Wednesday, September 18, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Problems that plague Amarinder Singh
P. P S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
‘‘Good governance’’ and ‘‘initiative against corruption’’ are the the two promising notes on which the Congress came to power in Punjab in February last. And Capt Amarinder Singh became the Chief Minister amidst much hope and hype created by these notes.

While there are signs of fading of good governance, the initiative against corruption is apparently successful. Sustaining it over a period of time, however, may be rather difficult, say sources.

Much of this is happening because the ruling political executive has not given Capt Amarinder Singh the desired elbow room, support and freedom to put into practice what the party had promised in the run-up to the February elections. Also, the party has shackled its own Chief Minister by subverting the nuts and bolts of the machine called government. By not going deep into the system or trying to work with or through it may fail the promised good governance. This, despite the good perspective that Capt Amarinder Singh has of the multiple problems that beset Punjab.

Quite often, one hears that ministers seldom discuss policies, programme or development (all aspects of good governance) with their administrative secretaries and spend time on mundane issues. A new trend among the ministers is to have an OSD (officer on special duty), primarily, to deal with the deluge of requests for postings and transfers. A civil surgeon-level officer is now working as OSD to the Minister for Medical Education, Research and Family Welfare. The Minister of Excise and Taxation is reportedly looking for an OSD from among Excise and Taxation Officers for the same purpose! Much of good governance is also getting jaded due to differences between ministers and administrative secretaries.

Besides bureaucrats and police officers, hundreds of other offices (doctors, revenue and excise/taxation officers, teachers, agricultural staff etc) have been shuffled and re-shuffled in these past months, all in the name of good governance. This has led to unrest in both political and administrative circles, creating a crisis of commitment and convenient conscience, say sources.

The Congress political executive is yet to stand up besides its Chief Minister to get things going. Rather than waiting for the promised Rs 5000 crore from the International Financial Consortium or the outcome of the Rs 9,000 crore on-line lottery probe, party colleagues should be paying attention to promises made in the Budget, 2002-03, aimed at good governance and transparency and helping the Chief Minister.

Though, two major notifications are awaited — one on levy of entry tax on yarn and paper and the second on the Exim policy — notifications have been issued in respect of enhanced sales tax on a host of items, as part of the additional resource mobilisation measures. This hike in taxes is expected to fetch Rs 800 crore in a full year. But for the current year, the revenue expected is close to Rs 400 crore. There are reports that there has been a 11 per cent rise in the sales tax collection in August. The party is yet to take up other matters, including overhaul of the transport sector and levy of user charges. The Officers Committee, headed by the Chief Secretary, has almost finalised user charges proposed by the Department of Local Government.

The perception is that since the government has not made a visible impact, it is yielding ground to the Akalis, whose state-wide party workers’ meetings and protest rallies have gained ground and credibility. On the other hand, for want of in-house support to Capt Amarinder Singh, much of what he has been repeatedly saying in the interest of the state has been lost in the now audible din within the party, casting a shadow over his vision of Punjab.

This pertains to his earnest desire to disinvest in the loss-making public sector undertakings or assimilation/elimination of certain boards and corporations having duplicity of functions and purposes, compressing non-interest, non-Plan expenditure or educating employees on the actual fiscal situation. Little has the party done to tell the employees, who are often on the roads striking work, that one day they all may be actually on the roads because given the present financial situation, the state may not have any money to pay salaries, wages, pensions or even repay interest on loans.

Likewise, the final word on tariff order of the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission on charging agriculture power is awaiting a nod from the Cabinet. Its meeting has once again been postponed from September 18, as Capt Amarinder Singh, who had recently had angioplasty, is running temperature. ‘‘I have been advised rest for a day or two. I am fine now and shall be in Chandigarh the day after tomorrow. I had asked for re-scheduling of the Cabinet meeting,’’ he told TNS from Moti Bagh, Patiala, today.


Punjab promotions
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
After lifting the ban on promotions, the Punjab Government has ordered the promotion of four Deputy Secretaries and an equal number of Under Secretaries besides six Superintendents (grade-1), according to Mr Roshan Lal Goel, general secretary of the Punjab Civil Secretariat Staff Association.

Mr Oma Kant Tewari, general secretary of the Non-Gazetted Employees Union, said that the process of promotions should be set in motion in other departments also.


Shivdular is PCS officers body chief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
Mr Shivdular Singh, Additional Deputy Commissioner,Patiala, who has been unanimously elected president of the Punjab Civil Services (Executive Branch) Officers Association, has announced a list of new office-bearers and the executive committee of the association. He has been authorised by the association to name the officer bearers and others.

Mr A.S. Miglani, Mr D.D. Ternach, Mr Parveen Kumar, Mr O.P. Popli and Mr Sarojani Gautam Sharda have been appointed vice-presidents of the association. Mr Vinod Kumar Bhalla will be general secretary and Mr Baldev Singh joint secretary. Mr S.S. Khara and Mr P.S. Shergill have been named finance secretary and coordination secretary of the association.

The executive members are: Mr Pirthi Chand, Mr Surjit Singh, Mr N.S. Walia, Mr Gagandeep Singh, Mr Parminder Singh Gill, Mr Manjit Singh Brar, Mr Gurdip Singh, Mr Dharminder Pal, Mr T.P.S. Phoolka, Mrs Madhvi Kataria, Mr H.S. Kandhola, Mrs Amrit Kaur Gill and Ms Parneet Shergill and all Assistant Commissioners (General) posted in Punjab. The special invitees will be Mr Khushi Ram, Mr Chander Shekhar Talwar, Mr Jaswant Singh, Mr Parbhjot Singh Mand, Dr Harkesh Singh and Mr H.S. Pabla.

