Friday, December 13, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



PSEB’s last chance to farmers
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 12
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has decided to launch a special scheme to give a last chance to tubewell owners in the state to regularise extra load, following which it has decided to crack down on defaulters.

A decision to this effect was taken during a board meeting of Field Officers which was presided over by Chairman Sudhir Mittal here yesterday. Speaking on the occasion, the Chairman directed Field Officers to ensure adequate awareness about the scheme among farmers.

The Chairman also directed that energy auditing is done at all feeders. He said by doing so, the board would be able to gauge the amount of power leakage due to loss during carriage or otherwise and accountability could be fixed at the appropriate stage in case of any irregularity.

He directed the field officers to change faulty meters in rural areas as well as replace those whose seals were tampered with or no longer intact. Stress should be on ensuring recovery of bills from the agricultural sector, he emphasised.

The board has, meanwhile, decided to be solve the issue of clubbing of connections so that maximum disputes under this category can be solved. Under this scheme, no 20 per cent low tension surcharge will be realised from the period with respect to 1-1-96 for the entire disputed period. Only three per cent transformation losses will be recovered for the entire period of the dispute.

A board spokesman said cases which were not identified but notices of clubbing were issued in October, 1997, or thereafter would be charged only the higher tariff and transformation losses of three per cent for a maximum period of three months from the date of checking.

The spokesman said the package of recovering high tariff losses had been extended to ‘high tension consumers’ and that they would be able to convert their connection to extra high tension on the same terms and conditions which were in force for low tension consumers.

He said ‘high tension and extra high tension consumers’ would be given a period of six months from the date of issue of feasibility clearance for receiving power at prescribed voltage at the prescribed for clubbed load.


PSEB staff held hostage
Our Correspondent

Talwandi Sabo, December 12
Some employees of the PSEB were held hostage by farmers for about an hour when they went to Lele Wallan village near here to cut power supply to tubewells of farmers.

Sources said some farmers had not paid their bills and the PSEB had ordered that power supply to their tubewell motors be cut off. The farmers were aware of the likely action of the PSEB and on a call given by the BKU (E), assembled at the village.

Using a public address system, the farmers said the PSEB would not be allowed to cut power supply to their tubewells. Mr Gurcharan Singh Lelewalla, block president of the union, while addressing the farmers, said the government should be ashamed of asking dept-ridden farmers to pay power bills.

The PSEB employees were let off by the farmers after about an hour and they failed to cut the power supply of the defaulters.


Casino tourism to start in Punjab
Amusement parks planned for private sector
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 12
The Punjab Government has decided in principle to offer casino and amusement park sites to private entrepreneurs besides introducing health tourism and farm tourism concepts to attract visitors to the state.

Speaking at the inaugural session of a conclave organised here by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry and INTACH, Principal Secretary, Tourism and Culture, Ms Romila Dubey, said the government would lay stress on its new tourism policy on leisure tourism and gambling facilities. When questioned on the topic later, she told TNS that the state policy on casinos had still not been cleared officially and that the government would solicit investment in this sector only after it was done.

She said the government wanted to earmark different areas according to their tourism potential. She said it was proposed to earmark the area around Shahpur Kandi in Gurdaspur district for health tourism. She said similarly areas where non-resident Indians were concentrated could be earmarked for farm tourism and those near Ropar for water sports activities.

Ms Dubey said this year the government hoped to attract people from the catchment area and would target people from the far-flung states only afterwards. She said the government would invite investment from the private sector and expected to play the role of the facilitator only. She said licences and permissions were expected to be reduced to a great extent in this field and a single window clearance system evolved.

Speaking on the occasion, INTACH Vice-Chairman S.K. Misra said very little effort had been taken to promote tourism in state till now adding whatever tourism existed did so in spite of the government. He said now the objective was to evolve a tourism policy in league with the private sector and create a working group which could be responsible for its implementation.

Mr Misra said it was important that a beginning be made adding day visits to Patiala and other areas of historical importance could be arranged throughout the state. He said the infrastructure needed in the towns could come up later. He said as for Patiala, the heritage festival visualised for the city starting from February 14 was likely to showcase the city at an international level. He said various activities, including a craft mela, classical dance programmes, music programmes, art exhibitions, cuisine festival and golf and equestrian events were proposed to be held during the festival. He said all the places of historical importance would host the various activities.

PHDCCI Tourism and Civil Aviation Committee Chairman V.N. Dalmia, said most of the delegates who had come from Delhi to attend the conclave did not even know that an immense tourism potential existed in Patiala. He said similarly the tourism industry also did not know of the tourism potential of the city.

Earlier, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Rakesh Singh made a presentation on the tourism potential of Kapurthala, Anandpur Sahib, Amritsar and Patiala. Others present on the occasion were PHDCCI Vice-President Ravi Wig, PUDA Additional Chief Administrator Hussan Lal and Deputy Commissioner Tejvir Singh.


Rs 1,152-cr irrigation projects await Centre’s clearance
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
At least nine major Punjab irrigation projects, involving a financial commitment of Rs 1152.10 crore, have been awaiting clearance from the Centre since 1997.

