Thursday, September 5, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Coal price hike unnerves PSEB
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 4
A crisis-ridden (PSEB) has received another jolt with Coal India Limited informing it of an average 9 per cent increase in the price of coal on behalf of its subsidiary companies which will be charged with retrospect effect from August 18.

Meanwhile, the board management has closed down another unit at Bathinda following the slowing of transportation of coal to the board’s thermal plants by the railways. One unit had been closed down two days ago. The Bathinda unit received only half of its requirement of two rakes today.

The board, which is already struggling to make payments to the coal companies as well as the railways, will now have to pay around Rs 72 crore more annually on account of the recent increase in prices.

The board management has decided to intimate the State Power Regulatory Commission of its financial burden. The Board is also expected to levy a fuel surcharge on consumers to meet the need for funds.

Sources said the state concerned had also decided to go in for a 20 per cent increase in royalty charges on coal, besides levying a 4 per cent increase in sales tax on the increased amount.

Giving details of the increase in coal prices, the sources said Southern Coal Fields which supplied around 54 lakh tonnes of coal to the board had increased its rate for C grade coal from Rs 680 to Rs 721 per tonne. Bharat Coking Coal Limited which supplied 10 lakh tonnes of E grade coal had increased its prices from Rs 514 to Rs 527 per tonne. Eastern Coal Fields had increased its prices for B grade coal from Rs 1317 to Rs 1370 per tonne and South Eastern Coal Fields had increased its prices for B grade coal from Rs 1034 to Rs 1090.

The sources said the board was expected to pay Rs 34 crore more to Central Coal Fields, Rs 4 crore to Bharat Coking Coal, Rs 22 crore to Western Coal Fields, Rs 5 crore to Eastern Coal Fields and Rs 7 crore to South Eastern Coal Fields. There was expected to be an overall increase of 9 per cent in the annual coal bill of Rs 900 crore.

Meanwhile, besides the two units closed down at Bathinda, one unit remained closed at Ropar. The Bathinda plant received one rake, while the Ropar plant received half its supply of six rakes and the Lehra Mohabbat plant received three rakes.

The board has released Rs 30 crore to the railways yesterday. This has not satisfied the freight carrier which is asking for more money if the supply of coal has to be restored.


Punjab ex-minister acquitted of murder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
In a complete reversal of events, Punjab’s former Jail Minister Upinder Sharma convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in a murder case, was today acquitted of the charges framed against him, by a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Allowing his appeal, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice R.L. Anand and Mr Justice Hemant Gupta, also set aside the judgement and orders of the trial court after observing that “a political rival had been implicated in the case in order to achieve political ends”. Delivering the verdict in the open court, the Judges also directed that the appellant “shall be set at liberty forthwith if not wanted or arrested in any other case”.

Sharma, along with other accused in the case, was booked by the Punjab Police for murder and attempt to murder under Sections 302 and 307 of the Indian Penal Code after BJP leader Raj Kumar Garg died in 1992 at Kotkapura. According to the prosecution, Garg was killed and nine others were injured after a group of protesters were fired upon outside a police station. They were protesting against the arrest of another leader. Giving details, the prosecution had added that the accused had instigated his gunman to open fire.

In his detailed order, the Additional District and Sessions Judge had observed that the accused “had not only influenced the bureaucrats, but also prevailed upon the police and was successful in protecting the security man who had opened fire and got the same cancelled. However, he could not mould the pen of the judicial officer who, while disagreeing with the police report regarding the cancellation of the case, committed it for trial”.

After going through the records and arguments, the Judges observed: “The gravamen of the charge in the prosecution case is whether the appellant had instigated his gunmen. The answer of this court is negative”.

In their detailed order, the Judges held: “We are inclined to hold that the prosecution has not been able to prove the charges against the appellant by leading cogent, reliable and satisfactory evidence. Suspicion, however strong, cannot take place of proof.... Law always stands by the side of the innocent”.

The Judges added: “When anger enters the doorstep of temple of justice, justice flees through the windows. This is the impression we have been able to formulate on going through the record of this case as also the judgement of the trial court”.

Give week’s notice to ex-OSD, if needed

Taking up a petition filed by former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s officer-on-special-duty Hardeep Singh, Mr Justice Ashutosh Mohunta of the High Court today ordered that the petitioner would be given a week’s notice in case he was required in any other case registered against him.

In a ruling, Mr Justice Mohunta added that in case of the petitioner’s arrest an advocate may accompany him. Accusing the Congress Government of adopting a revengeful attitude towards political opponents, the petitioner added that the Chief Minister had openly declared that Badal and his men would be taught a lesson and as such he was being targeted. His counsel had added that a false and a baseless case had been registered against the petitioner by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau and his house was raided even though nothing incriminating was recovered.

Plea against CM; hearing on Sept 23

Acting on an election petition filed against Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, Mr Justice Jasbir Singh of the High Court on Wednesday fixed September 23 as the next date of hearing for permitting the petitioner to file replication.