Mr Shivdular Singh has replaced Mr Jaswant Singh, who headed the association for nine years.


Khalsa Panchayat may not gherao jathedars
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 17
The Shiromani Khalsa Panchayat (SKP) has said it is ready to re-consider its decision to stage protest dharnas in front of the residences of the jathedars of Akal Takht and Kesgarh Sahib if there was unanimity among Panthic leaders that there was no such precedent in Sikh history.

Talking to TNS from New Delhi, Mr Rajinder Singh, convener of the SKP, however, said the Khalsa Panchayat would mobilise Sikh masses to force the ‘tainted jathedars’ to tender unconditional resignations on moral grounds.

The SKP chief admitted that he had been receiving calls from various Sikh organisations against staging dharnas in front of the residences of the jathedars of Akal Takht and Kesgarh Sahib. He said, “if the SKP had taken the unprecedented decision of staging protest dharnas, there was also no precedent in Sikh history that the high priests be accused of corruption charges.”

Mr Rajinder Singh, however, said the mass movement being launched from September 29 at Takht Damdama Sahib would be on the pattern of the ‘gurdwara reform movement’ launched in the 1920s. He said the movement would continue till the ‘tainted’ jathedars were removed. The SKP would definitely stage protest dharnas in front of the residence of the SGPC chief, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, as a part of the Sikh gurdwara reform movement. He said the SGPC was the appointing authority of the Sikh high priests and, hence, Mr Badungar would be forced to take the initiative to remove the ‘tainted’ jathedars.

Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President of the SHSAD, has also opposed the decision of SKP. Talking to the press here today. Mr Tohra said there was no precedent in Sikh history that anybody or any organisation should stage dharnas in front of the residences of the Sikh clerics.

He, however, added that the Jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, and Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar of Kesgarh Sahib, should quit on moral grounds. He said they should not test the patience of Sikh sangat. The charges of corruption had already lowered the prestige of Sikh clergy, he said.


SGPC chief to meet minority panel
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 17
A high-level deputation of SGPC members led by its President Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar would meet the Minority Commission in New Delhi on September 20.

A press note issued by the SGPC here today stated that the startling reports of conversion of Sikh masses into Christianity had been pouring in from different states. In the wake of the forthcoming meeting, the executive meeting of the SGPC had been postponed.


Lokpal for enlarging jurisdiction
Complaints against one minister and five ex-ministers under probe
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
The Punjab Lokpal, Justice D.V. Sehgal, will urge the state government to amend the Lokpal Act to bring public servants in its jurisdiction so that inquiries can be held against them. At present, under the Act, the Lokpal has a very limited jurisdiction. It can only enquire into the acts of omission and commission of publicmen or say politicians who have held government offices and positions.

In fact, Punjab’s Lokpal Act is the weakest compared to such acts in other states. The Act was enacted by politicians just to fulfil the formality of setting up the institution of the Lokpal in the state. Politicians, who are to be subjected to investigation by the commission, deliberately did not give enough powers to the Lokpal. The Lokpal has no powers to take up inquiries against the public servants. Interestingly, it has even no authority to entertain complaints from public servants. In fact, public servants at the IAS level are so powerful in Punjab that they did not allow the political executive to include them in the purview of the Lokpal.

Informed sources said Justice Sehgal wanted that the jurisdiction of the Lokpal should be enlarged by giving powers to hold inquiries against public servants as well as to pursue complaints submitted by them.

In Madhya Pradesh, the Lokpal has such powers. There the Lokpal can suo-moto start inquiries against publicmen and public servants. The Lokpal in MP has even powers to order raids against the corrupt falling in his jurisdiction. The Karnataka Government has also given vast powers to the Lokpal. Justice Sehgal, according to the sources, may ask the Punjab Government to amend the Lokpal Act to follow the MP and Karnataka patterns.

Meanwhile, the Lokpal’s hands are almost full as far as the number of complaints against publicmen especially former ministers and other politicians, are concerned. The number of complaints has reached to 300 till date. And it is just in a period of the past six months.

The latest complaint it has received is against the Forest Minister, Dr Harbans Lal. The complaint has been marked to the DIG, who is working in the office of the Lokpal, for holding a preliminary investigation as per the standard procedure followed by the Lokpal in every complaint. The DIG has been told to submit the preliminary report by September 23. In case, following the preliminary inquiry any substance is found in the complaint, then regular inquiry will be ordered against the minister, official sources in the Lokpal office said.

The Lokpal is already holding regular inquiries against two former ministers, Mr Nirmal Singh Kahlon and Mr Gulzar Singh Ranike. It has ordered preliminary investigation against a former Medical Education Minister, Mr Manoranjan Kalia. A complaint against Mr Ranjit Singh Balian has also been received by it. This complaint has also been forwarded to police officers working under the Lokpal. Preliminary inquiry is also being held on the complaint against a former minister, Mr Gobind Singh Kanjla.

The Punjab Vigilance Bureau had forwarded a complaint against Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, a former minister, to the Lokpal for holding an inquiry. However, the complainant told the Lokpal that he would like the complaint to be investigated by the Bureau. The Lokpal has referred the complaint back to the Bureau, it is learnt. There are also a number of complaints against Mr Sadhu Singh Rajeana, an Akali MLA . One complaint against him was dismissed recently while on others preliminary inquiry has been ordered.

