Monday, September 9, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Free power: farmers plan stir
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 8
The Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta) condemning the withdrawal of the facility of free of cost power to the farm sector said yesterday that free of cost power was not ‘charity’ by the government but a right of the farmers.

The BKU (E) threatening an agitation to protest against the decision said that the farmers were prepared for any sacrifice for getting the facility of free power restored.

The members of the union has started holding meetings at the village level and motivating the farmers for the agitation against the decision. They want to ‘tell’ the government that the decision was against the interests of the farmers and it would not be allowed to be implemented.

The union has also alleged that Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh wanted to withdraw the facility of free power for a long time and the decision by the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission, provided an excuse to fulfil his “desire”.

The state president of the union, Mr Joginder Singh Ugrahan, addressing a meeting of the office-bearers of the union here today said that the anti-farmer face of the state government had been exposed. He said that it was a setback for the farmers.

It is learnt that the different factions of the BKU would hold a meeting at Ludhiana on September 8 to draw up programme for a joint agitation in the state against the decision. The office-bearers of the Kokri Kalan unit said that the agitation would be launched on the pattern launched by farmers of Haryana. They said that a “do or die” stir would be launched and the government would be “forced” to withdraw the decision.

One faction of the Kisan Union has been planning to hold dharna at Chandigarh on September 23 to urge the government to give compensation to the farmers whose crops were damaged due to drought situation, but withdrawal of facility of free power has diverted their attention towards the issue. They have alleged that it would be an extra burden on the debt-ridden farmers.

Mr Jhanda Singh Jethuke, district president of the BKU (E), has said that the farmers in the state had become weak economically due to the wrong policies of the government. He said that it was the duty of the government to provide cheaper inputs for agriculture. He added that they were expecting that the government would do something to provide diesel for the running of tubewells at concessional rates but the new decision had added to the woes of the farmers.

Mr Pishora Singh, state president of another group of the BKU, has said that the union would organise indefinite dharna at Chandigarh from the fourth week of this month. He added that the farmers would be asked not to pay electricity bills relating to the running of tubewells. He said that the decision would be unbearable for the farmers already in “debt trap” of banks and arhtiyas?


Power tariff: SHSAD to launch stir
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, September 8
The Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD) has decided to launch a statewide agitation against the recent decision of the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission to impose “appropriate tariff” for use of power by the farmers in the state. The SHSAD has convened a meeting in Ludhiana on September 16 to chalk out the agitation plan. Addressing a press conference here today, the SHSAD president, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, alleged that the Congress government had failed to present facts before the commission, resulting in a huge burden on the debt-ridden peasantry of the state, which was highly deplorable.

Launching a fresh salvo on a former Chief Minister and SAD president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Mr Tohra alleged that the then Badal government, under pressure from the BJP, had given its approval to set up a commission to review power tariff. “Mr Badal is fully responsible for the withdrawal of free power to farmers. Now he is trying to gain political mileage by resorting to a stir against the recent power tariff hike. Mr Badal could have refused the proposal of the Union Government to set up a commission while in power, if he was really interested in giving free power to the farmers,” Mr Tohra alleged.


Minor clashes in Muktsar MC poll
Congress wins two seats
Chander Parkash

Tribune News Service

Muktsar, September 8
Even as the Congress won two seats in the municipal council election here today, the polling remained peaceful barring a few incidents of snatching of ballot papers and mild violence among supporters of different candidates. More than 75 per cent of the electorate exercised their franchise to elect representatives of 22 wards.

Ms Usha R. Sharma, Deputy Commissioner, has recommended repoll in booth No. 6 of Ward No. 3 after the incident of snatching of ballot papers. Mr Major Singh Dhillon, SSP, said by and large the polling was peaceful.

The supporters of different candidates, including Independent and party nominees, give the policemen a tough time as they tried to enter polling stations time and again. In certain wards, the supporters clashed over polling of votes by some impersonators. The policemen also used mild force to disperse the supporters, who were trying to disturb the poll. However, the police did not register any case in this connection as no formal complaint was lodged with it.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that Mr Krishan Kumar, a Congress candidate, was elected as Municipal Councillor unopposed while in Ward No. 23, Dr Gurmeet Singh of the Congress, scored victory over his nearest rival Dr Surinder Singh Dulo with a margin of 461 votes. All results were expected to be declared by midnight.

As per official information, Ward No 19 recorded 90 per cent polling, which was the maximum. The ward No 20 recorded 79 per cent, ward No. 1, 81 per cent, ward No 7, 80 per cent and Ward No 8 recorded 65 per cent.

In Ward No 4, 70 per cent of the electors exercised their franchise. In Ward No 5, 73 per cent Ward No 6, 79 per cent, Ward No 11, 83 per cent and in Ward No. 12, 73 per cent voters cast their votes.