Of these seven projects are awaiting techno-economic clearance from the Central Water Commission, one is pending clearance from the Union Ministry of Water Resources and another, despite having been cleared under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme, is awaiting the release of funds from the Water Resources Ministry.

Capt Amarinder Singh recently gave a summary of these projects to all MPs from Punjab expecting them to raise the issue in the House and also pursue the matter with the ministries and departments concerned.

Besides the submitted projects, the Shahpur Kandi hydroelectric project continues to hang fire though it is of national interest. This is linked to the Thein or Ranjit Sagar Dam project. Shahpur Kandi needs Rs 1,600 crore and will take five years to complete. With the Ravi already tamed and dammed, the completion of Shahpur would mean additional irrigation in 32,000 hectares in J&K and 5,000 hectares in Punjab, besides the generation of 168 MW of power.

According to Chief Secretary Y.S. Ratra, the projects are: 1) Rehabilitation of channels and infrastructure. This Rs 350.19-crore project involves remodelling of 2,435 km lined canals, 1,143 km un-lined canals and lining of 124 km of new canals. Remodelling will enhance water carrying capacity of these canals by 20 per cent. 2) Remodelling of 500 km of first Patiala feeder and Kotla branch at a cost of Rs 47.08 crore with the aim to increase the water carrying capacity by 20 per cent. 3) For projects with the Amritsar-based Irrigation and Power Research Institute, a Rs 5 crore scheme has been submitted for modernisation of laboratories and taking up projects on biotechnical solutions. 4) Kandi canal Extension Stage-II project, costing Rs 147.13 crore, involves extension of the existing canal by 50 km from Hoshiarpur to Balachaur. 4. For lining of channels under the World Bank Phase-II a Rs 205.21 crore project involving 954 km length on remodeling will enhance the irrigated area by 55,500 hectares.

Several villages in the state face floods. To save these some projects on a surface drainage system have been submitted: 6) Project on the Bist Doab, UBDC and Ghaggar Tracts, Phase II, involves an expenditure of Rs 176 crore, which on completion will save 439 villages from inundation. 7) Project for canalisation of Sakki Nallah in Amritsar and Gurdaspur, costing Rs 155.61 crore, will benefit 107 villages. 8) Project to safeguard cultureable area from recurring menace of waterlogging due to sloughing of side slopes of Lobanaianwali drain and Sarai Nanga Drain in Muktsar district. The project cost is Rs 17.08 crore. It will save 16 big villages. 9) Project for construction of flood protection works in Fatehgarh Sahib, Patiala, Sangrur and Mansa districts to be executed at a cost of Rs 48.80 crore will give a new lease of life to 107 villages.

Mr Ratra said Punjab was keen on re-charging its aquifer and take water conservation measures due to the declining ground water table as a result of overdrawals for paddy etc. At present the falling water table trend in “sweet” water zone is in 76 per cent of the area in the state. A 1999 study shows that 84 out of 138 blocks were in the “dark” category where the withdrawal was more than 85 per cent of the annual net re-charge.

The Chief Minister has also told the MPs that Punjab’s riparian rights and interests must be protected and projected when Parliament discusses the proposal on interlinking of inter-state rivers, a subject under consideration of the Centre. Re- modeling and rehabilitation needed immediate attention, as canal irrigation network was over 100 years old and its water carrying capacity had reduced due to silt and poor maintenance.

Some major issues concerning the power sector to which the Centre holds the key are: railway freight, reimbursement for draught relief to the PSEB and rationalisation of cost of power supplied by the Central power utilities to the state.

Punjab is disadvantageously placed from coal head pits. And the Railways were indiscriminately increasing coal freight. The freight is almost double the price of coal consumed by the thermal plants. Punjab is demanding rationalised and equalised coal freight, as in the case of petroleum products so that the cost of generation from coal is financially viable. Punjab also wants reimbursement for Rs 250 crore worth of power the state electricity board diverted from the paying sector to agriculture to save paddy. Likewise, it wants cheaper power from the central sector undertakings and also that income tax should be paid by these from their earnings and not charged from the board.


MPs espouse Punjab cause in Parliament
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
Problems that beset Punjab and its demands now occasionally find an echo in Parliament ever since Capt Amarinder Singh briefed an all-party MPs’ meeting in New Delhi on November 26, on the issues pending with the Centre.

Earlier, it was Congress MP Jagmeet Singh Brar, who spoke in the House on some burning issues, the other day. Mr Simranjit Singh Mann joined him and took the opportunity to air the sentiments of Punjabis. Both MPs had spoken in Punjabi. They told TNS on the telephone from Delhi that a strategy was being framed by all MPs from Punjab to get justice done to the state in its economic development.

Both MPs talked about the plight of farmers. Mr Mann, for instance, cautioned the House about the debt-trap in which the Punjab farmer is caught, his harassment and even jail for non-payment of loans while defaulting businessmen went scot-free, denial of compensation to farmers of the three border districts for not being able to sow the kharif and rabi crops due to the deployment of the Army etc.

