Wednesday, December 18, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SAD ‘not to allow’ SYL work
Sushil Goyal and Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Ropar, December 17
Following the issuance of notices by the Supreme Court to Punjab and the Union Government with regard to the completion of the SYL canal by January 14 next year, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today challenged both the governments that it would not allow the construction of the canal even if the government used police force for the purpose.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh, former Punjab Finance Minister and the General Secretary of the SAD, today stated that stand of their party was very clear that Punjab did not have even single drop of extra water for other states. Earlier also, more than 2 lakh workers of the party had gone to jails for stopping the construction of the SYL canal in the 1980s.

Capt Kanwaljit was addressing a congregation on the occasion of annual shaheedi Jor mela at the historical gurdwara Bhatha Sahib here today. The former minister said the decision regarding the water in the SYL canal could not be taken in Delhi. Any decision to this regard would only be taken by the people of Punjab, who were averse to the snatching of Punjab’s water by other states.

When asked by newsmen about the stance of the SAD if the NDA government under the directive of the Supreme Court tried to start the construction of SYL canal, Capt Kanwaljit Singh said the SAD would oppose any such move of the Central Government as any such decision would affect the economy of Punjab adversely. However, the course of action if the Union Government went ahead with the construction would be chalked out at a meeting of the SAD, he added.

Instead of starting the construction of the SYL canal, the Punjab Government should work on the project mooted by the SAD Government to construct the Dashmesh canal. The proposed Rs 350 crore canal would pass through the unirrigated areas of Ropar, Fatehgarh Sahib and Patiala districts, he said. Capt Kanwaljit Singh also lashed out at the Congress government for “weakening” the Sikh Panth by unnecessarily interfering in its religious affairs.

He criticised the Congress government for sacking the services of thousands of employees recruited during the stint of previous SAD-BJP government. Terming the Congress government to be anti-employee, the former Finance Minister alleged that the government contrary to its election promises had withdrawn many facilities from government employees.

Instead of concentrating on development of the state, the Congress Government had imposed taxes worth about Rs 3000 crore, including Rs 1000 crore on the farmers, but nothing had yet been spent out of this amount on the development works, he added.

Ms Satwinder Kaur Dhaliwal, former MP from Ropar called upon the people to give political punishment to the Congress during the ensuing municipal council elections so that the Chief Minister and his government could be prevented from indulging in anti-people activities.


Samjhauta suspension: India incurs 100 cr loss
Tribune News Service

Attari, December 17
Attari railway station which used to hum with activity during the plying of Samjhauta Express has been wearing a deserted look since January 1 when rail and road links were snapped between the two countries after the December 13 attack on the Parliament House by Pakistan-sponsored terrorists.

India alone has suffered a loss of more than Rs 100 crore on account due to the discontinuation of the train in one year as approximately 25,000 trains could not be run between the two countries. This includes Rs 25 crore loss on account of the discontinuation of goods trains and Rs 48 crore due to non-sending of 10 coaches (eight wheeled) with Samjhauta Express every day.

The train was stopped on January 1, during the silver jubilee celebrations of its historic run. The train was started on July 1976 after the signing of Simla Agreement.

Since the snapping of rail link, importers and exporters of the region have suffered losses worth crores of rupees.

According to sources, at least 79 wagons (four wheeled), including 10 belonging to Pakistan are still stranded on the Indian side as there is no inter-change of goods trains since December 22 last year. De-oil cake worth Rs 1 crore and other goods have been damaged as the consignment could not be sent to Pakistan. Similarly 60 goods trains from Pakistan are stranded at Khasa junction which waiting despatched to Pakistan. As many as 49 coaches are still stranded at Attari railway station. Similarly 109 coaches are stranded in Pakistan.

Intelligence officials claim that more than 60,000 Pak nationals who entered India through ‘Samjhauta Express’ in the past two decades have not returned.


Panchayat officer, ZP secy suspended
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, December 17
The Punjab Government has placed Bhagwant Singh, District Development and Panchayat Officer, and Daljit Singh, secretary, Zila Parishad, under suspension for acts of omission and commission in the rent reduction scam in Zila Parishad here and Panchayat Samiti, Pathankot. The step was taken after report in this regard was submitted by the Deputy Commissioners to the government, indicting the said officials for various irregularities while leasing shops and subsequently arbitrarily reducing their rent without following the norms.

The Deputy Commissioner had suspended four clerks Sohan Singh, Narinder Singh, Karnail Singh and Harjinder Singh of the office of the Zila Parishad here.

Shopkeepers of the Zila Parishad here had complained to the Deputy Commissioner that 31 shops had been given to those who had taken them as sublets. They had also filed affidavits that the Zila Parishad authorities had reduced the rent of certain shopkeepers after allegedly accepting bribes.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Vigilance, here has taken over the enquiry into the scam.

The reduced rents of shops have not been changed so far. The lease of these shopkeepers has also not been cancelled.


Probe into bogus votes starts
Congress, SAD workers clash
Tribune News Service

Bhucho Mandi, December 17
Congress and SAD workers clash today when teams headed by gazetted officials of the Punjab government were holding verification of fake votes in ward numbers 3 and 4 for the coming municipal council elections.

The police authorities while confirming the incident said no case was registered in the connection. The names of Mr Pawan Maheshwary, Mr Basant Maheshwary, Mr Roop Lal, Mr Makhan Lal, Mr Vinod Kumar and Mr Raj Kumar, all residents of the town, were mentioned in the DDR of a local police chowki regarding the clash.

