Friday, November 29, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



PPCC executive list released
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28
PPCC chief H.S. Hanspal has tried to bring about political equilibrium in the organisational wing by giving representation to different factions. This is in tune with the broad directions given by the party Chief, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, that the organisational wing, which is usually ignored by Congressmen when in power, should be given due importance as this plays a pivotal role in enabling the party to form a Government.

The list of 10 vice-presidents, 11 general secretaries, 22 executive members and one treasurer was released today by Mr Hanspal in the presence of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. Another list of secretaries and, if need be, of organising secretaries is expected to be released in coming days, according to informed sources. The Chief Minister appeared to be satisfied with the list.

The party high command took a long time to clear the list in which the Bathinda-Mansa belt, where the party fared badly in the last Assembly elections, has been given meagre representation though Mr Rampal Daipi, who belongs to Mansa district, has been an appointed general secretary.

Though the list appears to be dominated by lightweight leaders, there are several new young faces and second-rung leaders, who have been given important positions in the organisation. Besides, a number of former ministers and those who lost in the last Assembly elections have been accommodated.

However, those who have been accommodated in the party setup will not be given any position in the government. In a way, they have lost the chance to be chairpersons of various boards and corporations in the government as the “one person, one post” principle will be strictly followed, according to Mr Hanspal. Women, the Scheduled Castes and backward classes have been given substantial representation.

There will be no senior vice-president. Mr Avtar Singh Brar is a senior leader and former minister from Faridkot. He has been made a vice-president. Another vice-president, Mr Bal Mukand Sharma is also a senior leader and former minister. Mrs Satinder Kaur Nabha, who has been taken as vice-president, is the wife of the late Mr Gurdarshan Singh Nabha, who represented the Nabha constituency a number of times. Now his son, Mr Randeep Singh, is the MLA from the same constituency.

Ms Babli Brar, daughter of former Chief Minister Harcharan Singh Brar, has been accommodated as general secretary. Dr Malti Thapar, who was denied the party ticket last time, has also been accommodated as vice-president.

List of office-bearers

President — Mr H.S. Hanspal; vice-presidents — Mr Avtar Singh Brar, Mr Bal Mukand Sharma, Mr Brij Lal Goel, Mr D.P. Sehgal, Mr Kewal Singh, Dr Malti Thapar, Mr Ram Rattan, Mr Satinder Kaur Gujral, Mrs Satinder Kaur Nabha, and Mr Vijay Khullar.

General secretaries — Ms Babli Brar, Mr Dharmpal Sabharwal, Dr Harbans Kaur, Mr Ishar Singh, Mr Jaspinder Jakhar, Mr Lakhwinder Singh, Mr Rajbir Singh, Mr Rampal Daipai, Mr Shyam Behal, Mr Sukhdev Singh Shahbajpuri and Mr Upendra Sharma.

Treasurer: Mr Baldev Singh Kang. Executive members Mr A.K. Walia, Mr Anil Chopra, Mr Anil Dutta, Mr Asha Kailey, Mr Basant Singh, Mr Brij Mohan Puri, Mr Charan Singh, Mr Gurdip Singh Bhaini, Mrs Gurdial Kaur Khangoora, Mrs Harchand Kaur, Mr Indraj Singh, Mrs Jagdarshan Kaur, Mohammad Salim Advocate, Mr Mushtaq Masih Chaudhary, Mr Naresh Thakur, Mr Pritam Singh Johal, Mr Ram Kishan Kataria, Col S.S. Randhawa (retd), Mr Shyam Sunder, Mr Surinder Kaur Balian, Ms Sushil Mahajan and Mr Vainder Rana.

Special invitees: All former Chief Ministers and Presidents of the PPCC etc. Mr Manish Tewari, a former President of the Indian Youth Congress, will also be a special invitees to the meetings.


No PSSSB recruit to be sacked: CM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and PPCC President H.S. Hanspal categorically assured today that no one recruited by the Punjab Subordinate Services Selection Board during SAD-BJP rule would be removed from service.

A delegation of such employees, who have been apprehending their removal from service today met the Chief Minister and the PPCC President at Congress Bhavan. They were led by Mr Satnam Singh Sidhu.

As many as 4762 employees were recruited by the board, which was disbanded by Capt Amarinder Singh immediately after taking over as Chief Minister. Almost all members of the board, except its Chairman, who was abroad, were arrested by the Vigilance Bureau, for allegedly having resorted to corruption and foul means while making recruitment. They were later released on bail.