Mr Mann also stressed on promoting agribusiness and agro-processing with due regard to diversification towards value-added crops. He expressed his apprehensions that the Government was dragging its feet on continuing with the minimum support price regime and warned against its discontinuation. The government, instead, should further enhance subsidies to farmers. His pet theme was the opening of the border with Pakistan to enable the state trade with Islamic countries, as also expanding the international airport at Amritsar for agribusiness with Europe.

He opposed the proposal on inter-linking of rivers, demanded support for the sugar industry pleading a lower excise duty from the present 24 per cent on molasses and decried the move to tax agriculture. He reiterated his demand for an atomic power station in Punjab.

Mr Mann sought the lifting of the ban on purchase of land by Punjabis in J&K, Himachal and Rajasthan. He regretted that despite most MPs having been elected by farmers only the interests of business and industrial houses were protected and propagated in Parliament.


Vedanti: decision on Ashutosh in 10 days
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 12
Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar of Akal Takht, today assured representatives of five Sikh organisations that a final decision on controversial godman Ashutosh Maharaj would be taken within 10 days.

The five Sikh bodies expressed their dismay over the dilly-dallying attitude of the Sikh clergy and SGPC on Divya Jyoti Jagran Sansthan (DJJS), saying that such tactics had been causing resentment among the general Sikh masses. Among those who met the Jathedar at his residence were Bhai Mohkam Singh, a spokesman of Damdami Taksal, Mr Parmjit Singh Mahalpur, general secretary, Sant Samaj, Mr Rajinder Singh, convener, Khalsa Panchayat, Mr Kanwarpal Singh, spokesman of the Dal Khalsa, and Mr Kuldip Singh Wadala, president, Akali Dal (Democratic).

These five organisations had formulated an 11-member committee to oust Ashutosh Maharaj from Punjab even as the 31-member committee, constituted by Akal Takht proved to be a non-starter. However, the two members of SAD (Badal) — Mr Sohan Singh Thandal (an MLA) and Dr Jang Bahadur Singh — and Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, senior leader of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, who were nominated in the committee were conspicuous by their absence.

The organisations threatened to announce a parallel programme to oust Ashutosh if the Sikh clergy failed to lead the Panth in this regard. They alleged that the incidents, including the attack on Sikh leaders near Mahilpur, Tarn Taran etc, were a ‘lull before the storm’.

Jathedar Vedanti agreed to call a meeting of the Sikh bodies shortly to take a decision on the DJJS. Jathedar Vedanti assured the delegation that Ashutosh Maharaj would not be allowed to function in Punjab.


Vedanti given ‘proof’ of Badal violating maryada
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 12
The Sikh Forum, Punjab, today presented pictures of Mr Parkash Singh Badal “participating in a havan” and his wife, Ms Surinder Kaur, who allegedly visited the dera of controversial godman Ashutosh Maharaj, to Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar of Akal Takht.

Capt Chanan Singh, president of the forum met Jathedar Vedanti at his residence and submitted the “proof” that Mr Badal and his wife violated Sikh “maryada”. He urged the Jathedar to initiate action against them.


Tohra trying to ‘benefit Cong’
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, December 12
Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President, Shiromani Akali Dal, said yesterday that Sikhs had never tolerated interference in their religious affairs and would humble Capt Amarinder Singh and his government in Punjab as soon as they got an opportunity. Without mentioning the next Lok Sabha and assembly elections, he said the Congress would be routed in the state.

Mr Badal, who was addressing party workers near here, appreciated the role of the Union Government in the free and fair conduct of the SGPC elections.

Mr Badal, without naming the President of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, said he had been rejected by the people of Punjab in many poll battles earlier and his aim at present was to humiliate the SAD to benefit the Congress. Various statements issued by Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra supporting the stand of the Congress during the SGPC elections were a pointer in that direction.

Regarding unity among various Akali factions, Mr Badal wondered how there could be unity with factions which were ‘stabbing the SAD in the back”. Moreover, the rival factions had hardly any following and with the passage of time their leadership would be isolated.

About the expulsion of Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, former SGPC chief, from the party, he said that discipline was most important for the party.


Clerk not booked in cops’ salary scam
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, December 12
Despite the instructions of the Punjab government for the registration of a criminal case of Rs 34 lakh in the policemen salary scam, the local municipal corporation authorities have failed to initiate criminal proceedings against the employee, putting a question mark over the functioning of the civic body.

Nirdev Singh, who was posted as a clerk in the local municipal corporation, had allegedly embezzled Rs. 34 lakh by forging the salary bills of 11 constables, who were not even on the rolls of the civic body. He had been preparing the salary bills of 53 constables against a sanctioned strength of 44 constables, of which 42 were actually working with the MC, to pocket the salary of 11 constables for the past about two years.

The scam has put a question mark on the functioning of the Audit Department of the civic body and a number of banks where the clerk had allegedly been operating accounts in the names of the constables.

Interestingly, the official had been suspended and enquiry initiated against him instead of Criminal proceedings. Nirdev Singh has reportedly deposited Rs 9 lakh of the Rs 34 lakh embezzled amount.

