Saturday, September 14, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Talwandi, Badal ‘patch up’ at rally?
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Raikot, September 13
The rumours of parting of the ways between a former SGPC President Jagdev Singh Talwandi and SAD Chief Parkash Singh Badal have were put to rest after Mr Talwandi shared the dais at a meeting of party workers held here today.

It is reportedly for the first time that the Chairman of the SAD Disciplinary Committee and the senior vice-president has attended a party meeting after the elections. It was being speculated that he was contemplating to join the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal led by Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra.

Political pundits see this as a significant development and an indication that the cold war between the two leaders has ended and Mr Talwandi will henceforth participate in all party programmes. This area is considered a stronghold of the former and the joining of the forces will prove to be a shot in the arm for the demoralised party rank and file.

Despite the downpour, Mr Talwandi addressed an impressive gathering at the historic Tahliana Sahib Gurdwara. Though he reached the venue about an hour late and did not share much with Mr Badal but at the end of his brief speech affirmed that he would participate in all party programmes. This announcement was greeted with slogan by workers.

However, he could not resist an oblique reference to a former police officer and certain other persons of this area — and said the debacle was because of them. “Had the party then paid heed to the warnings of party workers, things would not have come to such a pass today,” he pointed out.

In his speech, Mr Badal criticised the Congress. He said the government was withdrawing the free water and power concession to the farmers which had ushered in a new era of economic prosperity. Farm output had increased manifold and had benefitted all people connected with the agriculture sector.

Commenting on the arrest of his former colleagues and people close to him, he said they were being tortured and forced to name him in various corrupt deals. 


Akhand Kirtani leader for quid pro quo
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 13
The 100-year-old controversy over “Raagmala” (whether Raagmala is part of holy scripture or not) could be over as deputy leader of the Akhand Kirtani Jatha, Giani Baldev Singh, who is being considered for the post of Sikh high priest by the SGPC, has said that he would honour the ‘Sikh Rehat Maryada’ edited in 1932-33 after ‘deep’ research.

Giani Baldev Singh said that though he was not an aspirant for the post of Jathedar Akal Takht yet he would not introduce any change in the prevailing ‘Maryada’ performed at Akal Takht without evolving consensus among the various established Sikh bodies if the SGPC nominated him high priest.

The Akhand Kirtani Jatha does not accept “raagmala” as part of the Guru Granth Sahib. However, after Operation Bluestar, Bhai Jasbir Singh Rode (nephew of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale) the then Jathedar Akal Takht had started reciting ‘raagmala’ at the highest temporal seat after a long gap.

The Akhand Kirtani Jatha says that “Raagmala” is not part of holy scripture. However, after discussions and research by Sikh scholars all over the world, the SGPC had concluded in 1932-33 that nobody should publish Guru Granth Sahib without “Raagmala”. The Sikh scholars had also concluded that the “Raagmala” should be recited in all Sikh shrines except at Akal Takht.

Though Giani Baldev Singh denied that he was an aspirant for the post of Jathedar, Akal Takht, yet it is learnt that his name figured among the ‘short list’ prepared by the SGPC. Giani Baldev Singh, a law graduate also fulfils the qualification laid down in the draft for the All-India Sikh Gurdwara Act, the post of Jathedar, Takht Damdama Sahib, has also been vacant after the incumbent Giani Kewal Singh was asserted. The SGPC is the appointing authority of the Sikh high priests.

Jathedar, Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti has been facing rough weather after the Shiromani Khalsa Panchayat served an ultimatum on him to stage dharnas in front of the official residences of Jathedar Akal Takht and Prof Manjit Singh if they did not resign on “moral grounds” in wake of the corruption charges. The Khalsa Panchayat had alleged that the then personal assistant to Jathedar Vedanti, Mr Prithipal Singh Sandhu had taken bribe to “bail out” Baba Dhanwant Singh, chairman Noor Vishav Ruhani Charitable Trust, who was facing charges of moral turpitude.


Parallel functions mark AISSF anniversary
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 13
Parallel functions were held by the Bhooma and Pir Mohammed factions of the All-India Sikh Students Federation to mark the 58th foundation anniversary of the federation here today.

The faction led by Mr Manjit Singh Bhooma today declared that they would not allow workers of the Khalsa Panchayat to stage a dharna at Akal Takht and to gherao jathedars.

Meanwhile, the faction led by Karnail Singh Pir Mohammed held a function at Gurdass Hall. Leaders from Patiala, Fatehpur, Hussainpura, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Pandori, Moga, Faridkot and Tarn Taran participated.


SGJC, SGPC members’ term coterminous
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
Dismissing a writ petition filed by Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission’s former President Kashmir Singh challenging the orders by which he, along with members Dara Singh and Raghbir Singh were removed, three members of a five-Judge Full Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today ruled that the term of a commission member was coterminous or cotenuous with the term of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee.