SAD men block traffic
Seek CBI probe into Ashutosh acts
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, November 28
Activists of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) including, women led by Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, President, SGPC, Baba Sarabjot Singh Bedi, Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, General Secretary SHSAD, Mr Ravi-Inder Singh, Sant Paramjit Singh, Baba Nihal Singh held dharna for hours three and blocked traffic to protest against the attack by followers of Baba Ashutosh of Noor Mahal on Mr Jarnail Singh, a member of the Khalsa Panchayat, his two sons, and Sevadars of Baba Lakho Gurdwara on November 25 at Bharta Baneshpur, at the main chowk of Mahilpur Town 24 km from here on the Hoshiarpur-Chandigarh road today. Traffic remained suspended. Shopkeepers of Mahilpur and Kot Fatuhi also observed bandh in this connection. Heavy police force was deployed as precaution. Passengers bound for Chandigarh, Delhi, Balachaur, Nawashahr, Phagwara and Garhshanker etc. faced inconvenience. Later the police diverted the traffic from Bahowal choe bridge to Barian Kalan link road.

Addressing the gathering the leaders gave an ultimatum to the government to arrest Baba Ashutosh for attacking Baba Lakho Gurdwara and ban his sect within a week failing which the agitation would be intensified.

Later a memorandum was submitted to Mr Paramjit, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Hoshiarpur. It demanded a CBI inquiry into the activities of Divya Jyoti sect headed by Ashutosh and withdrawal of case registered against Mr Jarnail Singh, member, Khalsa Panchayat. The police was criticised for not arguing for police remand of 53 followers of Ashutosh arrested under Section 307 IPC.

Meanwhile Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, General Secretary SHSAD criticised Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Punjab Chief Minister for allegedly misusing the SAD for personal motives. He was talking to mediapersons here this afternoon. Referring to Jail Bharo programme of the SAD, Mr Bhaur said that it was planned to divert attention of Sikh masses from the corruption cases of the SAD (B) government, ministers and their family members.


SP to probe case against Ashutosh men
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, November 28
Mrs Gurpreet Deo, SSP, here has deputed Mr Gurmeet Singh, SP (Headquarters) to probe the cases registered against the followers of Baba Ashutosh of Noormahalahia for attacking Mr Jarnail Singh, member of Khalsa Panchayat, his two sons and sevadars of Gurdwara Baba Lakho in a sacrilege case at Bharta Geneshpur village on November 25. A case had been registered under Section 295-A, IPC, against Jarnail Singh by one of the followers of the sect.


Noormahalia files case against Jarnail Singh
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, November 28
Mr Harjit Singh of Sohal Khurd village, a follower of the Noormahalia sect, has registered a case under Sections 295A and 323, IPC, at Mahilpur police station against Mr Jarnail Singh, a member of the Khalsa Panchayat, for selling cassette “Noormahalion ki Kartoot” and allegedly beating him up. The Mahilpur police has already registered a case under Sections 307, 204, 205A and 427 of the IPC against 53 followers of Baba Ashutosh of the Noormahalia sect on November 25, 2002, and arrested them for allegedly attacking Jarnail Singh and sevadars of the gurdwara at Bharta Ganeshpur village while he was selling the cassette.


Badal was arrested at Muktsar
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, November 28
Despite claims by the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the police authorities concerned that none was arrested during the jail bharo agitation of the SAD yesterday, the former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, was “formally” arrested.

As per the documents procured by The Tribune, after his arrest, Mr Badal remained in police custody at Muktsar for about two hours.

After Mr Badal was arrested, Mrs Usha R. Sharma, Deputy Commissioner, Muktsar had announced that Mr Badal had been arrested for violating Section 144 of Cr.PC and barging into her office along with his son Sukhbir Badal and other party workers.

Though in the evening the state government had claimed that none of the agitators was arrested, Mr Badal remained in the custody of the SHO, Sadar police station, Muktsar, Mr Gurdev Singh.

As per the documents, Mr Gurdev Singh took over the custody of Mr Badal from the AC-11 of National Security Guards (NSG), Mr G. Ravi Kumar, around 2.30 p.m.

Mr Gurdev Singh put Mr Badal back under the security of Mr G. Ravi Kumar at 4.45 p.m. In both documents, it was mentioned that Mr Badal was arrested by the Punjab police and later released in the custody of the NSG at the Deputy Commissioner office. Both documents were signed by Mr Gurdev Singh and Mr G. Ravi Kumar.

Mr Sukhbir Badal said frustration of the Congress government in connection with the success of the agitation yesterday was evident as even the Chief Minister was denying the fact that Mr Badal was arrested. He said either Capt Amarinder Singh was telling a lie or his subordinates were misguiding him.