Taking a serious view Mr Sarvesh Kaushal, the Principal Secretary Local Bodies Department, wrote a letter to Mr Jagjit Singh, Commissioner, MC, on December 2 and expressed his displeasure over the way the matter was handled by the latter, highly placed MC sources revealed.

Though the Local Bodies Department had asked the MC chief to get a criminal case registered against the clerk within seven days, but the MC authorities had failed to comply with the orders for reasons best known to them.

While Mr Jagjit Singh was not available for comments despite repeated attempts as his staff said he was busy in a meeting, the SSP, Jalandhar, Mr Paramjit Singh Gill, confirmed that the MC authorities had not submitted a formal complaint against the clerk.


Cabinet berth for Singla sought
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 12
A section of Congress workers today urged Mr Raninder Singh, son of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, to help the local MLA, Mr Surinder Singla, Chairman of the High-Powered Committee on Finance, in getting a Cabinet berth.

Mr Raninder Singh, who was here today to inaugurate a blood donation camp organised by the Lions Club (Royal) in memory of Late Harnam Singh Jaura, was also reminded that Capt Amarinder Singh had promised the people during the election campaign during the last Assembly elections that Mr Singla would be made a minister in the Congress government.

The party workers said so far, no member of the Aggarwal community was a member of the Cabinet and Mr Singla should be made minister to honour the sentiments of the community.

Mr Raninder Singh, who was accompanied by Mr Singla, also visited his ancestral village, Mehraj, said the sentiments of people of Bathinda and members of Aggarwal community would be conveyed to Capt Amarinder Singh.

Mr Singla, while addressing a gathering at the village, said the government was planning a package for the overall development of the historical village. Mr Gurpreet Singh Kangar, MLA, Rampura Phul, pointed out that those residents of Mehraj village whose land had been acquired for Guru Hargobind Thermal Plant, were not given government jobs yet.

Earlier, Mr Raninder Singh, while inaugurating the blood donation camp at Government Senior Secondary School, urged the party workers to participate in social welfare activities.


Cong kicks off poll campaign
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, December 12
The local Congress committee organised a rally here to kick off the party’s campaign for the municipal elections in Punjab.

Ms Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder, a former Union Minister, Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri, Punjab minister, Mr Romal Chand, MLA from the Narot Mehra constituency, Mr Shyam Behal, general secretary, PPCC, and Mr Rakesh Gupta Pammi, president of the local Congress unit, addressed the rally.

Mr Rakesh Gupta presented Rs 71,000 to Ms Bhinder for party fund.

Addressing the gathering, Ms Bhinder said the NDA government had failed in keeping its promise of providing one crore jobs per year.

She came down heavily of the Union Government and said it was because of its misrule that the people were voting the Congress back to power in one state after the other.

She said only the loyal workers of the party would get tickets for the municipal elections and advised the party men to sink all differences to contest the elections.


SGPC executive meeting put off
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 12
A meeting of the executive of the SGPC, which was scheduled to be held at Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib, has been postponed to December 19. The meeting will now be held in Amritsar.


Police remand for BJP activists
Our Correspondent

Abohar, December 12
A former senior vice-president of the local Municipal Council, Mr Satish Narang, and two other BJP activists, Mr Ramsaran Gumber and Mr Ved Parkash, have been arrested in connection with a case registered against six BJP men for an alleged attempt on the life of Congress worker Dev Raj Ahuja, alias Nanha, during the verification of revised electoral rolls here.

They were produced before the Duty Magistrate at Fazilka and the court remanded them in police custody for a day. As Mr Narang complained of chest pain, he was taken to the civil hospital. Denying the allegations, Mr Narang said his son was working at his clinic when the clash between workers of the BJP and the Congress took place.

A former minister and Ferozepore DCC president Sajjan Kumar Jakhar, talking to newspersons in his farmhouse at village Maujgarh today, said the complaints filed by the BJP and SAD workers alleging heavy bungling in the electoral rolls were not true.

Denying any vested political interest in the registration of the FIR against BJP workers, Mr Jakhar said he had come to know about the incident only through newspapers. He said he had not tried to contact any civil or police officer in this connection.

Mr Jakhar said fearing defeat in the ensuing municipal elections, BJP leaders were creating controversies.

Meanwhile, Congress workers today marched in protest to submit a memorandum to SDM Jaskiran Singh this evening. The memorandum alleged that the BJP was trying to take the law in to its hands. The Congress demanded that all those named in the FIR be arrested. Party workers raised slogans against BJP leaders and accused them of protecting the culprits.


Bathinda to get corporation status
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, December 12
Once described as a “backward city” and the ‘dust bown of Punjab’ Bathinda city is likely to get the status of a municipal corporation, the fifth in Punjab, in a few days.

Information collected from reliable sources revealed that almost all formalities needed to grant the corporation status to the present municipal council had been completed. The demand has been gathering momentum for the past few years. The sources claim that the decks had been cleared by the Secretary, Local Bodies and nod from the State Chief Minister was awaited.