Delivering the verdict, Mr Justice V.K. Bali ruled that there was considerable merit in the contention raised by counsel for the respondents that a member’s term was coterminous or cotenuous with the term of the committee. Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Mr Justice Nirmal Singh agreed with him.

Mr Justice Amar Dutt, on the other hand, ruled that a commission member would hold office “in perpetuity unless a vacancy was created on account of any one of them incurring any disqualification or the commission having been dissolved”. Chief Justice Arun B. Saharya, however, asserted that there was no fixed period for which a commission member would hold office, nor would he hold the office in perpetuity....”.

In his petition, Mr Kashmir Singh, appointed as member of the Judicial Commission vide notification issued on July 4, 1989, had claimed that he was elected as President, while Mr Dara Singh and Mr Ragbir Singh were appointed as members. The state of Punjab, however, issued a notification in July 1999 vide which, he and two other members were removed and Mr Man Mohan Singh, Mr Amrik Singh Randhawa and Mr Ajwant Singh Mann were appointed.

Counsel for the petitioner asserted that the notification was challenged but during the pendency of the writ petition the state government issued two more notifications. The net effect of the two orders, as per his stand, was that the existing members were removed and three new members were appointed.

Arguing before the court, counsel submitted that the tenure of the SGPC could be five years or till elections but the tenure of the commission members was not fixed. He had added that the state government was required to fill the vacancies whenever these arose from a panel of seven members already recommended by the SGPC.

After hearing arguments and going through the record, Mr Justice Bali held that the term was coterminous, while Mr Justice Amar Dutt observed: “In my opinion, it would not be possible for me to accept the argument put forward by counsel for the respondents to the effect that each time the board (SGPC) was constituted, it was obliged to submit a new list which need not contain the names of the persons included in the old list for appointment as commission members and the state government was duty bound to appoint afresh two members from the list”.

Mr Justice Dutt concluded: “After an earlier decision of the Full Bench in the SGPC case, no attempt having been made for fixing the tenure of the office of the Judicial Commission members and the Legislature having not taken any step to fill the void, if any, the commission members would hold the office in perpetuity unless a vacancy was created on account of any one of them incurring any disqualification or the commission having been dissolved....”

The Chief Justice, however, added: “I have read the lucid opinion of Mr Justice Bali holding that the term of a commission member was coterminous or cotenuous with the term of the Board and Mr Justice Amar Dutt holding that a commission member would hold office in perpetuity. I agree with the approach, but hold a view of variance with the conclusion recorded by Mr Justice Amar Dutt. In my opinion, there is no fixed period for which a commission member would hold office nor does he hold the office in perpetuity.... Any person appointed as a commission member would hold office and participate in the proceedings so long as the Commission would exist. Intermittent appointment of a judicial member would necessarily be coterminous or cotenuous with the existence of the commission”.

In their detailed 215-page order, the Judges had observed: “The objects and the reasons of the 1996 Act and the scheme thereof leads to the only interpretation that it is the Punjab government which would have jurisdiction to constitute the commission till, of course, such time the other states and union territory of Chandigarh frame their own laws or constitute a commission of its own or may vest powers with any of its authorities for which ample provisions exist. Any other interpretation would run contrary to the basis principles dealing with the interpretation of the statute”.

Bail for ex-minister

Issuing notice of motion for October 18, Mr Justice K.S. Grewal of the High Court today granted interim bail to former Cabinet minister Brij Mohan Singla in a cheating and a corruption case.

Mr Singla was apprehending arrest in a case registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act, besides under Sections 406, 420 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code. Seeking the grant of bail, Mr Mohan Jain submitted on the petitioner’s behalf that the complaint was politically motivated and the complainant was in the habit of levelling allegations.


Govt "distorting" report on Ashutosh
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 13
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) chief, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, has alleged that the government had been “distorting” the findings of the six-member committee constituted for probing the contents of the literature of the Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan (DJJS).

Talking to the press here today, Mr Badungar said that report of the committee of the government had already indicted the sansthan for hurting sentiments of the Sikhs. He said the government must make the report public.

He said that the rejection of the petition filed by Mr Kashmira Singh Patti, the Sikh Judicial Commission, had vindicated the stand of the SGPC. “It is a defeat of the state government which had facilitated the reviving of the “defunct” judicial commission, headed by Mr Patti.

The SGPC chief also took serious note of the construction of caste based gurdwaras, he said such an action was gross violation of the directive of Akal Takht which had prohibited the Sikh Sangat from doing so.

Mr Badungar informed that the SGPC-run Sri Guru Ram Dass Institute of Medical Sciences had been recognised by the Medical Council of India.


Govt seeks 3,529 cr drought relief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
Punjab has logged an economic loss of Rs 6372.38 crore due to drought and has demanded a relief of Rs 3529.44 crore from the Centre.