In his petition, Mr Harkirat Singh of Patiala had earlier sought the quashing of the CM’s election from Patiala town assembly constituency on the ground of adoption of corrupt practices.

Describing the allegations levelled against him as frivolous, vague and irrelevant, the Chief Minister had sought the dismissal of the petition. In his written statement submitted before the High Court, his counsel had stated that the petition did not disclose any cause of action.


Baba Dhanwant’s kin alleges torture
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 4
Mr Santokh Singh, a close relative of Baba Dhanwant Singh, Chairman, Noor Vishav Roohani Trust, today alleged that he was paraded naked before the CIA staff in Nawanshahr before he was released by the Warrant Officer of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Talking to the press at a hurriedly convened press conference here today, Mr Santokh Singh said he was subjected to “third degree torture” in the presence of senior police officers.

Mr Santokh Singh who is also a member of the charitable trust claimed that when the Warrant Officer of the high court visited the CIA staff, police officials, including the SSP, Ms Neerja who were torturing him, fled from the scene.

Mr Mohan Singh, a former chairman of the Market Committee, Kahnowan (Gurdaspur), who was also present at the press conference, alleged that Mr Santokh Singh was forced to sign the confessional statement that he had bribed the Sikh clergy for getting Baba Dhanwant Singh absolved from the rape charges. Mr Santokh Singh alleged that police officials used abusive language and took away his kirpan.

Meanwhile, a statement purportedly signed by Baba Dhanwant Singh was also released to the press. Baba Dhanwant Singh said he had not recorded his confessional statement before the police that he had raped any woman at his dera. 


Vigilance case against Bhunder
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
The Vigilance Bureau has registered a case against Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, a close confidant of former Chief Minister and SAD President Parkash Singh Badal.

Mr Bhunder, who quit Rajya Sabha seat after his election to the Punjab Assembly from Sardulgarh in the last Assembly elections, has been charged with “misappropriation of Member of Parliament’s Area Development Fund”.

Sources said FIR No. 27 under the Prevention of Corruption Act had been registered at a vigilance police station and some raids were also conducted at Bathinda in search of Mr Bhunder. Attempts to contact him at his Chandigarh and Bathinda telephone numbers were unsuccessful as he was told to be “out of station”.

Mr Bhunder, who is also General Secretary of the SAD, is believed to be a member of the inner-Cabinet of Mr Badal and becomes his second trusted lieutenant to face a vigilance case. Only last week, the Vigilance Bureau had registered a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act against Mr Hardeep Singh Bamra, the government-appointed Personal Assistant of Mr Badal.

The Congress Government has been reiterating time and again that evidence against the SAD chief was being collected in corroboration of the charge sheet released by the Congress that he possessed property worth Rs 3,300 crore.

Mr Badal has been daring the Punjab Chief Minister to prove any of the charges levelled against him, while the Vigilance Bureau is taking its own time, using all possible known means of gathering “indisputable evidence” before formally charging the former Chief Minister.

Mr Bamra is a government employee and was granted interim bail by the District and Sessions Judge, Ropar, Mr Maghar Khan. Today he moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court, apprehending that the Vigilance Bureau might implicate him in some other case to engineer his arrest and sought that seven-day notice be given to him in case he was wanted in any other case. The court upheld his apprehension and directed the Vigilance Bureau to give him seven-day notice prior to his arrest in any other case.The court also allowed that lawyer could accompany him whenever he appears before the Vigilance Bureau to join investigations.

Though Mr Bhunder had also moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court apprehending that out of political vendetta, the Congress government might register a case against him and a 15-day notice be given to him before Vigilance Bureau arrests him in any case. In response to the notice, the state brought on record today that an FIR had already been registered against Mr Bhunder.


Bhunder's house raided
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Mansa, September 4
Following the registration of a case under Section 420 and 120-B of the IPC and Sections 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act against a close confidant of former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, former Chairman of Punjab Marketing Board, at Ferozepore, last night, Vigilance teams raided at various places in the district in this connection.

Police sources said the raids started in the wee hours of today and were continuing till reports last came in. The first raid was conducted at the residence of Mr Bhunder at Bhunder village and was followed by raids at other villages where he was suspected to be hiding.

Mr Bhunder had attended the bhog ceremony of Comrade Jagir Singh Joga at Joga village, yesterday.

Mr Harbant Singh Datewas, MLA, Budhlada, had accompanied him in a white Ambassador car after the bhog.

The SSP, Mr S.S. Srivastava, confirmed the registration of a criminal case against Mr Bhunder. He said he did not know on whose complaint the case was registered.

He said a police party had accompanied the vigilance team.

Mr Bhunder had moved an application in the court of the Additional Sessions Judge Mr Harbans Lal, here for anticipatory bail about a month ago when he had come to know that the state government was trying to implicate him in a criminal case.

The application was, however, rejected on August 12.