Mr Sukhbir Badal claimed that the state machinery was virtually paralysed when thousands of SAD workers and other people, including a large number of youths, barged into the District Administrative complex yesterday.


Badal ridicules Amarinder’s claim
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28
SAD President Parkash Singh Badal said here today that the Punjab Government had neither the nerve nor the capacity to face the surge of the Akali movement and that yesterday’s events were proof that the administration was utterly incompetent to enforce its own prohibitory orders. “There was no government in Punjab yesterday and the administration of a boastful Chief Minister ran for bunkers against the challenging Akalis. Not before long, this situation will be constitutionally formalised. If Captain Amarinder Singh regards his unashamed retreat as victory, we will be more than pleased to give it to him any time.”

In a statement here today, Mr Badal said: “Yesterday’s agitation was aimed at demonstrating that despite the Chief Minister’s bragging that he would quell the Akali movement his rootless government did not have the courage to lay its hands on even one of the agitating Akalis. Mr Amarinder Singh’s Government literally lay supine before the brave heroes of the Akali movement. Later, it withdrew into a shell even as the Akalis challenged it to a fight all day. If the day passed off peacefully, it was not because of the fear of the government, which had fled the scene of the fight but because of the restraint and responsibility displayed by Akali workers and leaders. We realise that peace in Punjab is the responsibility of the SAD and we had to be watchful to thwart government’s conspiracy to defame our movement.”

“As a former Chief Minister and as the Leader of the Opposition, may I ask Captain Amarinder Singh why the prohibitory orders are in place in the state if his administration cannot even have the nerve to impose these against people agitating against his government. Why he had not withdrawn them?” Mr Badal ridiculed the Chief Minister’s claim that by not arresting hundreds of thousands of Akali workers, the government had successfully defeated the purpose of the Akali movement. “Does he know what the purpose behind this movement was and is. Let me tell him that our purpose was to demonstrate how sick the people of the state are of his governance and that no one in the state is really afraid of his repressive use of government machinery, that nine months of blind repression had not killed the spirit of Punjab. We also wanted to show that his boasts of not allowing us to agitate democratically did not mean a thing to us. Was this purpose achieved or not?” he asked.

The Akali chief said yesterday’s events had also ripped the veil off the CM’s lies during the SGPC poll. “If peace could not be endangered yesterday even when the entire state was virtually turned into sea of blue and kesari, how could an election involving 176 members of the SGPC have posed a threat.” The fact, he said, was that Amarinder was keen on putting a Congress stooge in charge of the management of Sikh shrines.


No minister to be dropped: CM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28
Denying the reports that certain ministers will be dropped from the Punjab Council of Ministers Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. However, did not rule out reshuffling of the portfolios.

Reports had appeared in the recent past speculating about the dropping of certain ministers.

When asked at a press conference today about Cabinet expansion, Capt Amarinder Singh said he would expand the ministry only after consulting the party President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi. However, he said financial constraints would be taken into consideration before taking the decision to expand the ministry. The Chief Minister is apparently not very keen on expansion at this stage.

He said the appointment of chairpersons of various government organisations would be made in due course. The district grievance removal committees would be constituted soon.

He said evidence was being collected against former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. He did not specify when action would be taken against Mr Badal.

The Chief Minister said that he and his ministers and a number of MLAs would proceed to Gujarat soon for campaign.


Cops completing MA to be promoted: CM
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 28
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today announced that special promotion would be given to a constable or head constable of the Punjab police after he or she completes a master’s degree in police administration from Maharaja Ranjit Singh Punjab Police Academy Phillaur.

He announced this while addressing participants at the convocation of the academy held here today. Police officers were given MA, M.Phil and Ph.D degrees in various disciplines of police administration on the occasion.

In his convocation address he said that combination of academic excellence with practical police training would improve the professional standards of men and women in uniform.

The Chief Minister stressed the need to sensitise men and women in uniform regarding human rights issues also. He urged the academy to pay due importance to the new areas of crime like computer hacking.

Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar also addressed the gathering. In his address he lauded the efforts of the academy, in conducting higher educational and academic programmes for police officers. He stated that Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, would chalk out a programme to impart degrees in various disciplines of police administration. He further said the university would accord recognition to degree courses in police administration on the lines of Jawahar Lal Nehru University which has a similar system for NDA Khadagwasla and IMA Dehra Dun trainees.

Mr M.S Bhullar, DGP, Punjab presided over the convocation. He appreciated the efforts of the academy in imparting higher education to police personnel in various parts of the country.

Earlier, Dr G.S. Aujla, Director of the academy in his welcome address said efforts were being put to encourage systematic research and enhancement of higher police educational programmes network among the police personnel.

