a direct loss of Rs 284 crore due to free power supply to the tubewells.

The prevalent agriculture tariff in other states is as follows: Rajasthan 83.04 paise per unit, Haryana 62 paise per unit, Orisa 105 paise per unit, Maharashtra 102 paise per unit, Delhi 79 paise per unit, Himachal Pradesh 65 paise per unit, Madhya Pradesh 55 paise per unit, Kerala 59 paise per unit and Gujarat 64 paise per unit. Besides, Tamil Nadu is another state which is supplying free power to run tubewells.

The power supply to the agriculture sector in some other states is as follows: Rajasthan 32.63 per cent, Haryana 44.62 per cent, West Bengal 12.41 per cent, Andhra Pradesh 38.59 per cent, Madhya Pradesh 43.16 per cent, Maharashtra 32.63 per cent, Gujarat 43.65 per cent, Tamil Nadu 27.23 per cent,, Kerala 4.4 per cent, Delhi 0.86 per cent and Punjab 26.80 per cent.

In Punjab, the capacity of tubewell motors varies from 3 to 10 HP. In north Punjab, the motors are mostly of 3 to 5 HP while in south Punjab, motors are of 7.5 to 10 HP. In areas where the water level has receded considerably, the farmers have opted for the submersible water pump. For example, a 10 HP motor with a 20 per cent plant load factor (PLF) consumes, 1,089 units per month.


Row over votes of two colleges in PUTA poll
Varsity deletes college teachers’ votes from list
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 26
The stage has been set for a conflict between rival teacher factions of Punjabi University even before the arrival of its newly appointed Vice-Chancellor, Mr S.S. Boparai, on the campus, with the United Teachers Front (UTF) claiming that its rival faction had entered into a conspiracy with the institution’s Registrar to delete the names of teachers of two institutions in Damdama Sahib and at Bathinda from the voters’ list of the Punjabi University Teachers Association (PUTA) election.

The PUTA elections are slated for September 6 and are expected to see a stiff competition between the Teachers United Front (TUF), which represents the group responsible for the ouster of former VC, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, and the UTF, which was able to wrest control of PUTA mainly on the basis of votes from these two institutions.

The teachers of both institutions — Guru Kashi College, Damdama Sahib, and the University College of Education, Bathinda, voted in elections to PUTA for the first time last year after they were taken over by the varsity.

Sources also disclosed that the UTF was able to wrest control of PUTA mainly due to en bloc voting by teachers of both institutions in its favour.

The new varsity management has held that the former Vice-Chancellor wrongly took over both institutions and instigated its teachers to vote for the UTF during the last elections. It has held the view that teachers of constitutional colleges of the varsity cannot become members of PUTA and has accordingly struck off the names of about 30 teachers from the rolls of PUTA.

The UTF, meanwhile, held a meeting today to review the situation during the course of which it was felt that both the institutions at Damdama Sahib and at Bathinda had become an integral part of the university after the varsity took over their management. UTF spokesman R.K. Sehgal alleged that the removal of the names of the teachers from the PUTA rolls was a ‘’conspiracy’’ hatched by the TUF in collaboration with varsity Registrar K.S. Sidhu.

Dr Sehgal said the officiating Registrar was an active member of the TUF and that it was the intention of the TUF to create problems for the new Vice-Chancellor. The TUF, meanwhile, while condemning the such ‘’destructive forces’’ appealed to the VC to take immediate remedial measures to normalise the surcharged atmosphere in the varsity following this action. It said in case nothing was done, the UTF would be forced to resort to direct action.

Though the Registrar could not be contacted, TUF convener Bhupinder Singh Khaira said former Dr Ahluwalia had made teachers of both colleges members of PUTA against all norms and practices.

He said neither Panjab University nor Kurukshetra University made its teachers members of the varsity teaching association.

He said, moreover, the varsity had been burdened with an amount of Rs 65 lakh after it had taken over the Damdama Sahib institution. He said, on the other hand, the Damdama Sahib institution had lost out on the Rs 40 lakh annual grant which it used to receive from the state government.

