Sunday, September 22, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Ropar DEO (Primary) suspended
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
The Punjab Government today placed Ms Malti Batra, District Education Officer (Primary), Ropar, under suspension with immediate effect and also cancelled all 700 appointments reportedly made under the centrally sponsored Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan scheme in Ropar district.

The suspension order has been issued by the Punjab Education Department authorities on the direction of the Punjab Education Minister, Mr Khushal Behal. Informed official sources said that the District Education Officer (Secondary), Ropar, had been given the charge of the Primary wing there. The suspension follows a controversy regarding the appointment made under the scheme. The record pertaining to appointments have been sealed.

The Education Department has also ordered the inquiry into the appointments. Mrs Hardial Kaur, DPI ( Primary), has been directed to conduct the inquiry and submit the report to the government within two days from the next working day, it is learnt.

It was reported by The Tribune today that the appointments had been made violating the relevant rules. It was also reported that most of the appointees were asked to work for some months on voluntary basis and after that they were assured to be paid Rs 2000 per month.

Under the scheme, the education was to be provided to school dropouts from poor families to achieve the target of total education in the state. To identify such children, the Village-level Development Committees are to be set up. These committees are to identify the school dropouts in their areas and to make appointment of teachers for them under the scheme.

Meanwhile, Mr Behal has assured the agitating trainees of Elementary Teacher Training institutions that the new qualifications fixed for the admission in ETT courses and the minimum age will be enforced from the academic session starting in 2003. These qualifications will not affect in any manner the ETT batches of 1999-2001 and 2000-2003 academic session and all batches previous to this.

A government spokesman said that even the minimum age condition would be enforced after two years from now.

An education department spokesman said that all those passing out the course would be offered paid internship for about two years in government schools. However, the amount to be paid to them during the internship had not been decided yet.

Mr Behal has urged all the agitating trainees that as their main demands regarding qualification and age have been accepted, they should join their classes.


Sehajdhari union’s notice to SGPC chief
Tribune News Service

Chhapar, September 21
The Sehajdhari Sikh Federation, a registered political party, has served a legal notice on SGPC chief Kirpal Singh Badungar, challenging the proposed draft of the Sikh Gurdwara Bill, 2002, which is aimed at disenfranchising the Sehajdhari Sikhs in the committee elections.

Addressing the gathering here today, Dr Paramjeet Singh Ranu, national president of the party, said the proposed draft of the Bill prepared by the review committee set up by the SGPC and headed by Justice Tiwana had no mention of “Sehajdharis” and their right to vote as enshrined in the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925, had been snatched. It was further alleged that the review panel had been set up by the SGPC to give narrowest possible meaning to the word ‘Sikh’ with a view to disfranchise the large masses of non-baptised (Sehajdharis) who constitute almost 80 per cent of the Sikh population.

This approach was fraught with serious consequences of dividing the society by the review committee at the behest of the SGPC, he said. The federation leaders alleged that that the “divide and rule” policy went with the Britishers but the SGPC seemed to have perfected the art and the Tiwana panel had its task clearly cut out, as had been witnessed in the pronouncements of the SGPC at different fora. There was nothing judicious about the recommendations of the review panel and no thought had been given on serious repercussions such a step was going to have.

The panel had ignored the historical facts in their true perspective and even the versions of various Sikh authoritative scholars like Diwan Awat Singh, Macaulf and Bhai Kahn Singh in the Ten Gurus and Guru Granth Sahib were ignored, they said.

It is worth mentioning here that if the Bill is enacted and the definition of Sikh is implemented then even the Punjab Congress chief Hanspal and Chief Minister Capt Amrinder Singh will not be able to vote in SGPC elections. Even the family members of senior Akali leaders will be ousted.


Sehajdhari Federation statement flayed
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, September 21
The Institute of Sikh Studies, Chandigarh, has flayed Mr Paramjit Singh Ranu, president of the Sehajdhari Federation, Punjab, for criticising the decision to ban the admission of patit Sikhs (who cut their hair and beard) by the management committee of the Dashmesh Institute of Research and Dental Sciences, Faridkot.

In a press statement here today, Mr Gurdev Singh, president of the Institute of Sikh Studies, alleged that Mr Ranu’s statement was intended to pave the way for the registration of non-Sikhs as voters to the Shri Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) to achieve political gains in its next elections which are likely to be held on November 30.


Badungar decries Vigilance raids
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 21
Does the high-level probe ordered by the Vigilance Department against certain SGPC members have any link with the coming general election and annual election of office-bearers of the Shiromani committee?

The seeking of details of the properties by the Vigilance Bureau has already indicated that the state government wants to benefit a particular faction of the Akali Dal with a view to harming the prospects of the SAD which has a control over the SGPC.

The SGPC chief, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, today described the Vigilance raids on some Shiromani committee members’ premises as “direct interference” of the government in religious affairs and warned of dire consequences if the “anti-Panthic” approach continued.

In a press note here today, he said the Vigilance Bureau had no jurisdiction to seek the details of the properties owned by the SGPC members. “It is unprecedented”, he said.

Without naming any rival Akali faction, he alleged that certain Akali factions were behind the inquiry ordered against SGPC members Kashmir Singh Gandiwind and Bakshish Singh Dharowali.


