Sunday, September 15, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SGPC panel for three-tier management of shrines
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14
In a proposed draft of the Sikh Gurdwara Bill, 2002, the review committee set up by the SGPC has, according to informed sources, proposed a three-tier system for the management of gurdwaras in the country under the control of the SGPC with its headquarters at Amritsar.

Besides, it has proposed a drastic cut in the number of members of the SGPC general house.

The earlier draft of the Bill was prepared by Justice Harbans Singh. However, to review the same, the SGPC had set up a seven-member panel in June this year under Justice Kulwant Singh Tiwana.

Other members of the committee were Dr Kashmir Singh, Mr M.S. Rahi, Mr Gurcharan Singh, Mr Jaswinder Singh, Mr Harjinder Singh Dhami and Mr Mohinder Singh Romana.

Informed sources said that the committee would submit the reviewed final draft of the Bill to the SGPC President, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, within a day or so. The committee held its final meeting here today at the sub-office of the SGPC to have a final look at the draft.

The draft is expected to be discussed and passed by the general house of the SGPC before sending the same to the Centre to make it an Act.

Sources said that the committee had recommended that all religious places of Sikhs located in various states and Union Territories should be covered under the proposed Bill. The central body for the management of such places should be SGPC and for local management of gurdwaras regional and state boards should be set up under the command of the central body.

At present the Sikh Gurdwara Act of 1925 covers the gurdwaras located in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and the Union Territory, Chandigarh. Under the Anandpur Sahib Resolution, the Akalis had sought the framing of an All-India Gurdwara Act. Obviously, any such Act will be enacted by Parliament as it is supposed to cover all states and union territories.

As per the recommendations of the review committee, the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee will have no independent entity. The regional or state boards proposed in the draft will work under the central body or the SGPC.

The committee, disagreeing with certain proposals incorporated in the draft by Justice Harbans Singh, has made new additions as well as deletions. However, its basis character has been kept in tact.

The committee has not touched the controversial issue pertaining to the "Sehajdharis." However, according to informed sources, the definition of Sikh recommended by the committee is identical to the one mentioned in the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Act.

Informed sources said that the committee had proposed graduation as the minimum qualification for the jathedars ( High Priests) of various Takhts and the head granthi of Darbar Sahib.

It has proposed the supremacy of Akal Takht in the affairs of Sikhs.

The committee has recommended a general house of 73 elected members from all over the country, besides honorary membership to heads of Takhts and a provision for co-opting certain number of members. At present the number of elected members is 170, besides 15 co-opted members and the five jathedars of Takhts as honorary members.

From Punjab, Haryana, Himachal and Chandigarh, the committee has proposed 46 elected members and from Uttar Pardesh, Delhi, Rajasthan four each. From Maharashtra and Gujarat the committee has proposed three and Madhya Pradesh two members.

From Bihar, Orissa and adjacent areas three members, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala two members and West Bengal, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands two members and Assam other eastern states one member each.


Takht not to entertain personal disputes
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 14
Akal Takht is unlikely to take up “personal disputes” which could create unsavoury situation for Sikh high priests.

The newly formed Religious Advisory Committee which will scrutinise the petitions before being taken up by the Sikh clergy will ensure that no complaint was forwarded to Akal Takht, aimed at settling personal scores.

The first meeting under the presidentship of Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, SGPC President, has resolved that members will hold a meeting once a month to look into the complaints.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur senior SHSAD leader, had criticised the formation of the advisory committee. He said the aim of the committee was to clip the wings of the high priests so that they could not take suo motu action on various issues. However, Mr Badungar said it was a matter of surprise that Mr Bhaur, who himself was party to the formation of the committee, had started criticising the SGPC on the issue. Moreover, it was the Akal Takht Jathedar who had directed the SGPC to constitute the committee.

The members of the advisory board had taken a stand that no case would be forwarded which could create problems for the Sikh clergy.


Parties oppose National River Waters Grid
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 14
An all-party meeting here today opposed the formation of the National River Waters Grid and demanded scrapping of all riparian treaties signed by Punjab besides convening a special session of the state Assembly to discuss this issue. It was also decided that the IHRO and the BKU would file jointly a petition in the Supreme Court in this context.

