Tuesday, September 17, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Badal may face music
Cook’s son in Vigilance net
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 16
The Punjab Vigilance Department may bring former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in the ambit of the PPSC scam with a case being registered against the son of the former Chief Minister’s cook for using influence to get selected as a DSP.

Names of some of the candidates who had got selected to various services by bribing and using influence on former PPSC Chairman Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu and against whom five separate category wise cases have been registered by the Vigilance Department here were known earlier. However, it was only after the complete list of 38 candidates was procured by the TNS that it came to light that a case had been registered against Amardeep Singh, son of Kala Singh, who was working as a cook earlier at the official residence of Mr Badal when he was the Chief Minister.

The registration of a case against Kala Singh’s son could also take the former Chief Minister in its ambit as it is alleged that the question papers of the examination had been delivered to the candidate at the official residence of the former Chief Minister. Besides, Amardeep Singh, the Vigilance Department has held two other candidates - Rahul Gupta, son of former PPSC member T.C. Gupta, and Amol Gill, daughter of Punjab and Haryana High Court Justice Amarbir Singh Gill, guilty of using influence to get selected to the PCS (Executive) and PCS (Judicial), Services respectively.

Five separate cases have been registered by grouping the candidates in five categories. A case has been registered against eight PCS (Judicial) candidates, including Monica Sethi who is accused of paying Rs 37 lakh as bribe money, Ram Sharan (Rs 32 lakh), Rajinderpal (Rs 32 lakh), Preet Inder Singh (Rs 32 lakh), Amrik K Jindal (Rs 30 lakh), Mandeep Kaur (Rs 25 lakh), Navdeep Singh (Rs 25 lakh) and Amol Gill who is accused of using ‘’safarish’’ to get selected.

A case has also been registered against 10 candidates who got selected to the PCS (Executive), including Deepak Gakhar who is accused of paying a bribe money of Rs 65 lakh, Jiwan Garg (Rs 60 lakh), Kamal Kumar Garg (Rs 50 lakh), Randip Singh (Rs 42 lakh), Capt Mohinder Singh Brar (Rs 40 lakh), Bharat Bhushan (Rs 45 lakh), Amardeep Singh (Rs 57 lakh), Kuljit Kaur, daughter of former SSP Gurcharan Singh Pherurai (Rs 70 lakh), Kanwaljit Singh, District Food and Supply Officer (Rs 12 lakh) and Rahul Gupta who is also accused of using his influence in the case.

Cases have also been registered against four Block Development and Panchayat Officers (BDPOs) —- Vijay Singh, who is accused of paying Rs 51 lakh to get selected to the post, Kuljit Singh (Rs 45 lakh) and Harpreet Singh (Rs 35 lakh).

Under another FIR, Number 67 cases have been registered against 13 officers who got themselves nominated to the PCS (Allied). They are Inderpreet Singh Kahlon, Tehsildar accused of paying Rs 30 lakh, Jarnail Singh (Rs 22 lakh), Jasbir Singh (Senior Assistant) - Rs 20 lakh, O.P. Verma (ETO) - Rs 35 lakh, Harbans Lal (ETO) - Rs 20 lakh, Bhupinderjit Singh (DRO) - Rs 15 lakh, Parminder Pal Singh (Tehsildar) - Rs 40 lakh, Balraj Kaur (Tehsildar) — Rs 26 lakh, Pritpal Singh ( Additional District Attorney)— Rs 26 lakh, Gurdev Singh (Tehsildar) — Rs 25 lakh, Baljit Singh (District Development and Panchayat Officer) - Rs 25 lakh, Rajinder

Singh Sidhu ( Excise department)-Rs 30 lakh and Jaspal Singh (DPO) — Rs 20 lakh.

A case has also been registered against four persons selected to the post of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), including Naresh Kumar who is accused of paying the former PPSC Chairman Rs 1 crore, Gursharanbir Singh of Moga (Rs 60 lakh), Gurjit Singh, son of former SSP G.S. Pherurai (Rs 2.80 crore) and Amardeep Singh, son of Kala Singh who is also accused of using his influence to get selected as a DSP.


Copies of documents given to Sidhu
Our Correspondent

Ropar, September 16
Vigilance Bureau, Punjab today supplied copies of several important documents attached with the challan to Mr Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu, the suspended Chairman of the Punjab Public Service Commission in the disproportionate assets case.

The copies of the documents were supplied to Sidhu by the prosecution in the court of Mr Amrik Singh Kathuria on the request of his counsel.

The prosecution also supplied copies of the documents to the other accused Dr Shamsher Singh, Randhir Singh Dhira, Paramjit Singh Pammi, Prem Nagar, G.S. Manchanda and Surinder Kaur Manchanda.

Mr Kathuria has fixed September 23 as the next date of hearing for arguments on the issue of framing charges against the accused.