SHSAD to hold dharna on MSP
Tribune News Service

Chhapar, September 21
“The SHSAD will organise a dharna outside Krishi Bhavan on September 30 if the MSP is not announced till then,” says party chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra. He was addressing an impressive gathering at the mela here this evening.

Holding SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal responsible for bringing disrepute to the more than 70 years old party, he said it was shameful that activists of a party who had laid down their lives while fighting for the rights of the country and the people were now being jailed on corruption charges. But then, what can be expected from a party whose chief actively encouraged the systematic loot of the people by his cabinet colleagues and officers bureaucrats, he alleged.

He pointed out that the Panth would never forgive them for putting a permanent blot on the party rank and file. Mr Badal is personally responsible for this and he should apologise to the people for his various acts of omission and commission. He also patronised self-styled babas like Ashutosh and Bhaniarawala to usher in the mahant culture in the state. What else can one make out of people like SGPC chief K.S. Badungar being nominated to the committee, he asked.


Tohra flays Centre over paddy MSP
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 21
The Central Government is playing havoc with the sentiments of the farmers by not yet declaring MSP of paddy. Mr G.S. Tohra president of the SHSAD, while talking to the mediapersons here yesterday said the Central Government was anti-farmer as while it had waived loans worth Rs 57,000 crore of industrialists in the name of sick units, it had not taken any step to waive the loans of the farmers.

Earlier, addressing members of the District Bar Association, he appreciated the stand taken by lawyers against the corruption.


Fast-track courts needed to settle NRI groom cases
Tribune News Service

Chhapar, September 21
“The Lok Bhalai Party was committed not only to take up the cause of the farmers but to strive for a better deal for the Punjabi youth stranded abroad, besides ensuring that girls who married abroad are not harassed, said party chief and MP B.S. Ramoowalia, while was addressing a political conference at Chhapar Mela here this noon.

He expressed gratitude to the people of Punjab for support to the programme and policies of the party and appreciated their efforts in fighting the corruption and other evils.

Mr Ramoowalia said all the self-employed people, businessmen, traders, kisans , labourers, government, and non-government employees, students etc were feeling distressed and frustrated for which the party fell that prevalent corruption, bankruptcy and other malpractices were responsible. The people do not know whom to trust after having been at the receiving end of misgovernance for the past 50 years, he said amid slogans from among the audience.

“The party also feels that the established political parties on the strength of money and muscle power are also misusing religion to target people and deprive Punjabis of a better and clean society, he added.

Mr Ramoowalia called upon the people to ponder over the reasons why criminalisation of politics had increased over the last 15 years and constitutional, political and people’s power had been weakened so much that it was being mocking at. Nowadays it was just sloganeering to befool the people who did not know what to do and whom to turn to, he pointed out.

The Lok Bhalai Party, therefore, urges upon the people to identify such ‘shady’ politicians who had brought miseries on them and appeals them to shun and discard them.

He demanded the setting up of fast-track special courts for dispensing justice to those young married Punjabi girls victims of fraudulent NRI grooms, and to those Punjabi youths who have demanded and looted by ‘shady’ travel agents. The party further demands legal provision by which the victimised married girls could get the right to possession of immovable and moveable properties of the in-laws for sustenance and that special cells in the police be set up to register FIRs against the parents and other family members of grooms.

Mr Ramoowalia expressed concern at the fall in groundwater level. He urged the government to come out with a White Paper detailing measures to remove unemployment. The party also sought to know the reasons for the flight of capital from Punjab and shifting of industries to other states.

The party chief assured the gathering of a struggle for the welfare of farmers, Dalits, backward classes, NRIs, RMPs, ex-servicemen, traders, shopkeepers, truck , taxi and other vehicle drivers, students, youth, unemployed people and those concerned with self-generating employment.

He added that his party would make all-out efforts for getting legitimacy to the stay of 15,000 Indians stranded in Italy.


MC circumvents ban, recruits staff
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 21
Following the government ban on the recruitment of employees of non-provincial cadre the Municipal Council here have invented a novel way of hiring staff for octroi collection and development.

Official sources said though the state government had banned recruitment to non-provincial cadre posts yet the Municipal Council here in the past four years managed to get 19 clerks and two peons from other municipalities of the state.

Sources added the method was simple. Any employee of Municipal Council of any class, desirous of serving here gets a resolution passed for getting relieved from his place of posting from that Municipal Council where he is posted. Thereafter the Municipal Council here passes a resolution accepting him and issues a no-objection certificate.

After this the case is sent to the Deputy Director or Director, Local Bodies for approval. After the grant of approval the employee of other Municipal Council becomes an employee of local Municipal Council.

On the other hand, the state government has been posting employees of provincial cadre in the Municipal Council here in the absence of over and above the sanctioned strength and putting extra financial burden on the council.

A few months ago, the previous SAD-BJP government posted an officer on Special Duty (OSD) in the local Municipal Council by creating a special post for which there was no provision in the Punjab Municipal Act. Also the cadre of the engineering wing has also been top heavy.

Mr Bhupinder Singh Bhuller, President, Municipal Council here said that the council had been suffering losses due to fall in income from octroi for want of staff so services of employees from other Municipal Councils were being taken by the council after following proper procedure.

He added that local Municipal Council was short of 16 clerks 22 peons, two inspectors and one superintendent. Apart from it, many posts of safai sevak were lying vacant.