Already the Lokpal has indicted Mr Tota Singh, a former Education Minister, in a case pertaining to the selection of science mistresses.


Minister appears before DIG
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
The Punjab Forest Minister, Dr Harbans Lal, against whom a complaint had been lodged with the Lok Pal, today appeared before Deputy Inspector-General of Police attached with the Lok Pal and sought some more time to file his reply.

It may be mentioned here that the complainants, all residents of Miran Mir village in Sirhind, alleged that the minister was interfering in an attempt-to-murder case.


ETT students block traffic against lathi charge
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, September 17
Braving the rain, more than 3,000 students of the elementary teacher’s training (ETT) course of the District Institute of Education and Training (DIET) today blocked the Amritsar-Delhi GT road for more than four hours in protest against the lathi charge in which a number of students were injured yesterday.

Residents had to face inconvenience as no senior official of the district administration reached the site of the protest for four hours.

The students started the protest march at 11 am from ‘India Gate’ near the Lahore bypass and marched towards Daburji. A heavy police force was deployed as a precautionary measure.

The students who had thronged the city from seven districts of the state, including Gurdaspur, Batala, Ferozepore and Ludhiana, raised slogans against the Education Minister, Chief Minister and state government.

BATHINDA: Students of DIET, Deon, in the district held a rally and jammed traffic near the Namdev chowk in the city.

They held a march through the city before sitting on a dharna in front of the office of District Education Officer. They presented a memorandum to the DEO through which they apprised the authorities about the ill-affects of the new education policy.

Meanwhile, the Lok Morcha Punjab, while condemning the lathi charge on agitating ETT and DIET students in Amritsar yesterday, has termed the new education policy as a step towards privatisation of education.

The morcha said the agitation of students was justified as the new education policy was against their interests. It said the policy aimed at giving benefits to industrialists.

Mr Jagmail Singh, secretary of the district unit of the association, while addressing a meeting of the office-bearers today, said the lathi charge had exposed the government’s intention.

He said the proposed internship for ETT students was uncalled for. He alleged that the main purpose of the proposal was to keep the students occupied for two years after they completed the course.

FARIDKOT: More than 200 ETT students of the DIET, Faridkot, blocked the traffic for half an hour near local Jubilee Cinema Chowk to register their protest against the alleged beating of the peaceful students by the police at Amritsar yesterday. They had gathered there to submit a memorandum to the Punjab Education Minister, Mr Khushal Bahl, for the withdrawal of the new education policy.

They also raised anti-government slogans and held a demonstration.

Mr Bakhshish Singh, district president of the ETT Students Association, said the students would further jam the traffic at each district headquarters on September 26 for two hours to intensify their stir.

DHURI: More than 350 elementary teacher’s training (ETT) students, including girls, of the District Institute of Education and Training (DIET), Sangrur, under the banner of DIET Students Welfare Association, Punjab held a district-level protest rally here to register their protest against the new education policy of the Punjab Government.

Addressing the rally, Mr Jaswinder Singh, President of the DIET Students Welfare Association, Sangrur, condemned the lathi charge on the ETT/DIET students at Amritsar on Monday. He urged the Punjab Government to withdraw the new education policy forthwith, failing which their agitation could take an ugly turn.

The protesters also submitted a memorandum to the local civil authorities containing the charter of their demands.


PAP jawan cremated with honours
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 17
A sea of humanity descended on Rambagh to attend the cremation of the commando of 5 Battalion Punjab Armed Police (PAP), Jarnail Singh, who laid down his while fighting militants at a polling booth situated near Pir Panjal ranges in the Poonch sector yesterday. He was on sentry duty at the first phase polling of Assembly elections in the strife-torn Jammu and Kashmir.

People belonging to all walks of life, including leaders of various political parties joined the funeral procession. Some shopkeepers closed their shops as a mark of respect to their “hero”. Lined up on the both sides of the road, they showered petals on the body placed on a special platform in a four-wheeler decorated with flowers.

Slogans like “Bharat Mata ki jai”, “Jab tak sooraj chand rahega Jarnail tara nam rahe ga” and “Jarnail teri soch te pehra deya ge thok ke” rent the air when the body was brought to the cremation ground in a wooden coffin draped in Tricolour.

People climbed on rooftops to have a last glimpse of the martyr.

Parneet, 4-year-old son of the deceased, lit the pyre.

Jarnail Singh’s body was cremated with full service honours. Five rounds were fired in the air by a contingent of the Punjab police.

Children of Guru Nanak Pura locality, where Jarnail Singh resided with his wife, two children and mother, raised slogans like “Shaheed Jarnail Singh amar rahe.” The police had a tough time controlling the rush of mourners.

Baljit Kaur, his widow was inconsolable. She said on Friday, Jarnail Singh telephoned to say that his foot had some problem and he had travelled about 20 km in the hills for treatment. He added that after September 16, when voting for first phase would be completed, he might come back home.

“My father has gone for duty. He will bring toys — a gun and a helicopter — for me. I will play with the gun when my father returns” said Parneet Singh.

Surjeet Singh, paternal uncle of the deceased posted as Head Constable in the Railway Protection Force (RPF), pointed out that Bachan Singh, father of Jarnail Singh, who was also in Punjab police died on September 17 a few years back and was cremated the same day.