Charges framed against Bhaniarawala
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 4
A local court today framed charges against Baba Piara Singh Bhaniarawala in a case registered against him at Nurpur Bedi under Section 7 of the Essential Commodities Act.

Baba Bhaniarawala, who was accompanied by a large number of devotees, earlier presented himself in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate Paramjit Singh. The judge took up three of the eight cases which have been registered against him for hearing. Charges were framed in FIR number 54 registered at Nurpur Bedi in which Bhaniarawala is accused of running a brick kiln without permission. The case will be taken up for a hearing on October 16.

In another case registered at Morinda in which Bhaniarawala and 14 others are accused of committing sacrillege one of the accused did not appear in the court. Non bailable warrants were issued against him. In yet another case registered against Bhaniarwala, the court fixed the date of hearing on October 16 as the police could not present the challan.

Meanwhile, a large number of youths gathered outside the court premises and raised slogans against him following which he had to be taken away under tight security. Bhaniarawala, who had invited mediapersons to a news conference in the evening, cancelled the programme following the protest.


Paddy scam: DFSC among 8 arrested
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, September 4
A police team led by Mr Naunihal Singh, SP, Ludhiana City, has arrested Makhan Singh, DFSC of Moga district Amee Chand former DFSC, Lakhwinder Singh, former DM, Markfed (Ferozepore), and five employees of Punsup —Baldev Singh, Baldev Raj, Raj Kumar, Amarjeet Singh and Balraj Sharma — from Circuit House, Ludhiana, where they were called for investigations into a paddy scam of Guru Har Sahai (Ferozepore) following instructions of the apex court

All of them were later brought to Ferozepore and produced before the court of Mr Gurnam Singh (Class I). While Lakhwinder Singh and Balraj Sharma have been remanded in police custody for one day, the other accused in the case have been sent to judicial custody.

A case under Sections 406, 420 and 120B of the Indian Penal code (IPC) and Section 7 of the Essential Commodities Act has been registered against them and some rice millers.

It has been alleged that some rice mills of the Guru Har Sahai area sold paddy worth crores of rupees in the open market in connivance with officials of various state procurement agencies in the 1990s. On August 26 this year, Mr Naunihal Singh raided six rice mills of Guru Har Sahai and arrested Faqir Chand Midda, former chairman of Guru Har Sahai Market Committee and owner of Shri Durga Rice Mill. He was then produced before Ferozepore Judicial Magistrate and sent to judicial custody. He has not been granted bail.

Other rice millers of the area are eluding arrest.

The then DIG (Crime), Mr Sidharth Chatopadhay, held an inquiry into the scam on the complaint of Mr Sham Lal Bitta, district president of the Shiv Sena (Bal Thakeray and recommended action against 27 rice mills that were found guilty of embezzlement of paddy stock lying with them belonging to the various state procurement agencies.

Criminal cases were registered against 19 mills whereas arbitration is under way in the remaining cases. Besides recommending action against the defaulting rice mills, the then DIG Crime had also recommended action against various officers and field staff of the departments concerned and procurement agencies.


Paris of Orient to regain its lost glory
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
After demanding world heritage site status for Golden Temple at Amritsar, the Punjab Government is now proceeding with its policy to promote culture, tourism and heritage in the state. Aiming to cover all historically significant districts under its new tourism promotion policy, the government has selected Kapurthala, Amritsar and Patiala for the immediate restoration of historic sites and buildings.

With the State Advisory Board on Tourism, Culture and Heritage already having been set up to oversee the project, the state government has also reportedly set aside Rs 20 crore for the work. In Amritsar the focus will be on the restoration of Ram Bagh and the buildings inside it. In Patiala the project will aim at preserving Quila Mubarak and other sites, including Moti Bagh Palace, Sheesh Mahal and Rajendra Palace.

To begin with, restoration work in Kapurthala, which was once called Paris of the Orient, is in full swing. Among the many works to be undertaken in this historically rich district are conservation of Jagatjit Palace, housing the Sainik School, preservation of priceless artifacts of Jagatjit museum by shifting the Museum out of school premises and setting it up afresh in Gole Kothi, a heritage building, restoration of the marvellous Moorish Mosque and preservation of Shalimar Bagh, along with that of Kanjli Lake. Gole Kothi, which served as a palace for three maharajas, is being restored immediately in view of its utterly dilapidated state. Not only is the paint of the Kothi falling off, its beautifully carved bricks, at many places, have been replaced by slabs. Services of Lt Col I.J.S. Bakshi (retd), former Principal, Chandigarh College of Architecture, have been sought for the restoration of Gole Kothi. He has given a rough estimate of Rs 30 lakh for the conservation of the historic site.