Instead of allowing the local Municipal Council to recruit employees to posts of non-provincial cadre, Punjab Local Bodies Department had been abolishing the posts which become vacant after the retirement or transfer of an employee.

A few days ago, at a meeting of the Municipal Council, a councillor expressed concern at the decline of income from octroi and urged the authorities concerned to make staff strength sufficient to check financial loss.


Two die of gastroenteritis
‘Lax’ Jalandhar MC gets blame
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, September 21
The “failure” of the local civic and health authorities to control the spread of gastroenteritis in the Phagwari mohalla due to the supply of contaminated drinking water for the past about 20 days, resulted in the deaths of two persons, including a 16-year-old youth. The government has announced an ex-gratia grant of Rs 25,000 to the families of the victims.

Brij Lal (62) and Karan (16) died here this afternoon due to gastroenteritis. Though they had been admitted to the local S.G.L. Charitable Hospital after showing symptoms of gastroenteritis about five days ago, they were discharged following recovery reports just two days ago.

The Minister for Technical Education and Industrial Training, Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, who represents the Jalandhar (South) constituency, accompanied by senior civic and health officials reached the spot and visited the bereaved families. He announced an ex-gratia grant of Rs 25,000 each to the families of the victims. The minister instructed the officials to lay new lines to check the mixing of sludge with drinking water and to provide water tankers in the area.

A PPCC member, Mr Manoj Arora, criticised the Congress-dominated municipal council. “Though residents were complaining about the supply of contaminated water in the area to the civic authorities for the past about a month, it is shameful that no concrete steps were taken in this regard,” he said.

The district health authorities have set up a special medical camp in the area and a team of senior doctors and paramedical staff was deputed there, to provide treatment and medicines round the clock. “We are distributing chlorine tablets and oral rehydration solution packs to the residents who are being advised to drink boiled water,” Mr O.P. Chabra, Civil Surgeon, said.

The MC Commissioner was not available for comments.


Verka MLA meets CM on UT discrimination
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
A delegation led by Dr Raj Kumar, MLA, Verka constituency in Amritsar, met the Punjab Chief Minister yesterday, and apprised him of the discrimination being made by the UT Police, Chandigarh, against candidates of the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and backward classes in the matter of recruitment to about 200 posts of constable.

Interestingly, the UT Police has imposed various conditions to the disadvantage of the SC/ST/BC candidates hailing from Punjab, saying ‘‘those who are not residents of UT Chandigarh since 1966 — the year of reorganisation of states — are not eligible to the reserved quota of posts earmarked for candidates of these categories’’.

Capt Amarinder Singh, promptly spoke to the Governor, who is also the Administrator of Chandigarh, seeking redressal of the grievances of the candidates belonging to the said categories.

This morning Dr Raj Kumar, along with prominent representatives of the said communities, met the Governor, and explained to him the entire issue. He submitted a memorandum, demanding immediate redressal. The Governor assured the delegation of appropriate action at the earliest.


Ultimatum to arrest Kang
Our Correspondent

Kharar, September 21
Leaders of various parties at a meeting held here today under the chairmanship of Mr Amrik Singh have threatened to stage a dharna and block traffic, if the police fails to arrest Kiranbir Singh Kang, senior vice-president of the Shiromani Youth Akali Dal within seven days, against whom non-bailable warrants have already been issued by the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Ropar in a criminal complaint field in connection with the murder of two innocent minor children of Siau village of the Kharar block.

Among others Mr Balwant Singh, secretary, CPM, Punjab, Mr Maan Singh Manheda, secretary, BSP, Punjab, Mr Nanak Singh, secretary, CPI, Kharar, Mr Bhupinder Singh, Secretary, AISSF, Punjab, Mr Navdeep Singh Bitta, president Forward Front, Punjab, Mr Om Parkash Sharma, Mr Harbag Singh Desu Majra, Mr Jaswinder Singh Jassi, Congress leaders, participated.

The leaders were critical of the failure of the police to arrest Kang.

Mr Manheda said even the present government had done nothing against Mr Kang.

Mr Balwant Singh was critical of a senior police officer who had issued a statement published in a Punjabi daily of September 18 that Mr Kang was innocent and his name had been involved due to political rivalry.

He said the court was issuing non-bailable warrants but the officer was saying he was innocent and it amounted to contempt of court.

The meeting formed a panel of five advocates, including Mr Amrik Singh, Mr Natrajan Kaushal, Mr Navdeep Singh Bitta, and Mr Harkishan Singh, Mr Darshan Dhaliwal to give free legal assistance to the parents of the deceased children.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Congress MLA, who arrived later, said the police should have arrested Mr Kang by now. He said delay in his arrest would not only cause confusion, but would also adversely effect the image of the government.

He said if no arrest was made within seven days, he would support the agitation launched by the Opposition. Showing his full sympathy with the parents of children, he said he would discuss the matter, including the role of the police, with the Chief Minister.


Mystery shrouds trader’s kidnapping
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 21
Mystery shrouds the alleged kidnapping of Mr Lakhwinder Singh, 35, a trader, running a readymade shop at Sirhind town and residing at Jalbehra village. He had reportedly been missing since last Tuesday morning, when he gone to pay obeisance at a village gurdwara at about 5 a.m. and after that did not return to house till late in the evening. The SSP said the police was working on various theories, including that of a stage-managed kidnapping. It was possible that the kidnapped man was himself making calls at his residence regularly.