The inquiry into the allegations of making of fake votes was conducted on the order of state Election Commissioner, Mr C.L. Bains, when he received a number of complaints in this connection.

Mr Mohit Gupta, a senior BJP leader, in his complaint alleged that a section of voters of ward number 9 had got themselves registered as voters in the ward number 4 for the coming municipal council elections.

He said earlier, the ward number 9 had been for general category and now was reserved for the Scheduled Caste category. In the previous municipal council elections, the ward number 4 had been reserved for the Scheduled Caste category and now it was open to they general category.

He said though repeated objections were raised against such voters, no action was taken against them by authorities.

Mr Jeewan Ram, a resident of ward number 4, in his complaint alleged that some small houses were shown as the residence of more than 50 voters in the revised electoral rolls. He said 300 votes out of the total 984 votes were bogus in the ward.

Mr D.P.S. Kharbanda, Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development), Bathinda, who has been holding the inquiry, said the officials would submit their reports tomorrow.


Panel to meet sacked panchayat secys
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today constituted a committee under Minister for Rural Development and Panchayats Rajinder Kaur Bhattal to assuage the feelings of 909 sacked panchayat secretaries. The Chief Minister told TNS that the committee would talk to the panchayat secretaries, explaining to them the circumstances under which the government took action since it was legally bound to do so and also what was proposed now.

This decision was taken following a meeting Capt Amarinder Singh held at his official residence, where the full background and circumstances leading to the termination of panchayat secretaries were taken up. The panchayat secretaries have been agitating against their removal from service since December 12. Their representatives had even met PPCC President H.S. Hanspal, who promised to take up their case with the government.

Other members on the committee are Mr Lal Singh, Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, Mr Rana Sodhi, Chaudhary Santokh Singh, Mr Surinder Singla, the Legal Remembrancer, the Advocate-General and the Director, Panchayats. The committee, the Chief Minister said, would also work out the modalities for enabling these 909 panchayat secretaries to appear in a written examination to be jointly conducted by the zila parishads in association with the deputy commissioners sometime in February next. The department of Rural Development and Panchayats will set the question papers. Capt Amarinder Singh said as per the court directive, 85 per cent marks would be for the written test and 15 per cent for the interview. The government propose to give relaxation to those who had become overage. The meeting also decided that each candidate appearing for interview would get 1 grace mark for each year of service. The seniority of those candidates, who had been sacked and who would get re-selected, would be protected.


Panchayat secys allege mala fide intention
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
In a bunch of petitions filed before a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, panchayat secretaries sought to be terminated by the Punjab Government today claimed that action was being initiated against them in a mala fide manner due to political vendetta.

Claiming to have been appointed by the previous government in October 2001, Raminder Singh of Ferozepur and six others, in one such petition, added that the government had proceeded against them by issuing a blanket order without giving them an opportunity of hearing.

Seeking the quashing of an order dated December 10 vide which the services of total 909 secretaries were sought to be terminated, the petitioners added that the same was illegal and arbitrary.

Giving details, counsel added on the petitioners’ behalf that the secretaries were appointed in the department concerned by a duly constituted Departmental Selection Committee. Taking up the petition, the Division Bench of the High Court, comprising Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar and Mr Justice Viney Mittal, referred the matter to another Bench.


Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday fixed January 14 as the next date of hearing on petition filed by former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s officer on special duty Hardeep Singh. The interim orders regarding the stay on his arrest will continue till then.

Accusing the Congress government of adopting a revengeful attitude towards political opponents, the petitioner, in an earlier petition, had asserted that the Chief Minister had openly declared that Badal and his men would be taught a lesson and as such he was being targeted.

His counsel had added that a false and a baseless case had been registered against the petitioner by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau and his house was raided even though nothing incriminating was recovered.

Requisition for meeting

About 150 advocates of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today signed a requisition for convening a meeting of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association tomorrow for deciding the future course of action against one of the Judges named in the Punjab Public Service Commission recruitment scam.

As per the handwritten note, the action was required to be taken as the Chief Justice of India had allegedly told the High Court Judge to proceed on indefinite leave.


Explosive goes off in junk shop, two killed
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 17
Two persons were killed and two others seriously injured when an explosive went off at a junk dealer's shop in New Badungar Basti here this evening.

Bunty died on the spot, while another person, Jagannath, who was his paternal uncle, died while being taken to the local Government Rajindra Hospital. Two other persons have been severely injured, including the owner of the junk depot, Ajaypal, and his son, Charanjit, alias Kaka. Both of them have been admitted Rajindra Hospital.

Police sources could not determine as to what had caused the explosion though it is being felt that some shell or mine which formed part of the iron junk which was being broken into small parts by the men was responsible for the explosion.

Top police officials reached the spot immediately after the incident.


2 students die in jeep-bus collision
Our Correspondent

Mansa, December 17
Two students of Bhai Gurdas Academy in Makha village died, while 12 students were injured, one of them seriously, in a head-on collision between a private transport bus and a school jeep carrying students today. Fog was stated to be the reason for the mishap.

The jeep was carrying 21 students from Maujla village when the bus coming from the opposite direction hit it. Gurmail Singh (30), driver of the jeep, was seriously injured. He, along with two seriously injured students, was admitted to Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana.

Yadvinder Singh (12), a student of Class V, died on the spot while his younger brother, Simarjit (10), was injured.

The team of doctors accompanying the injured students to the DMCH, on their return said Sukhpal Kaur (9) of Class-V succumbed to her injuries while being taken to Ludhiana, raising the death toll to two.