Convened by the International Human Rights Organisation (IHRO), the meeting was attended by representatives of the SAD, the SAD (A), the SAD (D), the MCPI, the BJP, the SHSAD, the Lok Bhalai Party, the Panthic Morcha, the Movement Against State Repression, the PHRO, the Dal Khalsa, the HRDF, the BKU and the BKU (Ekta). The Congress, the CPI and the CPM did not attend the meeting.

Mr D. S. Gill, Chairman of the IHRO, said that riparian rights were a sensitive issue and the government was planning to create a board which would further encroach on the rights of the people. All riparian states were opposing such development and Punjab too should take up the issue with the Centre.

Speaking on behalf of the SAD, former Punjab Finance Minister Kanwaljit Singh said that the Centre had always given a step-motherly treatment to the state in terms of shares in the water. Punjab was the only state which had such reorganisation Act that was loaded against it.

Certain members said that now the SAD was out of power but it chose to keep quiet on this issue for the past five years. To this the former Minister replied that his party would favour any decision arrived at this meeting.

Mr MaheshInder Singh Grewal of the SHSAD said that while his party too would abide by any concrete step it was also necessary to identify the people who had bartered away the rights of the people in the past. It is sad that the state had to give its natural rights to others while farmers here were hard-pressed for water, he pointed out.

Deliberations continued for more than four hours. Those present gave consent to the resolutions which were passed by voice vote.

The resolutions, include filing a petition in the Supreme Court, convening a special session of the Assembly to nullify all riparian treaties, taking the entire opposition into confidence on the issue, disbanding the SYL Canal Department and absorbing its stall in other departments.

The meeting also said that the Punjab CM should make a statement on the latest status on the action taken following directives of the SC asking the state to disband the SYL Canal department and the progress on the filing of the petition in the apex court. Participants also decided not to allow further digging to complete the SYL Canal.

In another resolution, it was also decided that the BBMB and the BKU to get in control of all river heads to Punjab besides authorising the IHRO and the BKU to get in touch of MPs of Punjab and of those states opposing the formation of the NRWG to initiate further action in this context.

Mr H. L. Sethi of the BJP, Bhai Jasbir Singh Rode of the Panthic Morcha, Mr Charan Singh Lohara of the SAD (A), Kuldip Singh Wadala of the SAD (D), Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri and K. S. Grewal of the MCPIM, A. S. Lakhowal and M. S. Kadian of the BKU, Pishora Singh of the BKU (E), Mr D. S. Dhillon of the MASR, Lt Gen K. S. Gill of the PHRO, Mr S. S. Ghuman of the Dal Khalsa and Mr Surinderpal Singh of the HRDF.


Badal telling lie on free power: Singla
Our Correspondent

Mansa, September 14
The Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission has recommended charging farm sector for power consumed. The commission came into being after a Bill was passed in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha when Mr Parkash Singh Badal was Punjab Chief Minister. This was observed by Mr Surinder Singla, Chairman, High-powered Finance Committee, Punjab here today.

He said if Mr Badal wanted continuation of free power to the farmers, he should have excluded the matter of power supply to agriculture sector from the purview of the commission. He added when the decision on free power to farmers was taken by the SAD-BJP Government, Mr R.S. Mann was the Chief Secretary of the state. Mr Mann was appointed Chief Secretary by the Badal Government after superseding a few senior IAS officers and the decision to charge farmers for power has been taken when Mr Mann is the Chairman of the commission. He added no Akali leader approached the commission when the issue of free power to farmers was under the consideration of the commission. He said Mr Badal had assured the World Bank to charge farmers for power to get loan.

He said Mr Badal was misleading the people on this issue and accusing the Amarinder Government for the withdrawal of the free power to the farmers. Mr Badal misused the loan received from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) meant for the purchase of foodgrains and distributed it at sangat darshan programmes. He said the RBI granted loan of Rs 6000 crore to the present Government with the condition to use it for purchasing foodgrains and the Punjab Government used it to make payment to the growers.