Mr Bhagat Singh Financial Commissioner (Revenue) has submitted the memorandum on drought relief from the Centre to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh for approval.

The bottomline of the memorandum is that Punjab cannot be covered under the ‘’conventional’’ definition of ‘’drought’’, which is declared only when the crop damage is more than 50 per cent. Since 94 per cent of the area is irrigated in Punjab, it has to be treated differently.

Distortion in the southwest monsoon this year meant a shortfall in rain from 43 per cent to 52 per cent. This affected the level of water in the reservoirs of Bhakra, Pong and Thein dams, thereby affecting the outflow into the irrigation network of canals. Less water, therefore, had two adverse effects — one, power generation was reduced and two, farmers did not get the full share of canal water.

This shifted the burden of sustaining the crop to ground water, pumped out by 11,25, 649 pump sets tubewells. For their operation, the PSEB diverted power (which it did not have and purchased at a high cost) from the paying to non-paying sector and incurred losses. This also hit the urban/industrial economy. Because of power constraints, farmers had to shell out cash to buy diesel to run their tubewells/pumps. This additional cost on diesel is estimated at Rs 411.84 crore. In several places, tubewells went dry and new drilling was done or motors replaced because of a reduced discharge of water as the subsoil water level fell by 3 metres to 15 metres in different parts of the state. Such measures to ‘’save’’ the crop added to the per unit cost of production. Thus, on an average, farmers incurred an additional cost of Rs 3,000 per acre.

The memorandum underlines such difficulties and trauma that the already debt-ridden farmers have had to undergo to fight against uninvited drought. Hence, the special Punjab has pleaded that ‘’the relief of Rs 353 crore may be met out of the Calamity Relief Fund of Rs 355.77 crore available to the state under the fund. The balance amount of relief/assistance of Rs 1,000 crore as bonus and Rs 3176.48 crore for other sectors is requested to be released by the Government of India under other schemes or as special assistance’’.

The sectors for which relief totalling Rs 3529.44 crore has been demanded are as follows. In the parenthesis is given the economic loss/extra burden borne by the sector concerned. The amount is in crores:

1) Agriculture — Rs 1089.21 (Rs 2190.38); 2) Drinking water — Rs 128.47 (same); 3) Electricity — Rs 1068 (same); 4) Irrigation — Rs 100 (same); 5) Feed, fodder and veterinary care — Rs 80.70 (same); 6) Damage to plantation — Rs 6.45 (same); 7) Soil and water resources — Rs 21.50 (same); 8) Health and medicare — Rs 178.51 (same); 9) Centrally sponsored schemes for employment generation — Rs 120 (same); 10) Industry — Rs 150 (Rs 1891.77); and 11) Cooperation — Rs 586.60 (same).


3 DSPs booked for corruption
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
The Punjab Police and the Vigilance Bureau (VB) booked three DSPs and two Inspectors under its drive against corruption between April and August. Besides, 83 more police personnel, including SIs, ASIs and constables have been booked in 58 different cases.

Ludhiana tops the list with nine cases against cops while Jalandhar with 7 cases comes next. Vigilance Bureau spokesman said that Sajjan Singh, DSP had been booked for accepting Rs 3,50,000 from a person for saving him from a case in Goraya (Jalandhar).

In another case, Harbans Lal (DSP), along with other policemen accepted Rs 3.20 lakh from a petrol pump owner, threatening that he was selling adulterated petrol.

Bhupinder Singh, DSP, in convinance with three ASIs accepted Rs 5 lakh to hand over a confiscated passport from police record to an accused who was on bail in a criminal case.

The spokesman said in Jalandhar Inspector Harpreet Singh was caught while accepting a hefty bribe from a person and his wife, who were arrested alongwith hawala money.

Didar Singh, Inspector, and Hari Singh, ASI, had been brought to book for demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 25,000 from a person of Patiala.

During this drive, nine SIs, 28 ASIs, 22 head constables and 24 constables had been booked under various sections of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act.


Unite against govt: Kanwaljit
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 13
A former Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, while criticising the “retrograde” economic policies of the Congress government, has given a call to Opposition parties, employee unions and trade organisations to join hands with the SAD-BJP combine to oust the government.

He described the “confrontationist” approach towards Opposition members by Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, as a dangerous tactic.

He feared that Pakistan was on the lookout to use the opportunity to foment trouble in the state, as was evident from recent intelligence reports.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh was addressing the 58th anniversary of the formation of the All-India Sikh Students Federation, led by Karnail Singh Pir Mohammed, here today.

The former Finance Minister exhorted the youth to come forward and shoulder the responsibilities on the political, religious and social fronts. He expressed concern over the rising crime graph.