In another accident, constable Balbir Singh of Maujla village and his cousin Ram Singh, who were taking woollens and other articles on a scooter to Mansa for the injured students, were involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer. Both were seriously injured and have been referred to the DMCH, Ludhiana. Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, Mansa, visited the Civil Hospital, Mansa, to supervise the arrangements.


4 youths held on rape charge
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 17
Four youths, including an NRI, were arrested by the district police after a prostitute, approached the police authorities with a complaint that though she was “hired” by the four youths for a night and the deal was struck for Rs 2000 she was not given any money by them.

The incident, which is first of its kind wherein a prostitute has approached the police authorities with a plea that she be helped to get the money is also likely to uncover a well-piled flesh trade racket, running in the city and the surrounding areas.

The victim, hailing from UP, approached Mehatpur police station yesterday, with a complaint that she had not been paid money by the youths who contacted her at Jalandhar bus stand on Sunday. She alleged that the youths refused to pay the money and instead one of them bundled her on his motor cycle and tried to run away after “dumping” her at Chakk village bus stand. She alleged that she got hurt as she tried to stop him. The youth was later identified as Kulwinder Singh Kinda, a resident of Patti Dhunni ki village.

Mr Paramjit Singh Gill, SSP, maintained that investigation revealed that the girl was “hired” by Kulwinder Kinda, Avtaar Singh, Hardip Singh and Jugraj Singh, all residents of Patti Dhunni ki village falling under Nakodar police station, while she was roaming at the Jalandhar bus stand. After striking the deal with her of Rs 2000, they hired an autorickshaw for Jandiala, but since the autorickshaw broke down at Diwali village, Mohammed Rafi, one of their friends, took her to a well at Chak village. Mr Gill said though Rafi came back after leaving the girl there, the latter was "raped” by others. The police got wind of the incident accidentally as a ruckus was caused after the girl tried to stop Avtaar Singh at Chak village bus stand after the latter allegedly refused to part with the “deal” money and the girl went to the police station with her complaint. He said further investigations into the case revealed that she was a part of a flesh trade racket being run by a resident of basti Pir Dad.

He said the police had arrested Mohammed Rafi, Avtaar Singh and Jugraj Singh, and they had confessed their involvement in the incident. He said Kulwinder Kinda had recently came from Italy.


Nurses paper leak case: two surrender

Kharar, December 17
The Punjab Nurses Registration Council Examination Superintendent, Gurpal Singh Kang, and Junior Assistant, Charanjit Singh, today surrendered before a court here, a month since the registration of a corruption, cheating, framing an incorrect document and criminal conspiracy case against them by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau at Mohali on November 15, in connection with the alleged question paper leak case of the council.

Before adjourning the proceedings, Judicial Magistrate Roshan Lal Chouhan directed that both accused be sent to judicial custody for the time being.

Earlier, Kang and Charanjit appeared before the court this morning, along with their counsel, and moved an application for their surrender.

The Vigilance Bureau, after seeking permission to formally arrest the two, is expected to move an application for their police remand for interrogation and investigation in the case.

On December 12, the court here had issued fresh non-bailable arrest warrants returnable till December 24 against both accused after the non-service of two previous NBWs.

Besides rejection of the anticipatory bail applications of Kang and Charanjit from Sessions Court, Charanjit had also been denied pre-arrest bail by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

While Kang and Charanjit were the main suspects in the case, who remained in hiding before finally giving up, the Vigilance Bureau, on November 28 had arrested a Mohali Municipal Councillor, Sukhdev Singh Patwari, and computer operator at Patwari’s printing press, Rajwinder Singh of Machhli Kalan village, near Kharar, for their alleged involvement in the case. PTI


Come clean, Badal tells Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
SAD President Parkash Singh Badal today asked Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to come clean on reports in a section of the Press that three of his ministers indulged in “immoral pursuits” during their poll campaign in Gujarat. The Chief Minister’s own name had also figured in these reports.

In a statement released through the party’s media office here, Mr Badal said that the allegations had been published by a responsible section of the media and the issue could no longer be treated with the kind of attitude that the Chief Minister had adopted so far. The atmosphere is thick with reports of the Congress leaders’ increasing indulgence in unethical activities, misusing their official position and clout, he added.

Mr Badal was referring to media reports which said that at least three Cabinet Ministers were involved in a scandal in which the names of a woman and a hotel manager also figured.

It may be recalled, the statement said, that a senior Congress leader, Mr Malkiat Singh Birmi, caused quite a sensation yesterday by raising a demand for an inquiry into charges against the ministers. PPCC president H.S. Hanspal had, however, criticised Mr Birmi for raising the issue at a public function.

The Akali leader said if the Chief Minister continued to maintain silence on the issue, his party would approach Governor J.F.R. Jacob to intervene.


SAD leader hails Modi’s victory
Our Correspondent

Mansa, December 17
A senior Akali leader and General Secretary of the SAD, Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, welcomed the mandate given by the people of Gujarat in favour of the BJP. He gave its credit to Mr Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat, and BJP President, Mr Venkaiah Naidu. He said the Congress had suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of the BJP due to its anti-people policies.

He held the Congress responsible for 1984 Sikh riots and raised the bogey of Khalistan. He said the people had realised the divide and rule policy of the Congress and gave a befitting reply to the party in Gujarat elections.

Mr Bhunder opposed the diversion of the rivers of Punjab to other states as the state was already facing scarcity of irrigation water. Regarding the forthcoming civic elections in the state, Mr Bhunder said the party had, so far, not decided about the candidates who would contest elections on party ticket.