The family members of Lakhwinder Singh said they had thought that he might have gone directly to their shop at Sirhind from the gurdwara. His wife, Sukhwinder Kaur said her husband was a regular visitor to gurdwara, and added that as he failed to return home till 8 a.m. on that day, she made a call on his mobile which was switched off.

She said at first the family took it lightly and to their surprise at about 7 p.m. they got a telephone call from his husband stating that he had been kidnapped by a Tata Sumo borne kidnappers. She said in the meantime the kidnappers came on the line and demanded Rs. 5 Lakh ransom for his release and directed them not to inform the police otherwise they would put his life in danger. They also promised to tell the exact time and place for bringing the money. She said at about 7.30 p.m. the family again got a call and her husband talked to her and urged them to manage Rs.5 Lakh, if they wanted to save him.

On the next day at about 8.20 p.m. the family again got a call from the kidnappers who promised to tell the place and time for handing over the amount, but so far they have not received any call. They said the family had informed the police but till today nothing concrete had come out. They are still waiting for the call.

Unofficial sources and certain villagers said Lakhwinder Singh was mostly involved in ‘kar seva’ of gurdwaras. He had no enmity with anyone except his in-laws, who were his neighbour. They said he was also a financer and used to lend money on interest and it might be the cause of kidnapping. When contacted Mr B. Chandra Sekhar SSP, said no breakthrough had been achieved as yet. He said the police had raided certain deras as he was involved in ‘kar seva’. He said the police was exploring all possible leads and hoped to get the clue soon.


Welfare funds pocketed: study
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 21
After the detection of the Rs 23-crore scam in old age pensions, a study titled “Scheduled Caste welfare — myth or reality”, by Dr R.B. Singh, senior research fellow of Guru Nanak Dev University, is likely to open a Pandora’s box. He has given a fact-finding report following a survey of 14 villages regarding the implementation of welfare schemes, saying that most of the targets shown by the departments concerned were “fictitious”.

The survey conducted in the village, including Fatehgarh Sucker Chakk, Varnala, Lopoke, Panjwarh, Kot Dharm Chand, Khappar Kheri, Panjurai, Rania, Majhupur, Gaunsabad, Machhike and Ramkhera revealed that about 85 per cent yellow cardholders belonged to higher castes.

Shockingly, 75 per cent of the beneficiaries of self-employment schemes under which loans were given, revealed that the amount they finally received was less than 50 per cent of the amount loaned to them in records. Most of them did not know the exact amount sanctioned to them by virtue of being illiterate. Out of the total 94 cases sanctioned from 1994 to 1999, 15 cases were found to be fictitious.

More than 85 per cent beneficiaries of the loans said they were not in a position to repay the loan.

Four out of 10 beneficiaries at Panjwar village were unaware of the amount sanctioned to them.

The study says a few middlemen in the village collected yellow cards from them on the pretext of getting them subsidy and loans. The victims who inquired were told that their loan applications were being processed or that the cards were either lost or had expired.

Even as the department concerned had been giving inflated figures of the beneficiaries of special grants to SC girl students and the scholarship scheme, most of the eligible persons had never heard of these schemes.

Dr R.B. Singh claimed that the amounts released for these schemes had been embezzled.


PPSC scam: defence counsel’s plea on jurisdiction
Tribune News Service

Ropar, September 21
The court of the Special Judge, Mr A.S. Katuria, today fixed September 23 as the next date of hearing in connection with the trial of Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu.

During the proceedings, counsel for Sidhu today submitted an application in the court to discharge Sidhu for want of territorial jurisdiction. The counsel claimed that the Special Judge, Ropar, had no jurisdiction to try the case as the trap had been laid by the Vigilance Bureau at the residence of Sidhu in Chandigarh.

The prosecution justified the framing of charges against Sidhu on the grounds that Sidhu had demanded Rs 40 lakh form Bhupjit Singh, Excise Inspector, on March 24 last at SAS Nagar to select him as a PCS officer. Rs 5 lakh had been received by Sidhu at his residence in Chandigarh where he was caught by the Vigilance Bureau.

He stated that in view of the recovery of “tainted” money, statements of witnesses and other relevant documents, it was a fit case for the framing of charges. He said as the deal between Sidhu and Bhupjit Singh had been struck at SAS Nagar, the court had full jurisdiction to frame the charges and try the case.


Plea to appoint PSS officers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
The Punjab Civil Secretariat Staff Association has urged the State Government to appoint officers of the Punjab State Services (PSS) against the posts vacated by PCS officers who have been removed from service after the detection of recruitment scam in the Punjab Public Service Commission.

Mr Rohsan Lal Goel, general secretary of the association, said today that a deputation of his organisation had met the Chief Secretary, Mr Y.S. Ratra, in this connection. He said about 40 posts of PCS officers were vacant at the state headquarters. He said that the Chief Secretary had also transferred branches of secretariat staff from the Food and Supply Department and the Local Bodies Department to the mini secretariat. 


Vigilance officers shielding corrupt, 
says Justice Bains
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 21
Justice Ajit Singh Bains (retd), Chairman of the Punjab Human Rights Organisations (PHRO), has alleged that some senior Vigilance officers had been shielding “corrupt” leaders and officials who had amassed huge properties during the previous SAD-BJP government.