Langah’s remand extended
Tribune News Service

Ropar, September 13
The judicial remand of former Punjab PWD Minister and senior Akali leader Sucha Singh Langah was today extended till September 27 by Mr A.S. Kathuria, Special Judge, here. Mr Langah was produced in the court following the expiry of his judicial remand.

The former minister is in judicial custody in a criminal and corruption case registered against him by the Vigilance Bureau at SAS Nagar.

When Mr Langah was produced in the court, his numerous supporters who had come from far-off places waited for him outside the court room. 


Tainted’ PCS nominee’s arrest stayed
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 13
A court here today stayed the arrest of “tainted” former PCS (Executive) nominee Kamal Kumar Garg, one among those booked recently under the Prevention of Corruption Act by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau.

The court stayed the arrest till September 26. However, he has been directed to join investigation in the case. Earlier the public prosecutor argued that custodial interrogation of the accused was necessary to find out the source of the bribe money paid to former PPSC Chairman Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu for selection to the PCS.

Mr Garg is the first of nearly 35 “tainted” PCS nominees booked by the Vigilance Bureau under Sections 8 and 12 of the PC Act and Section 120(b) of the IPC, who sought bail.


Latin American visa now easy to get
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, September 13
Getting visa for Latin American countries has now been made easy, according to Mr Tara Singh, Indian High Commissioner to Panama, El Salvador and Nicaragua. Addressing exporters, industrialists and mediapersons here today, he said those having an American visa would now be granted authorised visa to Panama within two to three days.

He said the procedure had now been liberalised and exemption would be given from sending papers to the National Security Council there.

On mutual trade, Mr Tara Singh said a joint Indo-Panama venture would be started from October 1. Under it, 90 Indian software engineers would train Panaman engineers.

The Indian government had introduced a new trade policy called Focus-LAC under which trade to these countries would be given a fillip, he said. He also visited his native Palahi village.

Virk (Phillaur): Mr Tara Singh met residents of his village and his classmates. He was nostalgic and sat with his friend Harbhagan Singh for a long time. He also met his elder brother Bhagan Singh and other relatives.

He promised the village youth all help if they came to Panama.

He said Indians there worked in the fields of software, information technology, and food processing.

Earlier, talking at the residence of Northern India Exporters Federation president, Mr Paramjit Singh Sethi, he said a 16-member high-level delegation of MPs would visit these countries in November to strengthen ties.

He said an exhibition would be organised in Delhi, Jalandhar and other cities to highlight the achievements of Indians there.

He said most of the Punjabis in Panama were in the money lending business.


CAPART to fund Kanjli project
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, September 13
The Council for Advancement of Peoples Action and Rural Technology (CAPART) has the budgetary support of Rs 30 crore for various schemes, including watershed, field rural technology, and public cooperation. This was stated by Mr Jai Singh Gill, Director-General, CAPART, New Delhi, today. He was talking to newspersons at Palahi village after inaugurating an IT centre there.

He said CAPART would fund the revival of Kali Bein and Kanjli in Kapurthala district.

CAPART had started a scheme for young professionals to employ graduates in social sciences, he said.


Bail plea of MC chief rejected
Tribune News Service

Moga, September 13
The Sessions Court here today rejected the anticipatory bail application of Dr Kuldip Singh Gill, a local SAD leader and President of the municipal committee, in a case of fraud registered against him by the Vigilance Bureau under Sections 409 and 420 of the IPC and Section 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act in the first week of September. So far the Bureau has not been able to arrest him.

Three months ago, occupants of the shops running their own businesses at the local Guru Nanak Market complained in writing, with affidavits, to the bureau that Dr Gill took Rs. 1.75 lakh as bribe from 15 shopkeepers in 1998 to transfer the proprietory rights on shops in their names.

Later Dr Gill backed out from the promise made to the shopkeepers and denied that he ever took money from them. Although the money was returned to 14 shopkeepers during the previous Vidhan Sabha elections with the mediation of Jathedar Tota Singh, the then Education Minister, but the matter was again raised by the shopkeepers after the formation the new government in the state.

The Additional Sessions Judge, Mr Jagmohan Singh Chawla stated that Dr Gill kept the money for more than three years with a mala fide intention, hence he cannot be granted anticipatory bail. 


Police picks up two fasting ex-panchayat secretaries
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
The Chandigarh police today swung into action after the condition of two terminated panchayat secretaries, Mr Ravinder Singh and Mr Baljeet Singh, deteriorated. They had been on an indefinite fast at Sector 17 for the past seven days. Later, they were admitted to the General Hospital, Sector 16.

Earlier, Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, while addressing the members of the Terminated Panchayat Secretaries Union, said the Congress government in Punjab had failed to fulfil its promise of reinstating them. It had promised during elections that services of all 460 panchayat secretaries, who had been ‘wrongly’ terminated by the previous SAD-BJP government on August 12, 2001, would be reinstated.