CM mourns PAP commando’s death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today mourned the untimely death of Punjab Armed Police (PAP) commando Jarnail Singh, who was killed in an encounter with terrorists in Poonch sector of J and K. The deceased had gone on election duty there.

Chief Minister has also expressed grief over the death of four pilgrims on the spot in a bus accident near Samana yesterday. The private bus was on its way from Bangar to Kaithal and it fell in Patiala nadi. As many as 70 persons were injured in this accident.


Family shocked over lecturer’s death in J &K
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, September 17
“It is hard to believe the news that our “father is no more,” said the son of deceased Punjab government lecturer Jeevan Prakash Sharma. He died of a heart attack last night at Madarkala in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir where he was deputed on election duty by the Punjab Government.”

The news was disclosed to them by one of their father’s colleagues and there after they read the newspaper time and again to confirm the same, he said, Jeevan Prakash, 48, was posted as a lecturer of Economics at the Dhaliwal Gakhal Government Senior Secondary School in Jalandhar. My father always wanted us to do well in life and took keen interest in our studies but now that he is no more who will watch our interests said his daughter Rohini.

The deceased is survived by his wife Veena Sharma, 75-year-old mother and two daughters Rohini and Seema. “In fact, he was not interested in going for the poll duty due to ill health, but at the same time he did not want to disobey the government orders, said Naresh, the brother of deceased. Relatives, friends and colleagues of the deceased started desending at deceased’s residence at Govind Nagar in Basti Gujana since morning only to console the bereaved famility. When contacted Deputy Commissioner, K. Shiva Prasad said the body had been lifted from Rajouri and it would be reaching Jalandhar by late night.


More volunteers for poll duty

Moga, September 17
Yet another batch of employees from various government departments, this time from Moga and Faridkot districts, have volunteered to do the election work for the next two phases of poll in Jammu and Kashmir.

They include 70 employees from this district who will be leaving on September 21 for election duties in Jammu circle for the second phase of the elections on 24th of this month, Deputy Commissioner G. Ramesh Kumar said here today.

The 40 employees from Faridkot who have also volunteered for performing the poll duties, will also leave on September 21, Faridkot’s DC A. Venu Parshad said. PTI


Robbers strike at retired Capt’s home, loot $ 12,000
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, September 17
A group of robbers decamped with foreign currency and jewellery worth Rs 10 lakh from the house of a retired Army official in the Golden Avenue locality here last night.

Capt Sawaran Singh, who retired from the Army in 1998, alongwith his family had gone to visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar. After their return at about 8 p.m. yesterday, they found the main door of the house locked from inside. They broke open the door and to their dismay found all their belongings scattered. The robbers, according to Capt Sawaran Singh, took away $ 12,000, Rs 40,000 in cash and jewellery worth Rs 4 lakh.

He said his US-based son and daughter had recently come to India to attend the marriage of his daughter. “The money and jewellery were meant for the marriage of their daughter”.

He alleged that though the matter had been brought to the notice of the police yet no effort had been made to arrest the culprits.

Residents of the locality alleged that though the police was informed that several drug addicts had been seen roaming in the area during the past six months, yet no action had been taken against them. A case has been registered.


Woman booked for cyber crime
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 17
The district police has detected a cyber crime case in which a woman was projected characterless by the accused, who also happened to be a woman.

Mr Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, SP City-I, disclosed that the accused has been identified as Vinita Jhunjhunwala, a resident of Mumbai and a family friend of the victim, Mamta (not her real name) who had developed some personal grouse against her. She allegedly created her (mamta) profile at the website and projected her as a characterless woman. The phone number and other particulars of the said woman were also added on the site.

The SP said the woman was flooded with phone calls and obscene letters as a consequence of this. The accused further created a fake ID of her as and started sending and receiving obscene e-mails. The ID was also used for net chatting. A complaint regarding this was lodged in the month of July this year.

Mr Vijay Partap also talked about the problem the police had in finding out the administrator of the website to get the profile of Mamta deleted and to trace the person who had created the file.

Some of the persons who had contacted Mamta on the phone were also questioned. They revealed that they had received e-mails and porno pictures on the said ID ( On the basis of a few messages the police traced the main server which showed the location of the server of the originating internet protocol (IP) in Mumbai. The log records and other details were taken from the server administrator in Mumbai, which brought out involvement of Vinita in the case.

During interrogation, the accused confessed that she had recently developed some personal grouse against Mamta and wanted to settle scores with her. She has been booked under Section 67 of Information Technology act and under various Sections of the IPC.


Manna resigns from Delimitation Commission
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 17
To lodge his displeasure over the “non-representation” of the Shiromani Akali Dal to the Delimitation Commission and the nomination of a party MLA, Mr Manjit Singh Manna, as member of the commission by the Punjab Government without consulting the party or its chief Mr Parkash Singh Badal the SAD high command has forwarded the resignation of Mr Manna to the Vidhan Sabha Speaker, Dr Kewal Krishan.

In a press note issued here today, the SAD press secretary, Dr Daljit Singh Cheema, said Mr Badal had taken a serious note of the arbitrary action of the state government, which, on one hand did not give any representation to the party in the commission and on the other hand nominated Mr Manna without consulting the party high command. Mr Manna represented the Khadoor Sahib assembly segment.

Distributing copies of the resignation, Dr Cheema said the SAD leadership was perturbed over the “undemocratic act” as it had only nominated one of its MLA even as the party had 41 members in the House. He said Mr Badal had already apprised the Speaker about the feelings of the party in this regard.