Mr Saranjit Singh Dhilon, national president of the Youth Akali Dal, Badal, said the districts units of the party were being reconstituted. In urban areas, the Hindu workers in the party would head the city units while the post of senior vice-president would be given to Akali workers belonging to scheduled castes in rural areas.


Tikka Shatrujit to join politics
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, December 17
Tikka Raja Shatrujit Singh of the Kapurthala royal family has announced that he will join politics.

Tikka Shatrujit Singh, a scion of Nawab Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, a great Sikh general and founder of erstwhile Kapurthala princely state today visited Kapurthala town to participate in a function organised by the P and T and Accounts and other Central government pensioners association. Addressing the function, he said that recent meeting he had with Mr I.K. Gujral, a former Prime Minister, inspired him to join politics in order to serve the nation. He honoured pensioners by presenting them with shawls and mementos.

The pensioners’ association too honoured him. He announced a grant of Rs 10,000 to the association.

Tikka also visited a gurdwara under construction in Amrit Bazaar and announced liberal fund for its completion.


Villagers hold PSEB team hostage
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, December 17
A team of the PSEB that had gone to check power theft in Chack Fateh Singh Wala village, former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s in-laws home village, was allegedly held hostage by some residents after some cases of power theft were registered there.

Sources said the PSEB employees, led by a sub-division-level officer, had found that many villagers had been stealing power by tampering with meters or even through direct kundli connections. The trouble arose when they were returning back to the office after registering cases against defaulters.

A section of villagers, led by leaders of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, held the team hostage in the house of a farmer. The leaders told the PSEB officials to check power theft by big industrial units and influential people. They alleged that the government was bent upon squeezing the economic resources of debt-ridden farmers, the sources said.

A resident of the village alleged that he had paid Rs 900 as bribe to some officers of the team, but PSEB officials denied the same.

The officials said at least five cases of power theft were registered and necessary action would be taken against defaulters. The Bhucho Mandi police authorities had reached the spot but no case had been registered, the sources added.


11 cr drinking water plan for Fazilka
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, December 17
Dr Mohinder Kumar Rinwa, MLA here today said sewage treatment plant at a cost of 1.83 crore would be set up soon in the town. Dr Rinwa said the funds for the treatment plant would be provided by the board and the treated water would be sold to farmers for irrigation purposes. He also gave a bank draft of Rs 30 lakh on behalf of the state government to the Executive Officer Municipal Council, Fazilka

He said Nabard had worked out a Rs 11 crore scheme for providing drinking water to rural areas of Fazilka subdivision. He added that a solid waste plant for converting garbage into fertilizers would be set up on the outskirts of the town.


Honoured SHO in Vigilance net
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 17
The Punjab Vigilance Department today registered a case against Sadar Station House Officer (SHO) Shamsher Singh Guddu for possessing assets disproportionate to his known sources of income. He had been honoured for his exemplary services by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, on Independence Day.

An FIR, which has been registered in this regard at the Patiala Vigilance Station here, has come down heavily on the alleged lavish lifestyle of the SHO who had only four acres of land when he joined the service.

However, informed sources disclosed that the Vigilance Bureau has charged Guddu with acquiring agricultural land worth Rs 1 crore during his service period. It has also been alleged that he is fond of lavish expenditure saying that he gifted a Skoda Octavia car worth Rs 12 lakh to his niece on her marriage and incurred an expenditure of Rs 20 lakh in organising the marriage celebrations at the Riveria Resorts in Ludhiana.

The SP (Vigilance), Mr Balkar Singh, confirmed that an FIR had been registered against the Inspector but said he did not know the details of the case as the Ludhiana Vigilance Police was investigating the case.


Inmates’ beating: probe starts
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, December 17
On the directions of Mr Som Parkash, Director Social Security, Punjab, Mr Paramjit Singh, Addl Deputy Commissioner, here has started an investigation into the alleged beating up of two inmates of Juvenile Home Ram Colony camp by its Superintendent. Mr Paramjit Singh inspected the home yesterday and recorded the statements of various inmates, staff members and others residing in the complex. He would submit his report to the government within the next two-three days.

There are 137 inmates in the home of which more than 100 had sent a signed memorandum to the Director against Ms Krishna Aggarwal, Superintendent, in this regard. They alleged that the Superintendent mercilessly caned two of the inmates last week. They further said they were being forced to do odd jobs.

When contacted, Ms Aggarwal said she had caned senior inmates as they were accused of sexually abusing a junior inmate. She further said on receiving a complaint against certain inmates she called them to her office but they did not turn up. In the evening when she was on a regular round to the home the said inmates met her. Instead of feeling sorry they teased her. To maintain discipline she had to cane them, she added.

She further alleged that a social activist, Jang Bahadur, who is a regular visitor to the home, was trying to exploit the situation to get her transferred.


Resolve Sehajdhari issue, says Darshan Singh
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 17
Prof Darshan Singh, a former Jathedar in a hard-hitting letter to Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar Akal Takht, today expressed his serious concern over certain vital panthic issues, including the Sehajdharis and the Nanakshahi calendar which have been pending for a long time.

The former Jathedar said Jathedar Vedanti should exhibit guts to resolve the Panthic issues and there was no need to seek permission from the government. Instead these issues should be resolved as per Panthic traditions.

In the four-page letter, faxed to Jathedar Vedanti, Prof Darshan Singh said indecisiveness on the part of Akal Takht on the Nanakshahi calendar had created unsavoury situation in the Panthic circles. He alleged that the implementation of the calendar was stopped under a “deep rooted” conspiracy” about three years ago.