The corporation would prove a milestone in the development of the city and a massive facelift operation would be launched. The local MLA and Chairman, High Powered Finance Committee, Punjab, Mr Surinder Singh, is taking a personal interest in the issue.

A municipal corporation, unlike the council, is empowered to raise loans for development works in the city.

Meanwhile, Mr Surjit Singh Sohi, president, SC/BC Lawyers Association, in a press note issued here yesterday alleged that some lobbies in a section of political parties were trying to delay the elections to the local body due to vested interests. He alleged that as the seat of the president of the council had been reserved for an SC candidate, some influential leaders belonging to the general category were trying to delay the elections.


Undertrial moves court to shift case
Our Correspondent

Mansa, December 12
Mr Naginder Singh Harika (60), Managing Director of Khalsa Rural Dental College for Women at Nangal Kalan in the district, who is in judicial custody since May 1, 2001, has moved an application in the court of District and Sessions Judge, Bathinda, for the transfer of his case from the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mansa, to any court at Bathinda.

He has alleged that a case under Sections 420, 465, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC was registered against him for political reasons by the previous SAD-BJP government in the state and he was made a target of “political terrorism” to grab his institution and to extort money from him.

He alleged that 10 months after the presentation of challan by the police in the court of Ms Baljinder Kaur Bhatia, Judicial Magistrate (First Class), Mansa, no proceeding regarding the framing of charge was initiated, nor was a bail granted by the court.

On his application, the case was transferred to the court of the then CJM, Mr Mohinder Singh, on March 27, 2002. The CJM, who retired on April 30, 2002, had dropped the charges under Sections 465, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC and framed charges only under Section 420 of the IPC. The state had preferred a criminal revision in the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge, Mansa, against the said order, which is still pending.

Mr Harika alleged that the public prosecutor and influential persons were neither allowing the case to proceed nor was he getting the bail. He said he had got no hope of justice and fair trial at Mansa and requested the court to transfer his case from the court of Mansa CJM to any other court in Bathinda.

The District and Sessions Judge, Bathinda, has issued a notice to the state and has also asked for the comments on this application from the Mansa CJM.

The District Attorney, Mr Harinderpal Singh Tiwana, said he had no vested interest in the matter.


Govt told to file fresh affidavit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
Expressing dissatisfaction with an affidavit submitted by the state of Punjab, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today granted it additional time for filing another affidavit giving details of politicians, bureaucrats and senior government officers, besides other “such persons” involved in different cases, against whom first information reports were made.

Pronouncing the orders in the open Court, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar and Mr Justice Viney Mittal, added that the affidavit should also contain the results of the FIR, besides the details of those protected by government instruction operation of which had been stayed by the Court. The Judges also asked the state counsel to furnish details of persons against whom inquiries, including the ones being conducted by the Vigilance Bureau, had been closed during the last five years.

In their detailed order, the Judges observed that senior officers, present in the Court, had not been able to file a comprehensive and complete affidavit because of communication gap. They also fixed January 13, 2003, as the next date of hearing in the case.

Taking up another petition filed by Dr Rattan Singh and seven other MLAs seeking directions for the registration of a first information report against a Punjab minister, a Member of Parliament, besides former ministers, the Judges directed that the case would be heard on the same date.

Acting on a petition for quashing of a circular issued by the Punjab government two years ago “completely nullifying the functions of the vigilance department” and disabling it from “checking corruption against public servants”, the Bench had earlier ordered stay on a clause contained in it requiring the department to register an inquiry or a first information report on the recommendations of certain committees after the approval of the competent authority.

The Bench, comprising Mr Justice Kumar and Mr Justice Jasbir Singh, had added that the stay would continue till further orders. The Judges had ruled that all pending inquiries would be completed by the investigating officers expeditiously and reports would be filed in the Court before the next date of hearing. The Judges had added that the state had initiated investigations on different fronts for checking acts of dishonesty and corruption. The efforts would, however, stand frustrated by the issuance of such instructions.

Bail granted

Mr Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday granted bail to All-India Shiv Sena Rashtarvadi Party President Jagdish Tangri in an alleged murder and rioting case.

Tangri, along with his son, was earlier booked by the Punjab police in a case registered on July 6 under Sections 302, 384, 148 and 149 of the Indian Penal Code, besides under the provisions of the Arms Act and the Explosives Act.

According to the prosecution, the two, along with the other accused, had conspired to launch a murderous attack on a police party. Counsel for the petitioner had contended that the accused was being implicated in the case due to political vendetta. He had added that Section 302 of the IPC was not maintainable and had been added due to mala fide intentions of the police.


Taking up a petition filed against the Bhakra Beas Management Board and other respondents, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday directed the Board and others against finalising the tender.

Issuing notice of motion for December 17 on a petition filed by Messers Technology Products, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar and Mr Justice M.M. Kumar, observed: “According to the averments in the petition and the oral submissions by counsel, the petitioner’s bid was quoted at Rs 23,97,500 while in case of the other tenderer namely Messers PCI Limited, the price of the item was given as Rs 37,83,000.... In spite of the factual position, the petitioner has come to know that the tender is being awarded to Messers PCI Limited.... Prima facie, we are satisfied that the petitioner is entitled to a fair consideration of the tender bid, along with other tenderers”.