Work restarts on stalled projects
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 17
The work on various development projects approved for district headquarter Sirhind under the Centre’s IDSMT scheme has been restarted after an assurance by the Deputy Commissioner that the fund instalment for the year will come soon. Mr Charanjeev Channa and Ms Anita Takyar, president and senior vice-president of the Municipal Council of Sirhind and Fatehgarh Sahib, respectively, talked about it here yesterday.

The MC heads said the DC had assured the body that the paucity of funds would soon be removed. The MC chief will, then, inspect all the development projects. A bus-queue shelter on the Bassi road would soon be completed and the road leading to the Sirhind Mandi cremation ground would be strengthened and widened. The main problem that the town faced was that of the disposal of sewage. The DC had assured a delegation led by Mr Subhash Sood, senior Congress leader, that, as soon as the District Planning Board received the funds, money for the sewage-treatment project would soon be released.


Challan against Langah presented
Tribune News Service

Ropar, September 17
The Vigilance Bureau today presented a challan in the court of the Session Judge, Mr L.R. Roojam, against Mr Sucha Singh Langah, former Punjab Public Works Minister and senior Akali leader, and 15 others in a case registered against them at a SAS Nagar on May 16 under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC.

Mr Mohinder Singh Khokhar, Public Prosecutor, presented the challan. Mr Surinder Pal Singh, SP, Vigilance, and Mr Gurmukh Singh, DSP, Vigilance, were present. Besides Mr Langah, the other accused one Mr Amrik Singh Mohali, an Akali leader, Mr Gurcharan Singh Channi, Mr Pradeep Bhuteja, Mr Vinod Kumar Garg, Mr Kamaljit Singh Neetu, Mr Jasbir Singh, Mr Bikramjit Singh, Mr Sampuran Singh, Mr Subhash Chander Jain, Mr Nimratdeep Singh and Mr Gagandeep Singh, both SDOs, Mr Sher Singh Shera and Mr Gurinder Pal Singh, both contractors.

The Sessions Judge entrusted the case for further proceedings with Mr A.S. Kathuria, Special Judge, Ropar. The next date of hearing is September 27.

The Sessions Judge, Mr L.R. Roojam, also adjourned the hearing to 27 on the bail application of Sucha Singh Langah.

Langah is currently in judicial custody till September 27 in a criminal and corruption case.

The court fixed September 27 as next date of hearing on the bail application as counsel for the accused made a request to the court seeking adjournment on the bail application, on the plea that he needs time to go through the challan papers before arguing on the bail application. Langah had filed the bail application stating that the Vigilance Bureau had registered a false case against him.

Earlier, on September 10, hearing on the bail application of Langah was adjourned to September 17 due to non-production of the relevant record by the Vigilance in the court.


Reinstatement eludes ex-panchayat secys
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
The Congress government in Punjab is trying to evade keeping its election promise of reinstating about 450 former panchayat secretaries in the state who were terminated by the previous SAD-BJP government in August 2001. Capt Amarinder Singh and other Congress ministers had reportedly promised to reinstate these employees at the time of election, if the party came to power.

However, now the government is offering the excuse of court directions in the matter, instead of resolving it. Talking to TNS here today, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Minister of Rural Development and Panchayats and Agriculture, Punjab, claimed, “The state government has full sympathy with the terminated panchayat secretaries, but due to the high court’s decision, it is in a fix on the issue. We cannot reinstate them due to the high court’s recent instructions. We are seeking legal opinion to find a way out.”

Mr H.S. Hanspal, President, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, also admitted, “The Chief Minister and the Congress are politically committed to adjust former panchayat secretaries of Punjab who were wrongly terminated by the Badal government. But due to the court’s directions we are unable to take suitable action immediately.”

The legal experts, however, said as far as the directions of Mr Justice Jawahar Lal Gupta and Mr Justice S.S. Grewal of the Punjab and Haryna High Court are concerned, they had just issued directions to “seriously consider the desirability of not regularising the ad hoc appointments.” The directions were issued in view of the government’s discretionary decision to differentiate between the work-charge and ad hoc employees. Instead of evading its responsibility in the name of legal directions, the government should come up with a clear-cut transparent policy on the terminated and other ad hoc employees, said a senior legal expert.

Meanwhile, the condition of two former panchayat secretaries, Mr Ravinder Singh and Mr Baljeet Singh, further deteriorated today. They were admitted to the General Hospital, Sector 16, here on Saturday by the police. They have reportedly refused to take any food till their demands were met by the government. About 300 former panchayat secretaries are sitting on a fast at Sector 17 here for the past 10 days.


Protests over proposed power tariff hike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
While a political decision is still awaited on the implementation of the September 6 tariff order of the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission, particularly in respect of billing agriculture power, several factions of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) are already up in arms against the order.

Earlier SAD, led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, was in an agitation-mode. Now the Kissan Wing of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), led by Mr Satnam Singh Baheru, is active and so is the Sarb-Hind Shiromani Akali Dal of Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra. These two Dals today met the Punjab Governor at Raj Bhavan separately and submitted memoranda.

The tone and tenor of the two documents is the same, warning the government against imposing power tariff. The two parties also added several other pro-farmer issues and demands, seeking adequate compensation for the loss suffered by the kisan first due to drought and later due to rain and also higher price paid for inputs, say, diesel, to salvage the Kharif crop, particularly, paddy. The two also demanded that the government go slow and soft on loans availed of by farmers either by waiving off the loans or by re-scheduling the recovery period.