Demanding that both the institutions should be reverted to their original status, he said it was the former VC who had entered into a conspiracy with the UTF group to help it illegally in the last PUTA elections. He said the varsity administration had only followed the law in deleting their votes.


Fake encounter case: PHRC takes note
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 26
The hearing of an alleged false case against Karanjit Singh Laddi has been scheduled for October 30 by the Punjab Human Rights Commission.

The issue was raised by the Khalra Mission Committee (KMC) in a petition to the PHRC. The committee had accused the police of staging another fake encounter to involve a Sikh youth Karanjit Singh Laddi in a false case. The KMC said that Karanjit was projected as a dreaded terrorist of the Bhindranwale Tiger Force claimed to have been arrested by the Ludhiana police from the Daresi Ground in Ludhiana.

The KMC in a report alleged that Karanjit was picked in the presence of his mother Balwinder Kaur by two cops of Ludhiana police on May 1 from his residence at Prag Das Chowk in Amritsar. The two Ludhiana policemen who took away Karanjit had assured his mother that he would be let off after questioning. However four days later Karanjit was projected to be a dreaded terrorist of the BTF arrested from Ludhiana whereas he was a smalltime TV mechanic in Amritsar, stated his mother.

Mr Balwinder Singh Chabal, Mr Surinder Singh Ghariala, chairman and president of the KMC respectively in a press note stated that a false case had been registered against Karanjit. It is alleged that Karanjit was picked up presumably because 11 years ago his brother-in-law Sukhdev Singh Sukha belonged to a terrorist outfit, wrote the KMC in a report to the PHRC. The KMC has also written to the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh to give justice to this innocent man.


Tandon backs move on tainted cops
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, August 26
Support came from unexpected quarters today for the Punjab Chief Minister over the issue of “tainted policemen when former Punjab Local Bodies Minister and BJP stalwart Balramji Das Tandon the move of Capt Amarinder Singh to provide assistance to those officials who had fought against terrorism but were facing trial as a good step.

Talking to newsmen here this evening, Mr Tandon, however, claimed that the decision to support such cops was not new but a continuation of the one taken during the SAD-BJP regime. He maintained that there was a difference between “inquest” cases and “contest” cases.


CM’s remarks on cops invite Tohra’s flak
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, August 26
The declaration of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh at Jalandhar yesterday in connection with the defending of ‘tainted’ policemen, drew flak today from Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra, president, Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD). Jathedar Tohra said cases were going against only those police officials who had been indicted by judicial courts or the CBI. Earlier, the then CM, Mr Parkash Singh Badal had defended these tainted policemen and now Capt Amarinder Singh was following suit, he regretted.


Constable shot, SPO escapes unhurt
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, August 26
A Punjab police Constable was shot dead while an special police officer (SPO) escaped unhurt in an attack by a group of five persons on the railway bridge near the Chugitti bypass on the Jalandhar-Amritsar road today.

Constable Gurtek Singh, posted at the Nakodar police station, along with an SPO, Manjit Singh, was travelling in a car this afternoon when a group of five armed persons, who were chasing then in a jeep, overtook the car on the railway bridge. Gurtek was forced to stop his vehicle. Subsequently, the assailants told Gurtek and Manjit to come out of the car.

Gurtek tried to flee but he was overpowered by the assailants. One of them pumped bullets into his chest from a double-barrelled gun. Gurtek died on the spot while Manjit managed to escape. Senior police officials, including the SSP, Mr Paramjit Singh Gill, reached the spot.

The police has reportedly detained Manjit Singh for investigation. According to sources, Gurtek was having matrimonial problems and was recently booked for assaulting Kulwant Singh, a relative of his wife.

The SSP said the assailants had been identified as Bhag Singh, Kulwant Singh, Sukhdev Singh, Gurdev Singh and Charan Singh, all residents of Tarn Taran and Patti areas.


BJP agitation on Sept 3: Tandon
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 26
Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, a former Minister for Local Bodies, has accused the Congress government of unleashing a “reign of terror” in the state by conducting a vendetta against Opposition parties.