Later Mr Surinder Singla, also an MLA from Bathinda inaugurated new building of the Civil Hospital Mansa built for Rs 1.92 crore.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Singla said that all modern facilities would be provided to the people in this hospital. Mr Sher Singh Gagowal, Mansa, MLA, Mr Gurjant Singh Kutiwal, Pacca Kalan MLA, Mr Ajitinder Singh Mofar, former MLA, Mr Alok Shekhar, Deputy Commissioner, Mansa and Capt Dr Hardev Singh, Deputy Medical Commissioner, and officiating Civil Surgeon, Mansa were present on the occasion.


DCs to revise real estate prices
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 14
In a significant amendment to the Stamp Act, the Punjab Government has given powers of revision of prices of the real estate to deputy commissioners.

The government, in a recent notification, has amended Section 47-A of the Punjab Stamp Act that provides powers of fixing the real estate prices to the Deputy Commissioners. As per the notification issued on September 12, the Deputy Commissioner has the power to fix the government rates of the property in the entire district. The Deputy Commissioners have been advised to revise rates in March every year.

The Deputy Commissioner is supposed to consult the officials concerned and revenue experts in the matter before the revision of the prices. However, the rates can be revised only once a year.

Lists of changed rates should be sent to the Inspector-General of Registration, commissioners and SDMs. The lists should also be put on notice boards of the offices of the Deputy Commissioners and registrars so that the public can access these.

The government has also defined commercial and residential premises in the notification. According to it, a commercial premises is one where any business, trade or profession is carried out for profit.

As per the new amendment, sellers and buyers of a property will have to fill a proforma of registration that will require information like distance of the nearest railway station, bus stand, public office, hospital and educational institute from the property. In case of agricultural property, buyers and sellers will have to divulge information regarding the type of soil, khasra number and type of cultivation.

The government has directed the Deputy Commissioners to implement the notification immediately.


No intrusion by Pak plane: Army
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, September 14
The Army today denied reports of intrusion into the Indian skies by a Pakistani spy plane on September 10.

An Army spokesman said the surveillance grid installed along the international border had not reported any intrusion by any Pakistani aircraft. The Army also clarified that no source other than a powerful radar could provide confirmed information about the activities of Pakistani spy planes.

He said troops had been deployed on the border with a fully reliable, multi-tier system of surveillance of the entire range of enemy activities, including any attempts on the part of Pakistan at aerial violation of the border.


Baba Bedi to form new Akali Dal
Tribune News Service

Moga, September 14
The convener of the Panthic Morcha Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi has announced the formation of new Akali Dal.

Talking to mediapersons here, today, he said that to bring more people closer to the new Akali Dal, a ‘chetna march’ has been planned under the leadership of Bhai Ranjit Singh, former, Jathedar of Akal Takht. The march would begin from Sultanpur Lodhi on the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Devji and would pass through the state exposing ‘deadly’ decisions of Mr Badal that led to uncertainty among Sikhs.

He said that Sikhism got setback under the leadership of Mr Parkash Singh Badal. “There was dire need of Sikh principles to be restored. The basic ideology of the new Akali Dal would be to protect Sikh culture and religion with emphasis on better participation in politics”, he said.

He lashed out at Mr Badal saying that the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission, was set-up by him as he was interested in withdrawing the facility of free power to the farmers. “He is making a fool of the innocent people who did not understand the style of functioning of the governments in power”, said Baba Bedi.

He appealed to Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra and Mr Simranjit Singh Mann to join hands in the formation of the new Akali Dal. Eminent Punjabi writer Jaswant Singh Kanwal joined Baba Bedi to help him restructure Sikh Political campaign. He was openly seen with Baba Bedi for the first time.

Baba Bedi was in the city to attend a meeting of the district wing of the Panthic Morcha organised by Mr Buta Singh Ransinhkalan, district president. Ravi Inder Singh, Ranjit Singh Chajjalwaddi (former MLA’s) and Bhai Jasbir Singh Rode, former jathedar of Akal Takht also attended the meeting.