In a communication to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, Justice Bains claimed that the PHRO had definite information that certain Vigilance officers had played a major role in saving the “corrupt leaders” of the previous government. The communication flayed the state government for transferring the Additional Director-General of Police Mr A.P. Bhatnagar, from the Intelligence branch when he was about to solve the mystery of the missing Rs 2 crore from bank lockers.

“If you (Capt Amarinder Singh) really wish to carry on with the cleanliness drive, then it must continue even against those who are part of the Vigilance set-up. We are prepared to part with this vital information provided you bring back good officers whom people can trust”, the communication added.

The communication warned that if Capt Amarinder Singh sidelined honest officers and overlooked the corrupt deeds of the Vigilance machinery then the result would be a failure.


Youth crosses over to Pak during retreat ceremony
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 21
Security forces have been put on maximum alert even as Pakistan has refused to “hand over” a youth who swiftly crossed over to Pakistan by taking advantage of big rush of onlookers of daily retreat ceremony at Wagah border day before yesterday.

Though BSF officials are tight-lipped about the incident yet sources, said Pakistani rangers claimed that the youth was a ‘Pakistani national’ and hence he could not be handed over to India.

There is no wiring at the Zero Line Dividing India and Pakistan border. Many onlookers are seen getting themselves photographed along with the international pillar, manned by the Pakistan Rangers and BSF jawans on each side.

It is learnt that when BSF asked the Pakistani authorities to hand over the youth who was immediately overpowered by them after his crossing over to Pakistan, they refused to do so on the pretext that he (the youth) had inadvertently crossed over to India and immediately returned back.


Jail inmates get some say

Amritsar, September 21
The Punjab Jails Department has introduced a “participating management system” in jails to improve the facilities being provided to inmates.

Punjab Additional Director-General (Prisons) Izhar Alam who was here on an inspection of Amritsar Central Jail, said here today that the scheme would change the functioning of the jails.

A body of undertrials and convicts would be formed and would work in tendem with the jail administration to check the purchase of edibles items and ensure compatibility as per the norms set by jail manuals.

The elected body would also be empowered to check the functioning of jail hospitals.

To boost cultural, religious and sports activities, steps would be taken in this regard, he said.

All tests of patients would be conducted inside the jails with the help of the district Civil Surgeons and pathological laboratories were being set up in this regard.

Regarding the overcrowded old jail at Jalandhar, he said, it was on the agenda and the jail would be shifted away from the city. PTI


TSU feels pinch of staff shortage
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 21
Mr Resham Kumar, general secretary of the Technical Services Union (city division), in a statement issued here today alleged that due to a shortage of technical staff and overwork, many fatal and other accidents had taken place, putting the lives of the employees in danger.

While the local MLA, Mr Surinder Singla, had claimed that the Municipal Council would be converted into a municipal corporation to improve the civic amenities of the city, many employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board had been deputed by the council to take care of the streetlights and other works, causing a manpower shortage with the board, he said.

He said more than 60 technical employees of the PSEB had been deputed on non-technical duties in the city, resulting in nine accidents. He said that at least in the case of two employees, the accidents were due to overload of work.

Mr Randhir Singh, district president, TSU, said the compensation cases of some employees who had been injured or rendered handicapped in accidents on duty, were pending since 1993. He said at least Rs 50,000 should be given as advance to the victims of the accidents.


1390 cases settled
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 21
Compensation worth Rs 208 crore has been awarded in the 1,370 Lok Adalats which have been conducted in Punjab so far and nearly 1,01,100 cases out of the 1,59,000 cases taken up for hearing have been settled satisfactorily.

The Member Secretary ,Punjab Legal Services, Mr H.P.S. Mahal, said this while talking to this correspondent. The main stress was on matrimonial and labour court cases. In a Special Lok Adalat held today at the District Court Complex here out of the 1804 cases taken up 1,390 were disposed of. Twentytwo Benches were constituted and presided over by one Judicial Officer , one lawyer and one eminent social worker. Besides this inquiry counters were also set up to guide the litigants. The District and Sessions Judge, Mr S.N. Aggarwal, said that the Lok Adalat movement had become popular as people find this as the cheapest and the fastest method to get rid of long litigation.

The Special Lok Adalat was presided over by Mr Justice H.S. Bedi, Judge, Punjab and Haryana High Court-cum-Chairman, Punjab State Legal Services Authority. Among others present on the occasion were Mr Justice R.L. Anand, Judge, Punjab and Haryana High court, Mr Tejveer Singh, Deputy Commissioner, Patiala, Mr P.S. Umaranangal, SSP and Mr Balbir Singh Billing, President Bar Association, Patiala.


Ex-MLA among 10 detained
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, September 21
The district police today detained 10 workers of the CPI, including former MLA Kulwant Singh and farmers, who were sitting on dharna at Laroa village on the Jalandhar-Pathankot road to register their protest against the failure of the state government to release sugarcane arrears to the farmers.

On a call to hold dharnas all over the state, workers of the district unit of the CPI and about 100 farmers blocked traffic at Laroa village, near here, for about half an hour. They raised anti-government slogans.