He said a meeting of the BJP scheduled for tomorrow, would prepare a report of the prevailing conditions in the state and present it to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee for action against the “undemocratic” style of functioning of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

He said the BJP would hold the third phase of its agitation on September 3 by staging dharnas, demonstrations and rallies at the mandal level in the state. Mr Tandon said memorandums would be submitted to administration heads to be forwarded to the government and the Governor.

Talking to mediapersons at Circuit House today, the former minister said farmers were the most unfortunate as the free power facility had been withdrawn when they were facing drought.

He said every segment of society was feeling harassed and sore about the policies of the government. He alleged that “police raj” had been let loose against political rivals while all development work started by the previous government had come to a grinding halt and no new projects were in the pipeline.

Mr Tandon said the Chief Minister’s promise of getting loans from the International Finance Consortium was aimed at diverting attention from the witch-hunt he had launched to decimate his rivals. 


15 file papers for civic body poll
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, August 26
Fifteen nominations were filed today for the local Nagar Council poll slated for September 8, according to SDM-cum-Returning Officer Pritam Singh. All candidates had filed their nominations as independents, he said.

Following is the ward-wise list of candidates.

Mr Joginderpal (ward No. 2), Mr Resham Singh, Mr Harjinder Singh (ward No. 5), Mr Pritpal Singh ward No. 12), Ms Satnam Kaur, Mr Sukhwinder Singh, Mr Paramjit Singh (ward No. 14), Mr Kapil Dev Mahi (ward No. 15), Ms Harjit Kaur (ward No. 16), Mr Ekam Singh, Mr Majit Singh (ward No. 17), Ms Gurmit Kaur, Mr Suresh Kumar (ward No. 21), and Mr Manmohan and Mr Vipin (ward No. 23).


Mann’s remarks criticised
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 26
Senior Congress leader and the MLA from Dakha Assembly segment Milkiat Singh Dakha, senior vice-president of the pardesh Youth Congress, Amarjit Singh Tikka and Mr Gurkirat Singh have criticised the statement of Mr Simranjit Singh Mann opposing the holding of a government function to observe the death anniversary of former Chief Minister Beant Singh.

In a joint statement issued here today the three Congress leaders alleged that Mr Mann was using provocative language to vitiate the peaceful atmosphere of the state.


‘Include Punjab MPs in Khurana panel’
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, August 26
Mr Jaskaran Singh, SAD(A) General Secretary and co-convener of the party’s Border Area Panel headed by a former MP, Mr Dhyan Singh Mand, today demanded that the 11 member Central Committee headed by Mr Madan Lal Khurana to study the border situation should be broadbased and MPs from Punjab like Mr Simranjit Singh Mann should be included in it.

In a letter to the Union Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, Mr Jaskaran Singh alleged that the Khurana committee had met handpicked persons during its visit to border areas of Punjab. The plight of people displayed by Army deployment was pathetic and Mr Fernandes should himself visit the border districts of Ferozepore, Amritsar and Gurdaspur, he demanded. Due to the mine-fields and the eight month-long buildup, the border area people were displaced, the farmers could not plant wheat and paddy crops and dalits were resorting to distress sale of cattle, he said. The people in border areas were against war with Pakistan. They wanted peace and the return of the Army to the barracks, he added.


SGPC poll: 60 pc rise in number of voters
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 26
More than 60 per cent increase has been noted in the number of voters for the SGPC elections as compared to the number of voters registered for the elections held in 1996.

In a press note issued here today, the district Public Relations Department stated that Justice J.S. Sekhon, Chief Commissioner (Gurdwara Elections), had expressed satisfaction over the work of preparing voter lists at a meeting with voter registration officers here today.

Among others who attended the meeting were Mr S.S. Puri, Deputy Commissioner-cum-district election officer, the Corporation Commissioner, Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, and the SDM-cum-additional district election officer, Mr Gurwaryam Singh.

In 17 constituencies, total number of voters registered so far is 14.17 lakh as compared to 8.60 lakh registered during the past elections. All voters are required to set their names registered by August 27. 


Ropar brick-kilns flout fly ash order
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, August 26
All brick-kilns in Ropar are violating a Union Government order. As per Section 3, Sub-section (2) of the gazette notification issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forests on September 14, 1999, no brick-kiln within a radius of 50 km of a coal or lignite-based thermal plant can manufacture clay bricks or tiles without mixing at least 25 per cent fly ash with soil on a weight basis.