Coming down heavily on the claim of Sehajdhari Sikhs to get voting rights during the SGPC poll. Prof Darshan Singh said such a move would harm the Sikh panth in the long run. “An attempt to give the voting rights to Sehajdharis would give a certificate to those who don’t want to keep their hair unshorn. “Keshadhari is must for getting voting right”, he asserted. Under the garb of Sehajdharis a large number of non Sikhs would intrude into the SGPC, he feared.

He lamented that voting right to Sehajdharis was first given by the Shiromani Akali Dal with a view to wrest the control of SGPC, he asked as to why Sikh clergy did not act to stop such ‘anti-Panthic’ activities.

The former Jathedar, Akal Takht, also criticised anti-Panthic activities of certain senior Akali leaders and studied silence of the Sikh clergy. He also criticised those who have been shielding Mr Parkash Singh Badal, a former Chief Minister who had participated in a “havan” in gross violation of the Sikh maryada. He concluded that the organising of ‘paaths’ of the Ramayana by SGPC members could not be justified Prof Darshan Singh said that as per the certified ‘Sikh maryada’ no Sikh could recite any granth other than the Guru Granth Sahib.


Jora ghar’ stone laid by Talwandi smashed

Amritsar, December 17
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) authorities have razed the foundation stone laid by former SGPC chief Jagdev Singh Talwandi of a “Jora ghar” (shoe deposit house) on the Golden Temple premises.

Mr Talwandi had laid the foundation stone of the “Jora ghar” at the entry point of the Golden Temple in front of Teja Singh Samundri Hall.

Soon after the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) meeting headed by Shiromani Akali Dal chief Parkash Singh Badal on December 10 in Amritsar decided to expel Mr Talwandi for openly supporting the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD), the plaque on which the name of Mr Talwandi was inscribed outside the “Jora ghar” was removed after breaking it to bits.

Highly placed sources in the SHSAD chief G.S. Tohra camp assert that the Badal camp not satisfied with removing Mr Talwandi from the primary membership of the party for allegedly raising the banner of revolt against Mr Badal, gave vent to its ire by removing the stone which was prominently displayed just outside the Samundri Hall.

SGPC secretary Harbeant Singh said today that the SGPC never intended to let down Mr Talwandi.”There are still several such stones, laid by Mr Talwandi in the SGPC buildings in Punjab. The stone has been removed as it was wrongly placed”, he added.

He said the stone had been removed to relocate it at its right place which was exactly in the “Jora ghar”.

“The stone would be refitted within a day as the directions in this regard from SGPC chief Kirpal Singh Badungar have also landed in the SGPC office here,” he said. PTI


Drugs corroding Sikh society, says Vedanti
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, December 17
Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti has said drugs and intoxicants are corroding Sikh society and called upon youths to keep themselves away from the menace. He opposed female foeticide.

Jathedar Vedanti was speaking at Panshta village, 20 km from here, on Sunday. He expressed concern over the growing cult of “derawad” “dehdari gurudom.”

The danger to the Sikh panth from the hostile forces had to be combated unitedly, he asserted.

The Jathedar had a conclave with Baba Mann Singh of Pehowa at the annual darbar held by the Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib Seva Society. Sant Mann Singh presented siropa to Jathedar Vedanti.


Ashes of CM’s father-in-law immersed
Tribune News Service

Kiratpur Sahib, December 17
The ashes of Mr Gian Singh Kahlon, former Chief Secretary, Punjab and the father-in-law of the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, were today immersed in the holy waters at gurdwara Patalpuri Sahib here by his son, Mr Himmat Singh, along with some close relatives.

Capt Amarinder Singh, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, MP from Sangrur, both son-in-law of the deceased, Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, Mr Ramesh Dutt Sharma, both Punjab ministers, and Mr K.P.S. Rana, MLA from Nangal, were also present.

Besides, many Congress leaders from the district and senior civil and police officials, including Mrs Seema Jain, Deputy Commissioner, and Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, SSP, were also present.


Ex-minister not to be held sans notice
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, December 17
Mr C.D. Gupta Additional Sessions Judge, today instructed the Vigilance Bureau, Punjab, not to arrest Bibi Mohinder Kaur Josh, former State Minister for Health and Family Welfare, if it registered any case against her. However, he allowed the bureau to serve a five-day notice to her before her arrest.

Mr Maninderpal Singh, an advocate, filed an application before the Additional Judge on December 13 for granting anticipatory bail to her on the apprehension of her arrest by the bureau which has been investigating corruption charges against the former minister on an anonymous complaint.


Admn gears up to tackle polio
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, December 17
Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, said here today that there had been a decline in number of polio cases during the past few years, but there had been a sudden increase in their number during 2002. As many as 1,046 cases, the highest number, were reported from Uttar Pradesh.

Mr Verma, while chairing a meeting of the district health authorities, NGOs and other government officials, said polio was an epidemic only in nine countries and India was one of them. He said the number of cases reported from all over the world during 2002 were 1,532 and 1,282 were reported from India. He said Bihar had reported as many as 85 cases of polio in the year.

He said even though Punjab had not reported any case, the neighbouring states of Haryana, Rajasthan and Chandigarh reported 15, 10 and 1 case each respectively. He said countries like China had managed to eradicate polio by carrying out just one campaign. The challenge was to immunise every child in India, he reiterated. He said while the disease was preventable, children could be rendered handicapped if they got infected with the virus.