Though an All-India Sikh Students Federation faction, led by Mr Harminder Singh Gill, also met in the city, it confined itself to issues other than farmers. His thrust was on asking the government to withdraw its education policy or amend it to the advantage of elementary training teachers, who too have been on the warpath for quite sometime. 


Govt staff, farmers’ rally on Sept 25
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
Government employees, farmers and industrial workers and others will hold rallies and dharnas on September 25 under the banner of the Swadeshi Jagran Manch, Bharatiya Majdoor Sangh and Bharatiya Kisan Sangh to protest against anti-employees and anti-farmer policies of the Union Government as well as of the Punjab Government.

Mr Oma Kant Tewari, a spokesman of the Non-Gazetted Employees Union, said today that the Union and Punjab Governments were following policies which were generating unemployment and creating insecurity among government employees.


E-governance centre opens in village

Jalandhar, September 17
The stage has been set to end the exploitation of the poor farmer or Dalit in the villages of Punjab with the inauguration of the first e-governance and information centre at Chitti village in this district today.

The residents of this village can avail themselves of this service and save themselves the hassles and inconvenience of going to the office of the Tehsildar and other officials for getting information on land records or for caste verification certificates. All this information along with services of licences and domicile certificates would be available to the Chitti residents in their own village.

Indeed, life for the Chitti residents has been made easier through this project known as ‘Drishtee’ or ‘far-sightedness’ in English. ‘Drishtee’ is a joint venture of the Punjab Government and a private e-mail service provider.

This service would also bring the kin of the non-resident Indians (NRI) nearer to their homes. UNI


Scholarships for wards of Army men revised
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 17
As a concession to troops deployed in forward areas under the ongoing Operation Parakram, the Army authorities have decided to extend the last date for submitting applications for scholarships for their wards. Further, the eligibility criterion and the scholarship amounts have also been revised.

Meanwhile, Army personnel are also awaiting further instructions on the continuation of concessions and allowances applicable to officers and other personnel deployed in Operation Parakram. As per the orders issued in June, the concessions and allowances for Operation Parakram, as approved by the Ministry of Defence, were extended till September 18, 2002, or till the termination of the operation, whichever is earlier. So far, say sources, there is no intimation about either.

Army sources told TNS here that the last date for submitting applications under the Education Scholarship Scheme for Army Personnel had been extended till November, 2002, for the 2001-02 academic year. “As troops have been away from their homes since December last due to operational commitments, many were unable to submit claims for scholarships,” an officer here said. “It was, therefore, decided to grant additional time, and now that leave is being sanctioned, those concerned will be able to do so,” he added.

The scholarship amounts have also been revised. Now eligible students in Classes I to IV will be paid Rs 600 per annum while those in Classes VI to XII will be paid Rs 800 per annum.

Postgraduate, medical and engineering students will be eligible for a grant of Rs 5,000 per annum while those at the graduate level will receive Rs 1,500 per annum.

As far as the change in the eligibility criterion is concerned, the sources said the qualifying marks for the grant of scholarship had been lowered at the postgraduate, medical and engineering levels by 5 per cent. For wards of officers and JCOs, the qualifying marks were 55 per cent and for wards of other ranks 50 per cent.


Dam authorities, unions at loggerheads
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, September 17
Workers’ unions and the Ranjit Sagar Dam authorities are at loggerheads on account of the handing over of the construction of the Shahpurkandi extension project to a private company.

Fifteen unions yesterday held a meeting in which it was decided to press upon the government to construct the Shahpurkandi extension project and not hand it over to private agencies. The leaders of the unions stated that if the work was executed at the departmental level then machinery worth Rs 700 crore would be utilised and about 7000 workers would get job.

The dam officials are tightlipped over the matter.

The project site is 11 km downstream of the dam and 8 km upstream of the Madhopur headworks.

At present the state government is facing financial problems and plans are on to hand over the project to a private company.

Sources revealed that a proposal was sent by the authorities to the government to execute the project by constituting a special purpose vehicle which can arrange funds for the project’s execution. 


Judicial probe sought into teacher’s death
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, September 17
The Government Primary Teachers Association at a meeting held here today demanded a judicial inquiry into the death of JBT schoolteacher Dharam Paul Dhir on September 15. It also postponed its September 25 dharna outside the DPI (Punjab) in Chandigarh to October 9, according to union leader Gian Chand Nayar.

Meanwhile, Umeshpal Dhir, son of Dharam Paul, yesterday alleged that his father died due to torture by Mr Bedi. He said Mr Bedi picked him (Umeshpal) up from his work place and tortured him in the Satnampura police station on Saturday. He was later let off. Later, on Sunday Mr Bedi raided their house and took away his father.


Kin of boat tragedy victims hold meeting
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 17
A meeting of families of the Malta boat tragedy victims was held under the presidentship of Mr Balwant Singh Khera, chairman of the Malta Boat Tragedy Probe Mission, here today. Members from Ropar, Kapurthala, Nawanshahr, Ludhiana and Fatehgarh Sahib participated in the meeting.

Mr Khera said families of victims of Sri Lanka had also sent documents for their inclusion in cases being carried out in Italy courts filed by Indian and Pakistani victim’s families. He said Bodies International Company of Malta had submitted a plan to him to bring out remains of the victims of this tragedy from the sea.