The percentage of polling in Ward No 2 was 75. In Ward No 14, it was 74 and in Ward No 16 it was 73. The Ward No 10 recorded 80 per cent polling Ward No 23, 82 per cent and Ward No 9 recorded 72 per cent polling.

Ever since the election process started in this home district of former Chief Ministers, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and Mr Harcharan Singh Brar, it witnessed hectic electioneering. About 159 candidates tested their electoral fate. Congress leaders, including Mr Jagmeet Brar, Mr Avtar Singh Sidhu, Mr Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi and Mr Harcharan Brar and Akali leaders, including the MLA, Muktsar, Mr Sukhdarshan Singh Brar, and Mr Harnirpal Singh Kuku were taking keen interest in the elections.

Despite heavy police arrangements supporters of candidates were seen using mobile phones in the polling stations. They even ferried voters in the vehicles right up to polling stations. There were allegations and counter-allegations of use of money by candidates to woo the voters. In almost all wards of single vote was reportedly sold for Rs 500 while in some of the important wards, the rate of a single vote went up to Rs 2,500.

There was a neck and neck fight between Mr Jaswant Rai Rana Aggarwal of Sanjha Mohaj and Mr Sat Pal Bansal of the Congress in Ward No 21. Heavy deployment of the police was made there, but no untoward incident took place.


Move to withdraw case against Cong MLA
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Rayya (Amritsar), September 8
The state government has initiated a move to withdraw an FIR registered against Mr Jasbir Singh Dimpa, a Congress MLA and general secretary of the All-India Youth Congress, in 1998 on the basis of which non-bailable warrants were issued by the Baba Bakala court.

Mr Dimpa was seen roaming freely in the presence of the district police chief (Majitha) and the DSP, Baba Bakala, and visited election camps to monitor polling for the notified area committee, though an official had informed the court that he (Mr Dimpa) was not available when his house was raided at Lidhar village. The police official, however, said a proclamation had been pasted at the main gate of his ancestral house and outside the bus stand of his native village.

The warrants were issued by the Subdivisional Judicial Magistrate, Baba Bakala, on June 3 this year against the MLA.

In an application to the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the complainant, Mr Rajinder Singh, a resident of Lidhar village, apprehended threat to his life by the MLA. He alleged that he was being pressured to withdraw the case. He said the judicial magistrate had already issued arrest warrants and a proclamation as the accused failed to appear in the court despite repeated directions. He urged the Chief Justice to issue necessary directions to the SSP (Majitha) for providing full protection to the entire family.


We are being persecuted: PPSC scam victims
Harish Salve to represent Punjab state
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
“We are innocent. We got these jobs purely on our outstanding merit and track record. But because of a ‘tainted’ few, we are being persecuted,” allege PCS (Judicial Branch), PCS (Allied Services) and Engineers (PWD — B&R and Irrigation), whose services have either already been dispensed with or are being dispensed with in the “recruitment scam” as the Punjab Government has decided to engage Mr Harish Salve, Solicitor-General, in the case the hearing of which starts tomorrow.

“Where is the natural justice ?” they ask as each one of them produces a bunch of certificates and other testimonials in support of his or her merit, maintaining that the “slur” of being tainted had not only “cost us our hard earned jobs” but “has left us with no face to face society in general and our immediate circle in particular”.

“What do we tell people ? What for we got removed from service ? It is almost impossible for any of us to come out of this trauma,” they say, holding that they have been denied the basic right of “even being heard before our persecution”.

“If you publish our background, our qualifications and our merit and leave it to the public to judge us, we will respect the verdict. But what is this? The State has become so helpless and clueless as being unable to distinguish between ‘tainted’ and ‘meritorious’ candidates,” they argue.

PCS (Judicial) officers maintain that under the constitutional scheme, they are within the exclusive control of the high court with regard to posting, discipline and promotion.

Even at the time of their selection, a judge of the high court is a member of the selection committee as stated in the rules notified on December 6, 1994, which maintain that “advice of the representative of the Punjab and Haryana High Court shall prevail unless there are strong and cogent reasons for not accepting the same.”

They also argue in reference to their recommended removal of service that the advice or recommendation of the high court has no binding on the state government as there was an apex court ruling on that.

Every conscious citizen welcomes the government’s crusade against corruption and, in fact, lends full support to it. But at the same time, they argue, there cannot be two opinions that only real culprits be nabbed and there should be no case of miscarriage of justice.

They say that out of the 1998 batch of 24, none has been named in the recruitment scam. Only one officer — belonging to the reserved category of freedom fighters — figures in the ‘tainted list’ of the 1999 batch of 13 judicial officers.

The affected judicial officers maintain that they constitute nearly 25 per cent of the total cadre strength of the state and their impending removal would create “chaos in courts” as the government must take into consideration the public interest, besides other things.