Talking to the Tribune, Deputy Commissioner, Kapurthala, Mr R.K. Verma, said the Kapurthala Heritage Society, comprising official and non-official members, would spearhead whole project. The society met under the chairmanship of its Patron-in-Chief Brig Sukhjit Singh (retd), Maharaja of Kapurthala last month to prioritize various projects. Mr Verma said Brigadier Singh, also a member of the State Advisory Board on Tourism, Culture and Heritage, had taken up with INTACH the matter related with funding of the project to bring fresh water into West Kali (Bein) which remains top priority for the district due to historic, religious and ecological importance of the sacred Bein.

Meanwhile, the society, in consultation with the Department of Cultural Affairs, Punjab, is working to set up Jagatjit Museum in Gole Kothi. The idea is to preserve precious art works housed in the palace, which was built in French style in the 19th century. Once Gole Kothi is converted into a museum, art works will be open for public viewing. Work is also on to save Kanjli Lake, which has immense eco-tourism potential. The society, added Mr Verma was interacting with Mr Avinash Kohli, President, Indian Kayaking and Canoeing Association, New Delhi, for promoting water sports and eco-tourism at Kanjli in particular.

The Deputy Commissioner informed that Kamra Bagh project had also been referred to the Scientific and Technical Council to fund the biodiversity project therein. The society is also planning to hold a music festival in consultation with Ms Anita Singh, Director, Indian Music Society, New Delhi. It is further interacting with Gurmeet Rai of the Cultural Resource Conservation Initiative, New Delhi to restore other historical sites at Kapurthala, particularly Shalimar Garden.


Move to forge Panthic unity sans Badal
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 4
Leaders of various Akali factions have reportedly initiated a move to isolate former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal from the Sikh Panth by forging panthic unity sans him.

Sources closee to Akali circles revealed that to engineer a split in SAD Akali leaders have been holding negotiations with a section of SAD MLAs and others who mattered most in party’s organisational set up.

Sources added that to forge Panthic unity seminars on “ present Panthic conditions and Panthic unity” would be organised in various parts of the state from September 8.

The first seminar would be held here on September 8. The town was chosen for its proximity to Badal village.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi, president, Sant Samaj and convenor, Panthic Morcha, former Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Ravi Inder Singh, former Jathedars of Akal Takht Bhai Ranjit Singh and Bhai Jasbir Singh Rode, Mr Kuldeep Singh Wadala, president, SAD (Democratic), and other prominent political and social figures had decided to hold seminars in this regard.

Information further revealed that some prominent SAD leaders had also shown interest in the move.

At the seminars the participants would be made aware of the action of Mr Badal during his five-year rule, which were allegedly against the Sikh tenets and “maryada” of Akal Takht.

Meanwhile, Mr Gurdeep singh, a senior leader of SAD (Panthic) and Mr Baljinder Singh, president, SAD (Panthic), Bathinda district, said a meeting was being organised in the area in connection with the seminar. They added that Mr Bhupinder Singh, former Chairman, PPSC, Mr Surinder Pal Singh Mann former member, PPSC, and Mr Sucha Singh Chottepur, MLA, would also participate in the seminars.


Badal questions officer’s transfer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
The former Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today alleged that the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, was attempting at the “congressisation” of the state bureaucracy. He has cited the case of transfer of Mr Jagjit Singh, an IAS officer, from Jalandhar, where he was posted as Commissioner of the municipal corporation.

Mr Badal said the Chief Minister was giving shabby treatment to those officers who were not promoting the interest of the Congress. Mr Badal has questioned the manner in which Mr Jagjit Singh was transferred at the “behest” of certain Congress leaders.

Mr Badal has also criticised the reported handover of the Shahpur Kandi project to a private company. He said the government should disclose the antecedents of the company to which the government had chosen to hand over the project.

Mr Badal alleged that the government was working on a scandal-a-day basis. And it was to divert the public attention from its own scandalous deeds that it had embarked on the path of cooking up stories against Akali leaders.


Advani, Modi must quit, says Congress
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, September 4
Mr S. K. Gupta, Congress leader and former DCC president, and Mr Satish Baghi, press secretary, DCC, have demanded the resignation of Deputy Prime Minister L. K. Advani and the Chief Minister of Gujarat on moral grounds following the Supreme Court decision endorsing the stand taken by the Election Commission for holding the Assembly poll in November or December in Gujarat.

The Congress leaders said the decision of the Supreme Court had exposed the BJP leaders. They alleged that Mr Advani and Mr Modi were also pressuring CEC to conduct elections in Gujarat in October.


Rebels pose challenge to official nominees
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, September 4
Since campaigning for the nagar council poll will end on September 6, electioneering has reached a feverish pitch with some candidates taking out torchlight and candlelight processions.

Additional security is being deployed to ensure peaceful and fair elections, DSP Harmanbir Singh Gill said today.

Meanwhile, rebels are giving headache to official candidates. A few of them have become a formidable challenge. Both Congress and BJP face threats from the rebels.

Mr Ram Saroop Arora of the BJP is facing a challenge from rebel Ravinder Sharma from Ward no 20.

Similarly, Mr Balbhadar Sain Duggal is being opposed by rebel Rakesh Duggal in Ward no. 12.

