Friday, November 22, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



State to have casinos?
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, November 21
The holy city is all set for metro status with an international airport, a five-star hotel, four-laning of the national highway and world heritage site status coming its way. It may have to compete with other Punjab cities to have a casino as per the new leisure tourism and gaming policy of the state. A draft notification, a copy of which has been procured by The Tribune, has been issued for casinos by the state Home Department. It has been circulated to all four corporations of Patiala, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar for their views on starting casinos in the state.

Outlining the proposal, the draft reads, “The Punjab Government, in exercise of its power conferred by Section 12 (ii) of the Public Gambling Act (Act 3 of 1867), is pleased to authorise the running of casinos in new leisure tourism and gaming complexes of Punjab, subject to terms and conditions.”

The draft includes playing operating games, games of chance or skill including mechanical, electrical/electronic, amusement or slot and other table games.

The proposal allows the casino to be operative exclusively in an “A” class facility-equipped leisure tourism and gaming complex/hotel, amusement park or health resort. It will require a minimum investment of Rs 400 crore for the complex housing the casino. The minimum standards of infrastructure would be scruitinised and determined by the Secretary, Punjab.

The Department of Tourism will be the licensing authority. The application fee for the project is pegged at Rs 5 lakh while the annual licence fee will be to the tune of Rs 50 lakh. The licence will be valid for 10 years, after which it could be renewed. The licensee will be required to pay annual receiving fee at the rate of Rs 30,000 in advance or on or before March 31. The licensee will be required to conspicuously display the licence on the premises of the complex. The draft states special terms and conditions which will apply for the establishment, control and regulations of casinos.

The proposal, however, lays certain prohibitions that include that the complex should be at least 200 metres from any educational institute or place of worship. It also forbids the complex to be established in any park or zones constituting natural or ecological reserves.

An application form has been provided with the draft proposal for casinos that allows any individual, firm or corporate body to file its application in this regard. Mr Kirpal Singh, Additional Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, admitted receiving the proposal but said only the Home Department could comment on the issue of investments and other details. This will require prior financial conditions, criminal record, if any, and other activities of the applicant or concern.

Most top industrialists and hoteliers, reeling under recession and the consequent poor state of the industry, are enthusiastic over the vast potential of the city as a tourist centre due to its strategical, historical and geographical location.

The project can have widespread potential for employment opportunities, they say. All eyes are on the Chief Minister Amarinder Singh regarding such a gigantic investment, as he has promised massive NRI investment to revive the economy.


Home Guards’ kin up in arms against govt
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 21
Even as the Punjab Home Guards are sore over the failure of the government to pay their salaries for the past over four months, their families have taken to the streets in protest against the policies of the state government.

About 50 families of the Home Guards here today protested against the government’s policies. Members of the families said they were finding it difficult to make ends meet.

Sushma Rani (42), whose husband died two months ago, alleged that he had died due to lack of proper treatment as he had not been paid Kanta Devi, mother of four children, said the government had not even paid four per cent border allowance which were given to Home Guards posted in border areas. She said it was becoming difficult for them to survive.

Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla, a former BJP MLA led the protesters, said she had written at least four letters to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh but had not got any response from him.


Reconstitution of PPCC soon: Hanspal
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, November 21
Punjab Congress chief H.S. Hanspal said here today that the reconstitution of the PPCC would be finalised within this month and the norm of “one man, one post” would be strictly followed.

“No minister, MP or MLA will be given any post in the PPCC as per the norm, but they will be appointed as permanent invitees”, Mr Hanspal told reporters, adding that at least 25 per cent representation would be given to women.

“I have already submitted the list, which includes several new faces, to the high command for approval,” Mr Hanspal said.

Criticising Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, president of the SGPC, for giving the statement that he would support the propsed “jail bharo morcha” of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Mr Hanspal said since Mr Badungar was elected to look after Sikh religious affairs only, he should not indulge in politics.

Denying that the state government had interfered in the recent SGPC poll, Mr Hanspal blamed Mr Parkash Singh Badal for government interference in the affairs of the religious body during his tenure as Chief Minister.

KAPURTHALA (UNI): The PPCC chief on Thursday urged SGPC members to refrain from supporting or participating in agitations as the SGPC was a religious body.

Talking to mediapersons at the residence of party colleague Sukhpal Singh Khaira at Ramgarh village in the district, Mr Hanspal said SGPC members should not support the “jail bharo morcha”.

Regarding the “morcha” the PPCC chief said SAD members were free to protest in a democratic manner and should not disturb the law and order situation. He reiterated his earlier statement that there was no place for SAD agitators in the jails of Punjab.

Asked about the Nanavati report on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, Mr Hanspal said he would comment on it only after the report was made public.