As almost all brick-kilns in the district are within a radius of 50 km of Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant (GGSSTP) Ropar, they are covered under the notification. However, even after three years of the notification, none of the brick-kilns functioning in the district has complied with the instructions.

The notification has made the regional officer of the state Pollution Control Board as the authority for ensuring the use of specified amount of fly ash by the brick-kilns. However, it is only after almost three years of notification that the Pollution Control Board authorities have issued notices to the brick-kiln owners to use the fly ash in manufacturing bricks.

The mere issuing of notices to the brick-kiln owners, is, however, not enough to ensure the use of fly ash in the manufacture of bricks. The notification directs the thermal plants to make available fly ash for at least 10 years from the date of publication of the notification, free of cost and without any consideration for manufacturing bricks.

It is also stated in the notification that each thermal plant should constitute a dispute settlement committee comprising the General Manager of the thermal plant concerned and representatives of the All-India Brick and Tile Manufacturers Federation (AIBTMF), The committee has to ensure unhindered loading and transport of ash for the brick-kilns.

However, till date no such committee had been constituted.

Brick-kiln owners, on the condition of anonymity, allege that they were not aware of the procedure of procuring fly ash from the thermal plant. Almost all the fly ash of thermal plants is stored in dykes, which are under the jurisdiction of the plant authorities. The brick-kiln owners have no access to those dykes and thermal plant authorities have not created any point from where the fly ash could be lifted, they allege.

The notification directs the Pollution Control Board to approach the district administration for the cancellation of the mining lease of the brick-kiln for not using the specified amount of fly ash in manufacturing. However, despite the fact that none of the brick-kilns in Ropar are using fly ash, the board authorities have not moved even a single case for cancellation.

The notification also directs the Public Works Departments of the Centre and state, development authorities and housing boards to prescribe the use of fly ash in construction activities. However, none of these departments use it.

Gujarat Ambuja Cements Ltd demonstrated the use of fly ash in the construction of roads. The company maintained that roads constructed using fly ash were cost effective and environment friendly.

Environment NGOs of the district have demanded strict compliance of the notification in case of brick-kilns located in the district. It would help tackle major environment hazards created by the GGSSTP fly ash dyke in the Ropar wetland areas, they maintain.


CJI to open Lok Adalat on August 30
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, August 26
Mr Justice B. N. Kripal, Chief Justice of India, will inaugurate a special Lok Adalat being organised by the Punjab Legal Services Authorities in association with bar associations of Hoshiarpur, Garhshanker and Dasuya at the Government College Complex here on August 30. This was stated by Mr L.R. Roozam, District and Sessions Judge, while addressing press conference here today.

As many as 35 Benches had been constituted to settle about 4000 cases of matrimonial and labour disputes, accidental claims, bank recoveries, civil and criminal cases of all kinds at the said Lok Adalat. Four reception counters would be set for helping litigants. One camp office would also be opened for general information. Free buses would be plied for litigants from court complexes of Dasuya and Garhshanker from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. in this regard.

Mr Roozam said Mr Justice Arun B. Sahai, Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court along with other judges, District and Sessions Judges Punjab would also participate in the adalat.


Three labourers buried alive
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, August 26
Three labourers were buried alive when a portion of a retaining wall of a well collapsed at Sarnana village, near Rama Mandi, here this evening.

The victims have been identified as Babu Ram, Mohan Lal and Kishore. The labourers reportedly went into the well belonging to Lehmbar Singh to undertake repair work in the afternoon. However, when they were about to come out of the well after completing the repair work that a portion of its retaining wall collapsed killing the three.

According to sources, while residents of the Sarnana village and police personnel were seen trying to remove earth from the well, the fire brigade wing of the local municipal corporation, refused to send its staff and equipment since the village was situated outside the municipal limits.

Later in the evening the Commissioner of the corporation, Mr Jagjit Singh, sent two tipper machines to remove the earth. The bodies were still to be exhumed.