The Subdivisional Engineers Association has echoed the same resentment. Going further in its argument, it maintains that most of the engineers facing uncertain future were highly qualified, talented and were already in service of the central government and other organisations after going through much tougher recruitment procedures. Only love for serving their home state brought them back to Punjab and now they were being made to pay a heavy price for it.

They held that only 27 of 30 selected by the PPSC joined and the remaining three preferred to join central government jobs. Twelve of the 27 hold the masters degree. One of them is a gold medallist and two others are toppers in their respective groups. Almost all of them have practical experience of five to 26 years in government, semi-government and reputed multinational companies.

Further, they hold that the name of none of them appeared in any of the confessional statements made by those arrested in the recruitment scam. “All we hope for is justice. We should not be made to suffer for the crime we have not committed,” they say.


Vigilance raids on Pherurai’s residences
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 8
Punjab Vigilance Bureau teams conducted raids on residences of former Ferozepore SSP Gurcharan Singh Pherurai at Ferozepore and Chandigarh yesterday evening.

Sources disclosed that the raids were conducted at various places in the state yesterday evening by two Vigilance teams, headed by Superintendents of Police Balkar Singh Sidhu and Inderpal Singh. Pherurai is accused of getting his son Gurjeet Singh and his daughter Kuljit Kaur selected as DSP and to the PCS (Executive), respectively, by bribing suspended PPSC Chairman Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu.

The sources said the residence of Mr H.L. Bansal was also raided at Maur Mandi in Bathinda district. Mr Bansal is accused of getting himself nominated to the PCS (Allied), besides acting as a tout of Sidhu.

The sources said the Vigilance Bureau was likely to conduct some more raids tomorrow in connection with cases registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act and Section 120 (B) of the IPC against around 35 candidates who had been mentioned by former touts-turned government approvers Randheer Singh Dheera and Prem Sagar.


Manpreet Badal’s ex-PA booked
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 8
The Vigilance Bureau has registered a case against Charanjit Singh, former Personal Assistant to Mr Manpreet Singh Badal, senior Akali leader and MLA, Gidderbaha, under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC and Sections 13(1-D) and 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act for getting his job on forged documents.

Vigilance sources said here today that he had got his job on false documents and his political connections in the then Akali-BJP government had played an instrumental role in the appointment. The sources said that the inquiry was initiated after Mr Raghbir Singh, former MLA and president of the District Congress Committee, Muktsar, lodged a complaint in this connection.

The sources added that the Vigilance Bureau had earlier indicted his wife as she had also obtained her job on fabricated certificates. The sources said the Vigilance Bureau had been conducting raids at various places to nab Charanjit Singh. The court had rejected the bail application of his wife earlier.

The sources said Charanjit Singh had not applied in time for the job to the Punjab Subordinate Services Selection Board for the post of Naib Tehsildar and had forged documents with political support so that his candidature was considered. The sources added that a majority of the appointments of Naib Tehsildars during the SAD-BJP rule were done for consideration and some of the candidates did not even fulfil the minimum eligibility criteria and had obtained the jobs on fake documents.


Baba Daduwal, 7 aides held
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 8
The district police has arrested Sant Baba Baljit Singh Daduwal, head of the Daduwal Sahib gurdwara, and at least seven of his followers for allegedly trying to murder Mr Jagsir Singh Khalsa, a resident of Tungwali village, near here, when Mr Khalsa was returning home after selling corn produce here this evening.

Sant Baba Baljit Singh Daduwal is a renowned preacher of the area and commands a big following amongst Hindus and Sikhs.

Police sources said Mr Khalsa, who was also a follower of the Baba till a few months ago, had alleged in his complaint that he had seen the Baba in a compromising situation and his faith in the teachings of the Baba had been shattered since then.

Mr Khalsa was going back to his village this evening when he was allegedly stopped by the Baba and his supporters on the Bathinda-Barnala road near the military area. The supporters of the Baba challenged Mr Khalsa without provocation and threatened to kill him. They were carrying firearms and sharp-edged weapons and had tried to kill Mr Khalsa with swords.

The sources said that Mr Khalsa saved his life by entering the Army area where he was saved by the Army men who were having their routine drill in the open area. The Army men nabbed the supporters of the Baba and the police authorities on the spot.

Relatives of Mr Khalsa claimed that ever since they had stopped following the Baba, they had been receiving threats from him and his followers. They said that even after the arrest of Baba Baljit Singh, they feared a threat to life from the supporters of the Baba. They alleged that a section of leaders of the ruling party had been putting pressure on them to withdraw the case and opt for a ‘compromise’.

Baba Daduwal, on other hand, alleged that the case against him and his supporters had been registered on the ‘directions’ of Akali leaders.