They demanded that the state government should immediately release the requisite funds to pay the farmers, failing which the party would intensify the agitation.

A district police team led by SP Kulshinder Singh asked the protesters to clear the traffic on the highway, but to no avail. Subsequently, he reportedly ordered their detention.


Badal protecting corrupt: Jakhar
Our Correspondent

Abohar, September 21
Mr Sunil Jakhar, whip of the Congress Legislative Party in Punjab, today lambasted SAD supremo Parkash Singh Badal for attacking the Congress Government led by Capt Amarinder Singh to protect “corrupt former ministers and their middlemen”.

Addressing a gathering at a “Prashasan aapke dvar” programme in Khuyiansarwer, 15 km from here today Mr Jakhar said the SAD-BJP government had fractured the economy of the state so badly that there was no money to give pension to widows and aged persons.

Mr Jakhar said the present government was trying to provide a neat, clean and corruption-free administration at all levels.

Mr Jakhar said the renewal of 14,000 arms licences was lying pending in this district. He requested Deputy Commissioner D.K. Tiwari to expedite such cases on priority basis. Village panchayats put forth their problems and some persons submitted their complaints, most of which were solved on the spot.


Badal ex-OSD case hearing on Sept 28
Tribune News Service

Ropar, September 21
Mr A.S. Kathuria, Special Judge, Ropar, today fixed September 28 as the next date of hearing for further arguments and consideration on the anticipatory bail application filed by Hardeep Singh, former OSD to Mr Parkash Singh Badal, in a case registered against him by the Vigilance Bureau at SAS Nagar on August 29 under Section 13 (1) (e) read with Section 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The Special Judge extended the interim anticipatory bail of Hardeep Singh, staying his arrest till September 28.


Dang probe Badal’s copter rides
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 21
Mr Satya Pal Dang, CPI leader, has sought the attention of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh into cases of corruption indulged in by the Badal government.

He states that one of the biggest eye-openers was the expenditure of nearly Rs 3.27 crore incurred in just 11 months by the former Chief Minister Mr Parkash Singh Badal, on helicopter rides, costing the exchequer approximately Rs 1 lakh daily. Among cases highlighted were a park worth Rs 20 lakh allotted for Rs 17,000 only and embezzlement of lakhs in printing of new diaries of the state government.

Mr Dang has suggested that all these reports should be probed. 


PKD to gherao Vajpayee
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 21
The Punjab Kisan Dal (PKD) will gherao the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, in New Delhi, if the Centre failed to announce the minimum support price (MSP) for paddy immediately.

Master Jagir Singh, president, PKD, said the Shiromani Akali Dal had reached a “secret understanding” with Mr Vajpayee for delaying the announcement of the MSP so that the Capt Amarinder Singh government could be described for the distress sale of paddy.

The Congress leader asked Mr Badal to part with the National Democratic Alliance government for having failed to announce the MSP. Master Jagir Singh held Mr Badal responsible for the ‘anti-farmers’ recommendations of the Power Regulatory Commission. He alleged that the process for withdrawing free electricity to farmers was initiated by the Badal government.

Master Jagir Singh alleged that Mr Surinder Singh Kairon, a close relative of Mr Badal was responsible for the supply of spurious pesticides and allegedly involved in a number of irregularities committed during the Badal government. 


Man gets life term in murder case
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, September 21
Sunil Kumar, a resident of Pathankot, has been sentenced to life imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 10,000 by the Additional Sessions Judge, Gurdaspur, Mr K.K. Garg, in a murder case.

According to the prosecution, the accused was arrested by the division No. 1 police under Section, 302 of the IPC on a complaint lodged by Shakti, son of Gulzari Lal, that Sunil Kumar had attacked his father with a knife when he was supervising the renovation of his shop located at the post office chowk. His father, who was seriously injured was taken to Civil Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

A dispute over the possession of a shop was said to be the reason behind the attack. The possession of the shop was restored to the deceased’s family on the orders of the Supreme Court.


Ban on Punjabi magazine
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 21
The District Magistrate, Mr Swinder Singh Puri, today prohibited the further publication and circulation of a Punjabi magazine, Punjab Monitor, for alleged controversial writings on Hindu gods and goddesses till November 4.

The order states, “Punjab Monitor, a Punjabi magazine, contains certain derogatory and malicious remarks against Hindu gods and goddesses. The language used by the publisher is quite inflammatory which will destroy communal harmony and public tranquillity.

Meanwhile, Mr Surinder Billa, president of the All-India Hindu Shiv Sena, today urged to ban the magazine completely.

In another order, Mr Puri has prohibited the sale of drugs. 


Village remembers 1965 war martyr
Tribune News Service

Ropar, September 21
On the occasion of the 37th martyrdom day of Capt Surjit Singh, a martyr of the 1965 India-Pakistan war, Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, Minister for Animal Husbandry and Dairy Development, Punjab, today inaugurated a veterinary hospital at Boormajra village, near here. The village veterinary dispensary has been upgraded to hospital.

Boormajra is the native village of the martyr.

Mr Kang said with the upgradation of this dispensary, now more than 4,500 animals of the area could get better treatment facilities.

He announced Rs 25,000 for the library of the village school and distributed prizes to students.