In the Congress, the official candidate Brij Bhushan Parbhakar is being opposed by Mr Gurbachan Singh Walia in Ward no. 27. Mr Pawittar Singh is pitted against the official candidate Krashan Kumar in Ward no 11. In Ward no 19, Ms Kusum Sharma is being opposed by Ms Narinder Kaur Walia, daughter-in-law of former block Congress president Harjit Singh Walia.


Khalra’s wife identifies five policemen
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 4
A local court today recorded the incomplete statement of Ms Paramjit Kaur Khalra, wife of human right activist Jaswant Singh Khalra, who identified five policemen who she claimed were responsible for the disappearance of her late husband.

Ms Khalra identified police officers Ashok Kumar and Jaspal Singh besides Amarjit Singh, Jasbir Singh, and Surender Pal. She said on the day of the incident some reporter was to come to her residence at Amritsar to interview her husband. She further said as she had go to Guru Nanak Dev University, she left home early.

Ms Khalra said when she came out of her house, she saw a police gypsy parked nearby in which all five policemen identified by her were standing. She said after some time she got the information that a police team had kidnapped her husband from their home.

Meanwhile, the court today while deciding on an application filed by Ms Khalra’s counsel Brijinder Singh Sodhi, directed the police to provide security to all witnesses in the case. The case will come up for the next hearing on October 4.


Boycott of Dalits to continue
Inquiry feels false case being levelled against land-owners
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Moondkheri, September 4
The district administration today tried to gloss over the issue of the social boycott of family members of as many as 15 Dalit labourers following a special inquiry by relying on the statements of landlords who appeared before it even as tension prevailed in the village with landlords claiming they would continue to boycott the Dalits for trying to implicate them under the Bonded Labour Act.

While things came to a head two days ago with the village panchayat directing all shopkeepers, flour mill owners and milkmen not to entertain family members of 15 Dalit labourers who had fled the village after sending them legal notices, yesterday the landlords claimed during a special inquiry before SDM Manjit Singh Narang that they had not issued any social boycott call. The landlords, appearing before the SDM at Patiala, claimed they had only decided not to give any more money to the family members of the 15 Dalit labourers.

However when a Tribune team visited the village in the afternoon it was revealed that a list of 15 persons who were to be boycotted socially had been released by the village panchayat. Gurpreet Singh, a landlord told TNS, that the boycott was the only option left with the farmers after being ‘’persecuted’’ by the Dalit labourers who had taken money from them and had also left their work midway during the yearly contract.

Gurpreet and others said following the decision to boycott the family members of the Dalits, the shopkeepers in the village had been given the list of these persons and asked not to extend any facility to them. He said one shopkeeper Darshan, who had sold 2 kg of sugar to one of the socially boycotted persons, had been fined Rs 2,000. Other landlords told TNS that the Dalit labourers had been misled by a Phillaur-based organisation following which they had left their work midway despite having taken their annaul pay in advance as well as loan.

Appearing before the SDM, village Lambardar Mukand Singh said landlords would not give any money in advance to any labourer and also assured that no family member of the any Dalit family in the village would be boycotted in any manner. Other farmers present said they had given amounts ranging between Rs 40,000 and Rs 60,000 to the labourers who had left their work and were now threatening them with cases under the Bonded Labour Act.

A representative of the Phillaur-based organisation, which farmers accused was responsible for vitiating the atmosphere of their village also appeared before the SDM. The represenatative, Kesar Singh, who resides in a nearby village, said the Dalit labourers should be given more time to associate themselves with the inquiry and said the inquiry meeting should be held on September 9. However, the SDM rejected this saying time had been given to everyone to appear before him.

A number of Dalits present at the meeting accused the farmers of forcing them to give away their milch animals to pay their debts as was done by Sita Singh. This was, however, rebutted by the farmers who said Sita Singh had himself handed over two buffaloes to a landowner at double the price to settle a debt. Few Dalits also appeared before the SDM and gave statements against the 15 Dalits saying they had taken advances varying between Rs 40,000 and Rs 60,000 and now did not want to repay the money

The SDM while warning the landowners not to resort to any kind of social boycott, said he would take action against those who approached Dalit labourers with a view to destroying peace in the village.


Advocate asks for fee; trust verifying bills
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 4
Mr Manohar Lal Bansal, advocate and general secretary, human rights cell of the District Congress Committee, has alleged that he had not been given his fee for the past few years, despite many reminders.

He has alleged that even after the matter was brought to the notice of the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Amarinder Singh, who marked the complaint to the Secretary, Local Bodies, the Executive officer of the trust had not released his payment.

He said he had been assured by Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa and Mr Gurtej Singh Bhullar, Public Health and Irrigation Ministers, respectively, of action in the case.