Senior police officials said a case under Sections 341, 365, 506 IPC and 148 and 149 of the Indian Arms Act was registered against them. Those arrested are Sant Baba Baljit Singh Daduwal and his seven supporters — Gurwinder Singh, Virtha Singh, Darshan Singh, Balwinder Singh, Baljinder Singh, Harwinder Singh and Balwinder Singh.


Pall of gloom over Paron village
Tribune News Service

Paron (Mansa), September 8
“My ‘vansh’ has finished. I have lost all hope to live. Life has become hollow and meaningless to me. I don’t know why it has happened to me,” said Kaur Singh whose only son Gurdeep Singh, along with five other members of his family, committed suicide yesterday.

As Gurdeep Singh and five members of his family, including his wife, three daughters and one son, consumed poison and died yesterday, Kaur Singh in his seventies has been left alone as his only daughter is married in Rajasthan and his wife died about 35 years ago.

A pall of gloom descended over this sleepy village after the incident. This is not the first time that Kaur Singh has faced odd circumstances. He took pains to look after his son and daughter, who were twins, after his wife Gurnam Kaur died two months after giving birth to them. Kaur Singh, a marginal farmer, managed to impart basic education to his son and daughter in the village.

“I have been living at Hanumangarh (Rajasthan) with my sister’s son who is running a saw mill there for the past more than a year. My son had a truck, which was taken away by the finance company about two months ago. My son was under depression as he was jobless for the past two months,” he said while attending the mourners coming in large numbers from this and surrounding villages.

“Don’t ask me anything. You can see for yourself. Our entire family has been finished within no time. Is there anything left to say?” said Kaki, Kaur Singh’s daughter.

Gurdeep Singh had taken a loan of Rs 90,000 from a finance company and purchased a truck for Rs 1.38 lakh by contributing the rest of the amount himself. About two months ago, a functionary of the company came and took possession of the truck. A few days ago, he came again and forced Gurdeep Singh to give him an affidavit so that they could sell off the truck to some other person. Gurdeep Singh had become a defaulter after paying only one loan instalment of Rs 10,000.

Mr S.S. Shrivastva, SSP, said some empty pouches of celphos tablets were recovered from the house of Gurdeep Singh. A bottle half filled with liquor was also seized from the site. He said there were some injury marks on the necks of the three daughters and son of Gurdeep Singh, which indicated that they were administered poison forcibly. There was no injury mark on the necks of Gurdeep Singh and his wife.

He added that so far the police had not received any complaint against the officials of the finance company and no case had been registered against any one in the case.


MC invokes goddess to ward off evil
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 8
After failing to overcome various problems the Municipal Council here has decided to seek divine help by propitiating deity to help a section of employees and councillors.

Municipal Council authorities have decided to hold “Mata Di Chownki” (singing of hymns to Hindu goddesses till midnight) for divine help after the Internal Vigilance Cell of the Local Bodies Department, Punjab, started a probe into the complaints of waiver of house tax on ‘flimsy’ grounds, use of substandard material in works and allocation of space earmarked for bathrooms in the Milky Bazaar shopping complex to a kin of a Municipal Councillor without an auction.

Mr Bhupinder Singh Bhullar, President, Municipal Council, said the council decided to organise “Mata Di Chownki” when new complex of the council was inaugurated two years ago. He added that “Mata Di Chownki” would be held as per the decision taken two years ago.

However, he admitted “Chownki” was being held to ward off evil from the Municipal Council affairs. He added that the Council had been facing new problems every day and hence it was decided to hold “Chownki” to overcome the problems. He denied that “Chownki” had any connection with the probe into some works and waiver of house tax by the Municipal Council.

For the past many months, several teams of Internal Vigilance Cell of the Local Bodies Department have been visiting this town in connection with probe into the complaints of use of substandard material in works and waiver of house tax of selected few by a subcommittee of the Municipal Council on ‘flimsy’ grounds.

Probe is being held into “benami” contracts of sanitation work and allotment of space reserved for bathrooms.

Mr Kamal Kant, Executive Officer, Municipal Council, said that the council had nothing to do with the “Chownki”. It is being held by certain municipal councillors. He added that the council had not passed any resolution in this connection.

He refused to divulge other details in this connection by saying that he was not invited to the function and hence he was not able to make any comment. The invitation cards were distributed on behalf of Mr Bhullar.

Information by The Tribune revealed that for the first time after the formation of Municipal Council House dominated by SAD-BJP Municipal Councillors, the Congress men of the town had been invited for the function. A section of Congress Municipal Councillors boycotted the function organised in connection with the inauguration of new Municipal Council complex two years ago after the then Akali Minister, Mr Chiranji Lal Garg used unpleasant remarks against Congress leadership.

Who will foot the bill of the expenses of the Chownki. A few Municipal Councillors raised objection to the expenses incurred by Council authorities on the function organised for inauguration of new complex, which was presided over by former Union Minister Sukhbir Badal.