BJYM campaign from Sept 25
Tribune News Service

Phillaur, September 14
The BJP and the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) will launch “gaon chalo abhiyaan” from September 25 throughout the country. This was stated by state BJYM president Sukhminderpal Singh Grewal, while talking to newspersons here today.

He said a state-level BJP training camp would be held from September 27 to September 29 at Malout.

The national working meeting of the morcha would be held on September 18 in New Delhi which would be addressed by BJP President Venkaiah Naidu.


Govt press dying a slow death
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 14
The Government Ticket Printing Press here has not been able to start work on an order to print 14 crore tickets for Punjab Roadways since the past one month because it does not have funds of a few hundred rupees to repair its lone machine, purchased in 1976.

Press Administrator-cum-Additional Controller Kiran Pal Brar said the press was only run when there was an order. When told of the order received last month, she said the machine had developed fault and would be set right soon.

There are around 30 employees in the press situated on Press Road, near the Sher-e-Punjab market, who have been without work since a month. This apparently does not seem to bother the authorities as the employees have been without work on numerous occasions.

Sources said repairs had not been conducted for some time as the press did not have any order. They said the lone printing machine, which had been imported from England in 1976, had become outdated. The sources said the repairs could not be conducted since there were no funds to buy even nuts and bolts costing a few hundred rupees. They said since it took months to clear small bills, no one was ready to supply material to the press.

The sources said after the plight of the Government Printing Press situated on Sirhind Road was highlighted recently, repair work started on the machine of the Ticket Printing Press. However, employees are shelling money from their pockets for the repairs.

The quality of printing has gone down in recent years due to overuse of the numbering boxes of the machine. The sources said the print of the tickets was no longer sharp and at times tickets were left altogether blank. Replacement of the numbering boxes would have to be done by importing new ones from abroad which would cost around Rs 8 to Rs 10 lakh.

The press is dying a slow death as there does not seem any move to revive it. Moreover, it does not have any clients except Punjab Roadways. The Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) earlier used to get its work done from the press. Even Punjab Roadways gives the press only part of its work and has started getting work done from private firms which works out to be more cheaper.


Army to compensate truck owners
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 14
The Army authorities have decided to compensate within a week the truck operators whose vehicles were destroyed in the fire that broke out near Bikaner on January 11 while arms and ammunition were being transported to the border in Rajasthan from different locations in Punjab.

The decision was conveyed to members of the Truck Operators Sufferers Action Committee by senior Army officials during a meeting held here today. The Army officials said the compensation would be determined according to the model of the trucks which had perished in the fire.

The affected truck operators told TNS that the Army authorities had promised to pay interest on the amount of compensation from the day on which their trucks were destroyed in the fire. The owners would have to get the registration of their perished vehicles cancelled and file affidavits to the effect that they had not claimed any compensation from an insurance company or other organisation so far.

After pressure was put on the Army authorities by various politicians, including Mr Simranjit Singh Mann and Mr Sukhbir Badal, both MPs, and Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister of Punjab, the Western Command constituted a board of officers to look into the issue pertaining to the payment of compensation to the owners of about 161 trucks, belonging to this region, which were destroyed in the fire.

Mr Mann, who also raised the matter in Parliament, objected to the reply given by the Union Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, on the issue of awarding compensation to the affected truck owners saying that it was not satisfactory. He alleged that the government’s action in this connection, so far, was mere eyewash.

The Tribune also raised this matter in its columns when a section of the truck owners, whose trucks were hired by the Army authorities through the district administration from the city and its surrounding areas and which got burnt in the fire, threatened to commit suicide before Parliament during the last monsoon session.

The affected truck owners have been feeling humiliated and harassed as the authorities concerned have not been listening to their grievances despite the fact that they have been making rounds of the local cantonment and approaching the Army authorities at Chandigarh.

Mr Shavinder Singh, chairman of the Truck Operators Sufferers Action Committee, pointed out that there were truck operators whose entire fleet of vehicles had been damaged in the fire and they were left without a livelihood.