Condemning the police action, Mr Kulbir Singh, member of the action committee, said they would continue their protest till their demands were met. After the police action, he said, two others members, Mr Gurbhej Singh from Amritsar and Mr Gurmail Singh from Patiala, had started an indefinite fast.

He said they were recruited as panchayat secretaries by the previous government in 1996. Later on, their services were terminated after the Punjab and Haryana High Court declared their recruitment null and void. “In fact, the government did not plead our case strongly in the court and rather preferred to terminate our services,” he said.

“About 300 terminated panchayat secretaries had been agitating for the past one year, but without any result. A number of Congress candidates had promised to find a way out to take them back into service after coming to power. However, now no one was ready to listen to us”, he said.

Number of trade unions have already lent support to the protesting secretaries. 



Rain upsets life
Tribune reporters

AMRITSAR: Incessant rain since Thursday night lashed the holy city and threw life out of gear for the residents due to a severe sewerage problem. Knee-deep water accumulated under the very nose of the municipal corporation premises. The Mayor, Mr Sunil Dutti, and Deputy Mayor were seen surveying different areas of the city on Friday. Though slum areas in the city were the worst-affected, some posh areas of the city were also flooded with water.

MANSA: Mansa and surrounding areas have been experiencing light showers intermittently since Thursday night. The rain has brought down the temperature considerably. The untimely rain is likely to infect the paddy crop with fungus affecting its quality. The attack of American bollworm due to the rain is also not ruled out, said a farmer. 

Envoy meets DGP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
The U.K. High Commissioner, Mr Rob Young, today called on Mr M. S. Bhullar, DGP, Punjab. 

They discussed various issues pertaining to NRIs in the UK, problems regarding immigration, unscrupulous practices to procure fake passports and matrimonial disputes between Indian residents in the UK and residents of Punjab.


Four brothers get life term for murder

Sangrur, September 13
A local court today sentenced four brothers of Ganduan village, under the Sunam police station, to rigorous imprisonment for life for murdering their cousin over a land dispute.

The fast-track court of Additional Sessions Judge Sudarshan Modi pronouncing a 37-page judgement sentenced Sukhpal Singh, Gurtej Singh, Bihla Singh and Rup Singh under several Sections of the IPC.

According to the prosecution case, they attacked their cousin with sharp-edged weapons while he was on the way to his fields at Ganduan accompanied with his father Joginder Singh on June 28, 1999. The cousin died on the spot. Joginder Singh was injured in the attack. PTI


Candidate alleges irregularities
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 13
Mr Narinder Kumar Gupta, resident of Rampura Phul, has alleged irregularities in the selection of Assistant Labour Welfare Officers in 2001.

In a letter to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, he urged that an investigation should be conducted into the matter. He said a test for the post was held in November 2001 in Muktsar district but all candidates were not intimated about their performance and only a few were called for the interview in Ropar district.



Punsup Inspectors’ bail plea rejected
Tribune News Service

Moga, September 13
The Sessions Court has rejected the bail applications of Daljit Rai and Gurinder Nath Saini, Inspectors of Punsup who were arrested by the Vigilance Bureau on September 6 for allegedly duping the procurement agency of Rs. 1.94 crore.

A case was registered against them.


New farm policy soon: Bhattal
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, September 13
Aimed at launching the second generation of the Green Revolution in the state and putting the ailing agriculture sector back on the rails, a new agriculture policy to encourage crop diversification and the development of crop marketing facilities will be announced soon.

This was stated by the Agriculture Minister, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, at a press conference here today. Ms Bhattal said the government had prepared a comprehensive plan pertaining to crop diversification, which would be discussed with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, during a special meeting at Chandigarh on September 16.

“We have set a target to bring at least 10 lakh hectares in the state under the diversification of crop within a period of five years for which special measures will be introduced in the policy. The government is concerned about the prevailing non-profitability in the agriculture sector and it will encourage farmers to go in for diversification without any fear since we are planning to set up special marketing cells for diversified crops,” she added.

The state, according to the proposed plan, will be divided into five sectors to provide necessary facilities to the farming sector at the grass-roots. Besides, agriculture export zones will be created according to the quality of soil in that particular sector to encourage sowing of profitable crops like turmeric.

Ms Bhattal, accompanied by the Minister of State for Agriculture, Mr Amarjit Singh Samra, and a former DCC president, Mr D.P. Sehgal, criticised the BJP-led Central Government for its failure to announce minimum support price (MSP) for paddy. She reiterated her demand that the Centre should announce Rs 100 per quintal bonus to paddy growers as compensation for the loss suffered due to severe drought-like conditions. “Though we have received Rs 101 crore as special package for giving compensation to farmers of drought-hit areas, the second installment of Rs 750-crore package demanded by the government is still awaited. The centre should release funds immediately,” she said.