Railway line survey opposed
Our Correspondent

Mr Sunil Jakhar, MLA, has strongly opposed the changes proposed in the fresh survey of the Abohar-Fazilka railway line project.

In a letter addressed to the Railway Minister, Mr Nitish Kumar, Mr Jakhar has said that initially the Railways had proposed to lay the rail line linking Banwala, Khuikhera, Nihalkhera, Chuhriwala Dhanna, Jandwala Kharta and villages located in between Fazilka and Abohar. The total length of the line was estimated at 29 km.

Thereafter five more surveys had been conducted and the last one proposed 42 km as the length of line. The first proposal aimed at linking the Abohar-Sri Ganganagar section near Killianwali village road whereas the last proposal was for linking the Abohar-Malout section near the Seeto bypass.

Mr Jakhar said passengers travel a distance of 32 km by bus from Abohar to reach Fazilka. The train journey of 42 km would be unviable. The Railways had so far allocated Rs 32 crore for the project during past four years.

He suggested that the Dainik Express (Intercity) running between Sri Ganganagar and New Delhi via Rohtak should be converted into a Jan Shatabdi Express, another AC chaircar compartment should be attached and all old coaches replaced immediately.

Commenting on the Union Government’s package for bailing out the UTI, Mr Jakhar said the NDA government had rejected the proposal put forward by the Agriculture Minister, Mr Ajit Singh, to waive interest on loans given to farmers. Whereas the government had said it was not possible to bear the loss of Rs 6000 crore on account of the proposed package. Now the same government had expressed its willingness to allocate 14000 crore to benefit 2 crore investors of the UTI.


HC panel visits judicial complex
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar September 8
A three-member team of building committee of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today visited the local judicial complex to finalise plan for the construction of lawyers' chambers, which has been hanging fire for the past about seven years.

The team comprising Mr Justice N.K.Sodhi, Mr Justice V.M. Jain and Mr Justice R.L. Anand along with the District and Sessions Judge, Mr R.M. Gupta, reached the judicial complex here this afternoon and inspected the proposed sites within the complex and at the old court complex. Members of District Bar Association (DBA) led by its president Mr Ashok Kumar apprised the team members the lawyers chambers should be constructed within the new Judicial complex instead at the old court complex which was situated at about 1 km away from the new Judicial complex. The lawyers said with the process of the shifting of all courts to the new judicial complex the plan for the construction of lawyers’ chambers should be approved.

The team, according to Mr R.K. Bhalla, secretary, DBA, agreed to their proposal by allowing the construction of chambers at the new the judicial complex. The team has asked the authorities concerned to prepare the building plan of the chambers for necessary approval. Mr Bhalla said the former Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had sanctioned Rs 50 lakh for the construction of chambers last year and a deputation of the DBA would soon meet the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, for the release of funds.


Victim supplied hooch
Tribune News Service

Budhlada (Mansa), September 8
Even as all 15 persons, who had reportedly left for Rajindra Hospital, Patiala, after consuming liquor which claimed three lives in the past three days in this village, have returned, preliminary investigations made by the police have revealed that the liquor was supplied to them by one of the deceased — Piara Singh, a junk dealer.

The investigations also revealed that Piara Singh, who was the first victim of hooch, brought the illicit distilled liquor, known as “rudi marka” in this area, from various villages while collecting junk. He mixed some intoxicants in it before selling it for Rs 20 a bottle.

After the death of Piara Singh, his son Chotte Singh died the next day after consuming the liquor. It created panic among other consumers, who rushed to Rajindra Hospital.

However, they kept the police on tenterhooks when they neither reported at the hospital nor came back. Mr Churd Singh, Station House Officer, Budhlada police station, said that all had come back today and he had recorded their statements. He added that they did not report at the hospital fearing that the police would take action against them for consuming illicit liquor.

Mr Prem Garg, Excise and Taxation Officer, pointed out that following the death of six persons in Bathinda city due to consumption of spirit, he had imposed a ban on the sale of spirit in Mansa district. He added that now spirit was being sold only with the permission of an Inspector. He said he was trying to ascertain as to how and from where Piara Singh got the illicit liquor.


Rs 126 crore for Patiala
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 8
“Patiala is to get Rs 126 crore under the Centre’s scheme to establish four counter magnet towns in India to relieve the pressure on the national capital,” said Mr Lal Singh, Finance Minister of Punjab, at a reception organised by the District Congress Urban for the city Mayor, Mr Vishnu Sharma, in Circuit House here yesterday.

The minister said the city would get new infrastructure under the scheme and the other cities to benefit would include Gwalior and Bareilly. The scheme had only been implemented in Gwalior, so far, largely due to the efforts of Madhav Rao Scindia. After the Amarinder government took over in Punjab, Patiala’s case, too, was pushed. The government had decided to put in Rs 31 crore to give the scheme a boost.