About 161 trucks hired by the Army authorities from Bathinda, Goniana, Bhucho, Jaito, Mansa, Rampura and other towns of this region were damaged in the fire.


Laser treatment boon for women
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, September 14
Even as one out of five women in the world suffer from excessive bleeding from uterus causing serious social problems, the introduction of special laser machines to treat patients without surgical intervention and to avoid hysterectomy (the removal of uterus), has come as a boon for women.

This was disclosed by Dr Sabina Bakhshi, a well-known gynaecologist, during an inhouse seminar on “laser treatment — a boon for women” organised by a local hospital here yesterday. Dr Bakhshi said excessive bleeding from uterus (menorrhagia or dysfunctional uterine bleeding), was usually because of imbalance of hormones, causes anaemia and weakness among women making it difficult to lead an energetic life.

“Though hysterectomy has been accepted as the final mode of treatment by the experts after failure to treat patients by other procedures like balloon therapy, women have a safe and extremely effective alternative in the form of laser treatment as the entire procedure takes only seven minutes and patients can get on with their normal lives after one hour of the treatment, whereas major surgeries, including hysterectomy require hospitalisation and careful post operative care,” Dr Bakhshi added.

Dr Peter Laser, a Germany-based expert, who is closely associated with laser therapy awareness programme, in his address, said there was a need to create awareness among women, particularly in the rural areas, about the availability of such laser treatment facilities to avoid unnecessary harassment. “You see, if women are made aware of minimal discomfort, swift recovery rate and effective results of new laser procedures, they will certainly prefer to avoid major surgeries.


Indo-Pak Punjabi Mela on Nov 29
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14
The seventh Raja Porus Hind-Pak Punjabi Mitterta Mela will be organised by the Folklore Research Academy at the Wagah border, Amritsar, on November 29 and 30, a press note said here today. `A meeting regarding the preparations for the same was held at the Punjab Kala Bhavan here.

In accordance with tradition, three eminent Punjabi personalities, one each from Indian and Pakistani Punjab and one NRI, will be honoured. These awards will be given to Afsal Tausif (Pakistan), Baba Bhagat Singh Bilga, a freedom fighter, and Joginder Bassi, a Punjabi mediaperson from Canada.

A two-day conference on Indo-Pakistan ties will also be held.


Trader allowed to go abroad
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14
Mr Justice Ashutosh Mohunta of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has allowed a Jalandhar-based businessman, allegedly involved in a case, to visit Turkey and Egypt for a month.

Taking up a petition filed by Mr Ashok Kumar, Mr Justice Mohunta observed: “The petitioner is a partner in three other concerns also. It shows that he cannot leave behind his interests in India by absconding to other countries. He is running a unit which is 100 per cent export-oriented. In order to promote business interests, he has to go abroad. I allow the petitioner to visit the two countries for a month”.

The Judge added: “His passport shall be released forthwith by the customs authorities.... He shall also furnish bank guarantee of Rs 5 lakh with one surety of the like amount to the satisfaction of Amritsar’s Chief Judicial Magistrate”.


Plea to set up Bhagat Singh Chairs
Tribune News Service

Ropar, September 14
In connection with 96th birthday on September 27 of Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh, the All-India Forward Bloc (AIFB) today demanded that the Punjab Government and the Union Government to set up Shaheed Bhagat Singh Chairs in the Punjabi University, Guru Nanak Dev University and Panjab University. It also demanded national monument status for the ancestral house of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, at Khatkar Kalan village. This was stated by Mr V. P. Saini, general secretary of the Punjab unit of the AIFB.

He said leaders of the party from all over the country were coming to Ropar to participate in the birthday celebrations of Bhagat Singh.


Two killed in house collapse
Our Correspondents

Sangrur, September 14
Two members of a family were killed when the roof of their house collapsed due to heavy rain in Preet Nagar of Sunam town in this district on Saturday. Sources said a labourer, Jaggar Singh, was sleeping with his family when the roof of his house collapsed. The victims include the labourer’s wife, Surinder Kaur (40), and his daughter, Kato (4). The labourer and his son, Satguru Singh, were seriously injured.