He categorically said that the Congress had no hand in the riots and the public got agitated after the assassination of Indira Gandhi.


Drought relief case rejected
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
The Union Government, according to official sources, has rejected Punjab’s case for additional drought relief from the National Contingency Relief Fund. The state government had asked for an additional amount of Rs 3176.48 crore from the Union Government for providing relief to the drought hit, it is learnt.

It may be mentioned that the relief issue was raised forcefully by the Congress in Parliament yesterday. It was alleged that the Union Government was discriminating against the Congress-ruled states as far as the allocation of drought relief from the Contingency Fund was concerned.

The Union Government has already released Rs 355.77 crore as drought relief from the National Calamity Fund. It has been lying with the state government for the past few months. It is yet to be distributed. For the distribution of drought relief to start the Revenue Department had sought the release of the first instalment of Rs 70 crore from the National Calamity Fund lying in the state treasury. A request has also been made to Chief Secretary, Y.S. Ratra in this connection.

Sources in Delhi said that Punjab’s case for additional relief was examined at the highest level and no substance was found by the officers concerned for releasing additional money. In fact, the record production of paddy and several other factors went against Punjab. Moreover, Punjab was not covered under the norms framed by the Union Government to assess the quantum of drought relief. Punjab has been pressing the Union Government for long to amend the norms as state like Punjab are affected by drought in a different manner than Rajasthan, Orissa and Gujarat etc. Punjab’s farmers fought hard to save their crops, spending additional money.

However, no official intimation has been sent to the state government with regard to the turning down of the state’s submission for additional relief. “It is a standard practice in the Union Government not to officially intimate any state government with regard to the rejection of their claims,” said a senior officer. The sources said the Union Government was of the view that the state should distribute Rs 355.77, released earlier among the drought-hit as per the criteria. The state government had reached a figure of Rs 6372.38 crore after assessing the drought loss to various sectors such as cooperation, industry, plantation, healthcare etc. However, as per the laid-down norms the Union Government was asked for Rs 3176.48 crore under other plan schemes.


Move to declare Gurm, Parminder POs
J. S. Malhotra

Jalandhar, November 21
Even as two prime accused, former Vice-Chancellor of the Punjab Technical University (PTU) H.S. Gurm and former Technical Education Minister Jagdish Singh Garcha’s son Parminder Singh, in multi-crore PTU scam are still absconding, the Vigilance Bureau, in its bid to put pressure on the accused has initiated proceedings to get both of them declared as proclaimed offenders.

Despite conducting raids at several places in Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Chandigarh and New Delhi during the past one month to nab them, Vigilance Bureau sleuths had failed to find any clue about their whereabouts so far, thus, hampering the ongoing investigations to a large extent. Gurm was alleged to have committed financial irregularities during his stint as the Vice-Chancellor by causing a loss of about Rs 11 crore to the university.

Besides, Gurm in connivance with Garcha had allegedly flouted the prescribed norms to appoint 95 ad-hoc employees, most of them from the constituency of the former minister.

On the other hand Parminder Singh, who was appointed as master franchisee by the PTU, had illegally authorised some service providers to run various courses under the Distance Education Programme, in violation of rules to mint the money from the latter. Both of them are absconding following the arrest of Garcha and Director (Outreach) of PTU A.S. Grewal on October 19 under the Prevention of Corruption Act and for criminal conspiracy.

Vigilance Bureau sources revealed that it was preparing a strong case for declaring both of them proclaimed offenders before the court to force them to surrender.

“The court had issued non-bailable arrest warrants against them on two occasions. We have already questioned most of the relatives and friends of the accused and had raided several places in the country to nab them and alerted all international airports in the country so as to stop them from fleeing, the Vigilance Bureau sources maintained.

The sources further said the case for declaring Gurm and Parminder as proclaimed offenders would be presented in the court in December even as the draft for attaching their properties and assets was also being prepared by the Vigilance Bureau.

The sources did not rule out the possibility that the accused might have slipped out of the country through the sea route.


Police upsets Baba’s ‘apple-cart’
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, November 21
The police has arrested Baba Bhure Shah, alias Gurmail Singh, alias Bhura, a labourer- turned “tantrik” who minted money by selling apples at Rs 500 each to childless couples in the past many years and allegedly had links with O.P. Sharma, an ISI agent arrested by the Hisar police a few months ago, for committing fraud and threatening a senior police official on the phone.

Police sources said Baba Bhure Shah, who was operating from his native village, Kauni, falling in this district, and was also known as “Baba Sappan- wala”, had cheated hundreds of childless couples from Haryana, New Delhi, Rajasthan and Punjab. Baba Bhure Shah used to sell them apples and cotton seeds at a rate much higher than that in the market as a symbol of blessing.