The Patiala MP, Ms Preneet Kaur, said on the occasion that the first instalment of Rs 60 crore under the scheme had recently been released. This money would be used to create new facilities of drinking water and sewerage here.

Senior Congress leader and the party general secretary, Ms Mohsina Kidwai, who is also looking after the Punjab affairs, congratulated the DCU for its success in the Municipal Corporation elections. She urged the city Mayor, Mr Vishnu Sharma, to help the poor.

Mr Vishnu Sharma said he had already launched a mass-contact programme, under which, he would visit all wards here to know the problems of citizens. He said the development work here would begin under a comprehensive plan.

The Punjab Congress chief, Mr H.S. Hanspal, sought support for the CM’s anti-corruption drive. The others present there included adviser to the government, Mr Surinder Singla; a former MP, Mr Sant Ram Singla; and the presidents of the urban and rural units of the DCC, respectively, Mr Ved Prakash Gupta and Mr Hardyal Singh Kamboj.



Shopkeepers refuse to accept Rs 500 notes
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 8
Inconvenience is being caused to residents on account of refusal of a number of shopkeepers and local commercial establishments to accept currency notes of the denomination of Rs 500 on one pretext or the other in stark violation of the Reserve Bank of India norms.

The shopkeepers, particularly the ones dealing in petty household items or confectionery, prefer change and allegedly leave consumers high and dry by refusing to accept currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000. Some shopkeepers outrightly dub these currency notes as fake ones.

“I went to buy a birthday cake for my father from a reputed bakery in the Model Town market along with my friend yesterday evening, but was stunned to hear from the salesperson that the Rs 500 note I handed over to him was fake,” said Ms G.V. Singh, a resident, adding that all her pleas that the note was not fake fell on deaf ears and finally she had to leave the shop without the cake. She said she felt embarrassed and was planning to file a complaint with the RBI authorities regarding the behaviour of the bakery shop owner.

Similarly, a lot of inconvenience was caused to Ms Shelly, another resident, when her Rs 500 note was returned by a Ludhiana-based ice-cream chain salesman in the Model Town market. She said shopkeepers were reluctant to accept notes of a bigger denomination in violation of the RBI guidelines.

Enquiries with a senior bank official revealed that banks were flooded with complaints regarding reluctance of small shopkeepers to accept Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes.


Supervisor suspended for beating up patient
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 8
The mental hospitals all over the country being under the scanner of the apex and high courts, the managements of these asylums have been taking all possible steps to improve their functioning. In view of the strict court guidelines, the Director of the premier Dr Vidya Sagar Mental Hospital, Dr B.L. Goyal, today placed under suspension a woman supervisor, Kashmir Kaur, for allegedly beating up a woman inmate, Surjit Kaur.

Dr Goyal said on hearing the complaint of the patient, he had immediately ordered an inquiry into the incident and suspended the supervisor for “torturing” the patient. The Punjab and Haryana High Court had been monitoring the functioning of the hospital, Dr Goyal said.


CCI to promote contract farming
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 8
The Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) will encourage contract farming in the cotton belt, which will benefit both farmers and textile mills.

Mr R.K. Gupta, Deputy General Manager, CCI, Bathinda, in a statement here today said that the government was encouraging integrated cotton cultivation (contract farming) in the country. He said contract farming was expected to benefit the cotton farming community by making available quality seeds and pesticides for them and the produce procured by the CCI would be sold to the willing textile mills. He added that at present the CCI had taken up four projects under the contract farming with one in Adilabad district of Andhra Pradesh and other three in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Orissa, which had been established by forming farmers’ groups.

Mr Gupta said in the last financial year the corporation had procured 8.51 lakh bales at the minimum support price (MSP). He said last year the corporation had to undertake massive procurement programme to stop the distress sale of cotton by farmers.

He said the corporation sold least contaminated processed cotton to private mills, including export oriented units (EoUs) and the sale to the EoUs came to nearly 80 per cent of the sales.

Mr Gupta said the corporation had been helping the ginning and pressing units in their modernisation and technological upgradation programmes and of the about 150 units approved under the scheme, nearly 57 had completed their operations.


Fraud case against seven
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, September 8
The Kotwali police on Friday registered a case under Sections 408, 409, 419, 420, 465, 467, 477-A and 120-B of the IPC against three employees of the local Market Committee and four owners of two rice shellers of Fathudingha village on the charge of committing fraud in the distribution of bonus given to farmers of the district for the distress sale of paddy.

According to reports, these persons had embezzled Rs 1.65 lakh by issuing cheques in favour of fake persons.

On complaints lodged by some farmers, an inquiry was ordered which was conducted by the District Manager who held three employees of the Market Committee and four owners of rice shellers guilty and ordered the registration of a criminal case against them.