3 ‘tainted’ PCS nominees seek bail
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 16
Two former PCS (Executive) nominees and one judicial officer today moved court here seeking bail in the event of arrest in a case registered against them and 35 others under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The nominees — Bharat Bhushan and Jeewan Garg of the PCS (Executive) and Rajinder Bansal of the PCS (Judicial), accused of bribing former PPSC Chairman Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu for selection moved for bail today. The applications will be taken up for preliminary hearing tomorrow.

Jeewan Garg’s application said he was working as DSP (Jails) before his appointment to the PCS. It said, moreover, Mr Randhir Singh Dheera, who turned approver in the case, had not mentioned his name (Garg) as having paid bribe to the former PPSC Chairman in his statement under Section 306 CrPc. It said Mr Garg had also joined investigation in the case relating to FIR number 24 registered against the former Chairman and members of his family.

Bharat Bhushan’s application for bail says that he was working as an engineer in the Ministry of Defence after selection by the UPSC. It said that Mr Bhushan opted for the PCS (Executive) only because he wanted to return to his home state though the earlier job had more prestige.

Mr Rajinder Bansal’s application says that the applicant is from a poor family background and could not have paid the large amount of bribe as was being alleged by the Vigilance Department. It was also claimed that the applicant had joined investigation in the case registered under FIR number 24.


Cabinet meeting on Sept 18
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16
An important meeting of the Council of Ministers, which was to be held tomorrow, has been postponed on September 18, according to official sources.

In fact, all important meetings slated for today were cancelled. One of the meetings on agenda for today was of the Cabinet subcommittee on Disinvestment. Informed sources said that Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, who underwent angioplasty at a Delhi hospital and was discharged from hospital, wanted to have a rest for some more time.

At the next meeting of the council, the issue of the free power to the farming sector is to be decided. In its award last week, the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission, had imposed tariff on power for the farming sector. However, the PSEB, which is awaiting a green signal from the Chief Minister in this connection, has not implemented the award of the commission regarding the charging of power bills from farmers.

Capt Amarinder Singh, on his return from Delhi on September 12 here, stated that the implementation of the commission’s award by the PSEB would be discussed at the Council of Ministers. At the moment there are two opinions on the issue. While the political executive wants that the free power should continue to the farming sector for three more months and the state government should compensate the PSEB in lieu of the supply of free power to farmers.

However, those who have been dealing with the financial situation of the state on day-to-day basis say not to charge bills from farmers even for next three months will be a most unfortunate decision. They say that the state is neck-deep in financial crisis and it cannot afford freebies to any sections of the society any more. Already, the state government has committed a subsidy of Rs 850 crore to the PSEB for the current financial year for providing power at a “cheaper” rate to the farming sector. The state government should not go beyond this amount.

Mr Amarjit Singh Samra, Minister of State for Agriculture, has mooted a new proposal of levying 2 per cent cess on any farmer on the procurement of foodgrains. The collection about Rs 300 crore made from the cess should be given to the PSEB to provide free power to farmers. However it would not be possible. The Union Government has been insisting that the Punjab Government should bring down all taxes, including commission of arhtiyas to 4 per cent on procurement of foodgrains. At present all taxes and levies collected by the state government on the procurement are to the tune of 11.5 per cent and this amount is paid by the Union Government as both paddy and wheat are procurement for the central pool.

The government has not announced a minimum support price of paddy. The Punjab Government will have to lobby for it with the Centre. Even, the Union Government has not advanced the date, to start the procurement of paddy, to September 21. The Centre has sticked to October 1 as date of procurement. This issue is also expected to be discussed at the Cabinet meeting.

Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Punjab Agriculture Minister, says that she will take up the issue of framing the state agricultural policy at the next meeting of the Cabinet. There is a need to take drastic steps to save the agricultural sector from collapsing, she says. 


Govt seeks 50 cr for Khalsa complex
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16
Punjab is seeking special financial allocation of Rs 50 crore for the Khalsa Heritage Complex at Anandpur Sahib and Rs 27 crore for Pushpa Gujral Science City, at Jalandhar.

On the Heritage Complex, estimated to cost Rs 210 crore, Rs 55 crore have been spent till June 30. On the science city, estimated to cost Rs 100 crore, the Centre has released Rs 27 crore (out of its share of Rs 70 crore), while, the state government contribution is around Rs 30 crore, in terms of developed land and some basic infrastructure including a power sub-station and road network.

The state expects the Union Ministry of Tourism and Culture and also Human Resource Development to step in to fund these two projects that would eventually attract tourists and preserve for posterity the rich cultural heritage of Punjab, as also create a scientific temper in northern states.

The Union Minister, Tourism and Culture, Mr Jagmohan, visited Anandpur Sahib last week to have the first-hand feel of the project. He was accompanied by the Chief Secretary, Mr Y.S. Ratra. Impressed by the concept of the project and concerned over the paucity of funds, he asked the Chief Secretary to visit Delhi for a proper appraisal of the two projects, promising to see what his ministry could do the complete the projects.