Ph.D. degree was conferred on Mr P.M. Das, IPS, Inspector General of Police, Punjab. M.Phil. degree were conferred on Mr Vinod Dhawan, SP Himachal Pradesh, Mr Hanif Qureshi, IPS, SP, Rewari, Haryana and Mr Gurdarshan Singh, Sub Inspector. (Head Clerk), Punjab police.

Mr Aman Pal Singh, ASI, Punjab police, Mr Bhupinder Singh, ASI Punjab police, Mr Bittan Kumar, ASI , Punjab police, Mr Satnam Singh, Head Constable, Punjab police, Mr Sarabjit Singh, IPS, Director General of police Punjab Mr Kamal Kumar, IPS, Director, NICFS, New Delhi, Mr Rajender Kumar Sharma, IPS, Inspector-General of Police, Punjab, Mr Satish Kumar Sharma, IPS, Inspector-General of Police, Punjab, Mr Onkar Chand Thakur, IPS, Deputy Inspector- General of Police, Himachal Pradesh, Mr Ram Singh, IPS, SP Punjab, Mr Ranbir Singh Khatra, IPS, SP. Punjab, Mr Pushkar Sandal, PPS, DSP. Punjab, Mr Randhir Singh, PPS,DSP Punjab, Mr Sumer Singh, ASI, Punjab police, Mr Daler Singh, constable Punjab police, Mr Prit Pal Singh, constable, Punjab police, Mr Yumlembam Sunanta, SI, Manipur police, Mr Kuldeep Saini, ASI, Punjab police, Mr Soram Sunil Kumar, SI, Manipur police, Mr Urungbam Shyam Sunder Singh, SI, Manipur Police, Mr Charanjit Singh, constable, Punjab police.

Interestingly, Mr Sarbjit Singh, who served as Director- General of Police during the SAD-BJP government in the state and is presently without any posting, was the centre of attraction at the convocation.

He became the first DGP to complete M.A. degree in police administration while in service and especially during his tenure as the DGP. The Chief Minister also lauded his efforts.

The former DGP, however, did not hide his feelings. When called on the dais to receive the degree from Dr G S Aujla Director of the academy, Mr Sarbjit Singh shook hands with the Chief Minister but ignored DGP M. S. Bhullar. Mr Bhullar too did not offer a handshake to him.


6 dead in train-truck collision
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 28
At least six persons, including three women and a child, were killed and at least 12 were wounded, some of them seriously, in a collision between a train and a minitruck at an unmanned railway crossing on the Thrike-Ludhiana road, near Rajguru Nagar, on the outskirts of the city late this evening.

They were going to a marriage function just about 50 yards away from the accident site. The accident took place at about 7.30 pm when the Ferozepore-Ludhiana bound Satluj Express hit the truck at the unmanned crossing. The dead include Gyano Devi (60), Parkasho (55), Chhindo (24), Kanshi Ram (35), Kinder (18) and Prasad (about 2 years).


PAC to decide on action against Talwandi
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 28
Shiromani Akali Dal president Parkash Singh Badal has decided to tackle dissidence in the party.

Mr Badal today indicated that a decision on former SGPC chief and senior party leader Jagdev Singh Talwandi who was also Chairman, Disciplinary Action Committee (DAC) of the party, would be taken at a meeting of the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) to be held shortly. To a question on action against Mr Talwandi for his role in the election of SGPC Executive Committee, Mr Badal said that the PAC would decide it.

Mr Badal, who toured several towns and villages of this district today to honour the SGPC member who stood by him in the SGPC elections told mediapersons it was up to the SGPC and the Jathedar of Akal Takht whether Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, who invoked Section 144 Cr.P.C. and sent order the police into “Durbar Sahib” during SGPC elections, was be summoned at Takht or not. He added that the SAD would not make an appeal to Akal Takht in this regard.

He claimed that election to the general house of the SGPC would be held by March or April next as per the All India Gurdwara Act. He added that the SAD had urged the authorities concerned to take action on registration of bogus voters for SGPC elections.

He added that the SAD would not allow the central government to complete the National River Grid project and representation in this connection would be made to the BJP led NDA government at the Centre.

The National River Grid project it would deprive Punjab of right over its natural resources. The River Grid project was more dangerous than the SYL canal, he added.

Earlier, Mr Badal honoured Bibi Darshan Kaur Toofan, Dr Harcharan Singh Gill, Mr Balwant Singh Nandgarh and Mr Satnam Singh Bhairoppa, SGPC members.