The accused have been identified as Paramjit Singh, mandi supervisor, Sulakhan Singh, mandi supervisor, and Satpal Singh record keeper of auction of the local Market Committee, Ravi Bhushan, Nand Lal, Sanjiv Kumar and Mrs Kamlesh Rani, partners of Aggarwal Rice Mills and Lakshmi Rice Mill, Fathudingha village.


4 MCs asked to submit project details
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, September 8
The Local Bodies department has instructed all four municipal corporations in the state to submit details of its proposed development projects to it so that adequate funds could be arranged for the execution of these projects.

Talking to reporters, after presiding over a meeting of the commissioners and mayors of all four municipal corporations here today, Punjab Local Bodies Minister Chaudhary Jagjit Singh said the overall fiscal situation of the civic bodies was reviewed during the meeting and the officials concerned were instructed to prepare a comprehensive plan to generate extra revenue to fund projects.


4-yr-old raped, body found
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, September 8
Panic gripped residents of the local Guru Nanak Pura locality as the mutilated body of a four-year-old girl of the locality, who had gone missing on September 6, was found in the adjoining fields here today. The girl was reportedly raped twice before being done to death by abductors.

The victim, Asha, daughter of a rickshaw-puller, Rampal, was playing near her house on September 6 evening when some unidentified persons took her away by luring her with sweets.

Residents alleged that there was no law and order in the city, which had witnessed two murders in broad daylight in the past 10 days.

The body of the girl was found by a labourer.

The parents of the victim alleged that the police had taken the matter non-seriously even though they had lodged a complaint immediately. “Had the police acted swiftly to nab the abductors, our daughter could have been saved”, they said.

Though the post-mortem report of the victim was yet to be released by the local Civil Hospital authorities, hospital sources revealed that the girl was raped twice before being done to death. The police has registered a case. 


Parrots being sent to Gulf rescued
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 8
Acting on a tip off the sleuths of wildlife preservation under the Ministry of Environment and Forests yesterday rescued parrots which were meant to be smuggled to the Gulf, Arabian and western countries. The traders caught while smuggling, however, managed to escape.

Disclosing this here yesterday, Mr B.S. Gurm, Assistant Director, Wildlife sub-regional office, said the sleuths of wildlife today raided the bus stand area of Jalandhar and seized 13 cages of parrots which were being sold illegally. He said for quite some time, a large number of parrots were being captured and sold at high rates to the traders of Delhi by these traders. From Delhi, these parrots were further being smuggled to the Gulf and other Arabian countries.

Mr Gurm added that the feathers of these parrots were also being sold in the USA and other western countries. He said the parrots because of their beauty and there ability to learn fast were fancied by the Arabs who kept them as pets. Due to this many Indian traders were attracted to be in this lucrative line as the birds were sold at high prices.

However, he said during the raid the nabbed traders succeeded to flee from the spot, while the wildlife officials were taking care of the parrots who were caged without any provision of food or water.

While cautioning the hunters and dealers about this illegal trade of parrots Assistant Director said that a strict and punitive action was on anvil for traders, unauthorised keepers, dealers which may be an imprisonment up to three years and a fine upto Rs 5,000 or both under the Wildlife Preservation Act, 1972.


Injured youth dead, father held
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 8
The police yesterday arrested Harnek Singh, who had allegedly shot at his son and daughter-in-law at Chuge Khurd village on Friday. Meanwhile, the son, Harbinder Singh, died in a Ludhiana hospital while the daughter-in-law, Paramjeet Kaur was being treated at the local Civil Hospital.

The police has also seized the rifle, the licence of which was in the name of Harnek Singh. A case of attempt to murder registered on Friday was changed to case of murder with the death of Harbinder Singh.

Meanwhile, brother of Harbinder Singh had committed suicide by consuming some poisonous substance some time ago. Harbinder Singh used to look after the family members of his brother. 


Sadhu molests woman
Our Correspondent

Talwandi Sabo , September 8
A 40-year-old women of Jodhpur Pakhar village, near here was raped by Sarwan Dass, a sadhu, yesterday. Sarwan Dass has been arrested.

Police sources said the sadhu had molested the woman at his place. The women raised the alarm and the accused was nabbed by people. The sources added that a case under Section 376 had been registered against Sarwan Dass.


No salary for staff of 2 colleges
By Lalit Mohan

Ropar September 8
The Financial crisis being faced by the Punjab Government has now hit employees of the colleges taken over by the government in the past five years. These employees of the said colleges have not been paid salary for the past three months.

Government Shivalik College Nangal and Government College Kapurthala were earlier run by the respective municipal councils.

The government took over these colleges in 1997. However even five years after the takeover the staff of these colleges regularly face the problem of getting salaries.

Sources said none of the posts had been regularised by the government therefore, these posts have to be approved by the Finance Department every year. Each year a case is made by the college management for the approval of the posts and sent to DPI colleges.