Consequently, Mr Ratra, is meeting Mr Jagmohan on September 18 to seek funds for the two projects and explore possibilities of bringing Anandpur Sahib and Jalandhar on the tourist circuit, as much for NRIs as foreign tourists and visitors.

The Khalsa Heritage Complex was conceived during the tercentenary celebrations of the birth of the Khalsa in April 1999. The Centre had announced Rs 100 crore for the celebrations at the national level. Since the main function and focus was at Anandpur Sahib, Rs 50 crore were made available to the state government for the week-long celebrations.

The state had earlier too (April 2001) requested the Centre that since there was a considerable saving out of the remaining sum of Rs 50 crore to be spent by other states, therefore, Rs 50 crore be given for the complex, as a special allocation. The request was repeated to Mr Jagmohan on his September 11 visit to Anandpur Sahib.

Out of the total Rs 210 crore envisaged cost of the project, Rs 110 crore is for the building component and remaining Rs 100 crore for the exhibition input for which the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, has been commissioned. The architect design of the complex is by Moshe Safdie and Adviser is Dr Saroj Ghosh, formerly president, UNESCO Council of Museums. The project is expected to be completed by December 2003.

The work on the Rs 100 crore Pushpa Gujral Science City project is on schedule. Coming up on 71 acre on Jalandhar-Kapurthala road, the state is keen that the Centre releases its share of Rs 27 crore. So far, against promised Rs 70 crore, it has only sanctioned Rs 27 crore. An equal sum is required till March 31, 2003.

Close to this city, says Mr Ratra, are two other key institutions, Punjab Technical University and the Sardar Sawaran Singh National Institute of Renewable Energy. When fully developed, all three will be integral part of the science city.

A recent review of the works at the two sites revealed that basic civil works were nearing completion. If paucity of money does not infringe on the progress, completion and commissioning would be quicker.


PAP’s first casualty in J&K
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 16
Jarnail Singh, a commando of the 5 Battalion of the Punjab Armed Police (PAP), who was a local resident, died while fighting militants at a village polling station in Poonch sector, Jammu and Kashmir, in an early morning attack.

Police sources said Jarnail Singh was the first casualty of the Punjab police in Jammu and Kashmir after a section of the PAP commandos had been deployed there for the Assembly elections.

The sources added that Jarnail Singh, whose father had also served in the Punjab police, was hit by a stray bullet. Though severely injured he kept on firing at the militants armed with modern weapons and managed to save the life of other commandos and the polling staff.

The sources added that Jarnail Singh was on sentry duty at a school where a polling booth had been set up. He took position when he heard the gun shots. He took on the militants and did not allow them to approach the polling booth.

After some time other commandos joined him and forced the militants to flee from there. Jarnail Singh died on the spot.

Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, said he had been informed by Mr Jagdish Kumar Mittal, DIG, Punjab police, who was stationed at Rajouri. The sources said the body had been taken to Jammu city in a chopper. It would be brought here late tonight.

Meanwhile, a pall of gloom has descended in the Guru Nanakpura locality of the town where Jarnail Singh was living with his wife and two children. A large number of residents of surrounding areas had started gathering at his house.


Punjab cop in Rajouri dead
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 16
A Punjab commando of the Fifth Battalion on poll duty in Kashmir died when a gun being cleaned by a constable went off. Sources at the Bahadurgarh Commando Complex here said the battalion was posted in Rajouri. The incident occurred on Friday evening. The deceased has been identified as Lok Bahadur.


Farmers’ unions burn CM’s effigies
Tribune Reporters

Moga, September 16
Five farmers’ organisations, today burnt an effigy of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office.

Criticising the anti-farmer policy of the Congress government farmers belonging to the Kirti Kisan Union, Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta), Jamhoori Kisan Sabha, Kul Hind Kirti Kisan Sabha and Khetibarhi te Kisan Vikas Front marched on the streets of the town raising slogans against the Chief Minister for putting the farmers under extra financial burden.

The organisations also criticised the decision of the Punjab State Electricity Board to collect electricity tariff from the farmers.

BATHINDA: Activists of the Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta) and four other farmers’ organisations today staged a dharna in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner here and burnt the effigies of the Prime Minister, and Capt Amarinder Singh to protest against the alleged anti-farmer policies of the state government.

Mr Jhanda Singh Jethuke, district president, BKU (E), alleged that under the pressure of the World Trade Organisation and the multinational companies additional pressure was being put on the farmers.

He alleged that the farmers were getting poor quality seeds and insecticides.

Later, they submitted a memorandum to the union and the state government through the Bathinda Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, and demanded free power supply to the agriculture sector.


Farmers protest against govt decision

Jalandhar, September 16
A group of five farmers unions today held a protest at the district-level headquarters against the decision of the Punjab Government to withdraw free power and water subsidy to the agricultural sector.