Congress plans awareness drive
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 28
The District Congress Committee (DCC) will organise a mass contact awareness campaign here next month to acquaint the people with the development work undertaken by the state government and to introduce the masses to the designs of Mr Badal and his party to disturb the peaceful atmosphere by launching unwanted political movements.

Giving this information, Congress leader Ved Prakash Gupta claimed that the ‘jail bharo’ movement launched by the former Chief Minister had no impact on the people as they were more concerned with the economic development of the state.

Alleging that the previous government’s policies had resulted in massive financial losses to Punjab, Mr Gupta stressed that despite the poor fiscal health of the state economy, Capt Amarinder Singh’s government had been successful in initiating a number of reforms which would prove instrumental in reviving the state economy and improving the living standard of the people.


70 pc farm power bills paid up
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 28
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has reported 70 per cent receipt of payment of power bills from farmers after free of cost power supply to agriculture sector was withdrawn. This has emboldened the Board to appeal to non-paying farmers to deposit the dues or face disconnection of power to tubewells.

A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the board high-ups presided over by Chairman Sudhir Mittal, Member, Generation H.S. Sahai, Member, Operations S.K. Anand and Chief Engineer (Commercial) H.C. Sood also attended the meeting. The Board has avoided setting a deadline after which the connections of non-paying farmers would be disconnected.

Sources said that though the collection payment of power bills by farmers for October was around 70 per cent, in border zone only 50 per cent of the farmers had made the payment. The bills are to be submitted by November 30.

The sources said Board had billed farmers for Rs 25 crore for the two months of which Rs 16 crore had been realised. They said the lowest collection had been from border belt of Amritsar and Gurdaspur districts. Giving details they said the Central zone collected payment of 75 per cent of the bills, with collections mostly from Ludhiana, Jagraon and Khanna areas. The Central zone was followed by the South zone with 70 per cent, collection of the bills the West zone with 60 to 70 per cent and the Border zone with 55 per cent collection.

The Board is also trying to ‘soften’ the blow of collecting Rs 60 per horse power for tubewell collections by deciding to release 20,000 more power connections to tubewells this year. The Board has also decided to increase this number if its financial position improved. Earlier it fixed target of releasing 10,000 power connections to tubewells every year.

Meanwhile the meeting also decided to ensure regular eight-hour power supply for agriculture operations by purchasing 100 lakh units of power from the central pool every day. This decision has been taken following clear-cut directions from the State Chief Minister that eight hours of regular power supply must be assured to every village of the state.

The Board has also signed an accord with the National Thermal Power Corporation to augment power supply in the coming years. According to the agreement signed with the NTPC, the organisation will give PSEB 5,000 million units of power from its upcoming thermal stations in the next five years. The stations are coming up in the northern area and Jharkhand State. Besides this three power purchase agreements have also been signed with the National Hydropower Corporation for supply of power from the Chamera State II project and the 280 mega watt Dhauliganga project.


ASI serves notices on 10
Illegal constructions around Gobindgarh Fort
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 28
The debate regarding the alleged unauthorised constructions around the historical Gobindgarh Fort could snowball into a major controversy.

The sources in the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) said here today that 10 persons had been served with notices asking them to stop construction activities around the fort till November 30, else these would be demolished.

However, the orders had not been complied with.

The sources said the district authorities had been granting approval to the local people for their site plans for some considerations and the people had been openly defying the ASI orders.

They alleged that a section of senior functionaries of the local municipal council had also been abetting these people not to stop construction activities around the fort. The ASI sources said as per the law no construction could be carried out within the 100 metres radius of the fort and only selective construction activities could be carried out within the next 200 metres with the prior approval of the competent ASI authorities. The ASI in a complaint lodged with the police authorities yesterday asked the necessary help in case a demolition drive was carried out.

Meanwhile, those had been served with notices said the notices said not only their constructions could be demolished, demolition charges would have to be borne by them. The debris of the demolished buildings would also become property of the ASI.

The Deputy Commissioner had also stated that all possible help under the law would be provided to the ASI authorities, in case a demolition drive was carried out. He had also directed the authorities concerned not to pass any site plan without the prior approval of the ASI authorities in the restricted area.

The sources said if the ASI orders were not complied with the defaulters could be penalised with a fine of Rs 5,000 and imprisonment up to 6 months.

They alleged that they were not getting required help from municipal authorities as the MC elections were round the corner.


Buildings built in violation of Architects Act
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, November 28
Residential or commercial buildings constructed in the city and cantonment areas here since 1972 are unauthorised. All building plans or designs submitted to the local municipal committee and the Cantonment Board by the so-called architects during the past three decades had violated provisions of the Architects Act, 1972, that prohibits those persons not registered with the Council of Architecture to use the title and style themselves as architects with any prefix or suffix to their designation and practice thereof.