The sources said Bhure Shah, who used to work as a labourer in the village, used to catch snakes. After a few years, he started blessing couples desirous of a son. He gained popularity in Punjab and neighbouring states and people started frequenting his dera in Kauni village.

A few months ago, he attended a function organised by an ISI agent, O.P. Sharma in Bathinda and donated Rs 5,000 to the organisation being run by Sharma. The police has found photographs of Baba Bhure Shah with O.P. Sharma.

Mr Mukand Singh Malli, DSP, Gidderbaha, said the police was initially investigating the cases of fraud committed by Bhure Shah. After that, an investigation into his links with the ISI agent would be launched.

Mr Amrik Singh, SP(D), in a press note issued here today, said there were complaints against Bhure Shah. An inquiry into the complaints was conducted by Mr Malli. A few days after the inquiry began, Mr Malli started receiving threatening calls. The caller used to warn Mr Malli not to proceed with the inquiry and to hush up the matter.

The police has identified the caller but he is yet to be arrested. The Baba was arrested by the Gidderbaha police.

Mr Amrik Singh said two cases, one under Sections 523, 342, 365, 307 and 34 of the IPC and the other under Section 411 of the IPC and Section 25 of the Arms Act had been registered at Gidderbaha police station.

He said the investigation had revealed that the Baba had 70 employees at his dera and used to pay Rs 2 lakh to them as salary per month.


Travel agent, 2 others booked for cheating
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, November 21
The police has booked three persons for defrauding people on the promise of sending them abroad and getting them jobs with handsome salaries.

Mr Varjnder Kumar, SSP, said today that Bodh Raj Saini, a travel agent of Jalandhar, his wife, Shashi Bala, and Sanjeev Kumar, alias Kala, a resident of Rampur village under Dinanagar police station, had been identified as the suspects. However, no arrests have been made so far.

The SSP said Rampal, a resident of Deeda Sahnsi village, reported to the police that the suspects took Rs 2.30 lakh from him on the promise of settling him abroad last year. The travel agent has his office at Morara, near Dinanagar.

The complainant said the agent took him to New Delhi many a time during the past year, only to cheat him. The complainant reported the matter to the panchayat, with whose efforts he got a refund of Rs 85,000. Finally, when he demanded a refund of his balance amount, the suspects started threatening him.


8 travel agents booked for defrauding people
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, November 21
The district police has registered cases under Sections 420 and 406 of the IPC and Section 24 of the Immigration Act against eight travel agents for defrauding five persons of Rs 36.50 lakh on the lure of sending them abroad.

In a press note issued here today, Mr R.N. Dhoke, Senior Superintendent of Police, said Ms Babli of Bagrian village, in a complaint, had alleged that Mohinder Kumar Sehgal and Monu, both travel agents of Delhi, took Rs 2.9 lakh from her for sending her son Vinod Kumar to South Korea about two years ago. She said the travel agents neither sent her son abroad nor returned the money and passport.

In another complaint, Mr Lakhwant Singh of Raipur Peer Buksh village alleged that Kamlesh Kaur and her husband Tarlochan Singh of Chandigarh took Rs 3.60 lakh and his passport in March, 1999 for sending him to the UK but they neither sent him to the UK nor returned his money and passport.

Mr Dhoke said Mr Charan Singh Bholath alleged that Darshan Singh and his wife Paramjit Kaur, travel agents of Jalandhar, took Rs 4 lakh from him for sending his son to Germany, but they did not send his son abroad nor returned the money.

In yet another complaint, Mr Kulwant Singh of Bhaur village in Sultanpur Lodhi alleged that Gian Singh and his wife Balbir Kaur, both travel agents of Jalandhar, took Rs 8 lakh from him and his cousin in May, 2001 for sending them to Canada. They took them to Kenya, where they took Rs 18 lakh more, but they did not send them to Canada.


BJP poll panel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
The Punjab BJP has set up an 11-member election committee under the chairmanship of Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, President of the state unit. The other members of the committee are Bibi Gurcharan Kaur, Mr Vijay Sampla, Mr Avinash Jaiswal, Mr Harjit Singh Grewal, Mr Rajinder Bhandari, Mr Venod Sharma, Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, Mr Lajpat Rai, Mr Tikshan Sud, and Mr Sukhpal Singh.


Kin of deceased PSEB men await jobs
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 21
Hundreds of dependants of deceased employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) have been waiting for the past year to get jobs on compensatory grounds in the organisation.

Sources said the board has not appointed a single person in the past nine months. They said 250 persons, whose cases had been cleared, are awaiting the sanction of the board following a meeting of the Whole Time Members. A total of 1,021 cases are pending before the board, which has cleared the files of around half the number of people while others are still being processed.