SP flayed for threatening scribe
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 17
Patiala journalists today gathered under the banner of the Punjab Union of Journalists (PUJ) to condemn the Superintendent of Police (Vigilance). Mr Balkar Singh who threatened Indian Express scribe Yogindra Mohan yesterday for publishing two FIRs registered against “tainted” candidates by Patiala vigilance police station.

The scribes also submitted memorandums to the Patiala Range Deputy Inspector General (DIG) I.P.S. Sahota and Deputy Commissioner Tajvir Singh in this regard under the leadership of union state general secretary Gurkirpal Singh Ashk.

The journalists in their memorandums urged both officers to take strict action against the SP (Vigilance) under the law because journalists could not be barred from publishing FIRs registered by the Vigilance Bureau. The scribes, who also held an emergent meeting on the occasion, also decided to approach Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to register their protest in the matter and demand action against the errant SP.


Banda Singh Bahadur function
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
Hundreds of delegates from all over Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh are expected to participate in a function to be held at Amritsar on October 16 to mark the birth anniversary of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur.

This was stated by Mr K.K.Bawa, and Prof Jiwan Dass Bawa, president and general secretary, respectively, of the Punjab Bairagi Maha Mandal, while talking to mediapersons here yesterday. Mr Bawa invited all Punjabis, especially farmers to participate in the celebrations.

Baba Banda Singh Bahadur distributed land among poor farmers. He fought for the social, economic and religious justice . He was the first person to establish a Sikh kingdom and mint his own currency in the name of Guru Nanak Dev and Guru Gobind Singh. He handed over the administration of the Khalsa Raj to Baj Singh who was from a backward class.

Professor Dass asked the Punjab Government to rename as “Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Marg” the stretch of the road from Nangal Garhi (Gurdaspur) to Delhi. A suitable memorial should also be raised at the place where he was tortured to death.


Two cops test HIV positive
Our Correspondent

Patti (Tarn Taran), September 17
Two of the 11 policemen admitted to the Civil Hospital, Patti for de-addiction were found to be HIV positive and were referred to Guru Nanak Dev Hospital, Amritsar, for further treatment and reconfirmation.

This was disclosed today by Dr Harjit Bharti, SMO-cum-in charge of the Civil Hospital, Patti. He said the camp has been jointly organised by the Health Department and the Punjab Police.


Eunuchs to observe centenary rituals
Our Correspondent

Patti (Tarn Taran), September 17
The border town will host four-day centenary rituals from September 21, where hundreds of eunuchs from all over the country would pay tributes to their ancestors.

Eunuchs have been organising annual functions to pay gratitudes to their forefathers for the past 99 years at various towns, but this is for the first time that such a function will be held here.

While the first three days would be spent on paying tributes to their ancestors, colourful functions, including entertainment programme, would mark the concluding function. The last day would witness the hoisting of the “flag of happiness” and marriage of a eunuch couple.


Cabinet meeting deferred again
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
The meeting of the Council of Ministers has again been postponed. Earlier, the meeting was scheduled to be held today, but it was postponed till tomorrow.

However, informed official sources said it might now be held either on Friday. There are some important decisions to be taken up at the meeting.


DSP (Jail) denied anticipatory bail

Moga, September 17
Additional District and Sessions Judge Jagmohan Singh Chawla here today turned down the anticipatory bail plea of Deputy Superintendent of Police (Jail) Avinash Chander in a corruption case.

The DSP was booked in a case under the Anti-Corruption Act on September 8 after probes by the District and Sessions Judge, Faridkot division, and later city DSP Nachhattar Singh had substantiated the allegation of corruption against him. Jail inmates had alleged that they were being threatened with transfer to Ferozepore jail if they failed to accede to his demand of bribes. UNI


Punjab seeks bonus on paddy
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 17
The Punjab government has asked the Centre to give a bonus of Rs 100 per quintal on paddy to farmers of the state to compensate for the loss suffered by them in the wake of the recent drought.

State Agriculture Director Ram Pal while speaking at a ‘’kisan mela’’ organised by the Agricultural Department said the state’s farmers had suffered a loss of Rs 2,200 crore due to the drought-like conditions in the state. He said while the paddy crop had registered a loss of 14 per cent, the maize crop had suffered a loss of as much as 30 per cent, cotton as much as 10 per cent and sugarcane as much as 18 per cent.

He said the government had decided to give 3.25 lakh quintals of certified seed for the coming crop adding that a subsidy of Rs 200 per quintal would be made available to the farmers on the certified seed. He said besides this the government would distribute 5,000 quintals of barley seed, 1,000 quintal of grams and 700 quintals of oil seeds during the next sowing season.

Speaking on the occasion, Additional Deputy Commissioner Jagwant Singh Brar said diversification was needed to save the exploitation of ground water resources. 


Legal action against 111 petrol stations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
During a special campaign launched on a direction of the Industries and Commerce Minister, Mr Avtar Singh Henery, the Weight and Measure Department has found 111 petrol stations and 28 LPG agencies violating provisions of the Weight and Measures (Enforcement) Act. Legal action has been initiated against the owners of these petrol stations and agencies.

Officials of the department also took the help of the Industries Department to check 880 petrol stations and 112 agencies. 


Woman raped, bid to kill her
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 17
In a gruesome incident, Dalbir Kaur of Raipur Kalan village in Ajnala was allegedly raped by four persons who also tried to kill her allegedly at the behest of her husband about two months ago. The case was registered last evening.