Youths apprised of action plans
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, September 21
A five-day development programme for youths was organised at Basti Makhan Singh from September 17 by the Nehru Yuva Kendra, Ferozepore, in collaboration with the Department of Field Publicity. As many as 40 youths from rural areas adjoining the Indo-Pak border participated.

The programme aimed to evolve a collective and collaborative relationship between the rural youth in order to initiate social activities at the lowest level to help develop rural action plans announced by the Union and the stage governments.

Mr Sarabhjit Singh Bedi, district co-ordinator of the Nehru Yuva Kendra, said the rural youth had an interaction with officials of important departments to identify the existing resources at the village level and obtain knowledge on healthcare, land and cattle, human resources and women empowerment.


Cycle rally against drugs
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, September 21
The Punjab Vikas Manch, in collaboration with the Punjab police and NGOs, organised a cycle rally here today against the drug menace, pollution and to create awareness regarding physical fitness. A large number of school students participated.

The rally was flagged off from the Kargil Martyrs Crossing by the SSP, Mr Narinder Bhargav. It passed through the markets and converged at Tehsil Chowk where it was addressed by Mr Bhargav, Baba Sewa Singh of Khadoor Sahib and Dr Kanwaljit Singh.

Dr Kashmir Singh Sohal, president of the manch, thanked the participants and guests.

Addressing the rally, speakers stressed the need for lauching a special campaign against the drug menace.


Late date extended
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 21
To regularise encroachments on government land in the urban areas, the Punjab Government has extended the date for receiving applications for this purpose to October 31, 2002. Earlier the last date was October 21. Mr Vikas Partap, DC, in a press release urged all those who were in possession of government land since long and wanted to get the possession regularised by depositing the amount fixed by the government should apply on a prescribed forms to the tehsildar or the respective SDM up to October 31.


Eunuchs converge on Patti
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, September 21
A four-day centenary rituals of eunuchs to pay tributes to their ancestors began at Patti today.

The eunuchs from all over the country are converging at Patti to take part in the rituals. Baba Bhajno, head of the eunuchs of Patti, said tributes would be paid to Mai Budho, Nathu, Saraj, and Karshaid who died about 100 years ago. On September 24, the eunuchs would organise programme where “flag of happiness” would be hoisted. A procession would also be taken out.


Strategy for rabi crops
K.S. Chawla

LUDHIANA: The Punjab Agriculture Department in consultation with scientists of Punjab Agricultural University has formulated a strategy for the rabi crops.

The new strategy has been chalked out under directions of Agriculture Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal in view of the setback received by the farmers due to failure of the monsoon.

According to official information available here, the farmers have been advised to bring more area under durum wheat, particularly in the districts of Patiala, Ludhiana, Fatehgarh, Gurdaspur and Amritsar. Durum wheat fetches more price compared with the normal wheat. The department proposes to bring 50,000 hectares under durum wheat.

Similarly, the farmers have been advised to sow oilseeds in more area and a target of 75,000 hectares has been fixed. For sarson crop, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Kapurthala and Ludhiana districts have been named.

The wheat crop would be sown in an area of 32 lakh hectares, according to Dr G.S. Nanda, Director, Research, Punjab Agricultural University. Emphasis was on bringing more area under pulses - 20,000 hectares against 11,000 hectares of last year.

Patiala, Sangur, Faridkot, Hoshiarpur, Ropar , Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Kapurthala districts have been suggested for pulses cultivation. The experts have also advised the farmers to sow winter maize and barley.

Dr Nanda said that the university had developed technology for raising winter maize, but the farmers must be ensured of minimum support price for the same.

The farmers have been further asked to take up the cultivation of sugarcane on a large scale throughout the state.

At a joint meeting of the officials of the state Agriculture Department and PAU experts, it was emphasised that the farmers should be supplied with certified and pure seed of different crops.

It was decided to approach the national seeds corporation, IFFCO and KRIBHCO for arranging certified seed for the rabi crops.

According to Dr Nanda, the university has limited stocks of seeds of rabi crops - wheat 25,000 quintals, barley 1700 quintals, gram 500 quintals, raya 120 quintals, sarson 150 quintals and lentil 100 quintals, respectively.

Dr Nanda says that Punseed will have to arrange for sufficient quantity of seeds for the rabi crops for a good produce.


Farmers urged to diversify
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 21
The Punjab Government has chalked out long-term as well as short term programmes to boost the diversification of crops and to encourage the farmers to adopt the cultivation of pulses, barley, oil seeds. Marketing of these crops will be ensured and the government is going to create a nodal agency for the marketing so that the farmers may not have to face the difficulty in selling their produce,” said Dr Harbans Lal, Minister of State for Food and Civil Supply, while addressing the state-level training camp of the farmers organised by the Agriculture Department at Sirhind today.

He said the government was fully aware of the problems being faced by the farmers and was trying hard to get the MSP of paddy declared at the earliest, so that the paddy of the farmers could be purchased at the earliest. He urged the farmers to adopt the diversification of the crops as the paddy-wheat rotation has reached its peak. Moreover, due to the plantation of the paddy, the water level has gone down, he added.

Mr R.K. Rampal, Director, Agriculture, in his address gave a detailed information to the farmers regarding diversification of crops. He said the government has planned to reduce the cultivation area of wheat in the coming season from 34.20 lakh hectares to 32.50 lakh hectares by encouraging the cultivation of barley and oil seeds. He said the state would be divided into five zones and in all the zones experts would study the climate and the soil condition and then they would recommend the crop to be planted there. He said the market study of cotton basmati and oil seed has been completed and the nodal agency would extend all help to the farmers in selling their crop.