Mr G. K. Singh, Additional Deputy Commissioner-cum-Chairman, Improvement Trust, when contacted said Mr Bansal at present was not on the panel of the trust and the bills submitted by him were to be verified. He pointed out that the advocate had failed to plead some cases in the favour of the trust properly and the same had been written in the judgement delivered by the court concerned.

Mr G. K. Singh said all payments to the advocate would be made and added that some documents needed by the allottees would be issued soon after the court cases pending in connection with the same were cleared. He denied that corruption was prevailing in the trust.


Temple violence: BJP leader booked
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 4
The kotwali police today registered a case against district BJP president Ram Kumar Goel and others for thrashing a priest of the 400-year-old Bhootnath temple in the city, breaking an idol of Lord Krishna and taking away Rs 45,000 from the premises.

Senior Superintendent of Police Paramraj Singh Umranangal said a case had been registered against the district BJP president and some others for forcibly trying to evict a priest who was managing the affairs of the temple.

He said according to investigations by the police, the priest had become quite popular which was not being liked by certain members of the temple committee of which Mr Ram Kumar Goel was the President.

The SSP said the BJP president and some other members of the temple committee roughed up the temple priest, Prem Das. He said after the attack on the priest, Rs 45,000 was reported to be missing from the temple.

He said the temple priest had also complained that an idol of the god had been broken by the district BJP president and his men. A case had been registered under Sections 452 and 295.

Meanwhile, Mr Goel has alleged that he has been falsely implicated in the case. He claimed that he had gone to the temple along with other members and locked some rooms because the committee had received reports that a “mukat” of the idol had been stolen from the premises and some utensils belonging to the temple were also missing.


SC judge should ‘probe’ Malta episode
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 4
Mr Balwant Singh Khera, Chairman, Malta Boat Tragedy Probe Mission, in a letter to Dr. A.P. J. Abdul Kalam, President of India, has urged him to persuade the Central Government to get a high level probe conducted by a Supreme Court Judge into the cause of the tragedy that took place on December 25, 1999, near Italy in which 300 persons were drowned. He further urged the President to instruct the Government of India to suitably compensate the bereaved families, become a party in the ongoing, cases in Malta, Italy and Greece, create a special cell to deal with this tragedy and to take the victims’ parents to the site of the tragedy.

While briefing about the tragedy to the President, Mr Khera said 300 out of 465 youths from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka were drowned. The Government of India had ordered a CBI inquiry.


Banda Bahadur’s birth anniversary
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa, President, Bairagi Mahan Mandal, Punjab, announced here today that the birth anniversary of Bairagi Baba Banda Singh Bahadur will be celebrated at Amritsar on October 16.

The day will be celebrated on rotational basis in various districts of Punjab. Since Amritsar leads other districts as per the population of Bairagis, the request of this district has been honoured. He said: “Martyrs are above caste, creed, religion and such groupings”. He urged all Punjabis to participate in these celebrations.

Mr Bawa recalled the supreme sacrifice and the struggle against the rulers of the time launched by the Babaji. He called upon all organisations to join them. 


12 SGPC men held for demolishing stall
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 4
The district police, Tarn Taran has arrested 12 SGPC employees for allegedly demolishing a tea stall situated at the Atari road in Jhabal last evening.

According to information, some SGPC employees, allegedly equipped with swords and sticks, destroyed Pankaj tea stall here. These employees were later arrested.

Meanwhile, Mr Harbeant Singh, Secretary, SGPC, condemning the arrest, alleged that the Jhabal police had been intervening in religious matters. He said the local gurdwara committee was an elected committee.

He said the local committee in charge, Mr Joga Singh, had written a complaint to the SGPC that some persons had illegally occupied gurdwara land.


Scribe beaten up, SI transferred
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, September 4
Mr Bharat Bhushan Sharma, reporter with Punjabi Tribune based at Kotkapura was reportedly beaten up by some youths, last evening.

He has been admitted to the Civil Hospital, Kotkapura.

Six youths armed with sharp-edged weapons entered the office of the reporter and started beating him up for writing a certain news item against a Sub-Inspector.

Taking a serious note of the incident, more than 40 mediapersons of the district gathered here today and submitted memoranda to the Deputy Commissioner, the SSP and the DIG, seeking the registration of a case against the Sub-Inspector.

Condemning the act, the SSP, said the DGP, Punjab, had issued order for the transfer of the Sub-Inspector to PAP, Phillaur.

A case under Section 452, 323, 148 and 149, IPC, had also been registered against him, he added.

The DSP, Kotkapura, had been deployed to inquire into the matter and submit a report within a week.

Senior representatives of various political parties have also condemned the attack in a press statement. They urged the government to take action against those guilty.


MC wields stick against illegal constructions
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 4
The “demolition shy” municipal corporation here has adopted a novel method to curtail illegal construction by stalling trade licences and not releasing electricity, water and sewerage connections to such buildings. Those without ‘completion certificates’ were served with notices to vacate the premises.

At least three persons were served with show-cause notices to vacate buildings here today.