Startling facts have emerged that none of the building designers registered either with the municipal committee or the Cantonment Board possess the required qualifications that entitle them to practice as architects. Therefore, a gross violation of the rules laid down by the Council of Architecture has been going on in these civic bodies. A nexus between senior officials of these civic bodies and the so-called building designers, holding either a diploma in architectural assistantship or ITI certificate (draughtsmanship) during the past three decades could not be ruled out.

According to the rules and regulations made by the Council of Architecture, constituted under the Architects Act, 1972, only a degree holder in architecture can become their member and only a member can practice the profession independently.

However, despite repeated warnings by the council and letters written by the Union Government to the state governments at regular intervals, gross violations continued during the past three decades.

For the first time, the then Educational Adviser (Technical), Mr C.S. Jha, on behalf of the Union Government, wrote a letter dated February 19, 1982, to the chief secretaries of all states asking them to enforce the Architects Act, 1972, that had become a statutory legislation to all municipal corporations, committees, improvement trusts etc, under their control.

To further streamline the process of building designs, the then Joint Educational Adviser, Mr M.S. Srinivasan, on behalf of the Union Government, wrote to all chief secretaries on May 28, 1984, to issue instructions to all local bodies under their control to issue licences only to those architects who were registered with the Council of Architecture and no registration fee should be charged from them. But the executive officer of the municipal committee said the committee had been charging Rs 2,000 per annum as registration fee from those empanelled in the list of architects. Moreover, he admitted that none of the architects on their panel had a degree in architecture. This indicates that a gross violation of the Architect’s Act is continuing in the local body with a clear nexus between officials and the so-called architecture practitioners. According to information collected by TNS, at least nine persons holding either ITI certificates or diplomas in architectural assistantship are practising as architects at Ferozepore and regularly submitting building designs to the local body for approval.

Taking cognisance of the irregularities conducted in the local body, the Local Bodies Department earlier this month wrote to the executive officer of the municipal committee referring to the two letters written earlier in this regard by the Union Government in 1982 and 1984 to implement the Architect’s Act, 1972, and the guidelines issued thereof by the Council of Architecture.


Jor mela arrangements
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 28
The annual Shaeedi Jor mela to commemorate the martyrdom of two younger Sahibjadas of Guru Gobind Singh, who were buried alive at Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib would be held from December 25 to December 28 at Fatehgarh Sahib. The sale of liquor, meat and other intoxicants would be strictly banned, said Mr Vikas Paratap, Deputy Commissioner, while presiding over a meeting of the district officials held to take stock of the arrangements. He said that all liquor shops around the mela territory would remain closed during the mela.

He said that no vulgar dance shows, skill games and gambling stalls would be allowed and to maintain law and order, the mela site would be divided in four sectors. Duty magistrates would be posted in all sectors. He said that to undertake various Government-sponsored programs highlighting the achievements of the Government different committees had been formed. He said that for the convenience of the pilgrims five information centers would be set up at the mela. To provide clean drinking water, medical treatment, food and shelter and toilet facilities proper arrangements would be made. He said that an exhibition football would be organised by the sports department and the main attraction of the mela, light-and-sound program would be organised by the Public Relations Department at Aam Khas Bagh, Sirhind.

He said that the district administration would make elaborate security arrangements. All holidays and leaves of the employees and officials had been cancelled and they had been directed not to leave the headquarter without permission. A complete ban had been imposed on carrying firearms, lethal and sharp-edged weapons during the mela. The Deputy Commissioner said that parking sites had been earmarked on all the entry points of the mela and no traffic would be allowed to move ahead of the parking.

He said that more than 10 lakh pilgrims from all over the Country and abroad were expected to pay obeisance at the historical Gurdwara. He assured the pilgrims that all facilities and proper security arrangements would be made for them. He urged them to co-operate with the administration to avoid any untoward incident.

Mr. V.K. Ohri, ADC, Mr B.S. Sidhu ADC(D), Dr Uttpal Joshi, SP (H) also addressed the meeting.


Orders on Sidhu’s bail plea today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28
Orders on a petition filed by Punjab Public Service Commission’s former Chairman Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu — seeking the grant of bail in a cheating and forgery case registered against him by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau — will be pronounced tomorrow by a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Seeking the grant of bail in the case registered under Sections 409, 420, 467, 468, 471-A and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code, besides under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, Sidhu, in his petition taken up by the Bench, comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Mr Justice Virender Singh, had earlier contended that he was a victim of Punjab Chief Minister’s animus.