Dr Jaswinder Singh, an expert from the PAU, Dr GPS Sodhi, Dr Inderjit Singh, Dr Sandeep Singh, all from the PAU, Dr Kesar Singh, Chief Agriculture Officer, Balbir Singh, MD, Punseed, and Kulwant Singh, Joint Director, Agriculture, also addressed, the gathering.


MC okays 24 cr for projects
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 21
The municipal House meeting approved Rs 24 crore for development projects in the city here yesterday.

Presided over by Commissioner Jasbir Singh Bir and Mayor Sunil Datti, the House also informed about estimates and viability for the single pillar elevated road project from Ram Talai to the Golden Temple given to a company to study and present its report within six months.


Student held with 4.5 kg of charas
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, September 21
A student of BA-III has been arrested on charges of smuggling charas from Himachal Pradesh.

According to Mr Varinder Kumar, district police chief, Mohit Kumar of Pidre village, Bassi police station Hamirpur, was arrested with 4.5 kg of charas at a special naka at Simble Chowk, Pathankot, today. He had brought the charas from Banihal district (Himachal Pradesh) in an olive green bag. The suspect allegedly purchased charas with the help of one of his relatives, serving in the Army.

The district police chief said the suspect tried to give the police the slip, but was arrested.


ETT students gherao Behl
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, September 21
Students of the Elementary Teachers Training (ETT) and the District Institution of Education and Training (DIET) courses gheraoed the Punjab Education Minister, Mr Khushal Behl, for over five hours and blocked all entry and exit gates of Guru Nanak Dev University here today. The minister assured students that he would take up their demands at the Cabinet meeting.

Mr Behl was presiding over a function organsied by GND University to mark the Hindi Divas by releasing seven publications of renowned writers.

Earlier, the minister had accepted two demands of the students regarding the restoration of the upper limit to 42 years for job and relaxation in percentage of marks from 55 per cent to 50 per cent.

Meanwhile, the students postponed their agitation till Wednesday.

MANSA: Hundreds of students, including a large number of students DIET, Budhlada, in the district, took out a protest march with black flags through the town and blocked traffic in the Mansa-Patiala road on Saturday. In support of their demands and against the new education policy announced by the Punjab Government. They also raised slogans against the government.

The students said the new education policy would spoil the future of more than 6,000 ETT students.

Mr Gurjant Singh Bhatia, a student leader, said at the time of admission to ETT course there were no conditions of two years’ internship and 55 per cent marks in plus II. He said as per the new policy the maximum age limit had also been reduced from 42 to 32 years.

Addressing the protesters, student leaders served an ultimatum on the state government to accept their demands failing which they would intensify their agitation. Flaying the lathi charge of the ETT and DIET students in Amritsar on September 16, the withdrawal of cases against the students, scrapping of the new education policy-2002, besides acceptance of their other demands.

Later, the students submitted a memorandum to Mr Sher Singh Gagowal, MLA, Mansa, who assured them to raise the issue in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.


CBSE programmes to woo NRI students
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, September 21
The CBSE has decided to start special programmes on Indian Languages and culture at 19 schools in various countries affiliated to the board.

Talking to reporters here today, the Chairman of the CBSE, Mr Ashok Ganguli, said the programmes would start from the current session. “We are concerned about the waning interest of NRI youth about the traditions and culture of India due to the non-availability of such programmes in educational institutes in foreign countries and use of English as a mode of communication, he said.

He said the programme was divided into three levels-foundation, function and proficiency.

We have already developed the software and texts in Malayalam and Gujarati while work will be completed soon in Tamil, Punjabi and Hindi”, he said. He said the CBSE had introduced entrepreneurship as a subject for plus one students in 80 schools last year.

He was of the view that biotechnology, recently introduced in the secondary classes by the CBSE in 125 schools, would benefit the students.


GND varsity to have Centre for SE Asian studies
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, September 21
Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) has initiated steps to set up a centre for South-East Asian studies on its campus.

The university authorities have submitted a project report to the Union Human Resources and Development (HRD) Ministry. The project includes the study of social, economic, political and linguistic aspects of India, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajakistan, Iran and Afghanistan.

“In the coming years, these countries of South-East Asia will have a bearing on the economic and political scenario scene of the world and hence it is in the interest of India to have a wide knowledge of the cultures of these regions which will help strengthen its international relations,” pointed out Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, GND University, while talking to TNS here yesterday.

He added that the initial cost of the project would be Rs 10 lakh, while the recuring cost would be around Rs 15 lakh every year. The centre would include only researchers and the formalities in this regard are yet to be completed.


Hindi divas observed
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 21
Presiding over Hindi Divas, organised by Guru Nanak Dev University, Mr Khushal Behal, Education Minister, laid emphasis on extensive research in languages.

He said there was dire need to translate scientific literature in popular languages. He said academies for Hindi, Sanskrit, Punjabi and Urdu should be established to promote these languages. He also released seven publications.

Dr S.P Singh, Vice-Chancellor, said in addition to the development and promotion of Punjabi literature and culture, the university was also committed to the development of Hindi language and literature.

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