These buildings are eating joint “Sagar” and two marriage palaces — Roop International, near Guru Nanak Dev University, and Kamal Palace on the Batala road.

A total of 15 notices have been served. In 10 cases, caveats have been filed in court.

Others who were served with notices included Sacred Heart School, Sardar Hatti, Jewel Castle, Ajit Hospital and marriage palace Randev International.

The Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation, Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, had asked the PSEB not to sanction electricity connections without a no-objection certificate from the corporation.

In addition to this, trade licences too were stalled to them. Besides, Sewerage and Water Supply departments were directed not to release connections to these buildings.

Of the five buildings NOCs of two commercial complexes and a hotel RKM International on the GT Road were revoked.

Architects, who designed these buildings, too were not spared. They were served with show cause notices calling for explanation within 15 days stating why their licences should not be revoked.


Health Dept move to check absenteeism
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, September 4
To check absenteeism among its employees and provide better health services, particularly in rural areas, the state Health Department has ordered all its doctors and para-medical staff not to leave their place of posting without prior permission from the authorities concerned. The employees have also been instructed to reside near their place of posting to ensure their availability to the local residents in case of any emergency even after duty hours.

At a high-level meeting of the department, presided over by the state Health Minister, Mr Ramesh Chandra Dogra, at Naya Nangal yesterday, it was decided that the doctors and para-medical staff, particularly those posted in rural areas, would reside at their place of posting and would not leave the station without prior permission.

The Director, Health Services and Family Planning, Dr D.P.S. Sandhu, said the decision was aimed at curbing absenteeism and ensuring the availability of the medical staff to the locals even after duty hours. According to sources, most of the doctors and para-medical staff posted in the rural areas resided in the cities and were not available in case of any eventuality after duty hours.


Dharna by  khadi board employees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
Employees of the Punjab Khadi and Village Industries Board today held a dharna in front of their office to protest against the non-payment of salaries to them for the past eight months.

Leaders of employees unions from other departments also participated in the dharna.

Mr Ragbir Singh, President of the Khadi and Village Industries Board Employees Union, urged the government to release their salaries immediately.


Panchayats told to utilise funds
Our Correspondent

Gidderbaha, September 4
The Deputy Commissioner, Mrs Usha R. Sharma, yesterday asked the panchayats to utilise the funds given for development works.

Mrs U.R. Sharma, while addressing a meeting here said the district had received the first installment of the funds under the Rural Self-Employment Scheme.

She asked them to utilise the unused funds given of the past few months or return them.

Mr Ajaib Singh Bhatti, Additional Deputy Commissioner, said the scheme launched with the help of the Central Government for providing drinking water to the rural areas could be started in villages where the panchayats deposited the requisite money with the district administration.


ETO assaulted
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 4
The local police has registered a case against two persons for assaulting Sales Tax Excise and Taxation Officer S.S. Bangar late last night while he was standing at a barrier to conduct checking on the outskirts of the city.

According to police sources, two persons — Satwinder Singh and Karamjit Singh — attacked the STO with sharp-edged weapons after their truck had been stopped at the barrier on the Sanaur road. A case has been registered at Sadar police station under Sections 307, 332, 353, 186 and 506 IPC.


Teachers to meet VC
Our Correspondent

Talwandi Sabo, September 4
Teachers of the local Guru Kashi College, a constituent of Punabi University, Patiala, fearing its denotification, have decided to present their viewpoints with the Vice-Chancellor, Mr S.S. Boparai.

The teachers alleged that a particular group of PUTA was working against the interests of the college. Although it could not be ascertained whether any move by that group was afoot the teachers did not want to take any risk. To pre-empt the move by the group, if any, they wanted to tell the Vice-Chancellor that the college was made a constituent college of the university after years of efforts and it was not result of some overnight decision, as alleged by the other group.

The uncertain future of the college has affected the admissions this year. The number of admissions in the BCA course was very low as compared with the previous years.

Established in 1964, Guru Kashi College became a constituent college of Punjabi University on May 5, 2001. Although the property owned by the college was shifted to the university and its affairs were being managed by the university since 1995, it had been receiving financial aid from the government under the aided-private college pattern till it was made a constituent college of the university.

Mr Kaur Singh, a college teacher claims that the college was made a constituent of the university as a result of efforts of prominent residents of the area.

A teacher of the college alleged a particular group of PUTA was working against the interests of the college because most of the teachers of this college had opposed that group during the elections of PUTA last year. He alleged that the group was misleading the university authorities by giving them false information about the college.

The teachers said that they would also urge the university authorities that the other problems of the college should also be solved. The staff had not got salary for the past about five months, there was a shortage of staff and proper maintenance of the college had not been done.


State award for 12 Punjab teachers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
The Punjab Government has selected 12 teachers for the state award, which will be presented to them tomorrow at Gurdaspur on the occasion of Teachers’ Day.