Mr Verma added that to eradicate the disease, an Intensified Pulse Polio Immunisation Campaign (IPPC) would be launched on January 5 and February 9, 2003. He said about 1.66 lakh children would be immunised in the district during these days and urged the parents and general public to participate.

Dr S.K. Goyal, Civil Surgeon, said it had been decided that block level task forces should be constituted under the control of the Sub-Divisional Magistrates to follow up at the grass-roots level. It was also decided that workers should be employed for manning booths, carrying out house-to-house activities for mobile teams, transit teams and reserve teams. Special focus would be on slums, migratory labour and brick-kiln workers, he added. He said the District Food and Supply Officer had been asked to ensure that the children of labourers and brick-kiln workers were immunised.

The District Education Officer had been asked to publicise the campaign during the morning assembly of the schools, he added.


Flyash poses health threat
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, December 17
While there are reports that the city will get the status of a municipal corporation soon, dusty roads and the ash being emitted by the four chimneys of the thermal plant here have been leading to an increase in pollution of air.

It is not that people have not been highlighting the problem said Mr Ashok Kumar, a city resident, who alleged that roads were swept only during the visits of VIPs. The problem of ash was so acute that a large number of residents were suffering from various ailments.

Mr Charanpal Singh Brar, president, Punjab Law Forum, in a written statement said the problem of the city ash rain was so severe that even drying clothes into open had been made difficult. He said many minor accidents had occurred due to the problem as the commuters on the main roads complain of the fly ash getting into their eyes.

Mr M.M. Behal, secretary of the forum, said even as the issue had been brought to the notice of state functionaries, no action had been taken. He claimed that incidents of air-borne diseases had increased manifold. He said the forum had decided to move the court if no steps were initiated to check air pollution.


Breach in Lambi distributary
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 17
Wheat and other crops in about 30 acres of land were submerged after a 60-feet wide breach took place in the Lambi distributary of the Bathinda branch of Sirhind canal near Rai ke village today. The Irrigation Department authorities claimed that the breach had occurred due to the presence of a large number of rats in the area.

Mr Chaudhary, Executive Engineer, Irrigation Department, when contacted, said rats had made burrows in the embankment of the distributary, which led to the breach.

Mr Upjeet Singh Brar, SDM, who reached the spot to supervise the plugging operation, ruled out sabotage and said the breach would be plugged by the night.


Jor mela from Dec 25

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 17
The three-day annual Shaheedi Jor Mela to commemorate the martyrdom of two sons of Guru Gobind Singh, who were buried alive here during the Mughal period, would be held from December 25.

Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib had been built in memory of the young martyrs.

The sale of liquor, meat and other intoxicants would be strictly banned, said Deputy Commissioner Vikas Partap, while presiding over a meeting of the district officials held here today to take stock of the arrangements.

The Deputy Commissioner said Patiala Divisional Commissioner C.S. Srivastva would inaugurate light and sound programme “Sirhind di dastan” at Aam Khas Bagh at Sirhind on December 25. He said holidays and leaves of the government employees had been cancelled. UNI


‘Bridge’ Army, media gap
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 17
Mediapersons must be provided orientation to cover military activities, particularly war. This was stated during a seminar on “Synergizing media and military roles in generating public awareness” organised here today by the Western Command. The inaugural address was presented by Lieut-Gen K. Nagraj.

Mr I. Ramamohan Rao, an information consultant attached to the Defence Minister, spoke at length over the media-military relationship. He said as Army PRO he had the experience of working with mediapersons in two wars of 1965 and 1971. He said the media could do wonderful job as in the Kargil war when the claims of Pakistan that the fighting men were not Pakistanis but Kashmiris were refuted when the fact was telecast through different news channel around the world.


Inter-state police meeting today
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, December 17
The police will organise an inter-state coordination meeting tomorrow at Abohar in which top police officials from Haryana, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh will participate.

According to Mr R.P. Meena, DIG, Ferozepore Range, the proposed meeting will discuss the strategy to check inter-state smuggling of narcotics. Problems arising out of differences in local laws would also be discussed, he added.

The DGP, Punjab; I IGPs of Amritsar, Hisar and Bikaner; DIGs of Faridkot, Ferozepore, Amritsar and Bikaner; besides senior police officials from Hanumangarh, Fatehbad, Sirsa, Sriganganagar, Mansa, Muktsar, Bathinda and Moga will also participate in the meeting.


7-hr power cut in major areas
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 17
There will be a seven-hour-long power cut from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. most parts of the city tomorrow due to some technical work. The Additional Superintendent Engineer of Hakima Gate Division said this in a press note here today.

He said the areas which would be affected include Guru Bazar, Mai Sewa Sirki Banda, Khoo Sunarian, Dhab Katikan, Katra Mohar Singh, Gali Chah Wali, Chowk Chintpurni, Chur Berri, Katra Mit Singh, Kanak Mandi, Sawank Mandi, Chowk Chabutra, and Bagh Jandha Singh.


No power, water for eight hours
Our Correspondent

Nabha, December 17
The supply of power and water to the town remained disrupted for more than eight hours today. Residents said they were not informed about the power cut by the PSEB authorities.

Mr J.L. Dhingra, a local resident, said water supply timings were from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Owing to erratic power supply, water could not be supplied due to the non-functioning of booster pumps, he added.

The residents demanded that the municipal council should ensure the proper supply of water and power.


CITU activists hold dharna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
On a call given by the Punjab state committee of CITU, hundreds of industrial workers from various parts of Punjab staged a dharna in front of the office of the Labour Commissioner, Punjab, here today. They also submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister through the Labour Commissioner.