Freedom fighter’s widow feels ignored
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 26
Freedom fighters and their dependants who get pension under the Special Pension Scheme are feeling ignored. Ms Gurvel Kaur, now 90, is sore with the government for ignoring the supreme sacrifice that her husband Gurcharan Singh made for the country. She lost her husband just a few days after her marriage in 1940. He was one of the few who revolted against the British in the 21st Central India Horse mutiny, to be hanged to death later for the act at Secundrabad. He was among the few who had refused to join the British army to fight in World War II.

The members of this mutiny were granted the status of freedom fighters in 1993 along with members of six other such mutinies. They were granted a pension of Rs 500 per month under the Special Pension Scheme. It was enhanced to Rs 1,500 in 1997.

Ms Gurvel Kaur said after 1997, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Independence day, the pension admissible to various categories of freedom fighter pensioners and their dependents under the Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension Scheme was enhanced, but not to the categories under the Special Pension Scheme.

She said all freedom fighters who laid down their lives during the freedom struggle were equally imbued with the sense of patriotism. Their sacrifices could not be deemed “unequal and categorised”, she said.

Significantly, Ms Gurvel Kaur had used her freedom fighter’s pension to construct the building of a government high school named after her husband, Shaheed Gurcharan Singh.


Police drive against anti-social elements
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 26
The district police has launched a special campaign against the anti-social elements, particularly those involved in the operation of satta and smuggling of narcotics. In a crackdown on such elements, different police parties raided various hideouts of satta operators today.

According to a press note issued by the Police Department here, a policy party nabbed red-handed one Amarjit Singh, alias Lovely a resident of Amrala village while he was operating satta near the gas agency in Sirhind along with cash. Another police party arrested Kaka Singh, a resident of Bhagrana near the SYL bridge at Chuni Kalan and recovered nine bottles of whisky.

The Khamano police also solved the mystery of the sale of a Maruti car on fake drafts three years ago by recovering the car from Sirsa in Haryana and the main accused Surjit Singh, alias Titi, who cheated the car-owner by presenting fake drafts, has been arrested, whereas the other two accused, identified as Tirath Singh and S.K. Sharma, are still at large.

Varinder Kumar, a resident of Khanna, was caught red-handed while operating satta near the Khamano truck union and one Shiv Nath was held while operating satta near the railway crossing in Guru ki Nagri Mandi Gobindgarh and recovered cash from all these satta operators and registered a case u/s 13A/3/67 of the Gambling Act.

The SP(H) said that on a tip-off the Sirhind police a few days ago nabbed a trader near Rajindergarh village and recovered diamonds from him. He clarified that these diamonds were recovered by the police and not by the Excise Department as stated in a section of the press. He said that the police had also recovered Rs 25 lakh from a bag in a Haryana Roadways bus during checking, and the money was deposited in the Government Treasury at Fatehgarh Sahib.


Families lose earning hands to spirit
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 26
“I have lost every thing as I am finding it difficult to look after my three children after the death of my husband Joginder Singh. I hope that government and society will do something for me and my family,” cried Ms Manjeet Kaur, a young widow crying over the death of her husband due to consumption of spirit yesterday. Joginder Singh, a rickshawpuller, was the only earning hand in the family of five. They are living in a rented house.

“Why did the government not take action against those who have been selling drugs and other intoxicants? Such people should be hanged who are destroying families,” said Ms Pathani Kaur, 80-year-old mother of Veer Singh, who died after consuming spirit. Veer Singh was also the only earning member in the family of five. His two grown-up sons are still unemployed.

Mr Amar Singh, who survived after undergoing treatment for two days after consuming the spirit, said he had consumed spirit after purchasing it from the accused Ladoo, who runs a tea stall in front of the Sadar police station and CIA staff police station.

Ms Surjeet Kaur, a mother of six, whose husband Partap Singh also died after consuming the spirit pointed out that the sale of spirit was in know of everyone. Teary-eyed she said she did not know how she would bring up her five daughters and one son.

A pall of gloom has descended on this locality with four residents dying after consuming spirit.

The Chairman, High Powered Finance Committee, Punjab, Mr Surinder Singla, has assured the aggrieved that he would press the Punjab Government to give them financial help.