The DPI moves the case to Secretary, Education, who sends it to Finance Department for final approval. This ritual has to be followed each year to ensure that the staff gets salary.

This year the case for the approval of the posts of the said colleges was sent in January. However, Finance Department irrespective of the fact that there has been no change in the number the number of posts in the said colleges raised objections.

The sources said the Finance department has asked the Secretary Education to state the number of vacant posts in the colleges concerned.

Due to delay by the Finance Department in giving routine approval to the posts in the said colleges, the staff has not been paid salaries despite the fact that the budget for the colleges has been sanctioned. The non-teachig staff of Government Shivalik College, Nangal, also staged a dharna on Friday in protest against the failure of government to pay them salaries.

The employees alleged that due to the non-payment of salaries they were facing many hardships.

Initially the banks where they had their salary accounts allowed them an overdraft of one month salary. The overdraft had to be returned within a month.

However, since the government had not paid salary for the past three months, even the bank was demanding that they return the overdraft given to them.

The sources alleged that the Finance Department was deliberately delaying the approval of the non-sanctioned posts in various colleges due to the financial crisis being faced by the government.

There are 549 non-sanctioned posts in various colleges of the state. Most of the employees working against these posts regularly face problem in getting salary due to the formality of the government to regularise their service in papers. 


Pharma colleges slash fee for paid seats
Our Correspondent

Ropar, September 8
The poor response of the students to the Bechelor in Pharmacy (B. Pharma) course in the state has forced the colleges concerned to slash the fee for the paid seats. Earlier the tuition fee for the B. Pharma course in the state was fixed at Rs 30,000 per annum for a free seat and Rs 66,000 per annum for a paid seat.

However, due to high fee, this year even after the second counselling almost all paid seats in 12 B. Pharma colleges of the state remained vacant. The Department of Technical Education then allowed the managements of the colleges to fill the vacant seats on their own. Pressed for funds, the managements of the pharmacy colleges made the tuition fee for the paid seats equal to the fee seats i.e. Rs 30,000 per annum.

Though the slashing of fee has helped the colleges in increasing the intake of students, it has created other problems for them. The students who got admitted against the paid seats last year by paying a fee of Rs 66,000 per annum are now demanding refund of the higher amount paid by them. Many of the students who got themselves admitted to the course against paid seats last year are pleading with the management to return the higher amounts paid by them or adjust these in the current year’s fee.

The parents of many students have threatened to move court if higher fee was charged from their wards vis-a-vis the lower fee charged from the students admitted this year.

The B. Pharma course was started in most of the private colleges in the state last year after the decision of the Pharmaceutical Council of India to abolish the D. Pharma course. Due to this decision, most of the private colleges running the D. Phama course upgraded their facilities to run the B. Pharma course.

The experts, who spoke on condition of anonymity, have also rued the aberrant fee structure for the pharma course in the state. If the trend persists, it would affect the credibility of entrance tests conducted for the course. The fee charged for the technical courses in the state was abnormally high. It had put the course out of the reach of the middle classes.

As per the international norm, only about 20 per cent of the expenses for running the colleges were charged as fee from students. The government, industry and society contributed the rest. However, in India almost all the expense for running and developing the country was being charged from the students. 


PTU probe ‘nearing completion’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 8
The inquiry into the working of Punjab Technical University (PTU) is said to be at an advanced stage. This was stated by the Chief Director, Vigilance Bureau, Punjab, Mr A.P. Pandey, while talking to TNS at a private function here last night.

Mr Pandey said the inquiry was likely to be completed within a few days. However, he refused to divulge any details saying everything would come out once the inquiry was completed. He said, “it is still early for me to say anything about it”.


Students allowed to appear for exam
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
Issuing notice of motion for September 16 on a petition filed by Bengal Institute of Nursing Education at Raikot, a Division Bench of the High Court yesterday directed that the students admitted to the institute shall be allowed to take the examinations provisionally.

The institute, in its petition taken up by the Bench, comprising Mr Justice Jawahar Lal Gupta and Mr Justice S.S. Grewal, had sought the quashing of orders dated August 12 whereby a decision was taken against allowing their students to appear in the examinations scheduled to be held in September 2002 as they had not completed minimum of 11 months’ training.


MoU on agro waste bricks signed
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 8
A MoU regarding manufacturing bricks from agro waste was signed by Mr Willian Dowling and Mr Ankush Agarwal from the Idma Group, representatives of MHM Group of Industries and Dr Harbaksh Singh, MD of Haryana State Industrial Development Corporation (HSPDC), in London last evening in presence of the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala.

While stating this here today, an official release said the high level Haryana delegation led by Mr Chautala reached Tunis, capital of Tunisia, today from London. It was received at the airport by Mr Ram Mohan, the Indian Ambassador to Tunisia.

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