His counsel had added that nothing incriminating had been found in Sidhu’s possession, besides there was no evidence to show his involvement in the matter expect the alleged disclosure statement of co-accused.

Arguing before the Bench, counsel today submitted that the challan had already been filed in the Court of competent jurisdiction and as such the claim that Sidhu might tamper with the prosecution evidence was no ground to deny the concession of bail to him.

SGJC case

Acting on a petition filed by Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission member Dara Singh challenging the orders of his suspension, Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar and Mr Justice Viney Mittal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday fixed December 17 as the next date of hearing.

In his petition against the Chief Minister, besides the SGJC Chairman and other respondents, Dara Singh had contended that the suspension orders, besides the charge sheet, had been issued without jurisdiction. Giving details, he had contended that there was no power with the state government to suspend a judicial member.


Ophthalmic officers flay resolution
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 28
The Punjab Ophthalmic Officers Association has condemned a resolution adopted at the state-level conference of Punjab Ophthalmological Society (POS), while concluded on November 24 here. The resolution has criticised the government for changing the designation of ophthalmic assistant to ophthalmic officer.

The district office-bearers of the association held a press conference here today. Mr Binder Pal, president, Mr Harjeet Singh, secretary, Mr M.P. Singh, treasurer and Mr Swatantra Gupta, a member of the society, addressed the conference.

The association alleged that the passing of the resolution was a malafide action with the intention to degrade ophthalmic officers. It alleged that in the name of protecting society from falling prey to unqualified doctors, the POS was disgracing ophthalmic assistants. The association said if POS was serious about helping the people then it should stop “unethical practices” done by its members.

He alleged that POS was batching a conspiracy against ophthalmic assistants which would sabotage the National Program for Control of Blindness.

Mr M.P. Singh said the POS allegation on ophthalmic officers was baseless and false.

The association demanded that the Director, Health Services, should be an IAS officer and threatened to hold an agitation.


Engineers threaten stir on incentive
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 28
The Bathinda zone unit of the Punjab State Electricity Board Engineers Association said today that incentive of Generation Allowance (GA) given to the employees and the engineers was responsible for Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant’s (GNDTP) best performance in the 110 megawatts units of the country and added that if the GI was curtailed or stopped, it would affect efficiency of the plant.

Mr Greesh Gupta, a member of the executive committee of the association said that before the introduction of the GI scheme, the Plant Load Factor (PLF) at GNDTP ranged between 25-30 per cent but following GI it increased to more than 70 per cent.

He threatened stir if incentives linked to power generation were cut.


Driver behind child’s death suspended
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 28
Mr Amar Iqbal Singh, paralytic father of two-year-old Kiratdeep Singh, and his wife were inconsolable with grief today at the bhog ceremony of their only son, who was killed due to negligent driving by a school bus driver. The driver fled after the incident.

On Tuesday morning, at around 8.45 am, Kiratdeep Singh had come out of his house on his tricycle to see his elder sister board the school bus when the driver, as alleged by Mr P.S. Grover, a neighbour of Mr Amar Iqbal Singh, while looking backwards accelerated the bus and crushed Kiratdeep Singh to death. Mr Grover said he was an eyewitness to the incident.

At Harkishan Public School, Golden Avenue branch, this is the second incident of death of a child in three months. Three-year-old Sehajpreet Singh was killed after the driver of the school bus swerved the bus on a turning. Sehajpreet was thrown off balance and suffered a head injury. He died minutes after the incident, alleged his grandfather, Mr Amir Singh, a resident of Partap Avenue.

The school has discontinued its two bus services and parents are making their own arrangements to send their wards to the school. Ms S.S. Marwaha, Principal of the school, also attended the bhog ceremony of Kiratdeep today. While expressing her regrets over the tragic incident in which a tiny life was lost due to the negligence of the driver, she said the driver had been suspended.

The school bus being run by the school authorities not only had an expired certificate of fitness, its tax payment had been made till March. Besides, its insurance was valid till April 24 and its 32-A challan form was valid till March 31.


Honour honest taxpayers: mandal
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 28
Mr Madan Lal Kapoor, president, Punjab Pardesh Beopar Mandal, said today that the revenue earned by the government could increase manifold if honest taxpayers were honoured and unnecessary restrictions on trade and industries were abolished.

Mr Kapoor, in a written statement issued here today, said it was known that wherever the government had removed regulations and red tape tax collection had increased. He said traders were being dubbed as thiefs on the pretext of evasion of sales and other taxes. He alleged that laws and government departments were creating hurdles in the progress of the trade, industry and commerce.

He said if Punjab was serious on the fiscal revival of the state, then honest taxpayers should be honoured.