Regarding the allegations levelled by Opposition parties that the Congress government had backtracked on its poll promise to give Rs 30 per quintal as bonus for the paddy procured during the last season, Ms Bhattal asserted that the government was still committed to the promise and the bonus would be released as soon as funds were arranged.

On the outcome of her five-day visit to Canada recently, she said most of the non-Resident Indian (NRIs), had compained to her that their land and properties in India were being encroached upon in their absence. The second major problem faced by the NRIs was the matrimonial disputes with hundreds of women, who had immigrated to foreign countries after their marriage, being harassed by their NRI husbands. “I am going to discuss these matters with the Chief Minister and will urge the President, AICC, Ms Sonia Gandhi, to set up special cells of the party in all states to redress the grievances of the NRIs” she added.


Enter market or face stir, BKU tells govt
Our Correspondent

Moga, September 13
All five farmers’ bodies, including members of the Bhartiya Kisan Union, will hold demonstrations and dharnas in their respective areas if government procuring agencies do not enter the market in Punjab by September 15 for the procurement of paddy.

Stating this here yesterday, a spokesman of the unions said although huge stocks of paddy had piled up in the mandis, the government agencies had not so far entered the market. The farmers were at the mercy of traders who were the sole buyers of the crop.

The crop was being sold between Rs 380, Rs 450 per quintal against the fixed price of Rs 540 per quintal.

The farmers were in distress as their crop had already been damaged due to the drought-like situation in the state.

The state President of the Bhartiya Kisan Union, Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal and General Secretaries Manjit Singh Calcutta and Bhupinder Singh Mahesari urged the Union Government to announce the MSP for paddy before September 15 to stop middlemen from “fleecing” the farmers.

They also demanded that paddy with moisture to the extent of 20 per cent also be procured by the government agencies.


FCI to procure paddy from Oct 1
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, September 13
The Food Corporation of India (FCI) has identified 350 purchasing centres, including grain markets, to start procurement of paddy from October 1 in Punjab. Of the target of 120 lakh metric tonnes to be purchased in the state during this season, the FCI will procure 30 lakh metric tonnes and the rest will be procured by the state government agencies, including the trade. This was stated by Mr V.K. Singh, Senior Regional Manager, FCI, Punjab and Chandigarh, while talking to mediapersons here today.

Mr V.K. Singh directed the officers of various districts to strictly follow the norms set by the FCI in the procurement of paddy. Mr A. Venu Prasad, DC, was also present. 


Rs 15 crore for municipal bodies
Tribune News Service

Ropar, September 13
The Punjab Government has released Rs 15 crore for the municipal bodies to execute development works.

Talking to mediapersons here today, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, Minister for Local Government, Punjab, said the amount would be distributed among the municipal bodies in a couple of days. He said the Ropar Municipal Council would be given Rs 10 lakh.

The minister said the state government had ordered all four municipal corporations of the state to prepare a list of major development works and send it to the government. He said the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, would launch a campaign from Amritsar on September 25 to execute major development works in the areas under the municipal corporations.

To a question on elections to the municipal councils, he said the elections to the councils and nagar panchayats would be held on due time in January or February next year.

Meanwhile, the government has released funds to the tune of crores to the district planning and development boards in the state for development programmes. These boards were virtually non-functional for the past about more than a year.

Earlier the SAD-BJP government had distributed funds for development works in rural and urban areas directly through sangat darshan programmes in place of planning boards for some time.

The minister said more funds would be released to the boards.

Mrs Seema Jain, Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, said the government had released Rs 9 crore to the Ropar District Planning and Development Board. She said the funds would be allocated to different departments soon after convening a meeting of the board.


Officials reluctant to join as ADC
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, September 13
With the CBI probe going on into the arms licence scandal, officials are reluctant to be posted as the Additional Deputy Commissioner here. After the previous incumbent, Mr V.K. Meena, was transferred to Gurdaspur, the post is lying vacant. Not only this, no Assistant Commissioner has been posted here after Dr Rishipal Singh, one of the PCS officers sacked in the aftermath of the PPSC scam, was removed. Although the Deputy Commissioner, Mr D.K. Tiwari, has been giving additional charge to other officers to not let the administrative work suffer, yet the bulk of judicial work, arms licence renewal jobs and work in other branches, usually looked after by the ADC and GA to the Deputy Commissioner, is affected.

The CBI inquiry was initiated to probe the arms licence scandal that rocked the state as more than 27,000 arms licences were issued in a span of three years out of which more than 50 per cent were later found to be illegal. The racket had come to light following the arrest of certain hardcore criminals against whom the Haryana police had framed charges of murder, extortion and indulging in other anti-social activities. These and certain other gangsters operating in Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir and other parts of the country had got their arms licences issued by the Licensing Authority, Ferozepore, a branch generally looked after by an ADC. It has been alleged that the licensing authorities here had shown laxity while issuing arms licences due to which persons with a criminal background got their licences made without their antecedents being checked. The Haryana police had also issued a notice to the ADC here under Section 160 of the CrPC. In this situation, nobody wants to become a scapegoat and face the wrath of thousands of people whose licences have either to be cancelled or renewed after a thorough verification.