The families of hooch victims, who were rickshawpullers, faced a number of difficulties in making arrangements for the cremation of the dead. Some of them rushed to nearby medical practitioners to save their near and dear ones, who fell unconscious after consuming the spirit, but failed to get any success.

In the past over one year, four youths have lost their lives due to consumption of drugs. A section of residents, mostly rickshawpullers, get hooked to unrectified spirit due as it is easily available at less rates.

Though the residents of Khatika Mohalla have been facing problems on account of unchecked sale of intoxicants and other drugs in that area for the past many months, yesterday’s tragedy in which the hooch has claimed six lives, moved them. They have now decided not to allow anybody to sell any sort of intoxicant in that area.

Meanwhile, the district police chief, Mr Ishwar Singh, has constituted a high-level committee of police officials to investigate the case registered against the accused, Joginder Singh and Ladoo, who had been allegedly supplying spirit to the deceased.


Only PSERC can fix tariff, say engineers
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 26
The Punjab State Electricity Board Engineers Association today contested the government’s right to take a decision on the revision of electricity tariff in the state at a Cabinet meeting and treat the decision of the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) as recommendatory in nature.

Issuing a statement on behalf of the association, its senior leader Padamjit Singh said the commission was a statutory body under Section 17 of the ERC Act, 1998, and was vested with powers to fix the tariff under Section 22 of the Act.

He said Section 22 stated that the commission “would determine the tariff for electricity”. He said this implied that the tariff orders of the commission could not be distorted and termed as recommendations which were further subject to the approval of the state Cabinet.

Mr Padamjit Singh said according to a memorandum of understanding between the Union Government and Punjab, “Punjab shall ensure filing of tariff petitions by August 30 and that tariff orders issued by the state Electricity Regulatory Commission will be implemented fully, unless stayed or set aside by court orders”.

The association has also given the example of the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission, adding that the Maharashtra Government had admitted that its role was only to put forward “guidelines” while the orders of the commission were final. It said the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission had even imposed a fine of Rs 7 crore on the Maharashtra State Electricity Board for its failure to comply with its earlier orders.


MC acting chief beaten up
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, August 26
Mr Kewal Jindal, acting president of the Malerkotla Municipal Council, was beaten up by certain persons near the State Bank of Patiala main branch here today. He was coming out of the council office after boycotting the elections of the president, which was held in the presence of the local SDM. He had objected to the SDM presiding over the elections.

An witness stated that about 15 persons armed with chains and roads pushed Mr Jindal off his scooter and began beating him up.

People from the adjoining areas rushed to the scene and got Mr Jindal admitted to the Civil Hospital and raised slogans and demanded a thorough inquiry by the higher authorities.

Many social and political organisations have condemned the incident.

Meanwhile, on the directions of the Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur, municipal councillors at a meeting presided over by the local SDM elected Mr Faquir Mohammad as their president here today. He got 14 votes in his favour.

Mr Jindal was referred to DMC, Ludhiana for further treatment.

Mr Rajia Sultana, local MLA, had also condemned the incident.


Hooch deaths: cop suspended
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 26
Even as the two persons involved in the sale of spirit, Ladoo and Joginder Singh, have been arrested, the district police chief, Mr Ishwar Singh, placed Head Constable Iqbal Singh under suspension for giving two bottles of liquor to Ladoo.

A case under Sections 302, 328 and 120-B of the IPC was registered against the accused late last night. Ladoo, who would sell spirit to the poor at the rate of Rs 40 per bottle after taking them from Joginder Singh, who had a licence to sell spirit from the Excise Department illegally.

Atleast six persons, four from one locality and two from another, died in the past two days after they had unrectified spirit by purchasing it from Ladoo.

When a police party raided the premises of Ladoo at Mohalla Khatika, two bottles of (IMFL) were seized from there. In the presence of senior police officials, he said he had been supplied with the bottles of liquor by Head Constable Iqbal Singh.

Mr M.S. Kundlus, Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner, said the licence of Joginder Singh had been cancelled. Excise staff had been asked to check the licences. About 32 licences had been given in this district for selling spirit.

The police and the excise staff had seized 335 litres of spirit from the custody of Rakesh Kumar in May and a case had been registered.