Campaign to check drug abuse
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, November 28
The district administration in collaboration with the Health Department and non-government organisations will launch a fortnight-long campaign from December 2 to check drug abuse.

On the inaugural day a procession of students of educational institutions, representatives of various social and political organisations will be taken out through the main streets of the town here to make aware people about the harmful effects of the menace. The District Red Cross de-addiction Hospital and the Mahavir Dal will tableaux exhibit.

Stating this here today, Mr A. Venu Prasad, Deputy Commissioner said lectures and corner meetings and nukkar dramas would be held to draw the attention of the general public.


Ropar wetland to be developed
Tribune News Service

Ropar, November 28
The Department of Town and Country Planning, Punjab, has prepared a plan for developing the Ropar wetland on a grand scale as per the norms fixed for international wetlands.

Mrs Seema Jain, Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, said the project had been got prepared by the NRSA, Hyderabad, on the basis of revenue data supplied by the district administration.

The consolidated plan, based on satellite images and the revenue data, had been sent to the Punjab State Council for Science and Technology and circulated among the different departments for their views and proposals.


Workshop on AIDS held
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 28
A workshop on HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis-B and transfusion of safe blood was organised in the SSD Girls College here by the Youth Red Cross wing and NSS unit of the college today.

Ms Raj Gupta, Chairperson of the District AIDS Control Organisation, talked to students on how AIDS spreads.

Ms Monika Kapoor, in charge Youth Red Cross Wing, also addressed the gathering.


Another discarded foetus found
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 28
Even as the police authorities here have been trying to trace the culprits who discarded a female foetus yesterday, another foetus found today by volunteers of the Sahara Jan Sewa, an NGO, from the bank of a canal.

Mr Nilabh Kishore, SP (City), said detectives had been deployed at the site where the foetus was found today and the culprits would be arrested shortly.


2 killed in car-truck collision
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 28
At least two persons were crushed to death while three persons including, former SGPC member, Mr Puran Singh Josh, belonging to the Shiromani Akali Dal Badal were seriously injured, when their Indica car collided with a truck near Mallian village here today. They were coming to Amritsar from Ludhiana.

According to information, Mr Amarjit Singh, joint secretary of an NGO, Amritsar Vikas Manch, the driver of the car, Rashpal Singh, died on the spot. The injured persons including Trilok Singh and Daler Singh were admitted to Government Guru Nanak Dev Hospital here. Mr Purn Singh Josh was admitted to a private hospital.


1 lakh in fake currency seized

Jalandhar, November 28
Rajinder Kumar of Hoshiarpur district was arrested with a bag of Rs 1 lakh in fake currency by the Nakodar police in the district today.

Officials here said today the currency was seized on a search of his car which was stopped at a police chek post near Noormahal. The accused has been arrested.

In another incident, 40 kg of poppy husk was seized from Gurdial by the Nakodar police. UNI


2 convicted in poppy husk smuggling case
Our Correspondent

Mansa, November 28
Mr Dharam Singh, Special Judge here, has convicted Darshan Singh (34) and Prem Singh (69), residents of Reond Kalan village in the district, for smuggling of poppy husk and sentenced them to rigorous imprisonment (RI) for 14 years under Section 15 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.

He has also imposed a fine of Rs 1.5 lakh each on the two convicts and in default of its payment has directed them to undergo further imprisonment for six months. A case was registered at Boha police station on August 1, 1997, following impounding of a truck loaded with 56 bags of poppy husk.


285 students take part in knitting contest
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 28
Over 285 students from 19 schools of Bathinda, Mansa and Goniana Mandi participated in the zonal round of “Aao Bune” knitting contest organised by Vardhman Spinning and General Mills Limited at the local Dhanna Mal Trust, Nai Basti today.

This was stated in a press note issued by Vardhman Spinning and General Mills here today. Students of SSD Public High School, Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Police Public School, Little Flower Public High School, RB DAV Senior Secondary School and MHR Senior Secondary School of the city, Aryan Girls Senior Secondary School and Gandhi Senior Secondary School from Mansa, Shri Guru Harkrishan Public School, Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Bhartiya Model School and Prince Public School of Goniana Mandi participated in the contest.

The zonal contest is a part of the “Aao Bune” series of contest in Punjab. Apart from Punjab the contest is also being organised in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh. Over two lakh students throughout the country are expected to participate in the knitting contest.

Winners of 19 inter-school level competitions held earlier also participated in the today’s competition. Students participated in five different categories.

The top three entries in each category would be given cash prize of Rs 5100, Rs 3100 and Rs 2100 for the first, second and third prizes, respectively.

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