Written statement

Acting on a petition filed by an employee against the orders reverting him from the post of design engineer to that of Assistant Corporation Engineer, Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar and Mr Justice Viney Mittal of the High Court on Wednesday directed the state of Punjab to positively file a written statement specifying how posts were being created and abolished.

Issuing the directions on a petition filed by Mr Davinder Pal Singh Wadhwa, the Judges also directed the production of the record in the Court. The Judges also issued notice to the respondents to show cause why the petitioner should not be admitted for December 20.

Sugar Mill

On a petition filed by Batala Cooperative Sugar Mills Limited for quashing a notification vide which 44 villages were transferred from their reserved area to that of another mill, Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar and Mr Justice Viney Mittal of the High Court on Wednesday ordered the impleading of Union of India as a party.

Counsel for the petitioner had earlier stated that the transfer of villages from one circle to another was creating complex problems and was affecting the survival of farmers, besides the sale of the products.


PLSA plans 56 lok adalats
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
The Punjabi Legal Services Authority (PLSA) has chalked out a programme to organise 56 lok adalats including 6 labour court lok adalats, between January and March next year.

A spokesman of the PLSA said that these would be held at different places in the state from January 18.

He said the six labour courts lok adalats would be held at Amritsar (January 24), Gurdaspur (February 7), Bathinda (February 14), Jalandhar (February 28), Patiala (March 21), and Ludhiana (March 28) in the district labour courts.


SAD govt ignored Abohar: Jakhar
Our Correspondent

Abohar, December 12
Former Punjab Minister for Irrigation and Cooperation Sajjan Kumar Jakhar has said that the SAD-BJP regime in the state had tried to halt all development work in this subdivision.

Speaking at a function organised by the Animal Husbandry Department in collaboration with IFFCO at Danewala Satkosi village, 15 km from here, on Tuesday, Mr Jakhar said the Beant Singh government had sanctioned an ITI and an Animal husbandry training centre for this area.

This centre was to impart training to youths to promote dairy development.

The SAD Government had dropped the project and the amount earmarked for a hostel was transferred to Moga district at the behest of the Education Minister, Mr Tota Singh.

The department also organised a cattle camp at Danewala Satkosi village on Wednesday. Another camp was held at Kikkarkhora.


Move to set up heritage village
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, December 12
A three-day zonal open competition of folk-songs art and craft, painting and music, organised by the Punjab government in collaboration with the Punjabi Overseas cultural Association, Canada, concluded here last evening. More than 500 competitors took part in the event. The winners were: folk-songs — Salim Akhtar, Satbir Singh, Kuljinder Singh, Jaswinder Singh and Ravneet Kaur; folk-orchestra — Yamla Jatt Yaadgari Trust Troupe, Kotkapura I, Rajindra Club, Faridkot II; Individual — Kulwinder Singh (Sarangi) Manjit Singh (flute); traditional singing — Brijinder Kaur, bhangra — Government College I, Government Rajindra College, Bhatinda II; special recommendation — Baba Farid Public School, Bhatinda, giddha — Baba Farid Club Faridkot I, and Fellow Youth Club, Muktsar II.

Mr Surinder Singla, Chairman of the High-Powered Financial Reforms Committee, who presided over the function, hailed the programme and appreciated the efforts of the organisers. He disclosed that a decision had been taken to set up a heritage village near Chandigarh to preserve the Punjabi culture.

Prof. Rajpal, Adviser Cultural Affairs Department, Punjab also addressed the gathering on this occasion. He said the zonal winners would get an award of Rs 50,000 each at a state-level function to be held at Patiala on January 23. He gave Rs 1 lakh to the Principal of Government Brijindera College for organising the function. Mr Satwant Singh Boparai, vice-president of the overseas association and Dr H.S. Punia, principal, Government Brijindra College, also addressed the gathering. Mr Surinder Iqbal Singh, president of the District Congress Committee, was the guest of honour on this occasion.


Lifetime Achievement Award for scientist
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, December 12
Dr Kirpal S. Sidhu, a toxicologist and environmental health risk assessment expert from Michigan, USA, has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Society of Toxicology (STOX), India.

Dr Sidhu, who was given the award in recognition of his outstanding contribution in the field of toxicology and allied sciences at the annual meeting of STOX held in Kolkata on December 3-5, was born and brought up in Rani Majra village in Kharar tehsil of Ropar district. He earned a degree in veterinary medicine from Panjab University, Chandigarh; and a doctorate degree in nutrition and biochemistry from Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma. At the STOX meeting he also presented a paper, “Shortage of drinking water during the 21st century.

Dr Sidhu was a member of the US delegation that was sent to India after the 1984 Bhopal chemical disaster.


Dark comedy touches hearts
Our Correspondent

Patiala, December 12
The play ‘Nau Baraan Das’ staged at Punjabi University on Tuesday, was attempt by students of Department of Theatre and Television to bring forth the theatrical idiom through improvisations in the Sahitya Akademi Award winner Waryam Sandhu’s famous story by the same name.