The sources said the board had earlier adopted a go-slow approach on the issue of all recruitments and had even delayed the cases of those who were slated to get jobs under the compensatory job scheme. Under the scheme, relatives of deceased board employees were adjusted in jobs according to their qualifications. Giving details of the pending cases, sources said 111 cases were pending in the Bathinda circle, 133 in the Patiala circle, 102 in the central zone, 117 in the border zone and 106 in the north zone. Board employees federation President Surinder Singh said now that the tariff structure of the board had been revised, it had no excuse not to fill the posts for which wards of deceased employees were eligible. He said these posts should be filled on priority as families who had lost their bread-winner during service were facing an acute economic crisis.

The federation leader said the board was not filling posts or making new recruitments despite the fact that 10,000 posts were lying vacant. He said some of these included posts of linemen and other personnel who were badly needed in field areas. Mr Surinder Singh claimed the board was not filling the posts deliberately so that the organisation could be privatised easily. He said the federation would take appropriate action in this regard in case the issue was not solved settled at the earliest.


High priests ‘failed to act’ against errant SGPC men
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 21
The high priests abdicated their duty of taking cognizance and exemplary action against certain SGPC members for activities in contravention of Sikh “Rehat Maryada”, a task carried out by the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (SGJC) on the eve of the SGPC elections,” alleges former Akal Takht Jathedar Darshan Singh Khalsa.

In a note faxed to The Tribune here this evening, he said he was pained at the debate in the media and the community on ‘who is a Sikh’ and what is wrong with a Sikh doing paath of the scriptures of other religions or worshipping gods and goddesses.

It is unfortunate that no attempt had been made to put things in the right perspective either by the SGPC or the high priests, but he had taken upon himself to comment on the issue to prevent disinformation by vested interests, he said.

He says the ‘Singh Sahiban’ should go through Sikh Rehat Maryada published by the SGPC after noted Sikh scholars, Gurmat institutions and ‘sangat’ worked for 14 years laying down parameters which define a Sikh.

Quoting from the work, the former Akal Takht Jathedar says “any person who believes in one Supreme Power, the 10 Sikh Masters, Guru Granth Sahib, their teachings and baptismas ordained by Guru Gobind Singh is a true Sikh.”

According to the teachings of the Gurus, a Sikh is the one who believes in deliverance only by following the teachings of the Sikh Gurus and their Bani


CM seeks gurdwara land papers
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 21
The controversy over the Santokhsar Gurdwara land took a new turn as Chief Minister Amarinder Singh sought the file on the gurdwara land where the SGPC is making some construction.

Despite intervention by the corporation to stall the construction, the SGPC continued it.

The SGPC had asserted that the land belonged to it, while the corporation said it was its property.


NCM notice to Punjab on police entry
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 21
The National Commission for Minorities has faxed a notice to the Punjab Chief Secretary to explain the state government’s stand on sending the police to the Golden Temple complex in the run-up to the recent SGPC presidential election.

Sources in the NCM told TNS here last evening that the commission had sought a reply from the Punjab Chief Secretary on November 11 after receiving a complaint on police entry and forcible search of the `sarais’ from the manager of the Golden Temple complex.

The sources said they had sent a notice under the provisions of the NCM Act. If the state government failed to reply to the notice, the NCM would issue summons.


Blockade on NH-1 lifted
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, November 21
The Jalandhar-Jammu bypass (NH-1) near Amar Nath temple remained blocked today for more than three hours in protest against the registration of a criminal case against some villagers belonging to Dhira.

According to sources, on November 12 four persons belonging to two different groups were seriously injured when a tussle broke out between two groups on account of an attack on a marriage party.

Residents of Dhira village alleged that the police had falsely implicated and registered a case against innocent persons.

Irate villagers today staged a dharna and blocked the traffic for more than three hours.

Immediately Mr Puneet Goel, SDM, along with other officials reached the place and persuaded the agitators to lift the dharna. The dharna was lifted at about 12.30 p.m.


Truckers beat up ‘checkers’, block traffic
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, November 21
Traffic came to a halt on the GT Road, near the Patiala bypass, here today when some truck drivers severely beat up six persons for allegedly demanding money from them. The traffic remained blocked for more than an hour.

There are conflicting reports about the incident. While sources said that the six persons were beaten up by the truck drivers as they were impersonating as a team of the District Transport Officer and demanding money from truckers, the police claimed that the truck drivers had beaten up a team of private contractors.

However, the police did not register any case despite the fact that six persons were severely beaten up and the traffic remained disrupted for about one-and-a-half hour creating a chaos on the GT Road. Queues of stranded vehicles extended up to several kilometers during this period.