PHAGWARA: Intermittent downpour continued here on the third day on Saturday. It has created wintry conditions and low-lying areas have been water logged.


Fuel adulterated, allege truckers
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 14
Truck operators and drivers today staged a dharna, when they found that the pipeline, from which tankers were filled, was allegedly mix with water. Sources said the fuel was adulterated.

No senior official of the company concerned at Phoos Mandi, village near here, could be contacted.


Migrant labour may get permits
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, September 14
A permit system is being mooted for the migratory labour to check criminal activities, according to Mr S.K. Sharma, Inspector-General of Police, Jalandhar zone.

Talking to newspersons here today, he said permits would be issued to labourers under the proposed plan.

He said the permit system, if approved, would be introduced in Phagwara, Rajpura, Khanna, Bathinda and Ludhiana.


Wheat theft: 2 Markfed officials suspended
Tribune News Service

Tarn Taran, September 14
Markfed has suspended Ajaib Singh Sandhu, senior branch officer and Mr Om Parkash Puri field officer allegedly for stealing wheat meant for export and stored in a depot here, a charge sheet is also being served on both officials.

Both officials were arrested by the police here last month for stealing wheat. Later they were released on bail.

The charge sheet prepared by the District Manager Markfed, Mr B.S. Sandhu, reads “you have misappropriated the stock by less accounting of actual excess in the stocks as per test weighment at the time of physical verification by the committee constituted by the district manager the excess came out to be 1136 gm per quintal whereas while loading the wheat stock into railway wagons for export booked only 202 gm per quintal. More so 839 gm of excess wheat per quintal was found on 100 per cent weighment in the next two ‘specials’ (trains) loaded on September 4 September 5 from the same stock, same crop and from the same complex.

The draft of charge sheet sent to the state headquarter proves police version partially that stock had been embezzled from the local Markfed depot while loading the wagons on July 23 this year by booking less excess of wheat.

The draft charge sheet has pointed out that apart from huge financial loss the officials have brought bad name to the organisation.

Meanwhile, the department is contemplating regular inquiry into the embezzlement of wheat.


DC suspends two officials
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, September 14
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr A. Venu Prasad, has placed under suspension Paramjit Singh, a senior assistant and reader to local SDM and Hargobind Singh, junior assistant tehsil, Jaitu for allegedly committing a fraud of Rs 1 lakh by tampering with government records.

Giving details the Deputy Commissioner said in 1991 Paramjit Singh while posted as district nazar in the Deputy Commissioner’s office made cuttings in various contingency bills meant for various private firms and misused the amount drawn from the Treasury.

Under the circumstances the then Deputy Commissioner stopped his five yearly increments. His services were terminated in 1995.

However he (Paramjit Singh) filed a mercy appeal before the Commissioner, Ferozepore Division, who after setting, a side the Deputy Commissioner’s orders stopped his increments for ever. Similarly Hargobind Singh who was posted at Nihal Singhwala also misappropriated the honorarium of chawkidars of the area in 1991 and suffered a loss of seven yearly increments at the orders of the then Deputy Commissioner.


Patiala corporators eying hike in salaries
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 14
Buoyed by the example of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation whose corporators have moved to increase their salaries, the Patiala Municipal Corporation has also decided to take up the issue of increasing the salary of its corporators in its next general house meeting.

The corporation authorities have decided to put up the issue of hiking the salary of corporators from the present Rs 3,000 per month to Rs 10,000 per month.

After the issue is approved by the general house, it will be sent to the government for approval.

The issue which is being taken up in the general house “on the demand of the corporators, is likely to have a smooth sailing with members of all parties likely to pass it without any hitch. As such the Congress has 37 members in the 50-member house.

The corporators who are behind the move have tried to justify it by saying that a committee had been constituted in 1991 to review the salary of the corporators but its then recommendations could not be implemented.

They have also cited the example of the Ludhiana corporation which has also moved to increase the salary of its corporators to Rs 10,000 per month.

Corporation Mayor Vishnu Sharma, while confirming the development, said the final decision on the increase in salary would lie with the government. When asked whether a small corporation like Patiala would be able to bear the additional burden, he said a uniform increase was expected in all four corporations of the state.