The protest, organised by the ‘Jamuhari Kisan Sabha Punjab’, gave an ultimatum to the government to not to accept the recommendations of the state Regulatory Power Authority or else they would assemble outside the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) headquarters at Patiala and organise protest ‘dharnas’.

Other farmers unions which took part in the protests were Bharati Kisan Union, Kirti Kisan Sabha, Kethibari and Kisan Vikas Front and Kulhind Kirti Kisan Union. UNI


Forest officers form JAC
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, September 16
Perturbed over registration of criminal cases against several Forest Department officials throughout the state for allegedly committing financial irregularities by the Vigilance Bureau (VB) in the recent past, the employees of the state Forest Department today formed a Joint Action Committee of forest officers to put up a united forum against the bureau for framing false cases.

Employees of the department in an emergency meeting held at Phillaur, 45 km from here, have decided to oppose the alleged dictatorial attitude of the bureau officials by forming a Joint Action Committee comprising representatives of the Indian Forest Services Association, the Punjab Forest Services Association, the Rangers and Deputy Rangers Association, and the Punjab non-Gazetted Forest Officers Union.

They alleged that though a high-level delegation of the Japan Government had recently visited different parts of Punjab to review the ongoing forestation projects, for which Japan had sanctioned a sum of Rs 407 crore in 1998, and had appreciated the work done by the Forest Department officials, but the bureau was busy implicating some senior officials in false cases by accusing them of having committed financial irregularities, which was highly deplorable.

The member secretary of JAC Mr H.S. Dhillon, said Japan had agreed to release funds for the second phase of forestation project, which, itself was a proof that there was no embezzlement of funds as alleged by the bureau.

The Joint Action Committee has threatened to stop work on the forest projects underway in different parts of the state, if the state government failed to curb the “illegal” acts of the Vigilance Bureau. They have also demanded that the false cases registered against their officials should be withdrawn immediately.


Fake certificate lands teacher, aide in jail
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, September 16
A Gurdaspur court has convicted and sentenced a teacher, Basakha Singh, and his accomplice Gurmukh Singh to undergo an imprisonment of two years and imposed a fine of Rs 1,500 on them for securing a job on a fake certificate.

Basakha Singh secured the job of a teacher in 1998 by producing a certificate of his being an handicapped man. He was working at Government Senior Secondary School, Dunera, in Dhar subdivision.

Gurmukh Singh, who was a handicapped person and friend of Basakha Singh, in order to help him secure the job, impersonated himself as Basakha Singh and got a certificate of a disabled person for him. Basakha Singh submitted this certificate along with other testimonials to the education authorities and on the basis of this he was appointed from the quota reserved for the disabled category.

The Judge, Mr Jasbir Singh, in his verdict held Gurmukh Singh equally responsible for the crime.


4 pilgrims killed in bus mishap
Our Correspondent

Samana, September 16
Three women and a child were killed in an accident when a private bus fell down in the Naddi canal, 7 k.m. from here, near Badanpur village on the Samana-Cheeka road, yesterday at 10 p.m. As many as 47 persons were injured out of which 21 were referred to the Rajindra Hospital, Patiala and the remaining 26 were admitted to the Civil Hospital here.

The condition of two of the injured persons admitted to the Rajindra Hospital, Patiala is stated to be serious. The bus carrying the pilgrims was coming back to Kaithal (Haryana) from Bagarh (Guga Marri) in Rajasthan.

The deceased have been identified as Gurmail Kaur, Ajmero and Nikki Devi and her one and a half year old son. The pilgrims were stated to be from Lalheri and Jodhpur Chhanno villages in the Kaithal district. Balwant Singh and Shero Devi, who were among the injured told the mediapersons that the driver of the bus was heavily drunk and despite repeated requests to drive carefully he did not stop and was driving the bus rashly and negligently. The driver lost control of the vehicle and after breaking the railings of the bridge the bus rolled down the canal. The local police has registered a case against the driver and conductor who fled from the place of occurrence.

The bodies of the deceased were handed over to the relatives after a post-mortem examination. 


Toll-free helplines for Gurdaspur
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, September 16
For AIDS help, dial 1097. You can speak to the civil surgeon for detailed consultancy. The earth-quake help line service is available by dialing 1092. Don’t worry about the bill, you can talk to the district officials as long as you wish to as these are toll-free telephone connections allotted to this border district by the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL).

Mr K.A.P. Sinha, Deputy Commissioner claimed that this was the first district in North India to have toll-free telephone connections by the BSNL. Though the BNSL has taken a policy decision to provide toll-free telephone connections at the district level all over the country, hardly any Deputy Commissioner had applied for the same. With the introduction of the novel scheme, the District Magistrates and the district officials all over the country could be contacted without any hassle as owing to the work load their previous telephones remained busy most of the time. With the allotment of these new numbers. Deputy Commissioners and other officers could be contacted directly without the intervention of their personal assistants. These phones would work like hot-lines.

