Saturday, November 16, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SAD to demand action against Amarinder, Tohra
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, November 15
The SAD has decided to convene a meeting of senior party leaders and workers at Chandigarh next week to pass a resolution to appeal to the Jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, to give exemplary punishment to the state Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, as per the Sikh maryada for sending the police inside the Darbar Sahib complex at Amritsar to “intimidate” the SGPC members and visitors during the recent SGPC poll.

Similar action will also be demanded by the participants against Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President of the SHSAD, and Mr Ravi Inder Singh, former Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, who, the party alleged, were also a part of the gameplan envisaged by the state Chief Minister. All district jathedars, MLAs, MPs and other senior party leaders will attend the meeting. Stating this here today, Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, Senior Vice-President of the SAD and former Agriculture Minister, said the Sikhs would not forgive anyone who tried to violate the sanctity of the Golden Temple or the Sikh Maryada. He said the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had to face the wrath of the Sikhs for conducting Operation Bluestar. Even the late President Giani Zail Singh had to beg forgiveness from the Sikh clergy for the same.

Criticising Mr Mohinder Singh Romana, executive member of the SGPC and chairman of Takht Patna Sahib, and Mrs Gurdev Kaur, member, SGPC , Faridkot, Mr Gurdev Singh Badal said they had betrayed the party during the SGPC poll and a decision had been taken to expell both of them from the party. The SAD Vice-President said the party supremo, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, was aware about the anti-party activities of Mr Romana but he was giving time to Mr Romana to mend his ways even though the latter had failed to do so. He also accused Mr Romana of deserting the party on many occasions. He reiterated the determination of the SAD to launch a ‘jail bharo andolan’ from November 27 in protest against the state government’s failure to protect the state’s interests besides unleashing repression on SAD leaders and party workers on “fabricated” grounds.


Badal mobilises workers
Tribune Reporters

Ropar, November 15
Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Punjab Chief Minister and President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), today virtually launched a statewide campaign to mobilise party workers for the proposed “jail bharo andolan” under the garb of a campaign by him from today to say thanks to SGPC members for showing their solidarity with the SAD during the SGPC elections.

As part of his campaign, Mr Badal today visited the residences of SGPC members of the SAD in the district namely Mr Mokha Singh Gharuan, Jathedar Pritam Singh Sallomajra and Mr Jarnail Singh Aulakh.

Mr Badal met party workers at the residences of SGPC members and addressed them to present his party’s point of view in the recently held SGPC elections. People are of the view that Mr Badal has launched this campaign to maintain his supremacy in the party after the party’s win in the SGPC elections.

Talking to mediapersons, Mr Badal said “the sending of two observers by the NDA government during the recently held SGPC elections cannot be termed as an interference by the Central Government in the religious affairs of the Sikhs as well as the SGPC elections.”

With regard to summoning of Capt Amarinder Singh at Akal Takht on the issue of entry of the police into the Golden Temple complex during the SGPC elections, Mr Badal said he would not interfere in the affairs of the SGPC and Akal Takht.

NAWANSHAHR: Mr Badal on Friday visited the residence of Mr Mohinder Singh Hussainpur, SGPC member, at the nearby Garhi Hussainpur village to thank him for his support in the SGPC elections.

Among others, Mr Badal honoured Mr Hussainpur, Mr Chuhar Singh Garcha, Mr Harprabh Mahal Singh and Mr Kulwinder Laddi, who had been arrested by the government before the elections.


SAD MLAs, SGPC men meet today
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 15
Akalis when out of power make the holy city of Amritsar as hub of all its political and religious activities. This is evident from the decision of the Shiromani Akali Dal, led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal who has convened a meeting of SGPC members, MLAs, MPs, former ministers and political affairs committee here tomorrow.

After coming to power, the SAD had shifted all its activities from Amritsar to Chandigarh.

Though the districtwise “jail-bharo” agitation is being launched from Amritsar from November 27, yet Mr Badal and his son, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, have decided to perform ‘ardas’ at Golden Temple before launching the agitation.


Bibi gets bail in power theft case
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, November 15
Mr Zora Singh, Additional Sessions Judge, today allowed anticipatory bail to Bibi Jagir Kaur, former president of the SGPC and sitting SAD MLA, in power theft case registered against her at Bholath police station.