Mr Chander Shekhar, General Secretary of CITU, condemned the authorities concerned for withholding the dearness allowance of workers for April to August this year. The DA is a part of the minimum wages.


Unions stage dharna

Hoshiarpur, December 17
Six unions of the Punjab Roadways today took out a march in connection with their demands. They also staged a dharna and burnt the effigy of the Transport Minister. Joint Secretary Pargat Singh, Chaudhary Hardial Singh, president of INTUC, Mr Avtar Singh, president of Scheduled caste Union, Mr Harmesh Lal, president of Workshop Union, were also present on the occasion. UNI


Unsold sugar lying in godowns
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, December 17
Punjab Parliamentary Secretary Gurwinder Singh Atwal, while talking to newspersons here on Tuesday, said Punjab had more than 20 lakh tonnes of sugar lying in different godowns of the state. He alleged that sugar worth Rs 460 crore had been lying in the godowns of the state which could not be sold due to the policies of the union government.


MC chief awarded
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 17
The Commissioner, of the local Municipal Corporation, Mr S.K. Sharma has been conferred on the prestigious Rashtriya Gaurav Award by the India International Friendship Society (IIFS) for his contribution in the field of economic and social development.


1 more held in house ransacking case
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, December 17
The district police has arrested Mangat Ram, a resident of Patran, near Patiala in a case related to the ransacking of the house of a former Punjab Minister, Mr Kasturi Lal, on December 10.

Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, in a press note issued here today said of the four persons who had ransacked the house of the late minister, two had been arrested, while the remaining two had managed to escape with a mobile phone after injuring the wife of the minister.

He said Mrs Radha Rani, daughter-in-law of the late minister, was also injured. A case under various sections of the IPC had been registered in the connection.

In another case, the SSP said, the court of the Special Judge here had imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on Bhura Singh and Jaswant Singh and sentenced them to 10 years’ imprisonment in a case related to the seizure of 70 kg of poppy husk from them.

The same court also imposed a fine of Rs 500 on Kaur Singh, besides sentencing him to one-year imprisonment. He was arrested under various sections of the NDPS Act for possessing 10 kg of poppy husk.


11 arrested for selling panchayat land
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, December 17
The police today arrested 11 residents of Khayala village, under the Narot Jaimal Singh police station, for allegedly selling a piece of village panchayat land in connivance with revenue officials.

Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP, told mediapersons here that a former sarpanch of the panchayat, Rattan Chand, Ranjit Singh and Raghbir Singh, both members of panchayat had complained to the Deputy Commissioner in this connection. The SSP said after the verification of the complaint it was found that the accused had prepared fake documents to sell the land. The land in the revenue record continued to be in the name of the panchayat.


PSEB officer held for taking bribe
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, December 17
Mr Man Mohan Singh Walia, Additional Superintending Engineer, Punjab State Electricity Board was caught red handed by the local Vigilance Bureau while accepting Rs 2,500 from Hargian Singh, son of Hukam Singh of Dhanthore in his office today evening.

According to official sources, the electric wire of the village leading to the tubewell of the complainant was stolen by some miscreants due to which the power supply of 10 tubewells of the area was disrupted for at least 10 days. The farmers were irrigating their crops through generator sets.

When the farmers of the village approached the officer concerned to install the new wire for restoring the power, he demanded Rs 60,000. Later the matter was settled for Rs 5,000.

The affected farmers first tried to approach the MLA of the constituency but he was not available. Later, Hargian Singh approached the DSP, Vigilance Bureau, Hoshiarpur. When Hargian Singh was handing over Rs 2,500 as illegal gratification to Mr Walia, the DSP caught him red handed.


Bank robbery case solved

Moga, December 17
The police yesterday claimed to have solved the case of a bank robbery committed on December 9 at Central Cooperative Bank at Chandpurana village in Moga district in which robbers had decamped with Rs 4 lakh.

Senior Superintendent of Police Major Singh Dhillon said the police nabbed the bank chowkidar Chamkaur and recovered Rs 50,000 from him.

During interrogation, the chowkidar confessed that he had committed the robbery and revealed the places where he had hidden the remaining amount.

The police searched the places disclosed by him and recovered the entire amount of the loot. The accused has been remanded in two-day police custody. PTI


Gang busted
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, December 17
The police has busted a gang of robbers involved in various cases of robberies, stealing of vehicles and snatching of gold chains. Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP, said today that Navtej Singh of Jhabal, Sajjan Mecki Sultan and Amardeep Singh, all residents of Amritsar, were arrested while their accomplices, Lakhwinder Singh, alias Lakha, and Baljit Singh, were still at large.


Global conference on education from Dec 19
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, December 17
As a part of its platinum jubilee celebrations, local Hans Raj Mahila Maha Vidyalaya will be holding a three-day global educational conference on “Culture of peace and non-violence” from December 19 to 21.

The conference, approved by the University Grants Commission (UGC), will be attended by 40 renowned scholars from all over the country and abroad.

Talking to reporters here yesterday, the Principal-cum-Conference Director, Ms P.P. Sharma, revealed that the conference aimed at bringing renowned experts on peace on a common platform to suggest how the unrest and global violence could be averted in the present context. “In fact, we have decided to hold a global educational conference following the declaration of the current decade 2001-2010 as “UN decade of culture of peace and non-violence for the children of the world”. Besides, the prevailing situation of unrest in most parts of the world had shown adverse impact on the minds of the younger generation, who are witnessing oppressive governance throughout the globe, she added.