The Civil Hospital authorities said Ladoo had been shifted to the prisoners’ ward. He had been admitted to the hospital as he was in an inebriated condition.


Ravi Sidhu moves bail application
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 26
Former Chairman of the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) Ravi Sidhu has moved a bail application in the court of the Additional District and Sessions Judge.

The judge, Ms Sabina, fixed September 4 as the next date of hearing.

Sidhu’s counsel argued that his client was being harassed without any reason because when he was working for a New Delhi-based national newspaper as a reporter he had written an article in which he had criticised Capt Amarinder Singh.

Another ground cited by Sidhu’s lawyer was that as certain high-level police officials had asked Sidhu to get some important work done during his tenure as Chairman of the PPSC. However, since Sidhu never took note of their work, the police officials had turned hostile towards him.


Be vigilant, SSP told
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 26
In view of the Assembly elections in the troubled state of Jammu and Kashmir, the Punjab Director-General of Police, Mr M.S. Bhullar, has directed the SSP, Gurdaspur, to be extra vigilant.

At a meeting with senior police officers of the border range, here yesterday the DGP cautioned that there should be no let up in the fight against terrorists and anti-social elements.

He reviewed the law and order situation and issued directions in this regard.

Expressing concern over the rise in drug abuse in the state he directed senior officers to launch crusade against drug peddlers and organise de-addiction camps with the help of NGOs and public.


Implement Dalit agenda: morcha
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, August 26
The Bahujan Samaj Morcha has urged the Congress government led by Capt Amarinder Singh to implement its Dalit agenda to protect the rights and interests of Dalits in the state.

The morcha’s national president, Mr Satnam Singh Kainth, addressing a morcha meeting here today, alleged that most political parties had politicised the Dalit issue for their selfish interests. He said several Dalits had played an important role in the formation of the Congress government in the state.

He said the morcha would hold district-level training camps to educate its activists about the political situation in the state and discuss the party’s future strategy.

The training camps would be organised at Nawanshahr on September 1, Ropar on September 8, Hoshiarpur on September 9, Jalandhar on September 14, Fatehgarh Sahib on September 15, Patiala on September 20, Ludhiana on September 21, Moga on September 22, Gurdaspur on September 28 and Amritsar on September 29. Mr Kainth demanded Rs 5,000 per acre for farmers and Rs 2,500 for each family of labourers affected by drought in the state.

He said morcha activists would submit memoranda at various district headquarters on October 6 in support of Dalit issues.


Neighbours clash, 7 injured
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, August 26
Seven persons were injured in a clash between two groups of neighbours at Gadhra village in Nakodar subdivision late last night.

According to the police, old rivalry resulted in the clash at the village. Both groups were armed with sharpedged weapons and lathis. The clash continued for about half-an-hour.

Ejak Masih, who got severe head injuries, was shifted to the local Civil Hospital in a serious condition today. The police has registered a case.


Another cleanliness drive in Patiala
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 26
The Patiala Municipal Corporation has decided to initiate another cleanliness campaign close on the lines of the ‘Mera Patiala Main Sawaran’, albeit this time it will be the corporation which will be conducting the cleanliness exercise.

The campaign “Mera Patiala Main Sawaran” had been reduced to a farce soon after it was launched by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, mainly due to the manner in which it changed into a publicity campaign by local leaders on the eve of the corporation elections. Though the campaign generated awareness on the necessity of cleanliness, it did not achieve anything as a micro-level plan was not drawn up in league with residents to keep the city clean.

The campaign, which will be initiated under the directions of the Mayor, Mr Vishnu Sharma, will see the city being divided into nine zones. The cleanliness drive in the zones will be overseen by three officers of the level of the Executive Engineers. These officers will have Sub Divisional Officers under them. Nine zone engineers and nine inspectors will also be involved in the drive.

The corporation has decided to restart the drive launched earlier in order to make cleanliness of the city more people friendly. Besides this, the corporation also wants to arrive at a formula whereby the entire city can be cleaned effectively on a regular basis. Due to a severe resource crunch and ban on recruitment, the corporation is not able to supplement its strength of “safai karamcharis” which is at around 900 at present.