Usurping of commissioners’ powers draw flak
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 13
The usurping of powers of Municipal Commissioners by elected Mayors has drawn flak from leaders of various political parties.

Taking serious note of the ‘new political culture’ which has crept in the working of local governments, CPI leader Satya Pal Dang alleged that since the introduction Mayorship in the state, Mayors had been exerting pressure on commissioners who were senior IAS officers. He quoted an example in this regard in which 68 employees of the local corporation were transferred by the Mayor in violation of the rules. However, Mr Jasbir Singh Bir Commissioner, Corporation, who was on leave when these employees were transferred said he had no objection to the transfers. He said the transfers were not with ‘bad intention’.

Mr Dang said the transfer of the Jalandhar Commissioner, Mr Jagjit Singh, who got the stay order on the complaint of Congress leaders was a clear indication of political manoeuvering.


Deposit unused funds: DC
Our Correspondent

Muktsar, September 13
The Deputy Commissioner, Ms Usha R. Sharma, has told officials that the funds given for development works should be used properly and if these remained unused for some reason, the funds should be deposited with the government exchequer.

Addressing a meeting of the officials of different departments here yesterday, she said action would be taken against those who received old-age pension without being eligible.


Akali leader fires at farmer
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 13
Mr Gurjeet Singh, a farmer of Bangi Kalan village has been admitted in Raman Mandi civil hospital in this district after he was fired at senior Akali leader and sarpanch of the village Sukhjit Singh.

The police claimed that Mr Gurjeet Singh was attacked by Sukhjit Singh, Gurmail Singh and Ram Singh as they had a dispute over water for irrigation, sources said. The accused attacked Mr Gurjeet Singh to kill him as he had complained against Sukhjit Singh for irregularities in funds allotted by the state government to the village panchayat for development.

Sources said that a senior official of the government was to visit the village for an inquiry into the alleged irregularity in the use of development funds by Sukhjit Singh.

Police sources said that Mr Gurjeet Singh, who received several pellet injuries, was responding to treatment and his condition was out of danger.

A case under Sections 307 and 34 of the IPC and Section 27 of the Arms Act had been registered at Raman Mandi police station.

Another case was registered at city police station against Madan Lal Dubey and Gagandeep father and son under Sections 307 and 34 of the IPC for alleged attack on Mr Aman Sharma with swords late last night in this city.


Smack, fake currency seized
Tribune News Service

Mansa, September 13
The police here seized 23 gm of smack from two youths at a naka near canal bank of the city.

In a press note here yesterday, Mr S.S. Shrivastva, SSP, said that a police party stopped two youths near the canal bank. They were searched and more than 23 gm of smack was recovered from their possession. The accused have been identified as Sandeep Grover and Bimaljeet Kaur.

In another case he added the police recovered fake currency notes of the denomination of Rs 500 and Rs 100 from Ravipal Singh alias Rinku, resident of Bathinda city. An accomplice of accused Ravipal Singh, identified as Bittu alias Jinder, escaped.


SI booked in torture case
Tribune News Service

Moga, September 13
The police has booked Sandip Sharma, Sub-Inspector (SI), on charges of torture and accepting bribe.

An FIR has been registered against him under Sections 342 and 323, IPC and Sections 13(2) and 88 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Bhupinder Singh of Khai village in Nihal Singhwala subdivision, in a complaint to the SSP, alleged that the then SHO, Sandip Sharma, had picked him up from his house on June, 6, 2000, and tortured him for several days before releasing him after taking a bribe of Rs 20,000. Later, he demanded Rs 30,000 more from him.

The SHO was found guilty in an inquiry conducted by the SP (D).


40,000 looted from school attendant
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, September 13
Two miscreants on a motorcycle today looted Rs 40,000 from Bhim Sain, workshop attendant of the local Government Girls Senior Secondary School, in broad daylight in town bazaar.

According to a report received here Bhim Sain withdrew around Rs 30,000 from the school account at the State Bank of India and Rs 10,000 from the State Bank of Patiala from his personal account. The miscreants damaged the rear wheel of his bicycle by putting a rope or wire in spokes. As Bhim Sain tried to check the tyre the robbers snatched the bag containing cash and fled away.

The matter has been reported to the police.


4 kg of opium seized, 1 held
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 13
The police has seized 4 kg of opium and arrested one person here today. In another incident the police has booked five persons for allegedly showing pornographic films.

According the SP city-I, CIA staff headed by SI Inderjeet Singh raided the residence of Ajmer Singh and other suspected places at Dhand village and seized 4 kg of opium. A case has been registered under Section 18 of the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. The police also arrested three persons for allegedly showing unauthorised pornographic movies today.