Sources said the trouble started when some persons who had come in a Qualis started stopping truckers on the Patiala bypass. They said the truckers suspected the antecedents of the ‘checkers’ because of the low bribes demanded by them. They said the team was soon overpowered by some truckers who gave them a sound thrashing. Three of the beaten up persons have been admitted to a private hospital in the city.

The truckers also smashed the vehicle of the ‘checkers’, besides setting afire a ‘chungi naka’ on the bypass. The situation defused after the police reached the spot and effected a compromise.

However, for the people trapped in vehicles on both sides of the highway, it was a nearly a two-and-a-half-hour ordeal as it took a long time for the traffic flow to become normal.


Contractor’s bail plea dismissed
Tribune News Service

Ropar, November 21
Mr L.R. Roojam, Sessions Judge, Ropar, today dismissed the anticipatory bail application of Rajinder Singh Sodhi, a labour contractor of the Ropar Thermal Plant.

The bail application was filed on October 19 after the registration of a criminal case against Sodhi by the Ropar police under Sections 406 and 409 of the IPC.

The Sessions Judge dismissed the application on the grounds that the offences which the applicant had allegedly committed could not be properly investigated without his custodial interrogation.

The police had registered a case against Sodhi in connection with a scam related to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF). In this scam, provident fund to the tune of about Rs 1 crore of the contract labour was allegedly embezzled by two labour contractors of the thermal plant from 1997 to 1999.

However, after the detection of the scam, Sodhi deposited the embezzled amount in the EPF accounts of the labourers.


Garbage collection: MC, Cantt Board divided
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, November 21
The menace posed by the garbage in and around the city and the cantonment area appears to be heading towards serious health hazards. While the Municipal Committee and Cantonment Board recognised dumping points have turned into stinking mounds in the past couple of weeks, complaints about wanton dumping of the garbage on the roadside at prominent residential/commercial localities are also being reported.

Since the past couple of months, the statutory duty of the garbage collection on the part of the civic authorities has never been regular as a result of which the city and the cantonment areas are seen virtually littered with garbage.

The people allege that the Cantonment Board and the municipality had failed to evolve any clear-cut system for garbage collection. Waste removal always remained random since the dumping points kept constantly changing.

Now the situation has worsened with members of both civic bodies themselves allegedly standing polarised over the issue of whether the city and the cantonment area should be kept clean or not.

An official of the Cantonment Board says that the divisional headquarters of 7, Infantry Division are yet to reimburses an amount of Rs 1.5 crore to the board against the bills for providing services. This has forced the civic body to put constraints on its expenses.

On the other side, the sewage treatment area chosen by the municipality near the Hussainiwala border has not only posed threat to the vegetation but also to the underground water and environment. The vegetables being cultivated around the sewage treatment area are being irrigated by polluted water, thereby putting the health of at least three lakh people of the city and the cantonment areas at risk. Neither the Public Health Department nor the municipal corporation has ever looked into this problem.

As the elections to both civic bodies are due in the next couple of months, the representatives of people have lost interest in the work.

On the Malwal road just before Baghi Hospital a big ground has been turned into a dumping ground thus posing a serious health problem to those living in the area.


Traders threaten stir over move on octroi
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 21
Traders of the city have threatened to gherao the EO of the local Municipal Council if the collection of octroi is given to private contractors.

This was stated in a press note issued here today by Mr Chiman Lal Garg and Mr Chamkaur Singh Mann, chairman and general secretary, respectively, of the Beopar Mandal. They said the officer concerned would not be allowed to enter his office.

They said the officer had given a statement in a section of the Press some days ago about privatisation of octroi collection, but the traders would not allow any such move.

The office-bearers said the Congress government had not fulfilled its promise to abolish octroi. They said in place of the abolition of octroi, its collection was being given to private contractors. Mr Garg and Mr Mann said the Congress would have to face the opposition of traders in the Municipal Council elections.


Paria opposes move to privatise health services
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 21
Dr Vishvanath Paria, national general secretary, Medical Service Centre (MSC), said today that National Health Policy 2002, was a step towards the privatisation of the health services in the country.

Dr Paria while talking to media persons said here today that with the passage of time the government had made melicare very costly and after implementation of the new policy, the basic facilities would be out of the reach of the poor.

He said although there was no specific data available, but with the cost of treatment increasing, the death rate of poor could also increase. He said even the minor illness could prove fatal for the poor patients as they would not get proper treatment.

Dr Paria added that the access to better medicare should be the fundamental right of the people. He said but the new policy to be adopted by the government was in contrast to that.