One can contact the District Magistrate by dialing 1077 the Deputy Commissioner will be getting the information directly as he would use this number for ‘control room of district collector.’ For exchanging information about the natural disasters one can dial 1096 as Additional Deputy Commissioner would be directly accessible on this number.

Proper care has been taken for ‘children in difficulty’ as ‘child distress service’ is available on 1098. Similarly, women in distress could get their problems redressed by dialling 1091. The blood bank information service could be available on 1910.

It is pertinent to mention here that only select cities of the country could avail the toll-free telephone service to manage the catastrophe and trauma service.


District declares war against TB
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 16
“A tuberculosis-eradication campaign has been launched in the district,” said Mr Vikas Pratap, Deputy Commissioner, at a seminar-cum-workshop on ‘Orientation Training in the Revised National TB-control Programme’. The workshop was organised by the District TB Control Society and social organisations here today.

He said 1,000 persons died every day in India due to TB and their families lost about Rs 700 crore in treatment costs every year. He said the Union Government spent Rs 1,200 crore every year to tackle this menace. Tuberculosis made 3,000 children leave school every year because their parents had tuberculosis and more than 1,000 women faced social boycott due to stigma attached to the disease.

The DC said each village of the district would be covered under directly observed treatment (DOT). Every 5,000 persons in urban areas, too, would have one DOT provider, who would make sure that every patient took the prescribed drugs provided free of cost under the scheme. The DOT provider would also maintain a regular disease account of every patient and give progress reports. The DC urged the NGOs, the IMA and private doctors to join the campaign.

Dr Kiranjit Kumar, Civil Surgeon, talked about various health programmes on TB and AIDS and the PNDTA. Every suspected case of TB should immediately be referred to the nearest microscopic centre. The centres are at Fatehgarh Sahib, Mandi Gobindgarh, Chanarthal Kalan, Nandpur Kalur and Sanghol in the district. Examination and treatment would be free of cost in these centres.

Dr T.L. Matoo, District TB Control Officer, said timely detection of tuberculosis and the DOT could see a patient fully cured. He talked about the spread and prevention of TB. Mr S.S. Balagan, Mr Gurmukh Singh, Dr H.S. Dhillon, Dr N.S. Bawa, Dr Sood and various representatives of social bodies were the others who spoke at the seminar.


Eye operation camp
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 16
In order to pay tributes to Guru Angad Dev on the occasion of his 500th birth day, a five-day free eye operation camp was organised at Khera village. Dr Harbans Lal, Minister for Forest, inaugurated the camp. The eyes of 1,000 persons were examined. About 500 operations were conducted.


SHSAD for free power to farmers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 16
The Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD) has criticised the recommendations of the Power Regulatory Commission to levy electricity charges from the farmers in Punjab. The party criticised both the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh and his predecessor Mr Parkash Singh Badal, holding them responsible for these recommendations.

The party will submit a memorandum to the Governor against these recommendations.

Three resolutions were passed today at a meeting of the party held at Jugiana village, near here, under the chairmanship of Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra. The resolution blamed the Chief Minister, for failing to present the case of the farmers before the regulatory commission.

The resolution pointed out that the commission was headed by Mr R S Mann, who served as the Chief Secretary of the state during Mr Badal’s term. It asked, “Why the commission headed by Mr Mann did not recommend such tariff for farmers during Mr Badal’s regime and why now only”.


Pollution board’s order to shellers
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 16
Punjab Pollution Control Board Chairman Satish Chander today said brick-kilns and rice shellers who did not install pollution control gadgets in their plants would not be allowed to function after November this year.

Speaking at a function organised at the PPCB headquarters here to mark the International Ozone Protection Day, he said all such plants had been asked to install the relevant devices this month itself and that the board would start issuing notices to those companies which failed to follow the norms by next month.

Mr Chander urged the industrialists present on the occasion to also work towards phasing out the use of Ozone depleting substances in the manufacture of aerosol products or pressurised dispensers, manufacture of polyol for foam products, manufacture of foam products, including foam part of the domestic refrigerator and manufacture of mobile air conditioners.

Giving a briefing board officer Malwinder Singh said producersH of ozone depleting substances would now have to register themselves. He said they were also required to maintain the records and file periodic reports for monitoring production and use of depleting substances. 


Inter-department problems delay road repair
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 16
Inter-departmental problems between the Public Works Department and the Sewerage Board has delayed the repair of Bibiwala road, the town’s most important road, causing inconvenience to users.

In a letter to the Deputy Commissioner, the Vigilant Citizens’ Forum said the inter-departmental problems needed to be sorted out before the Sewerage Board could take action.

Earlier works along the road had been executed by the PWD (B and R). At present, the sewerage system of the area needs regular cleaning to avoid chocking. Storm waterpipes, though laid, are of no use.