Mr Zora Singh directed the police of Bholath police station that in the event of her arrest she be released on bail bond of Rs 30,000. He directed her to surrender her passport and not to leave the country without the permission of court.


Police didn’t enter complex: Hanspal
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, November 15
Mr H.S. Hanspal, President, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee while talking to newsmen here today in PWD Rest House said the police did not enter the Golden Temple complex.

The government was compelled to provide security around the SGPC complex and its surrounding serais in view of the provocative statements given by leaders of the rival factions of the Akali Dals.

Mr Hanspal was here as part of his programme to address district Congress committee meeting in the state.

Mrs Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder, former minister Mr Khushal Bahl, Education Minister, Punjab and Mr Gurbachan Singh Nabehali, President of the DCC were also present.

Mr Hanspal said it was strange that allegations of police entry into the Golden Temple complex were being levelled against a staunch Sikh like Maharaja Amarinder Singh.


Centre delays SGPC general election
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 15
The SHSAD today alleged that the Central Government was deliberately delaying the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) general election. Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, General Secretary of the party, said today that the general election of the religious body was due in October, 2000 but the Union Government had not yet issued any notification for holding the poll.

The Central Government was not holding the election because SAD President Parkash Singh Badal was not prepared to contest.

The SHSAD would give a befitting reply to Mr Badal in the general election as the latter would not be able to secure help from Haryana Chief Minister Om Parkash Chautala and the Central Government.

“Our party will launch a morcha in Delhi, if the Union Government delayed the SGPC election. A party deputation will soon meet Home Minister L.K. Advani in this connection” he added.

Mr Chandumajra said Mr Badal had also sent the police into the Golden Temple complex at the time of the SGPC elections.

He should also appear at Akal Takht.

Mr Badal had set the precedent of sending the police into Complex, he added.

Though Mr Badal remained the Chief Minister of Punjab for five years, he did not transfer the ownership of the disputed road to the SGPC.


Capt to change tack from politics to governance
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 15
Caught in the religio-political and administrative crises of its own making in the past eight months or so, the Congress Government in Punjab is apparently feeling the urgency to search for means to set its house in order.

In the wake of bitter experience in the SGPC elections and plain-speaking by the exploratory team of the World Bank at the wrap-up meeting today, the government now proposes to focus on several recent initiatives and go to the people with development-oriented agenda/projects, it is reliably learnt. It is also mending its defence mechanism in the wake of dissidence within the Congress as well as apprehension of the Akal Takht summoning the Chief Minister.

Sources say without deflecting from its anti-corruption campaign, the spotlight will now shift from Akali bashing to governance. This will involve changes in portfolios of ministers. Likewise, with six bureaucrats on their way to Delhi on deputation, an administrative reshuffle is expected. Another reason for this is incompatibility between some ministers and Secretaries. There is speculation that Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, may lose both portfolios, Agriculture and Rural Development and Panchayats. Already, her Secretary and the Director, Rural Development and Panchayats, have been posted out. Those who may see a change of portfolio (addition or subtraction) or dropped are Mr Lal Singh, Mr Gurchet Singh Bhullar, Mr Harbans Lal, Ch. Jagjit Singh, Mr Raghu Nath Sahai Puri.

On incompatibility, there are reports that in the Department of Local Bodies, Mr Sarvesh Kaushal, and Ch. Jagjit Singh have problems. In the Excise and Taxation, Mr Mukul Joshi and Mr Sardul Singh are on different wave-lengths. Earlier, Mr Rajan Kashyap was shifted from Health and Family Welfare because he and Mr Ramesh Chander Dogra differed more and agreed far less.

Likewise, because of bureaucratic wrangling, there is opposition to some of the Secretaries holding more than one charges being made to give up one. The one in the eye of such a storm is Mr Mukul Joshi, who holds Excise and Taxation, besides Industries and Commerce. Even some of the recently ordered transfers have been stayed.

Even the revenue receipts are far below expectations so far. And the government has further reduced sales tax on certain items. Except the withdrawal of free power and irrigation water, user charges are yet to be finalised and levied in respect of social and economic services like education, health and transport. Despite excise auctions having gone well under Mr Y.S. Ratra when Punjab earned Rs 100 crore more in comparison to last year (2001), the excise income was up by only Rs 25 crore at the end of October. At least 80 per cent of it should have come in by then.