People in the city have, however, not taken kindly to the move. Amarjit Singh of Sheranwala Gate said it was amazing that the newly elected corporators were first looking towards the need to increasing their salaries instead of framing any development model for the city.

He said Ludhiana and Patiala could not be compared in any way with the income of the latter corporation being negligible when compared with Ludhiana.

He said in such circumstances the Patiala corporation would not be able to bear the additional burden. Others including Tarsem Kumar of Raghbir Nagar, said a major portion of the Rs 30 crore budget of the corporation was spent in meeting the salary bill of its employees. He said the corporation which was not paying any salary to any corporator with elections to the body not being held for the past five years, would be saddled with a huge bill to be paid to the corporators.

Meanwhile, sources stated that the corporation would have to pay Rs 60 lakh annually to the corporators on account of their salaries, if the move was passed by the government.

Besides this, the corporation has also for the first time been saddled with the responsibility of maintaining the offices of the Mayor, Senior Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor, besides extending facilities to them.


Two get 10-year RI for rape
Tribune News Service

Moga, September 14
The Sessions Court here has convicted two persons to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 12,000 each for rape.

An FIR regarding rape was registered at the city police station on February 7, 1999, on the complaint of a woman (29) under Sections 376,506 and 34 of the IPC against Jasbir Singh Jagga and Piara Singh Bhinder Kalan and Kuljit Singh of Varha village.

The woman had complained that when she started living separately from her husband Jugraj Singh, an employee in the Nestle factory, his close relative and one of the accused Kuljit Singh pretended to mediate for a compromise between them.

On February 5, 1999, Kuljit Singh came to her house in a Jeep along with Piara Singh and Jasbir Singh, she said, adding that they forcibly removed her clothes and raped her for hours.

During the trial, charges against the accused were altered by the court and they were framed under Sections 342, 450, 376 and 506 of the IPC. However, the main accused Kuljit Singh died during the trial.

While announcing the judgement, the Additional Sessions Judge, Mr Jagmohan Singh Chawla, said out of Rs 24,000 collected as fine from the accused Rs 20,000 would be given to the victim as relief. But if the accused fail to deposit the fine, they would have to remain under imprisonment for another two years each.


Two robbers killed in encounter
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, September 14
Two migrant robbers were killed in an encounter with the police on the Bhullarai road canal, on the outskirts of the town, this morning.

Kapurthala SSP R.N. Dhoke told mediapersons at a press conference today that a .38-bore revolver with two cartridges and a country made .12-bore gun with two cartridges were seized from them. They had fired four rounds from the revolver and one from the gun and the empties had also been recovered from the encounter site. The encounter lasted for about 15 to 20 minutes. A case under Section 307 IPC, and Section 25 of the Arms Act had been registered, the SSP added.

Mr R.K. Sharma, IG (Jalandhar Zone), who visited the site, announced Rs 10,000 reward for the police party involved in the encounter. The DIG Jalandhar Range Mr Rohit Chaudhary, also visited the site.

The SSP declared at the conference that he would recommend reward for SHO Manjit Singh, Head Constable Narinder Singh, Constable Manjit Singh and Home Guard jawan Rajinder Singh who were in the patrolling party that spotted the robbers. There out-of-turn promotion would be recommended, said Mr Dhoke.

The SSP said the robbers had not been identified yet. The robbers had committed two to three robberies on the outskirts of the town and injured some residents, added the SSP. SP Darshan Kumar and DSP Harmanbir Singh Gill were also present.


Bogus doctor arrested
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, September 14
The police arrested a bogus doctor here today. The police also arrested a shopkeeper for allegedly selling un-prescribed medicines. According to Mr Varinder Kumar, district police chief, Gurdev Singh of Kot Dhandal had been treating people without any degree. A case has been registered under Section 15 of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956.

In another incident, the police nabbed Satish Kumar of Geeta Bhavan road and a chemist for allegedly selling drugs without prescription. The shop had been sealed by the police.