Urging the local administration to take up urgent steps to improve the situation, the forum has pointed out that whenever the Bibiwala road gets flooded, an outlet has to be provided by breaking the wall of the local DAV College. The accumulation of sewerage water in the college grounds becomes a further hazard for students.

The road, which connects the town to major cities of the state, besides providing an approach to major residential localities, the cantonment, the bus stand and the railway station is full of potholes and damaged in patches.


Plea to unions to tide over fiscal crisis
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 16
At a function organised at the Languages Department by the Punjab Power Employees Federation and the Punjab Pradesh Teacher’s Union Mr Harchand Singh Barsat, Political Secretary to the Chief Minister while assuring that employee interests would be safeguarded today appealed to various unions in the state to cooperate with the state government in overcoming the present financial crisis.

While emphatically stating that the state government would not enforce any anti-employee decisions, Mr Barsat claimed that two-long pending demands of the employees namely the allocation of 15 per cent house rent allowance and a job for next of kin of employees in case of death while serving had been fulfilled by the state government.

The political secretary also stated that the government would continue unfazed its ‘crusade’ against corruption and the corrupt and that it needed support from the employees in order to tide over its present financial crunch.

The president of the Punjab Pradesh Teachers’ Union, Mr Devinderpaul Sharma, also presented a memento to Mr Barsat on the occasion and many employee leaders, including Mr Ajit Singh Khanna and Mr Bhinder Singh Chahal also addressed the gathering.


National Punjabi drama fest on
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, September 16
the second phase of the celebration of 17th Aagman Purab of Sufi Saint Baba Sheikh Farid fifth national Punjabi drama festival was organised at Amar Ashram here, last night. Renowned drama parties in the state are participating in the festival that will continue till September 18.

Sponsored by the Punjab and Sind Bank, the festival attracted hundreds of viewers from across the city and rural areas. The programme commenced with “Inqalaab Jindabaad”, a play written by eminent dramatist Mr Gursharan Singh and directed by Mr Inderjit Singh Roopawalia.

Staged by the employees of the Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala, the drama portrayed a picture of freedom struggle enthusing in a spirit of patriotism.

The next in line was ‘Raat De Hanere” written by Mr Dilbagh Singh, and directed by Mr Mahinder Singh Dogra, staged by Pracheen Kala Kendra, Chandigarh, the play got an equally good response from the viewers. At the end, Chetan Kala Manch, Patran staged “Une” written and directed by Mr Sukhdev Sukhi.

Earlier, while inaugurating the festival, Mr A. Venu Prasad, Deputy Commissioner of Faridkot, congratulated the people of Punjab on the celebrations of the aagman purab of Sufi Saint Baba Farid and exhorted them to follow his teachings.


Discrimination alleged at jail
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 16
Mr Balwant Singh Dhillon, senior vice-president, Lawyers for Human Rights International, in a statement issued here today said a section of the undertrials lodged at the district Central Jail were being discriminated against, while some of them were being given VIP facilities.

Mr Dhillon alleged that while the farmers’ union activists who had been injured in the police lathi charge at Maiser Khana village were not given medical attention by the jail authorities, while a religious leader was shifted to the Civil Hospital immediately after he was sent to the Central jail. He added that those with powerful connections were given medical facilities against the jail manual, while the poor and the needful were being denied the same.

He urged the authorities concerned to take necessary action to improve the lot of the undertrials lodged at the jail.


SGJC to file SLP against HC order
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 16
The president of the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission, Mr Kashmir Singh Patti, will file special leave petition (SLP) in appeal against the judgement of the constitutional Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court holding that the SGJC and SGPC were coterminous.

He said all notified gurdwaras spread in Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh were trying to have separate judicial commissions and separate parbandhak committees. But Sikhs as a whole were demanding an all-India Sikh Gurdwara Act to cover all gurdwaras throughout the country. He said the “essence” of the high court order was towards splitting the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925.”


Oil tanker operators’ stir continues
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 16
Strike of Oil tanker operators entered second day today. They are protesting against alleged adulteration of oil with water at the depot of a public sector undertaking.

The operators today raised another demand supply of oil on old, unrevised rates. Price of oil was revised upward Sunday midnight.

The operators’ dharna continued at the depot of the Bharat Petroleum Corporation at Phoos Mandi village near here. Those transporting petrol and diesel from the depot to petrol stations said that they came to know about adulteration two days ago and had been protesting since then.

Depot officials were not forthcoming in the situation. Sources said that the matter was beyond their jurisdiction, adding that decision to supply oil on old rates to operators rested with higher authorities of the corporation.


Administration unrepresented at martyr’s bhog
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 16
The district administration here failed to honour Naik Mewa Singh who attained martyrdom fighting militants in the Kupwara sector on September 5. No official of the administration was present at the bhog of the brave soldier at Rorgarh village 15 km from here.

The villagers were upset over it and feelings of the villagers were echoed by former minister Dalip Singh Pandhi in his address.