Inquiries with the state excise licencees reveal that despite their willingness to ‘’co-operate’’ with the government, trouble was because of the licencees from outside Punjab, mainly U.P., who have cornered 30 per cent of the trade.

TNS interaction with the World Bank team last night revealed that it has told administrative secretaries that the state must have a proper statutory mechanism for regular postings and transfers. Another point was that there must be a citizens’ charter in place. The much-hyped transparency and reforms need to be made more visible. Good governance should not remain on paper but translated into action.

Though the team has made no commitment as per its brief, it, however, is convinced that the World Bank should commit itself in Punjab. The team members said the initiatives of the government were loud and clear on paper but it would be a tall order implementing them on the ground, as it required raising revenue, reducing expenditure and revenue deficit and introducing financial management and accountability. Yet the bank is willing to help Punjab.


NFL contractor not to get payments
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, November 15
Rising from slumber after over two years, the Employee Provident Fund (EPF) authorities have started making efforts to recover the swindled money. They have now written to National Fertilizers Limited (NFL), Nangal, to stop the payments of Calcutta Construction Company, the labour contractor accused of committing the scam in Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant (GGSSTP).

The company, after being blacklisted by the PSEB, was working at the NFL plant in Nangal. Action has been taken to recover about Rs 53 lakh allegedly swindled by the said contractor from the EPF accounts of contract labourers at the GGSSTP from 1997 to 1999.

After receiving the directive from the EPF authorities, the NFL has taken the payments of the labour contractor in its control. The Chief Personal Manager of the NFL, Mr Wadhwa, confirmed that the directive to stop the payments had been received.

The NFL is now directly making payments to the contract labourers. It is also considering to cancel the contract of the company.

Mr Wadhwa said after making the payments to the labour and depositing their EPF, hardly anything had been left in the account of the contractor which would be termed as recovery.

A criminal case had been registered against the proprietor of the company, Mr Deepak Chada, in 2000. However, the company continued to function in various other organisations, including the NFL, but the EPF authorities never made an effort to recover the amount from the contractor.

Sources said certain engineers were now planning to shift the blame on the higher management of the plant. The management of the GGSSTP had recently sent to the police the names of officers who had passed and verified the bills of the labour contractors in the period in which the scam occurred. The police is trying to fix the responsibility on those officers who failed to obtain the clearance certificate from the labour contractor for 24 months.

The engineers whose names have been passed to the police have alleged that they used to pass the necessary information to the higher authorities.


Move to revamp education system, says DG (School)
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 15
The Punjab Government is preparing blueprints for revamping the education system in the state to provide quality education to students. The government had involved a number of non-governmental organisations to make the education system flawless.

In the past few weeks, the state education authorities held deliberations with eminent educationists, scholars and other agencies to incorporate their suggestions in the new education policy to be announced shortly.

Mr Alok Shekhar, Director-General (School), Punjab, who carried out surprise checking in number of primary schools in this district today in connection with the mid-day meal scheme, while talking to TNS pointed out that all Central Government schemes for improving the standards of education in the schools were being implemented.

He added that infrastructure in the schools would be created and teachers would be given Rs 500 per annum as grant for getting teaching aids. Teachers would be imparted education in new methods of teaching and mother-teacher associations would be set up to teach the mother how to treat her children in the homes under the Sarb Sikhya Abhiyan to improve the quality of education.

The funds, which would be released to different schools under the Sarb Sikhya Abhiyan, would be utilised by the Village Education Development Committee.

Mr Shekhar said mid-day meal scheme in schools falling in a block of each district had been launched. The funds for first 50 days had been released to the committee while the funds for other 50 days would be released to the committee with in a week as the case pertaining to it was lying with the Finance Department. He added that there was no shortage of funds for implementing the mid-day meal scheme. All complaints with regard to this scheme were being redressed properly.

Mr Shekhar tasted the food being supplied to students of primary schools of state government under the mid-day meal scheme.


Malhi for international airport
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 15
Mr Gurbax Singh Malhi, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Labour and third-time member of the House of Commons in Canada, has reiterated the demand of NRIs of Punjabi origin for an international airport in Punjab.

Talking to newsmen here this morning, Mr Gurbax Singh Malhi, who represents the Bramalea-Gore-Malton-Springdale constituency which has a fairly large sprinkling of Indian-Canadians, said that in the absence of an international airport, these NRIs face a plethora of problems, besides long travel from the union Capital to their home towns in Punjab.

“We have been requesting the Punjab and Central Governments on this issue but little has been done in the past nine years. Amritsar airport is yet to be upgraded to take the load of international flights,” he said.

About the grant of duel citizenship, he said Canada permitted dual citizenship. About the recommendation of a high-powered committee on Indian diaspora for the grant of dual citizenship to the people of Indian origin living in six western countries, including Canada and the USA, Mr Malhi said his feedback was that it might be difficult for the recommendation to become a law.

Mr Malhi said other problems being faced by NRIs concerned their landed properties back home. Though some steps had been taken these were not enough. One of the major lacunae of these amendments had been that no time frame was given. “If they are setting up special courts to deal with property cases of NRIs, no purpose would be served unless the cases are decided in a timebound manner,” he added.

Mr Malhi agreed that matrimonial disputes and discarding of brides by NRI grooms were other serious problems which needed to be tackled. Mr Malhi, who is visiting India after 20 months, said relations between India and Canada were cordial and smooth and there had been a considerable improvement in bilateral trade.

Referring to Canadian investments in India, he said that because of red tape and poor or no response system, most of the proposals had fallen through. Various projects he had pioneered for better exchange between Canada and Punjab never materialised because of the lack of interest shown by the government agencies here.

Mr Malhi said that one of the major achievements of the Liberal Party which he represented has been upgrading of business or information centre at Chandigarh into a full-fledged Consulate. Tomorrow, the Canadian Minister for Oceans and Fisheries, Mr Herb Dhaliwal, also a Punjabi, would inaugurate the new building.

“After the building is renovated in another eight to 10 months, the counsellor office will become operational,” Mr Malhi said.

The new immigration law would facilitate those professionals who had sponsors in Canada who could offer them jobs after getting these cleared from the Human Resource Development authorities there. It would also expedite the cases of spouses and immediate family members. Under the independent category, the points required for qualification had been raised from 70 to 75. Some relaxations were under consideration in the Employment Equity Law in Canada to create more job opportunities for Indian professionals, who otherwise faced difficulties because Indian degrees were not recognised in Canada.


Punjab may file more than one plea
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 15
Punjab may prefer more than one petitions in the Supreme Court later this month on the vexed issue of the SYL canal.

The final decision whether to prefer one or more petitions would be taken after a group of eminent legal experts, including senior lawyers based in Delhi, meet in the union Capital between November 21 and 25, says Mr Harbhagwan Singh, Advocate-General of Punjab.

Talking to The Tribune, he said the first draft of the petition was finalised at the first meeting of legal experts held in Delhi between November 5 and 7. Another round of discussions and deliberations will be held in New Delhi on November 16 and 17 to give the petition the final shape.

Besides the petitions, other proposals, which he refused to divulge, are also being considered. It may be mentioned that the apex court has directed the Punjab Government to complete the pending work on the abandoned SYL canal by the first half of January next year failing which the work would be got executed through a central government agency.

Mr Harbhagwan Singh said since the water share dispute was pending before a tribunal, the experts are considering the option whether the digging or completing the remaining portion of the canal could be divorced from the main issue or not.

“Since the quantum of water that has to flow in to the SYL canal has not been decided, there may not be any need to complete or dig the remaining portion of the canal if the additional demand of water could be met through existing canals or water channels,” he said, suggesting that even the Narwana canal linking Punjab and Haryana was being underutilised.

It was a matter of evidence that the Narwana canal was seldom used to its capacity, he said.

Another point to be raised by Punjab is about water share from the Thein dam. Since it may take some years before the Thein dam becomes fully operational, the government may argue that till the water share from the Thein dam was established, the idea of completing the SYL canal would be of no use.

Further, the present status of the canal would be another argument on which Punjab may rely heavily in its fresh petitions. The entire canal has to be done up again as the work completed earlier was a shambles.

Completing a canal without knowing the quantum of water to flow into it would be another strong point in Punjab’s armoury when it files its petition in the Apex court latest by month-end, said Mr Harbhagwan Singh.


BJYM meets today
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, November 15
A zonal meeting of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) will be organised at Hardwar tomorrow.

BJYM national executive member Sukhminderpaul Singh Grewal said here today that BJYM units of Punjab, Chandigarh, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pardesh and Uttranchal would participate in the meeting.


MC House meeting or sham?
Entire agenda passed without any discussion
Tribune News Service

The agenda was announced and passed immediately with the raising of hands by the Congress corporators.

Opposition corporators who wanted to speak on the issue were not allowed to do so on the plea that the agenda had been passed.

The remaining 20 minutes of the meeting were spent in listening to the problems being faced by the Congress corporators in their respective wards.

Patiala, November 15
The general House meeting of the Municipal Corporation, which had been called today to discuss public issues like the privatisation of the garbage cleaning set-up of the city and increase in salaries of the corporators besides other items, was nothing but a sham with the entire agenda being passed with raising of hands by Congress corporators without any discussion on the items.

The manner in which the agenda was passed drew flak from the Opposition members as well as the Congress corporators who, however, did not choose to make their resentment public. The meeting also saw Corporation Commissioner G.S. Grewal denying the few members of the Press, who had come to oversee the proceedings, a chance to sit in the conference hall on the plea that there was a paucity of chairs.

Corporators told TNS that the agenda was announced and passed immediately with the raising of hands by the Congress corporators and Opposition corporators who wanted to speak on the issue were not allowed to do so on the plea that the agenda had been passed. The remaining 20 minutes of the meeting were spent in listening to the problems being faced by the Congress corporators in their respective wards.

The Congress corporators, who chose not to oppose the manner in which the agenda was passed in the meeting, later disclosed that they had wanted to raise some issues regarding the agenda but were not given a chance to do so. Akali corporators were more vocal with Mr Narender Singh Chandok saying that he wanted to speak about the manner in which land was being “gifted” to the District Congress Committee (Urban) and that whether the corporation would sympathetically treat such demands from the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He said it was unfortunate that the meeting had been converted into a glorified tea party only.

The corporation passed as many as 28 items today. These included items such as giving the entire garbage collection responsibility to a private company as well as inviting a private firm to create a solid waste disposal facility which would burn the corporation garbage and make tiles out of the solid waste. Besides this another item on the agenda proposed raising the constituency allowance of the corporators from Rs 3,000 per month to Rs 5,000 per month and that of the Mayor from Rs 5,000 per month to Rs 10,000 per month. Besides this another proposal listed in the agenda proposed to give 2450 square yards of corporation land on the Sirhind road to the District Congress Committee (Urban) on a long time lease basis.

The manner in which the last proposal has been throttled down the people’s throats has not been taken kindly. Charanjit Singh of Sheranwala Gate said it was surprising that the corporation had not even discussed as to why the DCC (Urban) should be given Corporation land on lease at a loss to the corporation. Besides this, he said corporators had chosen to unfairly increase their salaries even as the corporation was unable to even to get the entire city sweeped due to the lack of funds as well as safai karamcharis.

Meanwhile, sources said the meeting of the Finance Committee of the corporation was also held in the morning today. They said the committee passed a budget of Rs 85 lakh for as many as 109 development works being undertaken by the corporation.


Punjab to file affidavit
Panchayat secretaries case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 15
Accepting the state of Punjab’s prayer for filing a fresh affidavit in the panchayat secretaries selection case, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today ruled that the government, it was expected, would categorically give details of its stand regarding alleged irregularities in the selections and its decision to fix responsibility of senior officers indicted in a report submitted in the matter.

Issuing the directions in the open Court, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Mr Justice Jasbir Singh, also fixed November 28 as the next date of hearing in the case. The High Court, it may be recalled, had earlier directed Punjab’s Chief Secretary to get an inquiry conducted into the selections. The report, ‘indicting’ certain officers was, subsequently, submitted to the High Court in a sealed cover.

Shamlat land

Taking up a petition alleging failure of Samana’s Block Development and Panchayat Officer to supervise the auction proceedings of village shamlat land, Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday asked him to be present in the Court on the next date of hearing.

Issuing notice of motion for November 22, Mr Justice Nijjar ruled: “The facts narrated in the petition clearly show that the BDPO has abdicated his official duties. If the facts, as narrated in the petition, are found to be correct, a serious view would have to be taken against the officer.... The BDPO is directed to be present in the Court on the next date of hearing”.

In its petition, Samana’s gram panchayat had earlier alleged that the BDPO had failed to supervise the auction proceedings several times. The inaction, counsel for the panchayat had added, was not only unjustified, but also unconstitutional.


Punjab Public Service Commission’s former chairman Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu’s petition for clubbing three cases registered against him “in the interest of justice” was on Friday dismissed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Sidhu, in his petition, had earlier contended that the alleged offences were the outcome of a single raid conducted at his camp office-cum camp residence and could be dealt with a single trial.

Kanwaljit to attend inter-faith meet
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 15
SAD General Secretary and former Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, will be the guest of honour and deliver the key note address at the inter -faith meet being organised in connection with the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev at Chennai on November 18.

The function will be organised by Developers India, an organisation for India’s development, progress and amity. The main theme of meet will be the well-being of the entire humanity based on the spirit of “Sarbat-da-Bhalla”. Besides, the celebration will focus on universal peace and love that the great Guru stood for.

The audience will comprise academicians, professionals and college students.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh will also hold discussions with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalitha in a bid to bridge the north and south gap and for further cooperation among the regional parties. He will also interact on November 1 with intellectuals of different faiths on social. political and religious issues with special reference to Punjab and certain other states.


Use of cost-effective drugs stressed
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 15
Emphasising the importance of cost-effective medicines, Prof Geeta Sharma, chairperson of workshop on rational drug use and Head of the Department of Pharmacology, Government Medical College here said, the government must play a major role in making available cost-effective medication, especially for tuberculosis, malaria, leprosy and AIDS.

The two-day workshop that concluded here was organised by the Department of Pharmacology in coordination with India-WHO essential drugs programme and the Delhi Society for Promotion of Rational Use of Drugs.

Dr Sangeeta Sharma, technical coordinator for WHO, highlighted the importance of making an “essential medicines list” for Punjab. She categorically demanded that standard treatment guidelines and formulas for medicines should be prepared.

Dr Jatinder Singh said there were 35,000 formulations available in the country where as at least 350 medicines were actually needed for treating more than 90 per cent of diseases. Most of these medicines are available due to lax regulations of the drug enforcement agencies in the country.


Implement amendment on promotions: SCs
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 15
The Punjab unit of the All-India Confederation of SC/ST/BC Organisations has urged the Punjab Government to implement the provisions of the 85th Amendment to the Constitution, regarding the retaining of seniority of the reserved category employees after their promotion.

Mr Hans Singh, general secretary of the confederation, said in a press note issued here yesterday that as the Supreme Court had vacated the stay on the implementation of the amendment, the state government should implement it immediately.

He said these provisions had been implemented in the Central departments by the Union Government, adding that due to non-implementation of the provisions of the amendment, resentment prevailed among employees of reserved categories.


2 nursing council staffers in VB net
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, November 15
The flying squad of the Punjab Vigilance Bureau today registered a case against two employees of the Punjab State Nursing Council here, on charges of corruption.

Gurpal Singh Kang, Superintendent, and Charanjit Singh, Assistant, both residents of SAS Nagar, are at large.

According to bureau sources, the two have been charged with leaking question papers to candidates appearing for the nursing examination held some months back by the council.

The SP Vigilance, Mr Surinder Singh, confirmed that a case has been registered against the two. The two had allegedly sold the question papers days before the examination was scheduled for Rs 20,000 each to the candidates. Some newspapers had even published the question paper on the day of the examination.


Mann gets bail in TADA case
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 15
The special court today granted bail to Akali Dal (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann in an 11-year-old TADA case.

The court granted bail to Mr Mann on a security deposit of Rs 50,000. His lawyer Rubinder Pal Singh Ghumman, his parliament secretary Gursharan Singh and Jasvinder Singh Virk, president of the Delhi unit, were present in the court. Talking about POTA, Mr Mann said there were possibilities of misuse of POTA and that was the reason he had voted against POTA.


Dairy animals examined at camp
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 15
The Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry, Dr Rajinder Singh, in a statement issued here today said that under the Model Gram Scheme of the state government, an animal husbandry camp was held Burj Rajgarh village.

He said teams of officers concerned were formed and samples of dairy animals in the district would be examined for various diseases. He said the animals were mainly affected by diseases of the digestive system.

Dr Rajinder Singh said the farmers should improve the quality of the their livestock with the help of modern techniques for earning good margins.

Dr Sanjay Poddar spoke at length at the camp about infertility in animals while Dr Sital Dev spoke about immunisation. Dr Surinder Singh Gill, Dr Chamandeep Kaur and Dr Harbinder Kaur also spoke.

A large number of animals were examined at the camp and their owners were given medicines free of cost for their livestock. The farmers were also briefed about fish farming.


A clarification
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, November 15
Mr K.K. Sharma, District and Sessions Judge, clarified here today that the news published in these columns on November 10 that a judicial employee took a bribe in the presence of an inspecting judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court was incorrect and based on rumours. The error is regretted.


Farmers not to pay for power: BKU (E)
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 15
Even as the state government has been gearing up to start collecting power bills from farmers, the Bharatia Kisan Union (Ekta) has decided that it will not pay for electricity being used for agricultural purposes.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan, state general secretary of the union, in a statement issued here today said that after a meeting of the union it had been decided that the already hard-pressed farmers would not pay for power. He said all activists of the union had been asked to get ready for the struggle.

He said the farmers would ask the government to dissolve the power regulatory commission. He said the move of the government to dismantle the electricity board would be resisted by the union and it would keep demanding that the poll promises by the Congress should be fulfilled.

He said a state-level conference of the farmers against the WTO regime would be held at Mansa next month.


Encroachments go
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 15
A special team of the Municipal Corporation led by its Assistant Commissioner Bhupinder Singh conducted an anti-encroachment drive today under which encroachments by as many as 36 shopkeepers in several localities were removed and several ‘rehris’ confiscated.

Sources said the drive was conducted in the Sheranwala Gate market, Dharampura Bazar market, Gur Mandi and Sabji Mandi areas as well as near Modi College. They said shopkeepers who had encroached upon area in front of their shops were targeted under the drive. Besides this “rehris” parked in crowded areas without permission were also seized. The team also impounded three tractors that were obstructing the movement of traffic on the Bahera road. Besides, two shopkeepers were also targeted.


Four travel agents booked for duping
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, November 15
The district police has registered cases against four travel agents under Sections 420 and 406 of the IPC and Section 24 of the Indian Immigration Act on the charge of duping two persons of about Rs 10 lakh for sending them to the USA and Germany.

In a press note issued today, Mr R.N. Dhoke, SSP, said Dalbir Singh of Jainpur village in Sultanpur Lodhi, in a complaint, alleged that last year Mohinder Singh, Mangal Singh and Avtar Singh, travel agents, had taken Rs 6.20 lakh and his passport from him on the pretext of sending him to the USA, but they did not do so and neither did they return the money.

In another case Mr Dhoke said Paramjit Singh of Hebatpur village in Sultanpur Lodhi alleged that Jatinder Singh, a travel agent, of Sultanpur Lodhi town, took Rs 4.40 lakh and his passport from him for sending him to Germany, but failed to do so. He did not return the money.


CSD clerk held for graft
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 15
Pawan Kumar, a clerk of the canteen service depot (CSD), Bathinda cantonment, was caught red-handed by a joint team of military intelligence and Vigilance Bureau officials while he was facilitating the supply of vehicles meant for Army personnel to civilians in lieu of money.

Official sources said Rs 32,000 were seized from his possession by the raiding team.

Apart from it, a gold bangle and a chain weighing more than 10 tolas were also recovered. Sources added that Pawan, along with some other officials of CSD, had been minting money be supplying vehicles to civilians by fabricating documents. He had been charging Rs 1,650 per vehicle from civilians. His area of operation included Patiala, Sangrur, Bathinda and Mansa districts of Punjab and Sriganganagar district of Rajasthan.

Mr B.S. Grewal, SP (Vigilance), confirming the arrest, refused to divulge the details on the pretext that a press note would be issued tomorrow. Pawan has been arrested and a case registered against him. The manager of the canteen, also allegedly involved in the case, has not been caught.


Seven held for wheat theft
Our Correspondent and UNI

Jalandhar, November 15
The district police has busted a gang of thieves involved in wheat theft from the different godowns of Punsup and recovered 389 sacks of wheat worth Rs 2.25 lakh from their possession.

Mr Shammi Kumar, SP, said here today that they received numerous complaints from the authorities concerned about theft of huge stocks of wheat from Punsup godowns, particularly in Noormahal. Following an investigation, the gang members were identified and a naka was set up on Noormahal-Nakodar road to nab the suspects.

Two trucks full of wheat stock were intercepted and the persons after sustained questioning, admitted that the wheat stock was stolen from godowns of Punsup situated on the Noormahal-Kot Badal Khan road on November 11 night. Subsequently, all seven persons were arrested. Those arrested are Surjit of Saidpur village, Balbir and Avtar of Tut Sher Singh village, Ram Rai of Kartar Nagar and Kirpal, Mukhtiar and Lakhvir of Saidpur village in the Shahkot area.

Meanwhile, the police has arrested two persons on the charge of smuggling liquor and seized eight crates of liquor from their possession at Mand village in the Bastibaabakhel area here today.

Meanwhle, an elderly woman was seriously burnt at Kripal Ashram in Nijjatam Nagar here today. A case has been registered.


2 held for chain snatching
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, November 15
The police has arrested two persons in connection with the snatching of a chain on the Mall Road on November 10 from a married woman.

Mr R.N. Dhoke, Senior Superintendent of Police, identified the chain snatchers as Jarnail Singh alias Billa and Rajwinder Singh, both of Razapur village.


Teachers await salaries
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, November 15
Resentment prevails among teachers who have been sanctioned the payment of their monthly salaries under a centrally-sponsored scheme known as “Operation Black Board”.

The scheme covered teachers both employed in primary as well as secondary schools. The total number of such teachers in Punjab is about 7,000.

In this district, the number is 251 which includes 100 teachers working in government senior secondary schools and 151 teachers working in government primary schools. These teachers have not been paid their salaries since June 1.

The spokesman of the teachers covered under the scheme while talking to this correspondent said when they approached the offices of the district education officers to know as to why they were not being paid their salaries regularly, the reply was that the scheme which was started in 1997 had ended on May 30 this year and there were no funds allocated by the government for the teachers covered under the scheme to be paid their monthly salaries.


Youth fest concludes
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, November 15
The four-day Punjabi University Zonal Youth Festival ended today with dramatic performances by students from various colleges in one-act plays, traditional costume parade and histrionics.

Principal J.P. Garg welcomed Dr Kehar Singh, Chairman, Punjab School Education Board, who was the chief guest, and Mr Tejinder Singh, Superintending Engineer, Public Health, SAS Nagar, presided over the day's events. Addressing the students, Dr Kehar Singh said more plays denouncing female foeticide should be staged to create awareness among people.

Skits, group mime and mimicry competitions were held in the evening. Mrs Nisha Sarad, DPI Colleges, Punjab, was the chief guest and Mrs C.M. Garg presided over the evening session events. The team from Gobindgarh Public College, Mandi Gobindgarh won the first prize in Geet/Ghazal singing event.


41 donate blood in NCC camp
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 15
A blood donation camp was organised at the local ITI institute during the annual NCC training camp, today in which 41 persons donated blood.

Major N. K. Gosain, Capt B.S. Mann and Lt Rajiv Bhargava were among those who donated blood. The training camp started on November 12 and will continue till November 23 in which cadets would be trained in drill. use of weapons, map reading and first aid.


BSNL mobile service from Nov 17
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, November 15
The much-awaited mobile service of BSNL will be launched on November 17 from Jalandhar. This was stated by the General Manager, Telecom, Jalandhar Mr K.C. Jindal, here today.

He said a total of 1700 mobile connections would be given in the Jalandhar circle, including Kapurthala, Nawanshahr, Phillaur, Phagwara and Nakodar. He said 10,000 mobile connections would be given in Jalandhar.


12 shops auctioned
Our Correspondent

Batala, November 15
An auction was held here yesterday in the office of the local Improvement Trust for the newly constructed shops at Dindayal Upadayaye Market, Leakwala tanks here.

The auction was held in the presence of the SDM Mr Parneet Bhardawaj, who is also Administrator of the Improvement Trust and Mr Rajkrishan, Executive Officer of the Improvement Trust.

Twelve shops of the market were auctioned for total value of Rs 161.47 lakh collected by the Improvement Trust.

However, Mr Amarinder Singh was the highest bidder for shop No 24 for Rs 20.20 lakh where as the lowest bidder was Mr Satnam Singh for shop No 7 for Rs 9.13 lakh.

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