Dramatised and directed by Dr Navninder Behl, who has been working in the direction of “Kahani ka Rangmanch” for several years, a form pioneered by the NSD Director, Dr Ankur, had given her actors enough freedom to conceive and improvise the story, which essentially dealt with the escapist viewpoint of the protagonist, Ninder, and brought forth some sensitive issues like casteism and communalism besides introducing the audience to the central character’s self-created world where his aspirations and day dreaming give him a neurotic touch. All this, in a language which was free of literary jargon.

The story revolves around Ninder, played by Gurcharan Singh, who is born and brought up in a financially weak family, and prefers to ignore the harsh realities of life by escaping to a world where the circumstances are conducive for his aspired lifestyle. His obsession with a film personality and a desire to come important creates problem not just for himself but also for his family members. Laughed at by his employer and friends, the character is overwhelmed when a friend of his employer offers him a role in a film which he would never make. Exposing the insensitivity of an essentially “commercial minded” society, the play, without being overtly Left leaning in its approach, brought forth the dilemma of a society plagued by numerous vices.

The director, with the help of focussed and well-managed lighting efficiently mated the dream and realistic sequences on the stage, thereby introducing the audience to the pathos of human predicament through this essentially dark comedy where humour was laced with the undertone of pathos. The performances of almost all actors, especially the lead character and Harpreet Kaur, who played the film personality were scintillating. Intelligent placing of props and sets gave the needed energy to the actors.


Victim’s mother alleges police ‘inaction’
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, December 12
A sevadar posted at the District Public Relations Office here, Simbo Devi, today alleged that the police was shielding the accused who had allegedly poisoned her daughter to death about a month ago.

In an affidavit submitted to the local SSP, Mr P.S. Gill, here today she said her daughter Asha Rani (24) was married to Dalbir Kumar of Talwan village, Phillaur, in August 1999. Her husband used to beat her for not bringing adequate dowry, she said.

Simbo Devi further said a neighbour of Asha Rani informed her on November 23 that her condition was serious as she had consumed some poison. Subsequently, she along with her family reached Phillaur, where Asha Rani was found dead. “Though a post-mortem examination was conducted on the same day, the police failed to provide the report to me despite repeated requests in this regard”, she added

Simbo Devi said though Asha Rani had died under mysterious conditions the police had closed the case terming it as a suicide.

When contacted, the SSP said he had asked the police officials concerned to submit a report in this regard.


DIG: new steps to combat crime
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, December 12
Mr Rohit Chaudhary, DIG, Jalandhar Range, at a press meeting here today claimed that the new strategy to combat crime under which various steps, including the issuing of job cards to policemen on duty along with details and pictures of active criminals, surveillance on criminals, targeting criminal gangs with special squads, recognising and honouring good work done by police officials, had been initiated in all 22 subdivisions of the Jalandhar Range.

He said the police had busted 17 criminal gangs involved in heinous crimes and arrested 117 persons. Besides, two militants of the LeT were also arrested.

Under the Arms Act 119 persons were arrested and under the NDPS Act 286 persons were arrested, he further said.


Cops take samples of typewriting
Tribune News Service

Ropar, December 12
The local police has supplied samples of typewriting, taken from 12 typewriters in the district, to the Chandigarh police with regard to the preparation of a fake medical certificate in the name of the PGI, Chandigarh, allegedly by two persons to defame Swaran Kaur of Kotla Nihang village, near here.

The fake medical certificates showed Swaran Kaur as an AIDS patient, allegedly to get her ostracised. The accused succeeded in getting Swaran Kaur ostracised by the villagers due to which she suffered mental agony. The local police provided the sample of typewriting following the directions of the high court.


New telephone Nos for Mansa, Sardulgarh
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, December 12
The General Manager, Bathinda telecom, in a press note issued here today said the telephone numbers of all subscribers in SDCAs of Mansa and Sardulgarh had been changed due to technical reasons.

No change has been made in the STD code and all telephone numbers have been prefixed with ‘2’. In Mansa, old numbers starting with 565 have been changed to 2655 and old numbers starting with 595 have been 2685.

In Sardulgarh old numbers starting with 666 have been changed to 2466 and old numbers starting with 556 have been changed to 2456.


Seminar held
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, December 12
The district police is planning to forefeit the properties of drug peddlers and smugglers under the NDPS Act to check drug abuse in Faridkot district.

This was announced by Mr Harinder Singh Chahal, SSP, while addressing a seminar organised by the Police Department.


Naib Tehsildar suspended
Our Correspondent

Mansa, December 12
Mr Bhagat Singh, Financial Commissioner, Revenue, Punjab has placed Ms Baljinderpal Kaur Brar, Naib Tehsildar of Bhikhi in the district under suspension with immediate effect.

According to a copy of the order, during the period of suspension she will be working at the office of the Commissioner, Faridkot division, and will draw subsistence allowance as admissible under Rule 7.2 of the Punjab Civil Services Rules. Meanwhile, Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, Mansa has placed Mr Vijay Singh, a peon, working at Mansa tehsil office under suspension.