Drive against drugs launched
Our Correspondent

Abohar, September 14
The police yesterday officially declared a war against drugs at a seminar presided over by Mr Sunil Jakhar, MLA, Abohar to make the free of drug addicts by October 31.

Mr Rakesh Aggarwal, ASP, said 140 persons involved in drug-trafficking in the region had been identified, the police was confident of breaking the nexus. During the past few days 2400 kg of poppy husk, 5 kg of opium and 60 gm of smack had been recovered in Abohar sub-division alone. Women and minor girls were being engaged in these activities.

SSP, Praveen Kumar Sinha said community policing programme would be introduced shortly to involve common man in controlling the crime.

The Democratic Citizens’ Forum honoured senior police officers at the seminar for their crusade against drugs and other evils.


25 academy students return
Tribune News Service

Anandpur Sahib, September 14
The authorities of Sri Dasmesh Academy, Anandpur Sahib, today ordered an inquiry into yesterday’s incident in which more than 75 students ran away from the academy in protest against the alleged high-handedness of two teachers of the academy.

Meanwhile, about 25 students, including 18 hostel inmates, today returned to the academy and reported their attendance to the authorities.

The academy authorities have reported the incident to the higher authorities of the academy, including the chairman of the executive committee, for further action in the matter. The local authorities have taken a serious view of the matter as they consider it a gross violation of discipline in the academy.

Group Captain A.J.S. Grewal (retd), Honorary Director of the academy, said he had ordered an inquiry into the incident. He said the inquiry would be conducted by Mr Nicholas Gomes, Vice-Principal and Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee of the academy. Mr Gomes would be assisted by the house masters of the academy, Group Captain Grewal (retd) added.

Group Captain Grewal (retd) also stated that no student or teacher would be spared if he was found guilty in the report of the inquiry officer. Stern action would be taken against the guilty to maintain the sanctity of the academy, he added.

He expressed the hope that all 52 hostel inmates, who had left the academy the previous day, would attend the Parents’ Day function with their parents to be held here tomorrow. He said 18 hostel inmates had already returned to the academy. He claimed that those students had told the authorities that they felt sorry for their action as they left the academy at the instigation of some other students. He also said prime facie it seemed that Harpreet Waraich, Harpreet Deol and Punjab Singh, all students of senior classes, were behind the incident of leaving the academy by the students. He claimed that he had also got information that some former teachers of the academy had provoked the students to leave the academy.

He claimed that there was no groupism among teachers. However, he admitted that resentment prevailed on the campus of the academy among the old and new teachers on the issue of salaries.

He also claimed that no student had been rusticated from the academy so far as had been alleged by some persons to pollute the atmosphere of the academy. No show-cause notice to any teacher or student for the incident had been issued so far as all proceedings would be initiated after the completion of the inquiry.

The Director said almost all students had gone to their homes. But he had information that about five local students were residing with the hostel inmates, fearing reprimand from their parents for their act, he added.


Join classes, Behl asks DIET students
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, September 14
Even as hundreds of students of DIET have been agitating against the new education policy by resorting to indefinite dharnas throughout the state for the past 15 days, the Punjab Education Minister, Mr Khushal Behl, said today that the department was seriously considering their demands and asked the students to join classes.

Mr Behl, who was in the city to preside over a “Hindi divas” function organised by Kanya Mahavidalya here, told this correspondent that a deputation of students had met him recently regarding their demands.

“We are seriously considering to waive the condition of minimum percentage of marks in class XII for students already admitted to the ETT course,” he said. The minister said the genuine demands would be accepted after discussions with students.

The minister said a comprehensive plan had been prepared to improve the vocational training programmes at the school level so that students could be trained as carpenters, electricians, masons and TV and radio mechanics.


SGPC to coach IAS aspirants
Our Correspondent

Mansa, September 14
The SGPC will provide coaching to IAS and IPS aspirants. This was stated by Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, SGPC President, while talking to mediapersons at Tamkot village on Thursday. The candidates would be selected after a test.

Seminars would be organised in colleges to educate the youth against the use of intoxicants. The first seminar would be held at Garhshankar on September 19, he said.

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