He said the doctors and other staff working in government hospitals would not be able to perform better. He said there would be no job security under the contrast system. Doctors and other staff of the hospital would always be under threat of losing their job. He condemned the allocation of a meagre 0.9 per cent for medicare in the Union Budget. He said the Budget allocation for providing medicare and for research should be at least 10 per cent.


2 rice mill owners beaten up
Our Correspondent

Mansa, November 21
Mr Raj Kumar Danewalia, president, Mansa Rice Millers Association, and Mr Sanjeev Kumar, a rice mill-owner, were severely beaten up by members of the local truck operators union here today on the premises of Dhalla Rice Mills. According to information available, some rice mill owners were getting the paddy stocks from godowns of the Food Corporation of India loaded on their own vehicles which was objected to by the representatives of the truck union. The union wanted that those should be transported in their trucks and not in the vehicles owned by the mill owners. This tussle had been going on for quite sometime and led to the clash today.

Mr Danewalia along with a deputation of rice mill owners had met Mr S.S. Srivastva, SSP, here yesterday and gave him a representation that the truck operators union was illegally interfering in their trade.

He said if the stocks of paddy are transported by the mill owners in their own vehicles it costs them Rs 50 for a consignment of 250 quintals whereas the union charges Rs 1000 for the some work.

He further said whenever the mill owners take rice husk in their tractor-trailers, the union forcibly takes Rs 200 per trailer from them. He urged the SSP to intervene. He further said this would render their trade un-viable and the mill owners would not be able to undertake the milling of paddy of various government agencies.

When contacted, Mr H.S. Sekhon, SP (H), said the matter was under consideration and action would be taken.


Punjabi writers to be honoured
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 21
Punjabi writers will be honoured by Guru Nanak Dev University here on November 24, the 33rd foundation day of the university, a press note said here today.

Ms Sheila Dikshit, Chief Minister of Delhi, will present the awards. Mohan Singh Mahar Poetry award will be presented to Manmohan Singh for his book “Namit”, Maula Baksh Kushta Alochana award will be awarded to Ominder Johar for his literary work “Path Bhasha Vigyan: Sidhant Ate Vihar” and this award for the year 2001 will be given to Parranjit Verma for his book “Punjabi Bal Natak: Arvekhan te Maulakan.”

Ajmer Sidhu will be honoured with Bhai Vir Singh Galp Puraskar for his book “Nachiketa Di Mout”. Ishwar Chander Nanda Natak Puraskar (2000) will be presented to Sanjeevan Singh for his book “Freedom Fighter” and this award for the year 2001 will be awarded to Sahib Singh for his work “Main Jinda Rahanga.”


Animal husbandry camp organised
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, November 21
An Animal husbandry camp was organised at Karma village near here under the model animal wealth village scheme of the Animal Husbandry Department.

Dr Subash Trehan, Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry Department, asked the farmers to make better use of various schemes introduced by the Animal Husbandry Department. He stressed upon better vaccination.

Disease control measures, balanced feed and good management practices in this regard.

Experts gave detailed lecturers on animal fodder, better seeds, and dairy development.

Earlier, Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi, political adviser to the CM, inaugurated the camp.


2 Sessions Judges face suspension
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
The Punjab and Haryana High Court decided to place two District and Sessions Judges under suspension, while a decision to withdraw the judicial work from another was also taken during a full court meeting this afternoon.

Though the authorities in the high court are tight-lipped about it, sources confirm that it was decided to withdraw judicial work from Mr Maghar Khan, posted at Hoshiarpur. They further added that the Sessions Judges decided to be placed under suspension included Mr V.B. Handa, posted at Ludhiana, and Mr R.K. Bishnoi, posted at Faridabad. The sources maintained that the exact reason behind the passing of the orders was not known, but complaints had indeed been received by the high court.


4 hurt in cracker unit fire
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 21
A house in Anngarh area, known for its firecracker manufacturing units, caught fire after a firecracker landed in the building and ignited the firecrackers stored, injuring four workers, including a minor.

The incident occurred around 2.30 p.m. here today.

Vikramjit Singh (14), Manga, Amrik Singh and Papuu sustained serious burn injuries.

They have been admitted to various government hospitals. The police has registered a case against Charanjit Singh, owner of the allegedly illegal unit, under Section 285, 286 and 188 of the IPC and under the Explosives Act.


3 killed as train hits car

Moga, November 21
Three persons were killed and another seriously injured when the car, in which they were travelling to Kotkapura, was hit by Fazilka-Bathinda passenger train near Wander Jatana at an unmanned level-crossing late last night.

The seriously injured was rushed to a hospital in Ludhiana, official sources said today.

The victims were returning to Kotkapura after attending a marriage from other village. When the car was crossing the unmanned level-crossing the Fazilka-Bathinda passenger train arrived and dashed against the car.