Mr Pandhi said during the Akali regime relief money used to be handed over to the widow of the martyr at the bhog ceremony. It was unfortunate that this practice had not been followed by the Congress government which had not deputed even an officer to attend the bhog ceremony to recognise the sacrifice of the martyr.

Other speaking on the occasion said soldier’s widow Narinderjit Kaur should be given compensation according to the norms at the earliest. They said the government should set an example in treating the kin of martyrs as the Chief Minister had been a soldier.


153 employees volunteer for poll duty

Kapurthala, September 16
For the next two phases of Jammu and Kashmir elections, 153 employees of various government departments of this district have volunteered to perform election duties, Deputy Commissioner Rakesh Verma said here today.

He said 56 employees from the Education Department, 22 from the Rail Coach Factory here, 13 employees from the Department of Rural Development, 10 from the DC’s office and Revenue Department, eight from the Health Department and six employees of the planning department would go for poll duty in Jammu & Kashmir. PTI


Union flays govt over amendment
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 16
Members of the district unit of the General Categories Welfare Federation, Punjab, today condemned the state government’s action in connection with the implementation of the 85th amendment of Constitution.

Mr Tara Singh Brar, press secretary of the federation, in a press note issued here said general category employees would be affected the most.

He added that the federation had also been mobilising public opinion against the implementation of the amendment.


Student jumps out of train, dies
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, September 16
A student of the local Apee Jay Institute of Management died after she jumped out of a running train at Jalandhar cantonment railway station here today.

According to eyewitnesses, the 19-year-old Nidhi jumped off the Barouni Express, when the train failed to stop at cantonment railway station this afternoon. She fell on the platform and received serious injuries.

She was admitted to the local Civil Hospital and her family in Amritsar was informed by the police about the mishap. 


Dam staff oppose work by pvt company
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 16
In an unanimous decision, the Joint Action Committee of all recognised 21 employees engineering association have resolved that it would not allow any private company to complete the Shahpur Kandi dam project.

Addressing a conference held at Ranjit Sagar Dam (Pathankot) today, committee leaders alleged that the state government wanted to hand over the construction work to a private company so that hefty commissions could be taken. It would be an injustice to the employees who were instrumental in the completion of Ranjit Sagar Dam, they said.


Ruchika’s brother deposes
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 16
Girhotra, the brother of Ruchika, who committed suicide after her alleged molestation by former Haryana DGP SPS Rathore, today deposed in the case in camera in the court of District and Sessions Judge here.

The former DGP was also present in the court. The judge fixed October 5 for cross-examination in the case. 


Durgiana temple’s plea on power tariff

Phagwara, September 16
A deputation of Shri Durgiana Mandir Committee, Amritsar, led by All-Hindu Shiv Sena President Surinder Kumar Billa, met Punjab Electricity Regulatory Commission Chairman R.S. Mann today and demanded concessional power tariff at the rate of Rs 2.46 per unit for the mandir on the pattern of Harmander Sahib.

Stating this, Mr Billa said Mr Mann assured them that an appropriate decision would be taken at the meeting of the commission in November. UNI 


Fix Rs 850 as MSP for paddy: Brar
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, September 16
Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar, Congress MP has urged the state government to fix Rs 850 as minimum support price (MSP) per quintal of paddy. Different categories of cess of 11.5 per cent should not be included in the MSP and a notification in the this regard should be withdrawn, he said, talking to mediapersons today.

Mr Brar, who presided over a blood donation prize distribution function by the local Government Brijindra College said Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had also written a letter to the Union Government in this connection.

He also appealed the Chief Minister to review the Punjab State Electricity Board Regulatory Commission’s decision to withdraw free power and water supply facilities to farmers. He said the matter should be discussed at the Cabinet meeting to be held in Chandigarh tomorrow.

FEROZEPORE: Former member of the Commission of Agricultural Costs and Prices Gurnaib Singh Brar on Monday lashed out at the Union Government for turning a blind eye to farmers.

He said the Union Government should reconsider its decision on the MSP for paddy. He said this decision could trigger social unrest.


Teacher’s death: SHO suspended
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, September 16
Kapurthala SSP R.N. Dhoke suspended ASI Hardip Singh Bedi, SHO, Satnampura police station, today for dereliction of duty. He has been sent to the Police Lines Kapurthala, a press note by DSP Harmanbir Singh Gill said here.

Giving details of the incident the press note said Bedi had raided the residence of Ms Dharampal Dhir, a school teacher, yesterday following tip-off that a proclaimed offender, Harjit Singh, had links with the son of Dhir.

Bedi and Dhir had heated exchanges over the issue. When Dhir complained of chest pain he was rushed to hospital by Bedi in his own vehicle.

Dhir became unconscious on the way and was declared brought dead to hospital, the press note added. Dhir was neither brought to the police station nor tortured, the DSP asserted.

It may be mentioned here that the DSP had yesterday denied that any raid was conducted at the residence of Dhir.