Sources said besides the fall in the number of sweepers, there was another problem of a large number of women being inducted into jobs on compassionate grounds. They said a lesser number of men meant that there were less hands to load garbage trolleys and do sewerage cleaning wherever necessary.

The sources said though the corporation had gone in for adding to the strength of sweepers by encouraging various welfare societies to keep sweepers on contract who were paid half of their wages by the corporation. They said this scheme had been started in a number of colonies. They said now stress was being laid on planning how various areas were to be cleaned everyday on a regular basis and that sweepers as well as the welfare societies would be used to cover the entire city.


Walk regularly to keep fit: doctor
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 26
The district unit of the Indian Medical Association organised a seminar last night during which speakers spoke about new methods of keeping fit. Dr Anil Grover said as per a study conducted by Harvard Medical School, USA, walking fast for about half an hour daily was beneficial to reduce the chances of falling ill. He said for people who did not exercise regularly, having a walk five days a week could reduce the risk of heart attack by 50 percent. Dr Grover said the chances of paralysis and chronic diseases could also be reduced by reduced by 40 and 30 per cent, respectively.

About 100 doctors attending the seminar were asked by the speakers to motivate people to do physical work for keeping fit.


ASI electrocuted
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, August 26
Mr Jai Singh, an ASI, was electrocuted this morning at his residence when he touched a live wire. He died on the spot.

The police has lodged a report under Section 174 Cr PC.


Religious fervour marks ‘Sampooranta Divas’
Our Correspondent

Talwandi Sabo, August 26
“Sampooranta Divas” (completion day) of Guru Granth Sahib was celebrated at the Likhansar gurdwara here today with religious fervour and gaiety.

Dhadis recited hymns related to Sikh history on the occasion.

Guru Gobind Singh had got completed a bir of the Granth Sahib on this day. The Granth Sahib was accorded the status of Guru later at Nanded Sahib.


Man held for selling fake licences
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 26
The police has detected fake registration of documents following the arrest of Ashok Kumar who had managed to procure official stamps of various District Transport Officers (DTOs) and used to sell fake driving licences and registration copies of vehicles.

Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, in a press note here today said Ashok Kumar, resident of Paras Ram Nagar, used to sell fake driving licences and registration copies as original and posed as an authorised agent of these departments.

His house was raided and he was arrested under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471, 472 and 473, IPC. Seventeen stamps of various transport officials, including the DTO of Faridkot, Bathinda and Bikko Sawai (Bihar), Registration Authority-cum-Secretary, Regional Transport Authority, Faridabad and Licensing Authority, Rohtak, had been seized.

As many as 41 blank temporary permit forms with signatures and stamps of the DTO Sri Ganganagar had also been seized. 


ETT students decry education policy
Our Correspondent

Deon (Bathinda), August 26
Students of the District Institute of Elementary Training (DIET) today sat on dharna here in protest against the proposed education policy of the state government.

The students doing the ETT course said the new policy was uncalled for. They said there was no need for making them undergo two years’ internship after completing the course. They said during the two-year ETT course, the students underwent practical training in teaching which was equivalent to the internship.

The students alleged that those doing the ETT course who were aged above 32 years would not be eligible for jobs if the new policy was implemented. With the lowering of the upper age limit for getting a government job from 42 to 32 years, many educated persons would become ineligible, they claimed. The students raised slogans against the government They said increasing the minimum marks from 50 to 55 for admission to the ETT course would affect rural students as most of them would not be able to get admission.

Threatening to launch an agitation if ETT-related recommendations were not deleted from the new education policy, the students said they would approach other student unions.


Sales tax advisory panels soon: CM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, said today that to facilitate interaction between the government, traders and industrialists, district-level sales tax advisory committees would be constituted, shortly.

Addressing a delegation of trade and industrial associations, Capt Amarinder Singh said the state was committed to the revival of industry and introduction of information technology.

The Chief Minister said once the Chatha Committee submitted its final report, a new industrial policy would be framed. That policy would be less regulatory more facilitating and investor-friendly. Earlier, the Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal (regd) and other representatives of various associations submitted a memorandum demanding reduction in the sales tax on yarn used for manufacturing textiles.

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