Deepak Kumar, Daboo Mandal and Tirath Ram were arrested. The manager and owner of the hall were also booked.


Ban on filling of posts decried

Hoshiarpur, September 13
Reacting to the letter by the Punjab Chief Secretary to the principals of 140 non-government aided colleges, Mr Kamal Chaudhry, President, DAV College Managing Committee, here, has called the decision hard-hitting and harmful to the cause of higher education. The letter issued on August13, 2002 bans the filling of posts which fell vacant after April 30, 2002.

Mr Chaudhry, severely criticising the letter, said more than 50 per cent of the posts would fall vacant by 2006, hitting the students hard, affecting adversely the future of three lakh students. Mr Chaudhry said the decision would hit the standard of education in the state. UNI


Protesting students leave academy
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Ropar, September 13
Revolting against the alleged high-handedness of two teachers of Sri Dashmesh Academy at Anandpur Sahib, more than 75 students of 10th, 11th and 12th classes of the academy today reportedly left the academy in protest for their homes.

As per the version of the students teachers allegedly used abusive language against two students and threatened to get one of them expelled from the academy while on September 7 another teacher hurt a student by hitting him with a dustbin.

Talking to The Tribune this evening, Mr A.J.S. Grewal, Director of the academy, confirmed that 55 students of senior classes had left the academy. He said these students were hostellers and had been found absent during a roll call held in this evening.

He alleged that only one student was creating indiscipline in the academy who had instigated the others to leave the academy today. He said the leaving of academy by 55 students was the result of indiscipline by a student who had beaten up junior students in the playfield. He said following this the in charge of the House reported the matter to the Vice-Principal. The boy was asked to go home and bring his father. He instead instigated students to leave the academy.

He claimed that all these students had gone to their houses as they had confirmed it from the houses of some students.


PMET case for larger Bench
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
Punjab pre-medical entrance test case was today referred to a larger Bench of three Judges by Chief Justice Justice Arun B. Saharya and Mr Justice V.K. Bali of the HIgh Court.

In a ruling, the Judges observed: “Students studying in the institutes located in the union territory of Chandigarh are unable to accept that even though they were studying in institutes situated at a place which happens to be the capital of Punjab, they cannot compete for PMET tests.... By virtue of an amendment in a clause of admission brochure, restriction has been placed on students that they must have passed 10 plus one and 10 plus two examinations from recognised schools situated in Punjab, except in case of certain category of students....”

The Judges concluded: “Since we are unable to agree with each other on the status of union territory of Chandigarh in relation to the state of Punjab and its consequential effect on the proper interpretation and application of the eligibility clause in the prospectus for admission to the MBBS course..., it would be appropriate to leave the whole case open for discussion by a larger Bench of three Judges”.

Bail for ex-minister

Issuing notice of motion for October 18, Mr Justice K.S. Grewal of the High Court today granted interim bail to former Cabinet minister Brij Mohan Singla in a cheating and a corruption case.

Mr Singla was apprehending arrest in a case registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act, besides under Sections 406, 420 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code. Seeking the grant of bail, Mr Mohan Jain submitted on the petitioner’s behalf that the complaint was politically motivated and the complainant was in the habit of levelling allegations.


Students oppose education policy
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 13
More than 1000 DIET students of the Doaba zone staged a rally at the local Dashera ground here today in protest against the new education policy.

Mr Nirbhair Singh, vice-president and Mr Balwinder Singh, general secretary of the state committee of DIET Students Welfare Association said the new education policy would spoil careers of students. They urged the government to withdraw the policy.

Later they staged a march through main bazars of the town despite continuous rain.


Army imparts computer education
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 13
With tension on the borders having decreased considerably Army jawans have come forward to impart computer education to schoolchildren in border villages near the Indo-Pakistan border. The Army has been educating even adults in the border villages.

The Army deployment has proved a blessing in disguise for schoolchildren in the border areas. Jasra-ur, a village a few km from the border, where Army jawans have been stationed after the deployment decided to unpart training computer to children of the government high school of the village Army itself arranged a computer for the students as it was not convenience to bring it from the city which is away from the village.

Mr Surinder Singh, headmaster of the school, praising the Army effort said that they (Army jawans) were training the children as gesture of goodwill to the villagers who helped them (Army) in the beginning.


Students oppose education policy
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 13
More than 1000 DIET students of the Doaba zone staged a rally at the local Dashera ground here today in protest against the new education policy.

Mr Nirbhair Singh, vice-president and Mr Balwinder Singh, general secretary of the state committe of DIET Students Welfare Association said the new education policy would spoil careers of students. They urged the government to withdraw the policy.

Later they staged a march through main bazars of the town despite continuous rain.

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