The deceased had been identified as Gurmit Singh, Gurbir Singh and Baljinder Singh, all residents of Kotkapura and the injured as Harban Singh. PTI


Venue shifted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
The PPCC has shifted the venue for the meeting of office-bearers to be addressed by Mrs Sonia Gandhi, President of the party, on November 23 here.

According to a party press note, Mrs Sonia Gandhi will address officer-bearers and other important functionaries at the CII auditorium. 


T.S. Tur bereaved
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, November 21
Mr Tarlochan Singh Tur, senior Akali leader and Lok Sabha MP, was bereaved when his wife, Paramjit Kaur, died of a massive heart attack at Tur village today. Mr Tur was in Delhi when he received the sad news. His wife besides Mr, Tur, her husband, is survived by son and daughter. The body will be cremated tomorrow.


Sarpanch removed from post
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 21
The Deputy Director, Panchayat Department, has placed the Sarpanch of Kutti Kishan Pura village of this district under suspension after a report submitted by the District Development and Panchayat Officer held him guilty of misconduct.

Sources said here yesterday that the Sarpanch, Gurdev Singh, was accused of misappropriating government funds and had been to jail in this connection. The Sarpanch was arrested under Sections 409/34, IPC, and had been in jail from November 6 to 23, 2001. The officers concerned had filed a report stating that as the Sarpanch had undergone imprisonment, he was not fit to hold the office.

The sources said Mr Des Raj Bhagat, Deputy Director, Panchayats, had suspended him for the above said reason and all responsibilities had been taken back from him. The Block Development and Panchayat Officer concerned had been directed to redistribute the duties.


Punjab ‘to adopt’ Maharashtra model
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
Chaudhary Santokh Singh, Minister for Social Security and Welfare of SCs and BCs, said today that the Maharashtra model would be adopted in Punjab as far as the implementation of various welfare schemes under the special component plan was concerned.

The funds made available by the Union Government under the scheme would be placed at the disposal of the Directorate of Social Security and Welfare. These would not be put at the disposal of the State Finance Department.


14 officials found absent from duty
Our Correspondent

Mansa, November 21
Fourteen officials of different government departments, including Ms Baljinder Paul Kaur Brar, Naib Tehsildar, Dr Nishan Singh, Medical Officer, and Mr Sarbjit Singh, Panchayat Officer of Bhikhi village in the district, were found absent from duty during a raid conducted by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, today. The district administration has written to the administrative secretaries of the departments concerned to take disciplinary action against the absentees.

Mr Ahluwalia told the officers of various departments to ensure the presence of employees in offices. He asserted that strict action would be taken against those found absent from their duty. Earlier, the Deputy Commissioner issued show-cause notices to 60 employees found absent from duty.


Water mission to cover 54 villages
Our Correspondent

Moga, November 21
The Rajiv Gandhi Water and Sanitation Mission, which started working in March 2000, had selected as many as 54 villages in whole of India for development in the field of this programme.

Disclosing this here today, Moga Deputy Commissioner G. Romesh Kumar said under the programme village committees had been constituted to look after the working of the mission. Moreover, 90 per cent funds for the purpose would be provided by the mission and 10 per cent by the committee. The committees would be responsible for the maintenance of the villages, he added.

Under the programme, 12 villages in the district had been selected for awards where the pure drinking water and sanitation work had been maintained.


Couple shot dead in Abohar
Our Correspondent

Abohar, November 21
Sat Pal (45) and his wife, Asha Rani, were allegedly shot dead at point-blank range by two armed persons at their residence in Sidhu Nagri here last night.

Source said two unidentified persons came on a Maruti car at about10 p.m. and rang the bell of Sat Pal’s residence. As he opened the door, Sat Pal was reportedly shot at by both miscreants at point blank range.

Three bullets pierced through the upper part of Sat Pal’s body and another hit the door. His wife, Asha, rushed out of the bedroom, she too was shot at. The couple died on the spot. Their daughter, Sargam (7), informed her relatives who resided in Anand Nagri about the incident. Then she went to her teacher, leaving behind the 5-year-old brother, Sanyam in the same locality to tell her what had happened. By the time her relatives came she had reportedly shifted the cash lying in the house to a safer place.

The bodies were immediately shifted to the Civil Hospital post-mortem conducted. The bodies were cremated in the afternoon. Preliminary investigation revealed that the killers had used indigenous firearms. It appears that they were three in number as the car used by them was perhaps kept in a starting position.

Sat Pal was working in a cinema before joining the liquor business. He had taken most of the liquor vends on contract for past two years.


2.91 quintals of poppy husk seized
Our Correspondent

Muktsar, November 21
The police has seized 37 grams of smack, 500 grams of opium and 2.91 quintal of poppy husk in separate cases. The cases were registered recently under various Sections of the NDPS Act.