According to reports, a quarrel had been going on between Dalbir Kaur and her husband Wasan Singh who used to allegedly beat and harass her. She has been living with her sister-in-law. She stated that about two months ago Wasan Singh along with his brother Punan Singh and four other persons — Harjinder Singh, Roshan Singh, Joginder Singh and Arjun Singh — kidnapped her from her sister-in-law’s house and took her to Patti.

She alleged that at the behest of Wasan Singh the four raped and beat her. Then her another sister-in-law Amarjit Kaur, forcibly poured acid in her mouth due to which she vomited blood, she alleged. She was admitted to hospital.

The accused are still at large.


Inspector arrested on graft charge
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, September 17
The district police today arrested an Inspector and booked three constables for demanding and accepting bribe of Rs 1.3 lakh from a poppy husk smuggler. The police has recovered Rs 70,000, of the bribe money from the residence of the Inspector.

Mr Paramjit Singh Gill, SSP, stated here today that during interrogation the Makhan of Ganna village in Goraya town, arrested recently under the Narcotics and Psychotropics Substances Prevention Act (NDPS), disclosed that Inspector Jasbir Singh during his posting as an SHO of Goraya police station had demanded Rs 1.5 lakh from him for not registering a case related to the possession of 18 bags of poppy husk. The deal was, however, made through three constables and finalised at Rs 1.3 lakh. The money was delivered to the Inspector through constable Tarsem Lal of PAP Lines, Makhan added.

Subsequently, Mr Gill ordered an inquiry into the matter. The inquiry report, which was submitted to the SSP today, indicted the former SHO of Goraya police station. A case was registered under various Sections of the NDPS, and Prevention of Corruption Acts and IPC. The Inspector was arrested from his official residence. The constables have absconded.


Former godown assistant booked
Tribune News Service

Kot-Ise-Khan (Moga), September 17
The police has booked Mr Bhupinder Singh, a former godown assistant of the State Warehousing Corporation on the charges of committing fraud. An FIR has been registered against him under Sections 406, 409 and 120 (B) of the IPC. However, the police has not yet been able to arrest him.

According to information available, during his posting as a godown assistant at Kot-ISE-Khan in the year 2000-2001 hundreds of bags of paddy and wheat were found missing. When another godown assistant came to take charge from him after his transfer, 1,551 bags of paddy worth Rs 6.56 lakh and 191 bags of wheat worth Rs 71,000 fell short of the total calculations.

The matter was reported to the District Manager, who found him guilty during the investigations. He was dismissed from service. Now, a case of fraud has been registered against him at the behest of the officials of the Warehousing Corporation. 


12 hurt in group clash
Our Correspondent

Talwandi Sabo, September 17
As many as 12 persons, including a woman, were injured in a group clash over irrigation water at Singho village, near here, last evening. This was the second such incident in less than a week in the district.

As per information, Baldev Singh and Sukhdev Singh, both residents of Singho village and close kin, have a dispute over a piece of land and sharing of water for irrigation. A case is pending in this connection in court.

Last evening, both groups clashed over sharing of water for irrigation and attacked each other with sharp-edged weapons resulting in injuries to 12 persons.

Villagers unsuccessfully tried to difuse the situation. Even the police had to try hard to control the warring factions. The injured were admitted to the local Civil Hospital. Three of the seriously injured were later admitted to the Civil Hospital, Bathinda.

The injured are Resham Singh, Gurjant Singh, Jagvir Singh, Jagtar Singh (all residents of Lakarwali in Haryana), Babu Singh, Baldev Singh, Sewak Singh, Jagtar Singh, Jangir Singh and Harbans Kaur (all from Singho) and Kala Singh and Balwinder Singh (both of Natheha village).

The condition of the seriously injured, namely Resham Singh, Gurjant Singh and Sewak Singh, is stated to be out of danger.

A case under Sections 323, 324, 148 and 149, IPC, has been registered in this connection.


GND varsity awards
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 17
Guru Nanak Dev University has asked authors of books published during April 1998 to March 2001 in the Punjabi language for selection of six literary awards.

According to a university press note, Bhai Vir Singh Fiction Award for Punjabi novel or collection of stories, Mohan Singh Mahir Award for Punjabi poetry, Ishwer Chander Nanda Award for Punjabi plays, Gurbax Singh Preetlari Prose Award for Punjabi prose, Maula Bakhash Kushta Research and Criticism Award for Punjabi criticism and Prof Puran Singh World Punjabi Literary Award for Punjabi writers living outside Punjab would be given.

The maximum age of the aspirants is 40 as on March 31, 2001. 


Painting competition for kids held
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, September 17
Paintings reflect the emotions of a painter’s mind and it requires vision to appreciate them.

Inaugurating the painting competition of children on the eve of the aagman purab of sufi saint Baba Farid, Mrs a Vanita Prasad, chairperson of the District Hospital Welfare Unit, encouraged the children who participated in the competition.

Earlier, renowned artists of the state had given the children tips on painting. More than 200 children in the age group of 5 to 18 years participated in the competition. The winners paintings were awarded cash prizes.


PSB journal ‘Ankur’ wins Rajbhasha award
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
Punjab and Sind Bank’s Rajbhasha journal “Ankur” has won the second position in the Hindi House Journals Competition (2000-01) conducted by Reserve Bank of India for the use of Hindi. Various public sector, private and foreign banks participated in the contest.

The award was presented to Mr N.S. Gujral, Chairman and Managing Director of the bank, Mr Bimal Jalan, Governor of the Reserve Bank of India at function held in Mumbai.

The award was given to the bank’s publication for its attractive layout, cover design high-quality and rich content.

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