Another held for SAD leader’s murder
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, December 12
The district police has nabbed another accused in the murder of SAD leader, Mr Gurdial Singh and five others on May 19, 2002, at Bhikhiwind.

The accused has been identified as Dewinder Singh, alias Ballo.

A US carbine and a pistol were found in his possession. He was nabbed at a naka in Chungan village under Bhikhiwind.

Gurdial Singh, along with Kuldeep Singh, Nirmal Singh, Joginder Singh, Lakhwinder Singh and Mukhtar Singh, were murdered in broad daylight at Bhikhiwind on May 19, 2002.

A case was registered against Jasbir Singh, alias Jassa, Bikramjit Singh, Dalbir Singh, Inderjit Singh, Dewinder Singh and others.


Groom’s uncle surrenders in murder case
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 12
Kirpal Singh, the main suspect in the murder of photographer Rupinder Singh on December 9, surrendered to the police here today. Confirming this Dr S.K. Kalia, SP, (Headquarters) said he surrendered in the afternoon today.

Rupinder Singh was allegedly murdered by Kirpal Singh, uncle of the groom, in an inebriated state during a wedding at Ravindera Palace.

The police has not recovered the rifle with which the crime was committed.


Jail inmate dies in hospital
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, December 12
Pritam Masih (60), an inmate of the local Central Jail, died at the Civil Hospital here this morning.

According to the jail authorities, Masih, who was booked under Sections 308, 325 and 324, IPC, by the police and remanded into judicial custody on Novemebr 12, was a diabetic. He was admitted to the jail hospital on Novemebr 13 following complaints of asthma and shifted to the Civil Hospital on Wednesday after he complained of a severe pain.


Satinder Singh new Pro-VC of GND varsity
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 12
Dr Satinder Singh, a Punjabi scholar and former Professor of School of Punjabi Studies and Namdhari Guru Ram Singh Chair, today took over as the Pro-Vice Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University here.

Interestingly, with the fresh appointment Professor of School of Punjabi Studies have succeeded in capturing all three coveted posts of the university. Dr S.P. Singh, and Dr Bikram Singh, Dean, Academic Affairs, Vice-Chancellor, and also belong to the School of Punjabi Studies.

Lieut-Gen J.F.R Jacob (retd), Governor of Punjab, in the capacity of Chancellor through notification had appointed Dr Satinder Singh as Pro-VC for three years.

After taking over as Pro-VC the Vice-Chancellor handed over the charge of examination, regional centres and colleges affiliated to the university.

Dr Satinder Singh did his B.Sc from Panjab University, and postgraduation degree in Punjabi and English from Punjabi University. He was awarded Ph.D by Guru Nanak Dev University in 1976. He had started his career as a lecturer, Khalsa College, Amritsar, in 1969.

He also served the university in various capacities, including Dean, Academic Affairs, Dean, Students Welfare, Director, Research and Head of School of Punjabi Studies.


Education board poll: 47 file papers
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, December 12
Nomination papers of candidates standing for elections to the Punjab School Education Board Non Teaching Employees Association were filed by as many as 47 board employees here today.

The elections which are scheduled to be held on December 19, 2002, will be conducted by a three-member election commission simultaneously in 22 places across the state where more than 1800 board employees will be casting their vote to elect the union’s 11 office bearers and 13 executive members.

Two groups known by the names of the Kler-Dolewal group and Dhillon group are in the fray, each having fielded its candidates for the various posts. While the Dhillon group will have Gurdeep Singh contending for the post of the president, the Kler group is fielding Karnail Singh for the post. Harbans Singh Dholewal will be standing for the post of the general secretary from the Kler group while Bhagwant Singh Bedi will be standing for the post of the general secretary from the Dhillon group.

The rest of the candidates in the fray for the rest of the office bearers’ posts from the Dhillon group include Ranjit Singh Mann, Jasbir Singh Gill, Jaswant Singh Brar, Jarnail Singh Channi, Amarjit Kaur, Ram Nath Goel, Raghbir Singh Toki, Surinder Pal Singh Chinda and Rachbinder Singh.

Those being fielded by the Kler group for the rest of the posts include Sagar Singh Randhawa, Major Singh Garcha, Kuldip Singh Longia, Vijay Lakshmi Sharda, Rajinder Singh, Harminder Singh, Karnail Singh Dhillon, Kultar Singh and Vijay Veer Singh.

According to information provided by Mr Pravin Kumar Rattan, one of the three election commission members, one candidate fielded by the Kler group for election to the post of an executive member of the association has taken back his nomination papers today. Canvassing for these elections will begin from today. On December 16 and 17, the two groups will hold an open session.

Among the various issues for these elections are the demand of the employees to have the one clerk one assistant ratio in the board, creation of new posts in the board and implementation of the secretariat pattern in the board.

Members of another group of employees by the name of the Goel group have decided to boycott the elections, alleging that the elections are being held on the basis of an amended constitution of the association, and these amendments have not been approved by the commission authorised to approve these amendments.

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