He had rather asserted that Dhir was found lying in an unconscious state near Satnampura railway crossing and two policemen had brought him to a hospital.


Night harvest banned

Jalandhar, September 16
The Punjab Government, through an order, has banned the operations of combine harvesters in the paddy agricultural zones. An order by the local District Magistrate and applicable to the entire state, under Section 144, said combine harvesters would not operate after dusk. Similar orders had also been issued by other districts.

Such agricultural operations hampered the quality of paddy. Often non-ripe grains mixed with the ripe one’s the order said. The Food Corporation of India (FCI) had a few days ago issued a request asking the farmers not to go in for night harvest of paddy. UNI


Drug store raided, owner arrested
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 16
Krishan Kumar Garg, owner of Garg Medical Store, Bhucho Mandi, 20 km from here, was arrested today when drugs were recovered from his shop after a team comprising drug inspector and the police conducted a raid.

Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, said during the raid the joint team seized stocks of a certain drugs. A case in this connection has been registered under Section 420 of the IPC and Section 18 and 27 of the Drug and Cosmetic Act.

He added that a smuggler, Dharambir Singh, was arrested and 350 kg of poppy husk seized from him. A case in this connection has been registered.


1 held, 340 fake coins seized
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 16
With the arrest of Vipin a resident of Delhi and recovery of 340 fake coins worth Rs 1700 of five-rupee denomination the police here today succeeded in cracking the case of fake coins.

Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, SP (City) said on a tip-off the police arrested the accused at Parshuram Road near Durgiana Temple today morning. The SP said preliminary investigations revealed that the accused had already circulated these coins in Amritsar.

The accused had circulated more than 10,000 fake coins in Phagwara, Barnala, and Jalandhar and some rural areas. The SP added that counterfeit coins were manufactured in Delhi. Vipin also disclosed that his wife was in Kathmandu and there are some bases of counterfeit coins in Nepal.


Girl arrested for smuggling smack
Our Correspondent

Abohar, September 16
The police today arrested three persons, including a 16-year-old girl, for allegedly smuggling smack.

The police set up a naka and intercepted an Ambassador. During search, the police seized 185 gm of smack from the three occupants of the car.

The accused have been identified as Pardeep Kumar of New Delhi, Nisha of Mangolpuri in New Delhi and Neeraj of Malout.

Their area of operation reportedly included Abohar, Sriganganagar, Malout, Fazilka and Sirsa.

So far, 99 per cent of smack users had been arrested on the information given by the public.


Two labourers crushed to death
Our Correspondent

Banur, September 16
Two labourers employed with a farmhouse near Chhat village on the Chandigarh-Patiala highway were crushed to death by a vehicle late last night.

According to the police, Jai Ram and Paramjit Singh of Khizargarh-Kanaor village were working as labourers at a farmhouse owned by Mr Paramjit Singh, a resident of Chandigarh for a few years.

The duo were crushed when were on their way back home after taking meals at a dhaba located on the highway. The bodies were handed over to the families and a case under Section 279 and 304-A of the IPC was registered at Banur police station.


11 students booked for copying

Ferozepore, September 16
Eleven students taking mathematics supplementary matric examinations in two city centres were today caught copying and booked under the Unfair Means Cases (UMC).

Punjab State Education Board’s Academic Council member Jagdish Rai Sharma said while nine boy students were caught copying in Government Senior Secondary School for boys, two girl students were booked under the UMC in Government Senior Secondary School for Girls in the city.

He said the entire invigilatory staff was replaced in Government Senior Secondary School at Zira on September 12 when it was found that they were allegedly helping examinees during their supplementary examination of Matric’s English paper.

Mr Sharma said the Board’s Examination Controllers and Circle Education Office had been informed of all three cases. UNI


Scrap Q form, urge rice millers
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 16
Rice millers of Punjab have appealed to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to rid the rice milling industry of`”inspector raj” and scrap the Q form recently introduced by the Mandi Board.

In a press note issued on behalf of the Punjab Rice Millers Association, its president, Mr Tarsem Saini, has also appealed to Agriculture Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal to intervene and restore the decision taken during the tenure of the then Chief Minister Beant Singh that employees of the Mandi Board and Market Committees would not check the premises of rice shellers.

The association, claiming that no rice miller was carrying out unlawful transactions as the price of government rice was higher than the market rate, said by checking their premises, they were made to face harassment thereby causing loss to the state government and the Centre indirectly. Mr Saini said a better alternative would be that officials of the Mandi Board should conduct checking at the Mandi-level to stop malpractices, if any.

Mr Saini also stated that while about Rs 700 crore of the millers’ payment had been held up by the government, the state government itself was losing millions by implementing “wrong policies”. He said the association had been demanding that sheller owners be encouraged to adopt the levy route thereby discarding custom milling. However, government policies had forced levy millers into custom millling and subsequent delay in levy payments, he added.

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