The following is the list of awardees:

Secondary section: Mr Jatinder Tewari, science teacher, Government School, Nangal Choran (Hoshiarpur); Mrs Bakhshish Kaur, Physical Training Instructor, K.N. Jain Girls Senior Secondary School, Faridkot ; Mr Gurmeet Singh, science teacher, Government School , Mehta, near Phagwara (Kapurthala); Mrs Jasveer Sachdeva, Lecturer, Government School, Bajvan Kalan (Jalandhar); Mrs Leela Rani, Headmistress, Government School, Madhopur ( Ludhiana); Mr Roshan Lal Sood, Principal, Government School, Naraingarh ( Fatehgarh Sahib); and Dr Prem Parkash Singla, Principal, Government School, Ajnodan ( Patiala).

Primary section: Mr Ran Singh, Government School, Bhattiwal Kalan, Sunam ( Sangrur); Mrs Santosh Verma, head teacher, Government School, Badungar (Patiala); and Mr Karnail Singh, Government School, Roharianwali (Muktsar). 


IT admissions regularised
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 4
Punjabi University today regularised admissions to the two controversial information technology (IT) institutes started by former Vice-Chancellor Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia and formed a committee to work out the modalities for admissions to the next session, besides other issues.

According to sources, a meeting of the governing councils of Guru Gobind Singh Institute of Information Technology and Maharaja Ranjit Singh Institute of Information Technology was held under the chairmanship of Vice-Chancellor S.S. Boparai.

The university management refused to divulge the details of the meeting. The Registrar, Dr K.S. Sidhu, said it was an “internal matter”.

However, sources said in the case of Guru Gobind Singh Institute, all pending admissions had been regularised. The sources said cheques given to the university by the institute on account of admission would now be put on record. Besides this, a committee had been constituted with the Dean, Academics, Prof U.C. Singh, as Chairman.

The sources said the committee would meet on September 7 and two members of the private company which was managing the institute would also attend the meeting.

In the case of Maharaja Ranjit Singh Institute the old admissions had been regularised and the same committee would look into new admissions. It was, however, decided to ask students to make their own arrangements as it was not possible to accommodate them in hostels. 


DIET students hold dharna
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, September 4
Hundreds of DIET students today staged a dharna in front of the office of the District Education Officer (Primary) here in protest against the education policy announced by the state government.

They are protesting against the clause of the policy which makes it mandatory for every student admitted to ETT courses, to undergo two years of internship.

The students said the policy made it compulsory to obtain 55 per cent marks in plus two examinations for appointment as an ETT teacher, whereas the candidate, as per the policy, should have obtained 50 per cent marks in the plus two examinations for selection to the ETT course.


Additional charge for Mahajan
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 4
Dr O.P. Mahajan, Principal, Government Medical College, has been given additional charge as Principal and Director of the Punjab Institute of Medical Sciences, Jalandhar, here.

The orders came today from the Governor, Lt-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), and signed by Mrs Satwant Reddy, Principal Secretary, Medical Education and Research, Punjab.


Red Cross to fund students’ dental care
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 4
In an unprecedented move, the Punjab Red Cross Society has started generating funds for providing dental care to students of government schools in the state. The Governor, Lt-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), will inaugurate this scheme in the first week of October.

Official sources said the society would adopt schools in 10 villages in each district in the first phase to provide intensive dental care to the students. This exercise would continue for six months and if this experiment succeeded, all government schools would be covered in the next phase.

The authorities of the society had been negotiating with the state health authorities for using their mobile dental vans for this task.

Mr Rajdeep Singh Kamboj, secretary, Punjab Red Cross Society, while talking to TNS, said most of the dental vans of the Health Department were lying unused due to the non-availability of funds. The Red Cross would use these vans for providing dental care to the students. A sum of Rs 5 lakh had been earmarked by the society for this task.

For generating enough funds, the society had been selling its flags to the students of government schools throughout the state at the rate of Rs 2 each. The other motive of collecting little funds from the students was that it would secure their participation in this scheme. About Rs 15 lakh were required immediately for implementing this scheme, Mr Kamboj said.

He said a part of this amount would be used for the renovation of the Saket hospital, situated at Patiala. Later a dental chair would be set up in the hospital and students given dental treatment free of cost. Moreover, polio-affected patients would be given treatment free of cost.


ST team raids tea units
Tribune News Service

Rampura, September 4
A team of Sales Tax Department led by senior officials from its head office in Patiala and district office in Bathinda, today raided about six tea packaging and blending units of the town.

Sources said the Sales Tax team raided six units after receiving complaints that certain tea packagers and blenders, who had taken exemption from the Sales Tax by declaring their industries under the Small Scale Industry (SSI) Scheme, had been trading in the unpacked and unblended tea.

The sources added that the raiding team also seized some of the books containing business transactions done by the units.

Mr Mittar Sain, president, Punjab Tea Packers and Blenders Association, said some vested interests, who failed to get Sales Tax exemption, had lodged false complaints with the authorities which led to raids.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
122 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |