Tuesday, November 19, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Punjab proposes no new tax
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 18
The Punjab Government proposes to amend the Co-operated Act to reduce government interference in cooperative bodies.

Mr Lal Singh, Finance Minister, Punjab, stated this to mediapersons at the All-India Cooperative Week at the Housefed Colony here today.

The Finance Minister added that the government had not mooted new taxes but only leakage in the revenue collection system had been proposed to be plugged. He said that measures would be announced soon to improve tax collections.

He said that the major expenditure of the government was on salaries, pensions, interest of loans and giving aid to educational institutes. These were eating up 126 per cent of the revenue forcing the government to raise loans of 26 per cent to manage the affairs.

Admitting that fertiliser and other farm inputs were costly in the cooperative societies, he said it was being looking into. He said that no letter from the Union Government had been received on interest waiver for one year to the drought affected farmers. He said that paddy bonus of Rs 30 per quintal promised by the Congress before elections would be paid soon.


Second list of 110 officers released
Tribune News Service

Ropar, November 18
The Ropar thermal plant authorities have supplied another list of 110 officers, including engineers, of the plant to the local police in connection with the EPF scam which took place from 1997 to 1999. Earlier, the authorities had provided a list of 31 officers in this regard.

Talking to the reporter here today, Mr Varinderpal Singh, SP (Headquarters), who is investigating the case, said the 110 officers had executed several work orders during the scam period at the plant and verified the bills of the labour contractor. He also alleged that an embezzlement of more than Rs 50 lakh had been committed in the EPF of the labourers engaged by the labour contractor during the 30 months.

The SP added that the list of 110 officers belonged to Sodhi Erectors (labour contractor) while the earlier list of 31 officers belonged to Calcutta Construction Company. He further said the 110 officers were engineers, while the list of officials of the accounts wing of the plant, which deals with the bills of labour contractors, was also being procured.

The SP stated that he has been writing letters to the plant authorities to procure written justification from the engineers in the case.


PCCTU threatens satyagraha
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 18
A special meeting of the General Council of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) held here yesterday discussed and endorsed the Executive Committee’s decision to launch a ‘satyagraha’ if the Punjab Government failed to solve problems of college teachers.

Having delegates and unit leaders from all 172 colleges, the General Council urged Capt Amarinder Singh, Punjab Chief Minister, to accept the teacher union’s demands raised at the official meeting on November 12. Teachers want that college staff be paid salary regularly and the cut of 10 per cent grant be restored and it should be raised from Rs 72 crore to Rs 97 crore. Similarly pension gratuity as per the December 18, 1996, scheme and law as notified on April 26, 1999 be granted to college teachers, said the meeting resolution. The UGC package of December 24, 1998, should be implemented in Punjab.

The General Council authorised the office-bearers and executive committee to organise satyagraha. The meeting favoured that the Higher Education Awareness Campaign in Punjab and Chandigarh, indefinite total cease work in colleges and jail bharo andolan be launched only after seeing the outcome of the December 4 meeting called by the Chief Minister.

The union also decided to be in touch with the organisations of students against the privatisation and commercialisation of education. The union would also forge rapport with trade unions and workers’ bodies.

The union passed resolutions which condemned the management of GN College, Ferozepore cantonment, for alleged Rs 1 crore irregularity in CPF management. The house demanded the release of salary of teachers of Dev Samaj College, Ferozepore, and reinstatement of Prof Harbans Kaur.

The council opposed the ban on recruitment in non-government colleges and shifting of 10+2 classes. The union urged the Chief Minister to cancel both orders.

The council meeting was chaired by Prof S.S. Hundal, President, PCCTU, and lasted four hours. Earlier, the state executive committee discussed the issues to be put up to the General Council.


Accident victims cremated
CM announces Rs 1 lakh for kin
Our Correspondent

Lehra Dhurkot (Bathinda), November 18
People who came in large numbers to the village to console residents could not control their emotions when eight funeral pyres of those killed in an accident near Paonta Sahib on November 16 were lit simultaneously today.

Relatives of those killed and residents of nearby villages gathered in large numbers to attend the cremation.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has announced Rs 1 lakh each to the next of kin of those killed in the accident. The authorities had already decided to bear the expenses of treatment of those injured. Most of them have been admitted to hospitals in Rampura Phul town, while some are receiving treatment at the PGI and Government Medical College and Hospital, Chandigarh.

Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, said he had urged the Health Department in Chandigarh to arrange money for the treatment of those admitted to hospitals there.

The tragedy brought villagers, belonging to different castes, together. Same rituals were performed before litting the pyres, irrespective of caste the person belonged to.

Mr Lal Singh, Punjab Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, Chairman, High-powered Finance Committee, Mr Gura Singh Tungwali, and Mr Gurpreet Singh Kangar, both MLAs, Mr Harbans Singh Sidhu, and Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhillon, both former Punjab ministers, Mr Bhagat Singh Dhaliwal, DCC president, Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, and Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, also attended the cremation. Mr Lal Singh read a condolence message of the Chief Minister.

Meanwhile, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, Member of Parliament, said the compensation paid to the kin of the deceased was not sufficient.

The villagers demanded that Rs 5 lakh should have been paid as compensation.

The bodies of Kulwinder Kaur and Malkit Singh, belonging to Selbarha and Bhokra, respectively, who were also killed in the accident, were cremated at their respective villages. Those cremated in this village are Jagroop Singh, Jasdev Singh, Channan Singh, Ghukkar Singh, Sukha Singh, Karnail Kaur, Jagsir Singh and Tej Kaur.


Army men saved many lives
Our Correspondent

Rampura Phul, November 18
The death toll in the accident near Paonta Sahib in Himachal Pradesh on November 16 could have been more, had it not been for Army personnel’s timely assistance to the victims.

Injured admitted to hospitals here said it was sheer luck that a convoy of the Army was passing by when the ill-fated truck met with the accident.

Army personnel immediately swung into action and saved many lives.

Ms Kartar Kaur, one of the injured, said the Army personnel came as a help from God, otherwise many more would have been killed.

The injured and residents of the village, Lehra Dhurkot, who rushed to the spot, appreciated the help extended by residents there.

One of the volunteers of a social organisation of Paonta Sahib was killed in an accident, while he was returning to his home from hospital. As per information gathered from an injured, Hem Raj, owner of a cloth house, was killed when his car hit a tractor-trailer at around 11 p.m. on November 16. He had made arrangements for medicines and other items for the injured and their attendents admitted to a hospital at Paonta Sahib.

An office-bearer of the Rural Youth Welfare Club, Lehra Dhurkot, said an NGO of Bathinda, Sahara Jan Sewa, had sent ambulances for bringing the dead and injured.


2,000 Housefed units for poor sought
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 18
Mr Surinder Singla, Chairman, High Powered Committee on Finance, Punjab, has said the cooperatives should be made a mass movement.

Addressing a gathering in Housefed Colony here today in connection with the national cooperative week celebrations, Mr Singla said Gujarat and Maharashtra had taken the lead in making the cooperative movement a tool for development.

Representatives of Housefed, Milkfed, Cooperative Bank, Markfed, Iffco and other cooperative undertakings participated in the programme.

Mr Singla urged the Managing Director, Housefed, to build at least 2,000 houses for the poor in the city under the cooperative movement. He said some loss-making cooperative industries would have to be sold off.

Mrs Harbans Kaur Bahia, Managing Director, Housefed, said 94,750 houses under various schemes had been built by the federation. They have also advanced loans worth Rs 548 crore and the Housefed had been declared the second best housing cooperative of the country at the 13th all-India Cooperative House Building Congress, last year. She added that Housefed reduced the interest on housing loans this year from 14 per cent to 10.5 to 13 per cent, depending on the amount of loan.

She added that during 2002-2003, loans worth about Rs 130 crore would be advanced to build 6,500 houses.

Mr Raghubir Singh, Deputy Registrar, Cooperative Societies, said in Bathinda as many as 1017 various kinds of societies were working. Of these, 40 were branches of the cooperative bank, one milk plant having 330 societies and seven branches of Markfed.


Boards asked to submit fresh status reports
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
Directing Punjab and Haryana Pollution Control Boards to submit fresh status reports in a case relating to the discharge of effluent in water by a paper mill situated in Fatehpur Sialba near Kurali, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has asked two environmental engineers from both states to carry out joint inspections.

Issuing the directions in the open Court, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Mr Justice M.M. Kumar, asked the two engineers to visit the mill area and jointly inspect the site where the effluent were being discharged from the factory. In their detailed order, the Judges further directed: “They shall collect the samples from different points where the effluent are being discharged, get them tested in the labouratories of their respective Boards and file status reports by December 9.”

The Judges added: “We also take on record a copy of a letter dated October 11 sent by Director of Research with Ludhiana’s Punjab Agricultural University and directed state counsel to get in touch with the authorities concerned for getting the soil samples tested.”

The Bench, it may be recalled, had earlier directed the Punjab Pollution Control Board to collect samples of fruits and vegetables grown by irrigating the fields from water discharged by the mill. The Bench had added that the samples should be tested in laboratories of the Punjab Pollution Control Board, besides the Central Pollution Control Board and Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board at Lucknow.

Taking a serious note of a news item published in a local daily regarding the pollution being caused by the mill, the Bench had initially also directed the filing of a status report in the matter. According to the newspaper report, the effluent being discharged in the water by the paper mill were causing skin disease. Not only this, the cattle were either falling sick or dying after consuming the water. The case will now come up for further hearing on December 10.

Bail plea rejected

Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has rejected the anticipatory bail petition filed by an Assistant Commissioner in alleged duplicate arms licences case.

The case, alleging forgery and criminal conspiracy, was earlier registered under Sections 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code, besides under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

According to the prosecution, the Assistant Commissioner, earlier posted at Amritsar, had allegedly issued 82 duplicate arms licences to residents, not of the holy city, but to those residing in different states, including Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab. The prosecution had further alleged that illegal gratification had been accepted for committing the alleged offence.

Seeking the grant of pre-arrest bail, counsel for the petitioner had contended on his behalf that the Assistant Commissioner was innocent and was being implicated in the case. Counsel had added that the petitioner was not involved in the issuance of duplicate licences.

After going through the documents and hearing arguments in the case, Ms Justice Lall, in her detailed order, ruled that case for granting the concession of anticipatory bail was not made out from the averments as the police was likely to need him for custodial interrogation.

Seven-day notice

Taking up a petition seeking the grant of anticipatory bail filed by Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee members Balbir Singh, Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today on Monday that seven-day notice would be given if the petitioner was required in connection with any case.

In his petition, the member had earlier stated that he should be granted anticipatory bail in any first information report registered against him or in alternate he should be given 15-day notice if he was required in any case. Similar petitions had also been filed by other SGPC members also, including Mr Devinder Singh Cheema.

The members had claimed that they were being harassed and threatened with implication in serious cases by the Vigilance Department as they owed allegiance to the Shiromani Akali Dal headed by Punjab’s former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

Seeking the grant of anticipatory bail, their counsel had stated that the Vigilance Department had no jurisdiction over the petitioners as they were not a government servant. He had also contended that the present Congress government had adopted a revengeful attitude towards its opponents and as such they were being implicated in cases. The present Chief Minister had repeatedly declared that the Akalis would be taught a lesson, counsel had asserted.

Notice of motion

Acting on a petition filed by Punjab Technical University’s Director (Outreach) seeking the grant of regular bail in an alleged cheating and corruption case, Mr Justice Varinder Singh of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday issued notice of motion for December 9.

Claiming to have been implicated in the case, Amarjit Singh Grewal had denied all the allegations levelled against him in the case registered by the Vigilance Bureau at Jalandhar under Sections 420, 120-B of the Indian Penal Code, besides under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Arrest stayed

Issuing notice of motion for February 10 next year on a petition filed by an ex-serviceman in a case allegedly involving former Punjab Chief Minister’s personal assistant, Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall of the High Court on Monday stayed his arrest subject to the condition that he would join the investigation as and when asked to by the investigating officer.

Seeking the grant of anticipatory bail, Varinder Mohan of Ropar had earlier claimed that his name had not been mentioned in a report prepared in the matter. As per it, the PA had made movable and immovable properties through corrupt means.


20 kids orphaned by AIDS?
Our Correspondent

Ropar, November 18
A survey conducted by a local NGO, Arpan, has identified about 20 children in the Nangal and Nurpur Bedi areas who might have been orphaned due to AIDS.

The director of the NGO, Mr Kuldeep Chand, told this correspondent that the survey was conducted by the organisation to gauge the level of awareness regarding AIDS among the truck drivers of the area. Inquiries from villagers revealed that in many cases couples died of mysterious diseases at short intervals.

Further investigations revealed that they might have died due to AIDS. Most of the deaths had taken place due to prolonged ailments and the victims were either truck operators or had been working outside the state.

The most alarming aspect about the deaths is that they have resulted in children being left destitute. In some of the cases, residents and kin of the orphaned children suspected that their parents died of AIDS.

This had made them apprehensive about extending help to the destitute children. In certain cases they had also distanced themselves from the children whose parents were suspected to have died of AIDS, he said.

While there were many government programmes to spread awareness regarding AIDS, no thought had been given to the plight of the children who were being orphaned due to the disease.

Mr Kuldeep Chand further said although the awareness level regarding the disease had increased considerably, especially among the target groups over the past few years, many illegal medical practices which were helping the disease spread also needed to be curbed. Due to the increasing number of AIDS patients in the state, the government should come down heavily on private clinics and nursing homes which were performing bleeding operations without having blood bank licences. It should also be made mandatory for all such clinics to keep AIDS diagnostic kits and supply the data regarding patients to government agencies so that the true picture regarding the disease could emerge.


Dissolve power panel: BKU (Ekta)
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 18
The Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta) has termed the State Power Regulatory Commission as a tool to mask the “anti-people and anti-farmer” approach of the Congress government and has demanded that it should be dissolved.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Kokri Kalan, state general secretary of the union, in a statement issued here today, after a meeting of the state executive here last night, said the commission was a mere waste of public money and should be dissolved immediately.

He said the policies being drafted and implemented by the Congress government “under pressure from the WTO” would be opposed by the union and a strategy in this connection had been planned.

He alleged that the government was planning to privatise the functioning of the Education, Health, Agriculture and Transport departments.

In a separate statement, the district president of the union, Mr Jhanda Singh Jethuke, said the union had resolved to support the demand of students for the concessional bus pass facility.

He said minibus operators had been harassing the students and had allegedly manhandled some of them. He accused the district administration of supporting the cause of minibus operators due to various pressures.

Meanwhile, leaders of the struggle committee formed by the students against the minibus operators have started holding rallies and public meetings at various villages near Rampura Phul town to muster public support.


Nagar kirtan in Punjab
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 18
On the eve of the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, a nagar kirtan was taken out which passed through various bazaars of the city, including Braham Buta Market, Ghanta Ghar Chowk, Kathian, Papra and Bansawala bazaars,Chhati Khuhi Chowk, rice market, Dhab Basti Ram Chowk, Lachhmansar Chowk and Baba Sahib Chowk.

The nagar kirtan started from Guru Ram Das Nivas.

PATHANKOT: Devotees attended the naga kirtan held here on the eve of gurpurb.

Langars were organised at various places in the town.

NAWANSHAHR: The Gurdwara Singh Sabha took out a nagar kirtan here in the town on Monday on the eve of the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. Various religious and educational organisations participated in it.

The local Shivalik Public School also organised a religious function on the school campus here on Monday in this connection.

GURDASPUR: People here participated in the nagar kirtan taken out in the city on Monday. Panj Piaras were leading the nagar kirtan followed by others.

It started from Gurdwara Singh Sabha and went through the main bazars of the town.


Plan to check drug abuse in Faridkot dist
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, November 18
Following the rise in the number of drug addicts in the district both civil and police authorities have envisaged an action plan to check the menace of drug abuse in the district. Under the civil authority plan “Chetna” rallies in collaboration with various social organisations, teachers, mahila wings, anganwari workers, panchayat members and officials of the Health Department will be taken out on a regular basis. Various types of competitions among the schoolchildrens will be organised, besides nukad dramas and skits will be presented to make the people aware about the bad effects of drugs. Seminars in which psychiatrists and other educationalists will take part will also be organised in this connection, according to Mr A. Venu Prasad, Deputy Commissioner.

To make the scheme more effective, ward-wise committees in the rural and urban areas will be constituted to identify drug addicts and the informers will be suitably awarded. A decision has also been taken to form pressure groups to impress upon drug peddlers and the medical stores to stop the sale of intoxicants.

The Deputy Commissioner said the District Red Cross Society was already running a 15-bedded de-addiction centre here in this regard.

Mr Harinder Singh Chahal, district police chief, stated that three coordination committees comprising members of non-government organisations, including Jan Sahara, Sewa Bharati and Lions Club, have also been constituted.

A special police task force headed by a sub-inspector has also been constituted to help the committees to monitor the programme effectively.

Keeping in view the seriousness of the matter the police recently with the help of heads of different departments conducted a raid at a medical store here and seized intoxicants worth over Rs 3 lakh. More than 36 drug sellers along with drug addicts were also caught.


High priests to wean jail inmates from drugs
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 18
Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar of Akal Takht, and four high priests have announced that a de-addiction camp would be started at Central Jail here on the lines of the one at Bathinda jail.

Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar of Kesgarh Sahib told media- persons that a camp to wean jail inmates from drug addiction was on the cards.

He said as soon as dates are settled with the Jail Superintendent, a five-day camp would be started using “multiple therapy” which has benefited 225 jail inmates of Bathinda jail and more than 600 others from all walks of life.

The therapy entails a combination of ayurvedic massage, meditation, ‘naam simran’, accupressure and ardas.


Vedanti takes serious note of police role
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 18
Amid reports of serious action against the alleged police entry into the Golden Temple complex and pleas to summon both Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Capt Amarinder Singh to clarify their stand on the issue, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, today took serious note of the police role during the SGPC poll.

“Keeping in mind the problems faced by devotees to enter the Golden Temple and the tense situation, significant decisions will be taken to prevent a repeat of such actions, ” he said while talking to mediapersons. He said Panthic organisations, intellectuals and policy-makers would deliberate shortly and reach significant decisions.

Meanwhile, Mr Jasbir Singh Rode, a former Jathedar of Akal Takht, said Mr Vedanti should summon both Mr Badal for sending the police into the Golden Temple complex during his tenure and Capt Amarinder Singh for allegedly denigrating the sanctity of the Golden Temple.


Banned animals canned in cages
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 18
Circus performances of five different species of animals, including lion, tiger, panther, bear and monkey, were banned following a notification in November 1998. These animals may no longer be part of the circus routine now, but they are being carted from one place to another by circus owners in small cages even as they wait for a government decision on their fate.

The Jumbo Circus, which has started shows in the Atma Ram grounds in the city since a few days back, has its share of the big cats. It has three lions, two tigers and two panthers in its possession which are permanently kept in cages in which these animals have barely enough space to move.

The big cats are being kept in mobile cages behind the main performing arena which are closed on three sides. When the Tribune team visited the circus, it saw the lions lying in cages which barely covered their length and tigers restlessly moving in cages which could barely hold them. Similar was the case of the two panthers.

Circus owner Bhaskaran Nambiar when contacted said the circus was forced to keep the animals as it still awaited a decision on their fate which was to be taken by the apex court. When his attention was drawn to the fact as to why the animals were being carted from one spot to another by the circus management if they were not to be used in any circus act, he said as the animals were the property of the circus, they had to remain with the organisation. ‘‘They are our precious assets,’’ he said, adding the circus could not let the animals go without getting any compensations from the government. ‘‘We are waiting for the government order on the issue,’’ he said, adding the circus was spending a large amount of money in looking after the daily needs of the big cats who needed their daily stock of meat.

Though the issue was one between animal lovers and the circus management which were at odds over the issue of cruelty to animals, people who visited the circus said the circus management could very easily keep the animals at its headquarters in Karnataka and spare them continuous captivity in small cages. ‘‘A via media can be found to keep the animals in someone’s custody till a decision on their future is taken’’, said Amandeep Singh.

Meanwhile, the lack of any performing animals in the show, except for elephants, dogs and horses, had somewhat robbed the circus of its earlier sheen. The circus show was now largely a gymnastic feature besides shows on motor cycles, the original Indian rope trick act and sky walking.

Mr Nambiar said as it was the revenue of the circus had gone down drastically without animals taking part in it. He said guidelines for exhibiting and making animals perform should be drawn and enforced strictly, adding the animals with the circus could only go to a zoo as they had been bred in captivity and could not be released into the wild.


4 of family die in jeep-train crash

Jalandhar, November 18
Four persons of a family, including a woman and a child, died in a collision between a train and a jeep at an unmanned crossing in Nakodar, near here, last night.

The driver of jeep could not see the Dhanbad Express coming from Shahkot due to darkness and collided with the speeding train at the unmanned crossing, police sources said.

All four jeep-borne passengers died on the spot as train dragged the vehicle for about half a kilometre.

The deceased have been identified as Harjinder Singh (35), ASI, his father Kirpal Singh (70), mother Gurmail Kaur (60), and niece Gagandeep (8). A case has been registered. PTI


1 rack of fodder sent to Rajasthan
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, November 18
Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development, Fisheries, Sports and Youth Services Minister, Punjab, today flagged off one rake of fodder to the drought-affected areas of Rajasthan.

Mr Kang said in order to provide maximum help to the people of Rajasthan, who were in distress in this hour of crisis, Punjab had already sent foodgrains and now fodder was being sent to enable them to save their cattle from starvation.

Mr Kang appealed to the people of the state to rise above narrow vested political interests to make concerted efforts to provide help to the people in Rajasthan.


Gardhara Singh Saini cremated
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, November 18
Veteran BJP leader Gardhara Singh Saini (90), who died of prolonged illness yesterday, was cremated here today.

Earlier, state BJP president Brij Lal Rinwa, local MP, Zora Singh Mann, along with SAD and BJP leaders and senior officials of the district administration paid tributes to him.

Saini was born in 1912 at Samundari village in Layalpur district, presently in Pakistan. His family shifted to Ferozepore and Hoshiarpur in 1947. Later, he started his own transport business in the Doab region.

He started his political career with the Indian National Congress but later shifted his loyalty to the Janata Party. He was first elected to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha in 1967 on Congress ticket from the city.


14 panchayats for Madoke’s boycott

Moga, November 18
The 14 sarpanches and panches of panchayats and Akali workers of Badhni Kalan circle gathered at Gurdwara Bibi Kahan Kaur here and expressed resentment against the candidature of Sant Vir Singh Madoke as the Tohra group candidate for the SGPC presidential election and declared his social boycott.

All sarpanches and Akali workers from all over the district today assembled at the gurdwara where 127 Akali Dal workers and sarpanches were honoured who were arrested on November 10 and 11 before the SGPC presidential elections.

The announcement was made in the presence of four Akali legislators, including Mr Tota Singh, Mr Sadhun Singh Rajyana, Mr Seetal Singh Dharamkot and Mr Zora Singh Nihalsinghwala.

Later, Mr Nadharak Singh Brar and Mr Tota Singh announced that more than 4,000 Akali workers from all four Assembly constituencies of the district would court arrest on November 27 as part of the “jail bharo andolan” as announced by SAD president Parkash Singh Badal. UNI


Pherurai gets judicial remand
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 18
A local court today remanded former Ferozepore SSP Gurcharan Singh Pherurai who is being investigated for his role in the PPSC scam, to judicial custody till December 2.

On November 12, Pherurai had been in placed under police remand by the same court till today.

The Vigilance Department had earlier filed an application seeking Pherurai’s police remand in connection with FIR number 68 registered at the local Vigilance Police Station. Pherurai is charged with bribing former PPSC Chairman Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu to get both is son and daughter selected into the state police and civil services, respectively.


Girls drink toxic water, faint
Our Correspondent

Abohar, November 18
Seven girls fell unconscious after drinking water at Taja Patti village, near here, this afternoon. Sources said the water contained an insecticide and was to be sprayed on the crop.

The victims, aged 7 to 20, were in the field to pick cotton. They were unaware of the poisonous water.

A youth, Radhey Sham, spotted the girls falling unconscious and vomiting.


Harassment’ of engineers condemned
Our Correspondent

Lehra mohabat (Bathinda), November 18
The executive committee of the PSEB Engineers’ Association of the thermal plant here has condemned the “harassment” of engineers of the Ropar Thermal Plant in connection with a criminal case registered against a contractor for EPF embezzlement.

The association in a press note issued here yesterday said the responsibility to deduct and deposit EPF was that of the contractor who employed laboures and engineers of the thermal plant had nothing to do with it. It alleged that it was a part of conspiracy to privatise the PSEB.


Jakhar, Bhajan hold meeting
Our Correspondent

Abohar, November 18
Much significance is being attached to the meeting between former Lok Sabha Speaker Bal Ram Jakhar and HPCC chief Bhajan Lal.

Mr Bhajan Lal yesterday drove to Mr Jakhar’s farmhouse at Maujgarh village in Rajasthan, bordering this subdivision. Both of them evaded direct replies to queries from the press over the SYL dispute between Punjab and Haryana. However, the HPCC president said Punjab could get Chandigarh only if Abohar and Fazilka areas were transferred to Haryana.


1 dies after hit by Army vehicle
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 18
An old person was killed today when he was hit by an Army vehicle near the local Gol Diggi area.

He has been identified as Basant Lal (50), a local resident. He was taken to the Civil Hospital. where he was declared brought dead. The post-mortem examination would be held tomorrow.


MC chief poll on Nov 22
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 18
The election for the presidentship of the local Nagar Council will take place on November 22 at 3 p.m. at the office of the council.

The SDM-cum-Administrator of the council, Pritam Singh, will represent the Deputy Commissioner of Kapurthala. He will first administer the oath to councillors. Then he will preside over the meeting at which the councillors will elect their president and two vice-presidents.


Cop accused of registering false case
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 18
A report by the Rajpura DSP has charged Patiala DSP (Traffic) Rajinderpal Singh Anand of filing a false robbery report against a Punjabi University professor and his two brothers. Mr Anand is a tenant of the professor’s brother in Rajpura near here.

Patiala district police chief Paramraj Singh Umranangal had ordered an inquiry into an FIR registered against Punjabi University Religious Studies Department Professor Harpal Singh Pannu and his two brothers by the DSP (Traffic). The inquiry was conducted by Rajpura DSP P.P.S. Thind.

The Rajpura DSP, in his report recommending cancellation of the FIR against the varsity professor and two others, has accused Mr Anand of deliberately getting a false case registered in the matter to ensure he could stay on in the house. Mr Thind has also submitted in his report that there was no evidence whatsoever of a forced entry into the portion rented by Mr Anand nor any evidence of any robbery. It said neighbours had also been questioned in this regard.

Mr Anand had earlier in the FIR registered at the Rajpura city police station on March 19 claimed that the professor and two others had forcibly broken the lock of the main gate of his house and indulged in vandalism by breaking light bulbs. He had also charged them of robbery.

Meanwhile, Mr Pannu has urged Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to intervene in the matter claiming that he was being threatened by the police officer. He has also appealed to SSP P.S. Umranangal to take immediate action in the matter. Mr Pannu claimed that the DSP (Traffic) wanted to usurp the house which belonged to his brother who had expired. He said his brother’s only son lived abroad and was not able to pursue the case properly adding that the family was being compelled to transfer the house in the DSP’s name.

Mr Pannu, in a written statement, had also claimed the support of Prof D.S. Dhillon, chairman, Sikh Intelligentsia Forum, Prof R.K. Choudhary, convener, Liberal Teachers Council, Prof S.S. Grewal, convener, Progressive Teachers’ Forum and Prof R.K. Sehgal in the matter.

Meanwhile, when contacted, Mr Anand claimed that Professor Pannu was misusing his position and that of other ‘intellectuals’ for personal reasons. He said such people had no reason to interfere in a property dispute. Claiming that he was a tenant in the said house since 1996, Mr Anand said he had only taken a two-room set on rent in the house. He claimed that he had been paying a rent of Rs 500 for the property and had also sought a permanent injunction in a local court in the matter after Mr Pannu had illegally got the power and water connections of the house disconnected. He said he would also appeal in court against the case cancellation, recommended by the Rajpura DSP, but failed to specify any reason for an adverse report given by the officer against him.

In their application to the Patiala SSP, Mr Pannu had pleaded that the police officer had been able to secure a permanent injunction in the case by misrepresenting facts to the court due to which an ex parte order had been given in the matter with the landlord not getting summons in the case in time. The Patiala SSP, however, could not be contacted.


SAD councillor, 5 others booked
Our Correspondent

Abohar, November 18
Six persons, including a SAD councillor, have been booked by the police here in connection with a dowry death of a woman here.

According to information, Pinky, daughter of Shrichand of the Police Colony, Hanumangarh, was married to Dharamveer of Panjpeer Colony here two years ago. She succumbed to her burns at the Civil Hospital here on Saturday. When her parents reached the town efforts were allegedly being made to dispose of the body without a post-mortem examination, but for the timely intervention of the ASP on the request of the parents. They alleged that the in-laws had forced Pinky to commit suicide as she had failed to bring more dowry.

After preliminary investigations and the post-mortem examination report the police booked Pinky’s husband Dharamveer, his brother Subhash Chander, father Ram Chander, Bimla Devi, Kailash Rani, Ram Chand and Bhupal Singh, municipal councillor of SAD.


Govt schools face teachers’ shortage
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, November 18
Though two-third of the current academic session has passed but the state government has not filled the vacant posts of teacher in government schools in the district so far. This has led to an acute shortage of teaching staff in almost all government secondary and high schools in the district making students suffer. This has compelled most of the parents of students to arrange for private coaching.

There are 99 senior secondary and 138 high schools in the district where about 1.50 lakh students are getting education. According to confirmed official sources, 60 senior secondary schools are without principals and 16 high schools are without headmasters. Sources further said there are 20 vacant posts of science teacher, 70 of Punjabi teacher, 65 of social sciences teacher, 40 of math teacher and 20 of Hindi teachers in these schools in the district. Besides, many of the schools are without a PTI and DP. More than 18 posts of clerk in these schools are also lying vacant.

On account of various scams in the recruitment of government officers’ employees fresh recruitments of teachers has been virtually stopped, therefore, leaving no scope for the filling of the aforesaid vacancies in the near future.

Parents of students have urged the Chief Minister to personally look into the matter and allow fresh appointments of teachers.


Hi-tech milk centres assure fair deal
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 18
Transparency in milk collection for the dairy farmer who will be assured of a fair deal and the consumer who will get unadulterated milk is set to become a reality with the establishment of 1,000 automatic milk collection centres in the state during the current financial year.

Milkfed has registered a nearly 15 per cent average increase in the collection of milk at nearly all centres established by it. Milkfed has now offered the centres to all its cooperative societies.

The societies which can afford to purchase the apparatus are being charged Rs 1.30 lakh for the facility. The others are being given the facility at an easy loan or the very weak societies, with National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) help, may get the facility free of cost.

Milkfed Managing Director Brij Bhushan Mahajan told group of newsmen here that under a new project, 128 villages in Ludhiana had been adopted to be provided with automatic milking machines.

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