While, the keynote address will be read by Professor Mitsuo Okamoto, a renowned law expert of Hiroshima Shudo University of Japan, Mr Peter Obure Boswell Mcomalla of Tanzania, Dr Durdica Gudac-Fuckan of Croatia, Mr Rayman Charkupa of Botswana, Dr Anna Paula Pedro of Portugal will present their papers during the conference.

“The former Prime Minister, Mr I.K. Gujral, former External Affairs Minister, Mr R.L. Bhatia, the Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, Dr S.P. Singh, Mr Justice R.N.Mittal, Mr Justice N.K. Sud of the Punjab and Haryana High Court will also share their views with the students during the conference,” Ms Sharma added.

UNESCO has already acknowledged the college as an “actor” of global movement for culture of peace and has included its name on its website.


Panel proposals ‘anti-worker’
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 17
The general consensus of the panel discussion on the recommendations of the Second Labour Commission held on the concluding day of the annual conference of the Indian Society of Labour Economics organised by the Punjab School of Economics of Guru Nanak University, revolved around the ‘anti-worker’ recommendations of the commission.

The main emphasis of the discussion, which was chaired by Prof L.K. Deshpande, former Director of the Department of Economics, University of Mumbai, Prof C.P. Thakur, former Dean, Faculty of Management Study, Delhi University, Prof Ruddar Datt, former Principal, College of Correspondence Courses, University of Delhi, Mr Satya Pal Dang, veteran CPI leader, Dr Subhash Sharma, President, INTUC and Prof C.S. Venkataratnam of the International Management Institute, Delhi, was on the powers of hire and fire given to the managements. They were of the view that the practice of contract labour would not work in an underdeveloped country like India, which lack basic social security.

Mr Satya Pal Dang said the commission was specifically constituted to make recommendations not in favour but against the labourers and called for its rejection. He was of the view that the objective of the commission was to decrease the labour cost further in the name of increasing the productivity.

Prof Ruddar Datt, criticised the recommendations of the Labour Commission by terming it as efforts to legalise policies of hire and fire.

The newly instituted Sanjay Thakur Young Economist Award for this year was presented to Dr Deepak Kumar Mishra from Arunachal Pradesh for his presentation during this conference.

Prof Papola, the President of the society has been elected for another term of three years.


China’s progress exaggerated: expert
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 17
Much exaggeration has been made about China’s progress over the past decades. Although there has been extensive development of infrastructure, it has not borne fruit as they still have more than 60 per cent non-performing assets. This was stated here yesterday by Dr V.R. Panchmukhi, Chairman, Indian Counsel of Social Science Research, on the second day of the 44th annual conference of the Indian Society of Labour Economics being organised by the Punjab School of Economics, Guru Nanak Dev University.

Delivering VB Memorial Lecture on “Responses to the challenges of WTO: comparison between India and China”, he said both countries should work together to chalk out a coordinated strategy to meet the challenges of the WTO as both countries had same reservations on the conditions of the WTO.

He said China was sending positive gesture in this aspect and had agreed to cosponsor paper manufacture in India. Like India, China was also worried about liberalisation of agriculture and textile texture. However, there was immense difference in response of China which was taking a number of initiatives to strengthen its domestic activities and prepare itself for the competition.

In the second Radhakamal Mukherjee memorial lecture on “Borderlands of economics: institutions, politics and culture in the explanation of economic change”, Prof John Harriss from the London School of Economics, London, said the enforcement of labour laws in India was very poor. Mr Harriss said the problem of business management in India in context of economic globalisation was that of bringing about a change in the institutional framework and behaviour in business. Change was taking place now but only against the resistance that derived from the strength of selective trust.


Non-teaching staff allege assault
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, December 17
The ongoing strike by teachers of the local R.K. Arya College, in protest against the non-payment of their salaries for the past four months, took a new turn after the college unit of Private College Non-Teaching Employees Union accused the agitating teachers of manhandling and abusing the Principal, Mr S.K. Sharma and non-teaching employees Gurdas Ram and Ravinder Kumar. At a meeting a resolution was passed to boycott all types of college work, including opening the locks of the college gate, until the teachers apologise.

Mr S.K. Sogi, president of the College Teachers’ Union, denying the allegation of the non-teaching employees said they had been boycotting house examination since Saturday to press for their demands and today they only raised slogans against the college Principal. The teachers had no confrontation with the non-teaching employees and they should not intervene.

Mr Sogi accused the Principal of adopting discriminatory attitude towards teaching staff as he had been disbursing salaries to the non-teaching employees. He said the teachers had brought the matter to the notice of the managing committee several times but to no avail.


PSIEC asked to shift industries outside cities
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 17
The Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) has asked the Punjab State Industrial and Export Corporation (PSIEC) to shift industries out of the congested areas in Amritsar, Batala, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Mandi Gobindgarh by allotting them vacant industrial plots outside the cities.

The board has written a letter to this effect to the PSIEC and asked the organisation to allot plots to such industrial units at focal points or other such areas outside the cities by August, next year.

Stating this here today, board Chairman Satish Chandra told TNS that the board had earlier carried out a survey of industries which needed to be shifted out in these cities. He said the survey had revealed that there was a need to shift 168 industries in Amritsar, 63 in Batala, 341 in Jalandhar, 627 in Ludhiana and 62 in Mandi Gobingarh.

He said the PSIEC had also been asked to carry out an exercise regarding the number of plots available for allotment in the cities.

The PPCB Chairman said Amritsar, Batala and Mandi Gobingarh had focal points but Jalandhar and Ludhiana had no such points.

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