Mr Major Singh Dhillon, SSP, said in a press note issued here today that under the Excise, four quintals of lahan and 30 ML of illicit liquor were seized. He said under the Gambling Act, Rs 1,109 were seized.

He said the city police got Parkash Singh of Nandgarh freed from his kidnappers during the naka on the outskirts of the city today. The kidnappers have also been arrested. These have been identified as Ravi Kumar and Ramesh Kumar. Two of their accomplices, Raj Kumar and his son, Bunty have absconded.

A case in this connection was registered yesterday under Sections 323, 342,365,307 and 34 of the IPC.


Kidnapped girl recovered
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 21
The district police claims to have recovered a girl, absconding from her house for the past one-month and arrested Baljinder Singh. The girl has been handed over to her parents, and the culprit sent to jail.

According to press release issued by Mr B. Chandra Sekhar, SSP, said Balwant Singh had complained to the police that Baba Baljinder Singh, a resident of Chakri Mohalla, Bassi Pathana and working in a gurdwara at Dharmgarh village had kidnapped her daughter Jasbir Kaur, by making a false promise of marriage.

The SSP said the police raided various hideouts of the said baba in UP, Himachal and the various towns of the State. The car used in the crime purpose was recovered from Batala.

The girl was recovered from Anandpur Sahib from Baljinder Singh. He said the police had registered a case under Sections 366/34 of the IPC.


SGPC member’s 2 sons booked
Our Correspondent

Mansa, November 21
The Jorkian police in the district has registered a case against Mr Gamdur Singh Tandian and Mr Gurcharan Singh Tandian, both sons of Mr Mukhtiar Singh Tandian, district Jathedar and member, of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and Mr Darshan Singh, sarpanch of Tandian village under Sections 420, 465, 467, 468 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code.

According to the information a complaint of embezzlement of the Tandian panchayat funds to the extent of Rs 2 lakh was received by the Deputy Commissioner, Mansa.

It was inquired into by the Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development), Mansa following which the above case was registered.

No arrest has been effected. Mr Mukhtiar Singh Tandian alleged that the case against his sons was registered as he had not voted to the wishes of state government in the SGPC elections held recently.


Teachers’ drive against education policy
Tribune News Service

Ropar, November 21
The Government Teachers Union, Punjab, will launch a campaign to educate the teachers, parents and people on the ill-effects of the new education policy, enforced by the Punjab Government. Mr Sucha Singh Khatra, general secretary of the union, said it had been decided to intensify struggle against the new education policy. He said the district working committees of the union would meet on November 30 in this regard.

Mr Khatra added school-level meetings and block-level rallies against the policy would be held in the first week of December in the state. He said to broad-base the struggle, other unions would be approached for a joint action.

He added the policy was “anti-teachers”, “anti-student” and “anti-people” and would encourage corruption, nepotism and political interference in education. He said privatisation would get a boost and government schools might face closure under the policy.


School celebrates annual day
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 21
Blossoms School celebrated its annual function here today, in which, more than 300 students of various classes participated. Students presented plays, dances and songs on the occasion.

Mr B.M. Singh, Chief Commissioner Income Tax, was the chief guest on the occasion. He urged parents of the students to encourage children to participate in extra-curricular activities, as these were essential for personality development. Ms Sant Chahal, school head (finances), said all school records and library facilities had been computerised.

She said the school would provide students with all modern facilities. Mr Singh awarded the Best All-round Student Medal sponsored by Ms Preneet Kaur, MP, to Ritika Wadhawan. A running trophy was awarded to Gurpreet. Prizes were also given to students who had given good stage performances at the function.


Sirjana’ wins Punjabi play competition
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 21
As part of the Punjabi Week, being observed by the Punjab Bhasha Vibhag, a Punjabi play competition was organised at the local SSD Girls Senior Secondary School today.

Mr Ajmer Singh Aulakh, Punjabi playwright, while speaking on the occasion said although it was a well-known fact that stage plays make better impact than television or films, but still nobody was making efforts to popularise theatre.

He said budding artistes should be encouraged to participate in theatre activities.

In today’s function five plays were staged. The play “Sirjana” staged by Government Senior Secondary School, Amritsar, got the first prize, while “Rabba Rabba Mihn Varsa” by Government Middle School, Dod (Faridkot and “Jis Tan Lage” by Baba Farid Public School, Bathinda, got second and third positions, respectively.

The prize for the best director was given to Mr Kewal Bansal for “Jis Tan Lage” best actor to Harwinder Singh for “Rabba Rabba Mihn Varsa” and best actress to Arshdeep for “Jis Tan Lage”.

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